External Frame Backpacks

Brand

other
ALPS Mountaineering
Asolo
Barney's Sports Chalet
Bergans
Camp Trails
Cerro Torre
Contour Outdoor
Dana Design
Diamond Brand

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$300 - $399.99
$400 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Camp Trails Ponderosa

rated 5 of 5 stars Camp Trails Ponderosa is the best pack I have ever used and I have had a more than a handful of other packs to compare with. I chucked away my first one after many years use when one of the zippers failed and regretted it afterwards and have this week bought two more on eBay and will never look back on softpacks again. I cannot wait to finally get them. Top weave, robust frame, light and roomy. I have used it around the world from Lappland, Nova Scotia, Rockies, and New Zealand and it has worked… Full review

Norrona Recon

rated 4 of 5 stars Used this backpack for approximately 15 years. Best use for heavy loads. The carry system on this backpack is impressive. The foam straps feel molded to your body. The quick height adjustment is very easy to use. It also adjusts well from a tight fit in challenging terrain to more relaxed in easy terrain. The backpack is huge! 125L is a lot. The backpack is designed for hunters and recon troops who need to carry a lot of heavy equipment or even a whole reindeer. In this size of backpacks there is… Full review

Seek Outside Unaweep 6300

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This bag is designed as a load hauler for backcountry big game hunting, so large, heavy loads are not an issue. Made to be comfortable with 100 lbs or more, smaller loads ride very well on or off trail. Great for cold weather gear, expedition style multi-week food bags, and can be used to carry hard to pack loads outside the bag. Note: Seek Outside is constantly updating their product lines, adding and removing features as they react to customer input. This review is for a pack I had made to order… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 5 of 5 stars I have used this pack for many years on extended trips of up to nine days. It has seen many cross-country hikes in very rough terrain. It has always performed well and is comfortable until I get up to 60+ lbs of weight, but over 60 lbs what pack is comfortable? Zippers are still functioning well as is the rest of the pack. I am very sad to see that you can no longer buy a new one. Fits well and is comfortable. Full review

The Big Heavy

rated 5 of 5 stars The Big Heavy is my home away from home carrying everything I need except me. The Big Heavy is an amazing external frame backpack from the late '80s. This isn't one of those wooden framed canvas Boy Scout things mind you, but a bit newer and more high-tech. The Big Heavy is able to carry anything and I love it so! Starting with my sleep system I have a tarp. I've never liked the sound those plastic one's make so I found an old painters tarp. It's canvas so it weighs a bit more, and it gets wet,… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Quality and functionality for over 20 years. The Wonderland was handed down to me nearly 20 years ago! It's still in great shape, except for a zipper on the removable fanny pack. I believe it's more reliable  and modular than these newer streamlined packs. Sure it's bulky, but I'm not running a marathon in it. It's timeless and I wouldn't exchange it for any other pack.  Full review

Kelty Yukon 48

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is the pack that I always return to. Easy to pack and to carry. Durable and adaptable. Excellent for smaller adults. This review pertains to the older version of this pack, which has somewhat less heavily padded and shaped hip belt and shoulder straps, no sternum strap, no provision for a water bladder, and lashing tabs on the top flap and back pocket, rather than a daisy-chain. Conditions: I have used this pack for eight years, for several trips annually of one to seven days.  Construction… Full review

U.S. Armed Forces MOLLE Pack

rated 3 of 5 stars Not bad for what you pay for it these days, more for mountaineering than backpacking and thru-hikes. Way to bulky for day hikes. I carried max loads in the military with it and about a 40-lb load with an added 15 to 20 lbs of firewood and it carried that load well. I still prefer lighter civilian packs like Osprey, which only weighs slightly over 4 lbs and has an AG suspension harness. Full review

Dana Design K2 Longbed

rated 5 of 5 stars Dana Design screwed up discontinuing LongBed K-2. It is bomb proof, great organizing external pockets, comfortable waist strap, adjustable upper frame extension, enormous capacity. It is built to last not years but decades. If you like to take the kitchen sink this is the pack for you. It is over built and will last, I dare say a lifetime. I wouldn't sell mine EVER. There is nothing out there that could replace it. People on the trail are always commenting on my pack and want to know were to get… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The Big Heavy
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
$149 MSRP
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander
$130 MSRP
 
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack
$160 MSRP
 
user rating: 0.5 of 5 (1)
Asolo Backpack
discontinued
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Asolo Expedition 70
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Barney's Sports Chalet Super Moose
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans Powerframe
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans Powerframe 3800
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Adjustable II
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Adjustable III
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Denali
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Explorer
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (5)
Camp Trails McKinley
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Night Song (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Omega Outfitter
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Omega/Camo
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Ponderosa
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails Wilderness (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Cerro Torre Yark I
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Contour Outdoor MOLLE Pack
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design Glacier (External)
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Dana Design K2 Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
Dana Design K2 Shortbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design K2 Terraframe
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design K2 Terraframe Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Dana Design Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Dana Design Shortbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design Terraframe
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Diamond Brand Blue Ridge 5
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Eureka! Eagle
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (5)
Gregory Evolution
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Haglofs Alaska
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
High Sierra Bobcat 65
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
JanSport AlpinePhantom
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
JanSport Carson 80
user rating: 4 of 5 (8)
JanSport Carson 90
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport D2
user rating: 5 of 5 (19)
JanSport D3
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
JanSport Middleton
discontinued
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (10)
JanSport Rainier
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport Scout
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
JanSport Tundra 80
discontinued
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
K2 Loadmaster
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
K2 Shortbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Karrimor Condor 60-80 (External)
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Cache Hauler
$220 MSRP
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