External Frame Backpacks

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars Bought in 1986. Max weight carried for extended trips 87lbs. I bought my D3 in 1986 and used it on several trips from two weeks on down. The earlier models were better than later models. My father bought one in 1977 and he used it for years.My heaviest load was a long trip in Wyoming and pack weighed in at 87 pounds. In the '70s my father carried a 95-pound load with it. Full review

Kelty Super Tioga 4900

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Ageless. I purchased this in 2002 from Sierra Trading Post and it has gotten moderate use for the last 16 years doing hikes in the area's National Forest. This has never let me down and is still in excellent condition. The only negative I have to say about this is that it is so huge that I would tend to overpack with too many unnecessary items. The frame is adjustable and I had it set to the shortest adjustment as possible and it fit my 5'7" frame just about perfectly. As I aged so did my spine… Full review

LuxuryLite StackPack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars I have used the pack for a total of 20 days—two trips into the Gila Wilderness and two into the Pecos Wilderness. My pack has an external frame and four 25-litre, waterproof bags. The bags only weigh 4 oz. each, and the total empty weight for a 75-litre backpack is 32 oz. It is very comfortable to wear, however unconventional its design is. No signs of wear yet. The most weight I have carried so far is 28 pounds (my first trip), as I am solo hiking (and kind of a newbie). The pack is infinitely… Full review

Camp Trails Explorer

rated 5 of 5 stars This pack is sturdy and roomy. Perfect for the average amateur hiker. Bought this pack in 2007 for a five-day hike of the Appalachian Trail (from Springer Mountain to Neels Gap—36 miles). A group of me, two adult brothers, and a teenage grandson each. I hauled all my gear—food, water, water filter, sleeping bag, etc., plus the tent for myself and my grandson—through the heat and thunderstorms of July. This pack was flawless. I don't have anything to compare it to. I've never had any other… Full review

Kelty Trekker 65

rated 3 of 5 stars Lots of room, comfortable after alteration. Lacks a critical adjustment option, but with some imagination and a trip to your local machine shop the pack can be re-engineered. I like external frame packs because they sit off my back and allow air to circulate. My 25-year-old one finally bit the dust, so I bought the Trekker 65. Unfortunately, the vertical position of the pack on the frame is not adjustable, leaving the pack way too high on the frame. Kelty could not correct the problem, but with… Full review

Kelty Women's Sierra Crest

rated 5 of 5 stars I love this pack! I have had this pack since 2003. It has seen probably 1,000 trail miles, in all weather conditions. It was one of the few packs at the time I could find for a person with an extra-small torso height, narrow shoulders, and size DD chest that actually worked with the chest strap and arm straps not digging in. Plus, I love the way an external frame pack feels on my body... seems to shift more of the weight to my hips rather than my shoulder tops. At the time (2003), no other packs… Full review

U.S. Military ALICE Pack

rated 1 of 5 stars Primitive, heavy, and outdated, an Alice Pack would never make it into my gear collection. We used these in the NZ Army back in the '80s. Like a lot of the gear back then it was 1960s Vietnam era.Back in those days the gear was so bad that soldiers would go out and buy their own gear, mostly civilian issue.  SAS soldiers used to go out and buy MacPac and Fairydown backpacks. The Alice Packs were just not capable of carrying sufficient load comfortably and I can only suggest they are basically rubbish. Full review

U.S. Military ALICE Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars Not a bad pack as long as you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the design. The as-issued ALICE does the job and holds up well to rough use, but it lacks the comfort of more modern designs and the refinements and fashionable trends of civilian products. However, upgrade the straps and the waist belt with MOLLE II replacements and you've got one solid feeling pack that is comfortable and does just about anything you want a pack to do while remaining simple in nature. Consider adding the… Full review

JanSport Rainier

rated 5 of 5 stars I, literally, lived out of this pack for four years. It was spacious, had plenty of room for everything I needed. I'm 6'4" and was grateful for the longer frame. When packed right, it was good for the long haul and routinely took me several miles down the road or trail. Having started off with milsurp packs, the Rainier was a dream to own.  Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Red Rock 34 added Feb 11, 2019
$60 - $119
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Ponderosa added Oct 4, 2017
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Unaweep 6300 added Jul 25, 2017
$429 MSRP
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The Big Heavy added Jul 5, 2017
Vargo Ti-Arc CF added Jun 20, 2016
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1 added Jun 23, 2015
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800 added May 16, 2014
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander added Apr 17, 2014
$130 MSRP
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack added Jan 3, 2014
$300 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Nimrod Pack Systems Haul Frame Pack added Feb 17, 2013
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Asolo Expedition 70 added Jan 4, 2013
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Savotta 906 added Nov 1, 2012
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
L.L.Bean Hunter's Carryall Pack added Oct 9, 2012
$79 MSRP
Kelty Sanitas 34 added Feb 20, 2012
$96 - $129
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products Trailhead Framepack 8.0 added May 31, 2011
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
High Sierra Bobcat 65 added May 29, 2011
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce added May 24, 2011
$149 MSRP
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
JanSport Middleton added Apr 2, 2011
discontinued
 
user rating: 0.5 of 5 (1)
Asolo Backpack added Apr 2, 2011
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport D2 added Mar 28, 2011
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
LuxuryLite StackPack added Feb 18, 2011
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Kelty Trekker 65 added Jan 28, 2011
$150 - $189
Kelty Trekker 64 added Jan 4, 2011
$144
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Yukon 48 added Jan 3, 2011
$136 - $179
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50 added Jan 3, 2011
$120 MSRP
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Trailwise Freighter Frame added Nov 18, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Eagle added Oct 22, 2010
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Contour Outdoor MOLLE Pack added Dec 25, 2009
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty West Coast 4800
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Junior Tioga 2050 added Sep 8, 2009
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Diamond Brand Gear Blue Ridge 5 added Mar 8, 2009
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only) added Sep 8, 2008
$120 MSRP
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Trekker 3900 added Jul 25, 2008
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Products Firefly added Mar 13, 2008
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Dana Design Shortbed added May 18, 2007
discontinued
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Adjustable III added May 9, 2007
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Cache Hauler added Apr 28, 2006
$220 MSRP
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
JanSport Carson 80 added Mar 28, 2006
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Mountain Hardwear Solitude added Feb 23, 2006
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Mountain Hardwear Maestro added Feb 19, 2006
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Tioga 5500 added Feb 13, 2006
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Barney's Sports Chalet Super Moose added Apr 22, 2004
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (14)
U.S. Military MOLLE Pack added Feb 16, 2004
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 4300 added Sep 26, 2003
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Dana Design K2 Longbed added Aug 15, 2003
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans Powerframe added Oct 2, 2002
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack added Aug 9, 2002
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5 added Apr 23, 2002
discontinued
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Stansport 597-f added Apr 22, 2002
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
Dana Design K2 Shortbed added Jan 29, 2002
discontinued
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