Dana Design is no longer in business, and the K2 Longbed has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2021.
Reviewers Paid: $140.00-$350.00
I have just completed walking across America in a large 'W' taking three years and 8,000 miles solo. I walked every step, deserts for a year and a half, winters in the Rocky Mountains, every extreme.
My pack, CrowDog, a Dana Design Longbed K2 never (I mean NEVER) failed. Constantly my life was on the line and it routinely carried between 55-75 pounds. I was once a combat paratrooper for the 82nd ABN DIV. We dreamed of gear of this quality while hoofing Central America.
The book is in progress now. In the other room CrowDog waits for the next country. www.whitecrowwalking.com
Design: external longbed
Size: Whatever I had to haul it ate.
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 90 pounds in desert
Height of Owner: 72"
Price Paid: 300-400
Dana Design screwed up discontinuing LongBed K-2. It is bomb proof, great organizing external pockets, comfortable waist strap, adjustable upper frame extension, enormous capacity. It is built to last not years but decades.
- Strong frame
- External pockets
- Waist band comfort
- Capacity for several day outting
- Very adjustable suspension
- Weight is around 7# and change
If you like to take the kitchen sink this is the pack for you. It is over built and will last, I dare say a lifetime. I wouldn't sell mine EVER. There is nothing out there that could replace it. People on the trail are always commenting on my pack and want to know were to get one.
The suspension and frame become part of your body. Even 50+ pound carries are no problem for this pack. It swallows a bear can with no problem. If you can find one and like to carry a lot of gear for several days on the trail grab it. You won't regret it.
Source: received it as a personal gift
Once you get over the squeaks, it's fantastic. Rides nice, not on your back, air flow over my back, walk upright, spacious. I'm old-school and never really took to a backpack hugging my back and making me walk hunched over all sweaty.
- Rides nice
- Squeaks, creaks.
Squeaks and creaks, but it takes a huge load and is comfortable and indestructible.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $140 used craigslist
By far the best pack I have ever used. I have been backpacking for over 40 years. I have owned a lot of packs both external and internal. The K-2 loadmaster Longbed by Dana Designs is my choice for hitting the trail. In fact I am in the process of purchasing a new suspension system as the one I have is just worn out but I cannot think of going in the woods without it. It offers the best of both worlds of external and internal.
Design: external with both top and front loading
Size: large long bed
Number of Pockets: 7 including mesh pockets
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10-1/2"
Price Paid: $240
I have been backpacking for over 30 years. I love an external frame and when Jansport quit making a decent external frame I felt hopeless. Then by accident I ran into a K2 Longbed pack on clearance. This has been by far the best pack I have ever owned. The price I paid for it was a unbelievable. I dread it wearing out, I can't find anything like it on the market. Why they are no longer making this pack I will never understand.
Design: Front-loading external - with dana design
Max. Load Carried: 80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
All my backpacking is done on established trails. I'm not much of a bushwacker or trailblazer. But I am an organizational freak... hate the newer styles with no external pockets that simply look like a glorified vertical duffel bag. I like to get to my gear quickly without having to unload everything and repack every time I need something from it. I purchased my K2 LB four years ago... Love it. No tears, frays or shortcomings whatsoever so far. Even though the fad is towards internals, I'm still an external guy. I like the load bearing characteristics of it. Because it's not directly against your back, my back doesn't sweat as much... subsequently, I feel alot cooler when backpacking in hot temperatures.
Design: TOP & FRONT
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 65
Height of Owner: 5'7"
Price Paid: $329