External Frame Backpacks

Brands

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

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$500 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Kelty Trekker 4300

rated 5 of 5 stars I got my first Kelty in 1968, and still use it for day hikes. In addition to the 'orginal' Kelty, I have the Trekker 4300 and the Tioga 5500.  Use depending on the length of the hike. Love all three.  Most of my hiking is in the desert SW and Grand Canyon. The externals allow greater airflow. Load is balanced over the hips—the long hike up from the bottom of Grand Canyon goes much easier with the 'over-the-hips' weight distribution. I still do an annual Rim-2-Rim at the Canyon—and of course… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 5 of 5 stars I pack in bear country, so I really like the squeak. I pack in bear and lion country so the squeaking is a plus. It has all the room I need for a week out, and it is very comfortable. I have two other packs, top of the line, but I am liking this one the best. I bought it used, in like new condition for $18. SCORE!!!! Full review

U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars This is a great, huge pack with plenty of large pockets to organize and fit more supplies in. It is pretty water resistant but I wouldn't guarantee anything there. The MOLLE straps on the outside are good for hanging stuff from with bungie cord or clips. Extra pouches can also be added to the outside :) I would recommend this to anyone who would like to go for a longer trip, not just a day hike. These packs are for sale, made brand new in the curragh army shop. Full review

Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800

rated 5 of 5 stars I missed my external packs from the days long ago, until I found this one. It articulates as good or better than any of my internal frame packs and best of all, THE HIP BELT WILL NOT SLIP. I know, an amazing assertion, but true. PARADOX PACK by SEEKOUTSIDE 4800 WITH BASE TALON I found out about this external frame pack that feels like an internal frame on BACKPACKINGLIGHT. That (and other reviews, I read them all) haunted me until I purchased one and tried it out. It boasted an external aluminum… Full review

Vargo Ti-Arc Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars The external frame pack is back! The Ti-Arc is a first generation backpack from the company that brings us all things titanium. As an initial foray into pack design, the Ti-Arc is a solid first step, merging the best aspects of external and internal frames. The design is innovative. The comfort is phenomenal. Vargo still has a few kinks to straighten out in the design. However, the Ti-Arc has decisively brought the external frame pack back out of obscurity. This is the pack I want with me on the… Full review

Kelty Trekker 65

rated 5 of 5 stars Bought to replace my first and last internal pack that I will ever own. I bought this pack after jumping on the internal bandwagon and being highly unsatisfied. I absolutely love it! I have used this pack for several miles of trails both wide open trails and narrow unbeaten trails. I could live out of this pack if I needed to for as long as I needed. The weight is distributed much better than my internal. I have been able to strap items to the frame if I needed (my Gerber machete is fixed to the… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Commander

rated 4 of 5 stars The ALPS Commander frame pack is very comfortable to wear and is extremely durable. It is lightweight, solid, adjustable, and easy to use. I wasn't sure how well the pack would fit my shoulders with a heavy load, so in order to test the capabilities I piled everything on it. The Commander has a shelf that can be lowered and this is a great feature. I loaded camera gear, a spotting scope, tripods, food, water, etc. You get the picture. When I weighed the pack 3/4 loaded it was 57 lbs. I'll admit,… Full review

Camp Trails Adjustable II

rated 5 of 5 stars Camp Trails is the under-rated champion of solid, versatile backpacks. The Adjustable II lives up to the Camp Trails U.S.-made tradition of reliability and ruggedness. Two, 20"-long, zippered, vertical pouches on either side of the main compartment are ideal for fly and tent poles in one, tent body and pegs in the other. An extender bar is made (maybe hard to get, now?) so that you can lash your pad horizontally to it, over the main compartment. The main compartment is only a single space (no separator),… Full review

Dana Design K2 Longbed

rated 5 of 5 stars Once you get over the squeaks, it's fantastic. Rides nice, not on your back, air flow over my back, walk upright, spacious. I'm old-school and never really took to a backpack hugging my back and making me walk hunched over all sweaty. Squeaks and creaks, but it takes a huge load and is comfortable and indestructible. Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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Nimrod Pack System
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)

Nimrod Pack System
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
ALPS Mountaineering
Bryce
$149 MSRP
ALPS Mountaineering Commander
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering
Commander
$130 MSRP
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack
user rating: 2 of 5 (1)
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
Bergans Powerframe
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans
Powerframe
$549
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans
Powerframe 3800
Camp Trails Adjustable II
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
High Sierra Badger 40
High Sierra
Badger 40
High Sierra Bobcat 65
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
High Sierra
Bobcat 65
High Sierra Foxhound 50
High Sierra
Foxhound 50
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
JanSport
AlpinePhantom
discontinued
JanSport Carson 80
user rating: 4 of 5 (12)
JanSport
Carson 80
$110 - $119
JanSport Carson 90
user rating: 4 of 5 (8)
JanSport
Carson 90
discontinued
JanSport D2
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport
D2
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (16)
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
JanSport Scout
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport
Scout
$100
 
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)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
50th Anniversary Pack
discontinued
Kelty Cache Hauler
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
Cache Hauler
$250
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