External Frame Backpacks

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

rated 4 of 5 stars
Kelty Trekker 65

I started out with external frame packs in the '80s, joined the internal frame craze in the '90s, and joyfully returned to external frames with this pack about nine years ago. It is an eternally adjustable, heavy-load-eating comfort-monster. This pack can be tweaked endlessly to find that perfect fit. The frame itself can be shortened or lengthened, the pack body lowered or raised on the frame, the hip belt and shoulder straps replaced. To that end, I am a slender man, and found the factory-installed… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Kelty Trekker 65

Lots of room in this pack. I am a big guy and it fits very comfortably and does not shift much. I would recommend this pack for people who tend to pack a few more things than the average hiker would. I use it for three-day trips and it still has plenty of room left. This pack fits very well and as I have mentioned I am a 230+ guy. The pads fit very well and are comfortable around the shoulders and waist. Depending on where you like to sit your pack I feel this one rides very well when I have it… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Savotta Saddle Sack 339

A robust well-made bag that will last for decades. Heavier than many other backpacks, its environmental credentials, durability, robust construction, and ease of use more than make up for it. The Savotta Saddle Sack is a real workhorse. Yes, it is significantly heavier than most other modern sacks but, unlike them, this pack is likely to be still be carrying loads for decades to come and it can take a serious amount of abuse. This is central to the company’s values which reject our "throw away… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
JanSport D3

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

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Kelty Super Tioga 4900

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

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
LuxuryLite StackPack

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

rated 5 of 5 stars
Camp Trails Explorer

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

rated 3 of 5 stars
Kelty Trekker 65

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

rated 5 of 5 stars
Kelty Women's Sierra Crest

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

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
Kelty Trekker 65 reviewed Sep 12, 2019
$133 - $189
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Savotta Saddle Sack 339 reviewed Jun 2, 2019
user rating: 5 of 5 (20)
JanSport D3 reviewed Feb 19, 2019
discontinued
user rating: 4 of 5 (6)
Kelty Super Tioga 4900 reviewed Jan 6, 2019
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
LuxuryLite StackPack reviewed Nov 30, 2018
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
Camp Trails Explorer reviewed Jul 28, 2018
discontinued
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
discontinued
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
$157 - $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: 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: 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
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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
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