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Camp Trails McKinley

rated 3.5 of 5 stars

Camp Trails is no longer in business, and the McKinley has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2024.

All in all, I'm pleased. I just retired my old Camp Trails Horizon after 25 years of faithful service, and replaced it with the McKinley. The pros and cons:


Very comfortable - hipbelt is large and well padded, shoulder straps are curved and have sternum strap. Adjustibility is good, but tedious. Frame is basically identical to my old Horizon - very strong and sturdy. Packbag is same basic design - good workmanship, and PLENTY of room for a week or more. Waterproofing of the bag material seems adequate, but I use a pack cover anyway so it doesn't really matter. Fits the curve of my back nicely, and VERY comfortable; I can wear it all day without any soreness at all on my shoulders or hips.


Very cheesy backband! I used it once and replaced it with the one off my old Horizon. Much better!!!

Water bottle pocket - a lot of people might like this, but I don't. To me, it limits what I can put there to only a round water bottle. Give me the old zip up square pocket and I'll decide what I want to put there.

The divider between the main compartment and the lower compartment isn't sewn on the sides. I know this is supposed to be a "feature", allowing tall things to pass through, but it also allows all your small stuff to slide through to the bottom. To me, this is prime example of passing off a cheaper way to build your product as a "feature".

All in all, I think it's a good value, very comfortable, and built tough.

Design: External Frame
Size: approx. 3500
Number of Pockets: 5 accessory pockets
Max. Load Carried: 35 pounds
Height of Owner: 6' 0"
Price Paid: $100

For beginning hikers, who are not sure if there going to like hiking, this is the way to go. This back is fairly comfortable, and is actually more comfortable under more weight. I haven't had any problems with pins popping out or things that are common with external frames. I am very happy with the ability of this pack to keep taking more junk. Just when I thought that I couldn't get any more in the pack, a little more room opened up. I especially recommend this for new Boy Scouts. I'm currently 14 and took my first trip to Philmont this past summer. This pack got banged and pushed and dropped but it still worked. My only complaint is that the hip belt isn't quite long enough to fully wrap around your waist comfortably. As a result my hip bones after losing 8lbs at Philmont looked like raw bacon. But i feel it's a small price to pay for reliability

If you are a new scout and are sure that your going to like backpacking then i would go with an inexpensive internal such as the Lowe Alpine Netherworld or the Camptrails Catskill. In the year 2000 I plan to go to Philmont again, and take a Lowe Alpine Contour IV.

Design: External Frame
Size: medium
Number of Pockets: 4 pockets and 2 compartments
Max. Load Carried: 60lbs
Height of Owner: 5ft 10in.
Price Paid: $100

My Camp Trails Mckinley pack sports the Freighter Frame. This wasn't my first pack and not my last but for some reason I keep going back to it. It's not too big or too small, it's comfortable to carry.

I have considered getting a new main usage pack but if it ain't broke don't fix it. It has and does serve me well but it is starting to show its use but still in good shape. I have replaced the waist belt clip a couple times and now I think I need to replace the mesh backband.

All & All this is an excellent external frame backpack I wish Camp Trails was still in the business of backpacks.

Design: External Frame, Top Load + Lower Front Load
Size: 4330 ci
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 75/80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: ?????

The McKinley was my first pack, and I loved it. I love externals for all the ways you can hang stuff off the rack, but hate the way rhodadendrons snake their way into the frame and yank at you while you hike. I have carried quite a load (75lbs) while on the AT, and it performed wonderfully.

Price Paid: $79

The McKinley was my second pack. I use it primarily for Scouting and found it adequate. For the money it had an excellent suspension system as well as a comfortable waist belt. Some of the downsides were its creaky nature, it was hard to unzip when fully loaded, its straps intended for sleeping bags is pitifully small, and its poor water protection. It is overall a nice pack, I have even juiced a 10 day trip out of it, but ultimately it is best for children.

Design: external
Size: approx. 3400
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 40 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'7"
Price Paid: $89

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Price Reviewers Paid: $79.00-$100.00

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