External Frame Backpacks

Brand

Camp Trails
Kelty
U.S. Military
JanSport
Norrona
Seek Outside
REI
other
Dana Design
Nimrod Pack Systems

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$400 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

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rated 1 of 5 stars Primitive, heavy, and outdated, an Alice Pack would never make it into my gear collection.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

Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only)

rated 5 of 5 stars Absolute best pack for hauling out elk from deep in the back country. Carry 120-150 pounds, no problems other than being tired. This is the absolute best pack you will ever need to haul out a whole deer, elk halves or quarters, moose, caribou, bear, you name it! I have had 150 pounds on this pack numerous times and this pack is still very comfortable!  It fits perfectly. When loaned to my buddies they rave about the pack and most have bought one themselves. If you like hunting in the deep backcountry,… Full review

Camp Trails Ponderosa

rated 5 of 5 stars I have an old Camptrails pack too. Not sure of the model but it is one of the larger ones. Purchased April 9, 1974 -- I still have the receipt. With a few trips to the shoemaker to sew in some Cordura, it is still usable. These packs are made of iron. To stay in shape, I put 50 lbs of free weights in it, raise my treadmill to 15 degrees, put a 5 lb weight on each ankle and cover a mile in about 18 minutes. The divide between the top and bottom compartments is still holding up. Full review

Camp Trails Ponderosa

rated 5 of 5 stars Camp Trails Ponderosa is the best pack I have ever used and I have had a more than a handful of other packs to compare with. I chucked away my first one after many years use when one of the zippers failed and regretted it afterwards and have this week bought two more on eBay and will never look back on softpacks again. I cannot wait to finally get them. Top weave, robust frame, light and roomy. I have used it around the world from Lappland, Nova Scotia, Rockies, and New Zealand and it has worked… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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

user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Camp Trails Explorer reviewed Jul 28, 2018
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Kelty Trekker 65 reviewed Jul 24, 2018
$180
user rating: 4 of 5 (41)
U.S. Military ALICE Pack reviewed May 17, 2018
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (11)
JanSport Rainier reviewed May 3, 2018
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only) reviewed Nov 22, 2017
$120 MSRP
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Ponderosa reviewed Oct 25, 2017
user rating: 5 of 5 (8)
Norrona Recon reviewed Aug 19, 2017
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Unaweep 6300 reviewed Jul 25, 2017
$429 MSRP
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
REI Trekker Wonderland reviewed Jul 12, 2017
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The Big Heavy reviewed Jul 5, 2017
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Yukon 48 reviewed Jun 27, 2017
$143 - $179
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (14)
U.S. Military MOLLE Pack reviewed Jun 1, 2017
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Dana Design K2 Longbed reviewed May 6, 2017
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (19)
JanSport D3 reviewed Apr 12, 2017
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (11)
Kelty Tioga reviewed Dec 2, 2016
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Nimrod Pack Systems Haul Frame Pack reviewed Oct 21, 2016
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander reviewed Sep 29, 2016
$130 MSRP
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Kelty Super Tioga reviewed Sep 4, 2016
discontinued
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack reviewed Jul 26, 2016
$136 - $179
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack reviewed Apr 17, 2016
$300 MSRP
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: 4 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 3200 reviewed Mar 3, 2016
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce reviewed Dec 14, 2015
$149 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack reviewed Aug 9, 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: 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
$120 MSRP
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: 5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800 reviewed May 16, 2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Adjustable II reviewed Apr 13, 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: 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: 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: 5 of 5 (3)
Dana Design Longbed reviewed Mar 19, 2013
discontinued
 
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: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Trekker 3900 ST reviewed Feb 22, 2012
discontinued
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
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