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 - $299.99
$500 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

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

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

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50 reviewed Sep 24, 2014
$127 - $169
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 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Trekker 65 reviewed Apr 24, 2014
$160 - $179
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
$95
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
$160 MSRP
 
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
discontinued
 
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
discontinued
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
$187
 
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
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only) reviewed Sep 5, 2010
$120 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout reviewed Sep 5, 2010
$109 MSRP
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