I bought the Bergans 3800 Powerframe a couple of months…
Design: External Frame
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 50 lbs
Height of Owner: 180
Price Paid: $400
I bought the Bergans 3800 Powerframe a couple of months ago. Although it's on the heavy side (3.9 kg) and quite expensive I really, really love it. I was looking for an external framepack with a comfortable carrying system and able to hold over 120 liters. I have used the 3800 Powerframe (carrying at least 25 - 30 kg) during backbacking trips in almost every terrain type and it's really comfortable. When my buddies are about to give up (they all use softpacks with approximately 25 kg) I am still walking without a pain.
CARRYING SYSTEM: combines the comfort of a softpack harness with an external frame. Adjustable in every way although I wouldn't recommend it to people smaller than 1.77 meters. Hipbelt is perfectly cone shaped, thickly padded and very, very comfortable. Shoulder straps are S-shaped and also very comfortable. Carry system is very durable and the more load you carry the more comfortable it gets.
PACK BAG: BIG!!!! 130 liters, have you ever heard of that??? Two detachable side pockets included which can be zipped together to form a small daypack. Lid with two pockets, and by the way, it's also detachable. Loads of attach points and loops, even a elastic attach point for sled attachment. Two water bottle holders. Bag itself has one very large lower compartment, and a smaller top compartment separated by cinching a horizontal shroud.
MATERIALS: A tough polyester fabric, fairly thick (and thus heavy), very water resistent, abrasion resistent. Stitching is top quality. I guess Norwegians built stuff to last......
(Although I noticed a small tag on the inside of the bag: MADE IN VIETNAM)....
COMPARISON: I have used the BERGHAUS VULCAN, NORRONA RECONPACK, DANA TERRAFRAME, GREGORY EVOLUTION TOPLOADER all of which are less comfortable than the BERGANS, especially with heavy loads. I would recommend this framepack for extended backpacking trips with over 40lbs of weight. Not very suited for mountainous and densely forested areas due to the size of the bag.
Overall; THE BEST EXTERNAL YOU CAN BUY