External Frame Backpacks

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Alite
ALPS Mountaineering
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Barney's Sports Chalet
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Unisex
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Price

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

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars Purchased my D3 from R.E.I. in 1979. I have used this pack on the Appalachian Trail, hiking in Wyoming, more camping trips than I can count, and for a season of wilderness guiding in Maine. Love this pack. I have had this pack for 38 years. I have replaced both front panel zippers, but otherwise the pack has held up well. It has always fit me well at 5'7". It is very comfortable even with a heavy load. I love most that it has a large capacity to haul multiple days of bulky food packages. The front… Full review

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars Though the D3 is now considered a "classic," since 1974 I've always considered it to be an everyday "workhorse." I'm replacing the shoulder straps (one had gotten a serious cut) and I once added a layer of Ensolite on the inside of the hip belt, but otherwise the pack has already been ready to do its job regardless of whether it's for an easy overnighter or a ten-day, 75-lbs adventure. My Jansport D3 backpack is now over 40 years old. I bought it new. Over most of those years it has been my… Full review

Kelty Tioga

rated 4 of 5 stars Proven design. I owned and carried one of these for years, as did a college roommate. It was quite a number of years ago but the new models seem essentially the same. It was basically the first aluminum external readily available anywhere. Other makers quickly followed when the market became obvious, but Kelty was there first and for many, including me, the proven and well reviewed design sold me.  It cost an impoverished college student a pile of money for those days. I probably ate less for a… Full review

Kelty Tioga

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is a great pack for 10 days in the mountains. I like the 3 L water side pouch that you can fill up with the Playtpus 3 L bag. Frame pack makes it easier to get on over your head. Holds a lot of weight. I used this pack while hiking Philmont Scout Reservation. It did the job for 10 days on the trail. External frame held up in the rugged environment. Easier to get on than the internal framed. Lot less bulk when empty to carry restock supplies at camp then repack. The zippers seemed to stick but… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 3.5 of 5 stars I like the many pockets for all of my gear Full review

U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars The medium ALICE is the most versatile durable pack and less expensive than other brand name packs. A medium ALICE pack can be bought separately from an issue frame. If it is surplus it will have three internal strings to reduce its size for hiking (YouTube has a vid on how to turn it into an assault pack). Ten to 15 lbs will carry fine without the frame. For camping a DIY frame (see YouTube vids) or after-market frames (see YouTube vids) allow you to buy and attach a MOLLE 2 hip pad belt to transfer… Full review

Nimrod Pack Systems Haul Frame Pack

rated 5 of 5 stars I'VE BEEN MILITARY 28 YEARS!!! I can tell you that the military could learn a few things from Nimrod Packs systems!! I own every piece from binoc/45 case to the meat rack. If you spend your money on the OTHER guys costing twice your money you're wrong! This stuff is top quality and the craftsmanship is excellent. The owner is a top quality individual and the warranty is world class. Try it! It will be the last one you will ever need!! I tell everyone I meet they need to look at the prices the "Hunting Magazine… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Commander

rated 0.5 of 5 stars I bought this pack four years ago, used it twice to pack out elk quarters for a friend, one load each as there were three of us. Went to use it this year and every single strap broke and fell apart from dry rot or bad quality. Their warranty dept. told me because it's 4 years old it's considered normal wear and tear and not covered. Offered to sell me another one for the same price that I could buy it online for—not a good deal and terrible limited lifetime warranty, more like a one year warranty… Full review

Kelty Super Tioga

rated 3.5 of 5 stars Are YOU a mule? When you need to haul a week's worth of stuff, this pack will do it. I'm not a small guy—6' and 225-230 pounds. I usually have to carry enough to qualify as a mule. This pack carries it all. If you need to carry a real load this is your pack. I know it's considered old school, but hey, it is still made because it still works. If you hike trails and don't want to be Mr. Schweddy, you'll like this pack. It transfers the weight to your hips, and takes it off your shoulders.   The… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1
 
Alite Hatcher Backpack
$131
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 (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 (5)
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
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only)
$120 MSRP
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