External Frame Backpacks

Brands

Kelty
Vargo
JanSport
Savotta
ALPS Mountaineering
REI
other
High Sierra
U.S. Armed Forces
Seek Outside

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

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

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Kelty Yukon 48

rated 3 of 5 stars Great, durable backpack, used from Cub Scouts to present (I'm 30). I've had this pack since I was 12, and save for a couple squirrel holes internally (my bad. [cub scout]), it's held up amazingly. I've recently gotten into lightening my load (considerably), and took a seam ripper to it (it's from 1997, and I couldn't stand getting rid of it) to fit my new lightweight approach. It now sits just over 3 lbs, and functions as an extremely comfortable (and rugged...(can't do the Cuben/sil-nylon, as I… Full review

Vargo Ti-Arc Pack

rated 1.5 of 5 stars Bling backpack, in beta. The market Vargo is aiming for with the ti-Arc can be worked out by three statistics: the median fit for its waistbelt is over 40", the base model costs three hundred dollars, and its capacity is that of a generous daypack. Rich weight-weenies out for a stroll & a picnic? Right... ...well, not far off as a judgement, if a bit unkind. The basics are good—arguably very good: the (vented titanium) lumbar pad, its padding, and the associated waistbelt assembly are absolutely… Full review

JanSport Carson 80

rated 4 of 5 stars I had a hard time finding an external pack of this size and i'm quite happy with the Carson. If the bag is on, have to unbuckle to reach back far enough to put bottle back in. With the zipper facing front, everything wants to fall out when I open it from the back, which to me is the normal way. Was surprised that the waist belt fit as well as it did, since it's a little narrow. Construction is good and no problems in three years I've had it.   Full review

JanSport Carson 80

rated 3.5 of 5 stars I've had the Carson 80 since 2008, replacing an old Jansport D3. At the time I bought it, my son had outgrown his little Kelty external frame boy's pack, and needed a decent upgrade for a 2010 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, and all the shakedown trips before shipping out. I decided since I would be going on the shakedown hikes, and that I might also be going to Philmont, that I did not want to lug my old, Cordura D3.   I have, over the intervening years, found that the Carson fits and rides so… Full review

Savotta 906

rated 5 of 5 stars Superior military type backpack that will serve you well the rest of your life. Got one years ago and honestly this is a superior military type backpack that will serve you the rest of your life well. Have tried it in Siberia, Alps, Lapland, and Norway in many locations for several days serious hikes with "all you can carry loads". Strong fabric with dark green color, nothing like those modern days bright color fabrics that just doesn't fit you into the nature. After fixing the 906's adjustment… Full review

Kelty Unisex Yukon 3200

rated 4 of 5 stars I've had this pack for 15 years now. It's been on week-long canoe trips, overnight whitewaters and getting ready for an A/T thru hike. Awesome pack for the money. It's small for an external frame, but it keeps the weight down and with today's ultrlight super small equipment it's a lot of room. I was about 5' 10" and 150 lbs when I bought this pack for Scouts. I am now 6' 3" and 200 lbs and still find it comfortable to use. When I first got it it was nice because I could carry luxuries on a 2- to… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Bryce

rated 5 of 5 stars My summer camp bought 60 of them. In two years nothing broke except the front connector strap. Not because it was built badly, but because some of the campers over tightened it. Full review

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars A great pack with lots of room for everything. Fits like a glove. Wish I could find a replacement pack for this well made, comfortable frame. I bought this pack used in 1991 at a yard sale for $10. I had just entered the Boy Scouts with my 11-year-old son. Twenty five years later I'm still in the scout program, having served in either scoutmaster or assistant every year, and I'm still using this JanSport backpack. I've owned several others, which I still have as loaners to kids that don't have a… Full review

Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars I first used this backpack to evacuate from New Orleans the day after Katrina hit. While wading through waist deep water in the street the pack sat securely on my back fully loaded with clothes, tools and camping equipment. Another feature I liked was that my weapon and other gear I needed was easy to use due to the slim profile. Several months later I used the pack to move from Portland, Oregon, to Rhode Island by air and the pack held my extreme weight of gear without complaint. If you are looking… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Yukon 48 reviewed Apr 25, 2016
$170
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack reviewed Apr 17, 2016
$300
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
JanSport Carson 80 reviewed Mar 30, 2016
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Savotta 906 reviewed Mar 10, 2016
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce reviewed Dec 14, 2015
$104
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (17)
JanSport D3 reviewed Oct 19, 2015
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack reviewed Aug 9, 2015
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (6)
REI Trekker Wonderland reviewed Jul 30, 2015
discontinued
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1 reviewed Jun 23, 2015
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
$180
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: 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 (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 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 (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: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport D2 reviewed Jul 2, 2012
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
discontinued
 
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
$220 MSRP
 
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
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