External Frame Backpacks

Brands

Kelty
High Sierra
REI
U.S. Armed Forces
Seek Outside
Vargo
ALPS Mountaineering
Camp Trails
Dana Design
JanSport

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

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

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Kelty Trekker 3950

rated 4 of 5 stars You can still find well-made Trekkers in like-new condition online if you're a smart shopper. Before Kelty switched to polyester materials and a thinner hipbelt, this pack represented a practical, comfortable on-trail option for people hauling heavy loads. For a Boy Scout, especially an adult leader or a teenager with the strength of a mule, these packs still represent a good choice. There are now a lot of better options on the market, but they cost more money. I recently purged my outdoor gear… Full review

Kelty Trekker 65

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Very well finished and sturdy. The load lifter shoulder straps are a big deal and make this pack work for you. Back ventilation is second to none. The hip belt convinces you that you can load more into the pack and onto the frame than you should; only your knees will remind you otherwise. That same hip belt is way easy to adjust to your shape. If you're going to haul everything you'd like to have on any given stage of the PCT this pack will serve you well. Be cautious though as this pack will allow… Full review

Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External)

rated 4 of 5 stars Some people will look at this pack and say it has an identity crisis. It is basically an internal frame bag attached to a narrow external frame. There are pros and cons to this, mostly depending on how you like to pack. This model is out of production, but a lot of folks might find that it meets their needs. This sort of design works great for expeditions with heavy loads, and it could be a great deal for someone who finds it used. No one has reviewed this pack in almost ten years, but I figured… Full review

Kelty Yukon 50

rated 5 of 5 stars This is a really nice external frame backpack for adults! I bought this pack at a store and was VERY shocked when I saw online that it was characterized as a "kid" or "youth" pack.  I am a pretty big guy, 6'1", 230 lbs and this pack fits great! In fact I had to telescope the frame down to almost the lowest setting. With all of the external frame there is plenty of room to carry all my gear. For me, personally, I don't want a huge amount of storage because...I'm going to have to carry everything… Full review

Kelty Yukon 48

rated 5 of 5 stars Best for: Taking plenty of heavy gear (for whatever reason) long distances into the backcountry. The pack carries the load quite well and comfortably. It will also stand up to real use and bushwhacking with no durability issues. Recommended: Very much yes. For whom: Folks who want/need to take heavy gear without being concerned with "babysitting" their pack. It can take a beating and will not let you down. I own this pack and the Kelty Trekker (larger but external frame pack as well). This pack… Full review

High Sierra Bobcat 65

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Great size and lightweight for an older female. This pack was a great find for me, I am an older female that needed to put an emergency 3-day pack together, I have severe cervical spine problems and this wonderful pack made it easy for me to be able to "carry my own load." The pockets are very large and easy to access the most used or wanted items..water, snacks, rain gear, etc. I am now confidant that I will be ready for at least 3 days in case of evacuation or road trip problems. One never knows… Full review

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

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

Sort by: name | rating | price | availability | recently reviewed

user rating: 4 of 5 (9)
Kelty Trekker 3950 reviewed Mar 25, 2015
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65 reviewed Feb 7, 2015
$135 - $179
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External) reviewed Dec 22, 2014
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50 reviewed Sep 24, 2014
$170
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Yukon 48 reviewed Sep 3, 2014
$127 - $169
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
High Sierra Bobcat 65 reviewed Aug 10, 2014
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 4300 reviewed Jul 6, 2014
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (5)
REI Trekker Wonderland reviewed Jun 20, 2014
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (38)
U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack reviewed Jun 3, 2014
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800 reviewed May 16, 2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack reviewed May 5, 2014
$300
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander reviewed Apr 17, 2014
$130 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Adjustable II reviewed Apr 13, 2014
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Dana Design K2 Longbed reviewed Apr 12, 2014
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (12)
JanSport Carson 80 reviewed Apr 1, 2014
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport Scout reviewed Feb 21, 2014
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
L.L.Bean Hunter's Carryall Pack reviewed Feb 4, 2014
$79 MSRP
user rating: 2 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack reviewed Sep 29, 2013
$117
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design Glacier (External) reviewed Sep 9, 2013
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products Trailhead Framepack 8.0 reviewed Aug 26, 2013
discontinued
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Explorer reviewed Aug 6, 2013
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails Wilderness (External) reviewed Jul 1, 2013
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Tioga 5500 reviewed Jun 14, 2013
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Kelty Super Tioga reviewed Apr 24, 2013
$180
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (13)
U.S. Armed Forces MOLLE Pack reviewed Apr 13, 2013
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Dana Design Longbed reviewed Mar 19, 2013
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Nimrod Pack System reviewed Feb 17, 2013
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Products Firefly reviewed Jan 31, 2013
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Mountain Hardwear Maestro reviewed Jan 7, 2013
discontinued
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Asolo Expedition 70 reviewed Jan 3, 2013
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Savotta 906 reviewed Nov 1, 2012
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport D2 reviewed Jul 2, 2012
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (16)
JanSport D3 reviewed Mar 28, 2012
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Pacific Crest 5000 reviewed Mar 23, 2012
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Trekker 3900 reviewed Feb 22, 2012
$135
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (10)
JanSport Rainier reviewed Dec 19, 2011
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Norrona Reconpack reviewed Oct 12, 2011
user rating: 4 of 5 (9)
Kelty Tioga reviewed Aug 24, 2011
$180
user rating: 4 of 5 (10)
Kelty Trekker reviewed Jun 17, 2011
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Cache Hauler reviewed Jun 7, 2011
$65
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
JanSport Middleton reviewed Apr 2, 2011
discontinued
 
user rating: 0.5 of 5 (1)
Asolo Backpack reviewed Apr 2, 2011
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5 reviewed Feb 2, 2011
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Barney's Sports Chalet Super Moose reviewed Jan 23, 2011
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Omega Outfitter reviewed Jan 19, 2011
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (7)
Kelty Tioga 5300 reviewed Dec 30, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (5)
Kelty Super Tioga 4900 reviewed Dec 13, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Trailwise Freighter Frame reviewed Nov 18, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 0 of 5 (1)
Kelty Yukon 3500 reviewed Oct 25, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Eagle reviewed Oct 22, 2010
discontinued
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