View Full Version : Females Only, Pack of choice

02-07-2003, 14:25
This poll is for females only to answer. I want to get a backpack for my girlfriend and I want to know what you females would recommend? She has backpacked before and does enjoy it. But she has not done it in years. I want to get a backpack that will last her and is light and most of all comfortable as so not to discourage her from backpacking in the future. I would like to keep this hiking partner.

02-07-2003, 14:52
Be a man and carry her gear for her! Lol, I'm just kidding. You could always suit her up with saddle bags, and propose that she carry your stuff too. Better get ready to sleep on the couch though!

02-07-2003, 15:16
I use a Golite Breeze, which has no frame at all. I've attached a hip belt to it, though, as I found my shoulders became extremely sore without one. In retrospect, I probably should have gone with a G4, which has a hipbelt. One of my friends uses a G4, and she is very pleased with it. Hope this helps a little.

02-07-2003, 15:29
I used the Osprey Aether 60 in a small/medium and was extremely happy with it. Tried on lots of packs, but Osprey's have always been the ones I go with..my winter pack is one also. Good luck!

02-07-2003, 15:55
If you are able I'd have her go to as many stores as she could and try out packs for herself. Ideally if she can load up the pack with around the weight she's going to carry and then walk around with it in the store. Even then that will NOT give you a really good idea, but if the pack is uncomfortable to begin with at least it will be a red flad. DON'T BE BASHFUL at the store, that's what they get paid for!!!!! What I find comfy other women may not based on framesize the amount of weight that I tend to carry etc. In general if she is going to carry under around 20 lbs it's a non-issue but with heavier loads a pack can make a difference. What I use for an overnight is way different from the pack I use for a week hike. I want a good frame when I'm carrying 40+ lbs, when I'm just carrying around 20 a rucksack is just fine. What type of backpacking will she be doing? Will she be doing a thru or just going weekends??? What kind of weight will she be carrying??? Is she small or does she have a bigger frame....all these things are to be considered.

02-07-2003, 16:52

That was my goal. I am going to take her to LL Beans this spring and we will try on packs and load it to the weight that she will be carrying and see if we can find one that she likes. I am limited to stores that carry a lot of packs. I only have LL Beans and EMS in the area. I don't want to order off the internet or out of a magizine because if it does not fit right then you have to deal with sending it back and all those headaches. I personally like and internal frame. That is why I was asking your opinions. She is not new to backpacking. But has not done any extended trips. So I don't know if she will like a frameless one like the G4 like Alison was talking about. Since she has not done any extened ones I don't know if it would be a good idea to have her start out with a GoLite style pack. I don't want her to get turned off on the first three day trip. If you know what I mean.


Do you think starting out with a GoLite style pack is a good idea for her being fairly new to backpacking. Or should I start her with a internal or external first?


02-07-2003, 17:07
I personally LOVE my Golite for loads under 25 lbs.
I do want to state that is for loads UNDER 25 lbs. AND I got the small frame version. I tried my husbands out, which is a medium and HATED it...the load tends to ride too low and kind of sags on me. What I do for overall support is, I loosely put my ensolite pad inside tha bag and then pack inside that. It gives the bag more overall support. I DON"T know how it would hold up on a THRU and it is NOT waterproof, but the way I look at it is that I usually have my sleeping bag in a silnylon sack, the ensolite is some protection and in a pinch I'll use a pack cover. It's also best to do a GOOD job packing it.
Where are you from...because if you are close to LL Bean in ME, Kittery Trading Post has a lot of pack to try on, (no golites) and they have bags that will simulate weight.

BTW, when I originally got my Golite, and it's one of the older ones, a Gust, I was a little leary. I contacted them and they told me no problem when I ordered it. If I didn't like it I could send it back so I felt a little bit better about ordering it.

I have to also add that I might be a bit biased on the rucksack because I kind of grew up hiking with a boyscout knapsack, (green that was canvas) that I used for my formative years so ANYTHING I see as a big improvement.

02-07-2003, 17:13
Thank You Ann. I never thought of the Kittery Trading Post. I know there is a place in Bethel also. They have some GoLite packs. I will take her up there too.

02-07-2003, 17:35
Also I don't know how far south you are willing to drive but there is a REI in Reading and another possibility might be Moor and Mountain in North Andover, MA.

REI in Framingham has a larger selection of packs than the one in Reading...also I haven't been to Moor and Mountain in years so I don't know what kind of a selection they might have there but I did see that they carried Golites awhile back from the Golite site.


02-07-2003, 19:00
AT Troll,

Let me preface my answer by saying that I am, myself, new to backpacking. I've done only a week-long hike and an overnight hike. My load on the week-long hovered around 23 pounds (including food and water). My load on the overnight was around 19 (again, food and water included). I will be thru-hiking this Spring and plan to use my Golite (not finished tweaking my gear list, but have lessened my load some--not yet sure how many pounds it will be). I am extremely pleased with it, except for the one major issue I mentioned earlier: sore shoulders prior to sewing on the hip belt. I use my Ridgerest as the "frame" by placing it in the pack first and then dumping everything inside. It really works well for me, even as a beginner.

Oh, and--like Ann--I think I bought the small Breeze, not the medium. I'm tall, but have a short torso.

Bad Ass Turtle
02-07-2003, 19:06
I carried a Bora 80 (internal) for the first and last part of my 2001 hike; in between, I carried a Kelty Trekker (external).

Here's my thinking -- I love the Arcteryx packs (like the Bora 80 and the newest one I'm ordering, a Bora 60) for their comfort. Even with loads of over 50 pounds my blue Bora 80 felt comfy. I got it with the women's hipbelt and women's shoulder straps -- I think that made a big difference.

Then in the summer, I switched over to an external frame, because I was carrying a much lighter load, and I felt that the way an internal frame hugs your back would make it much less comfortable in the heat. I'm not sure how I would have done with the internal in the INTENSE heat of August in Connecticut, but I do know that I tend to perspire very heavily -- so I was worried about heat rashes. The Trekker did very nicely until I got my winter gear back in New Hampshire.


02-07-2003, 19:06
Oh, a couple of other points. As I mentioned earlier, if I had it to do over, I would buy the G4 for two reasons:

1. A hip belt is very helpful for me, because my upper body strength is not all that great.

2. You don't have to compress your sleeping bag with a G4 from what I've heard. This is one of my least favorite tasks. And I'll just have to put up with it with my Breeze--I believe there is less room in the Breeze than the G4. But they are designed to hold around the same amount of weight.

I believe they cost about the same.

02-08-2003, 05:49
Gee and not one person wants to touch the shoulder strap issue .....

if shes a newbie then get her a pack with a hip belt since her shoulders wont be up to carrying much weigh.

02-08-2003, 10:05
I use a Gregory Reality.... I cannot get my pack weight down far enough so that going without a hip belt will be comfortable. I think Gregory packs are really great and very comfortable, though a little on the heavy side.

Also, you may want to call the REI in Framingham before going there to see if they have put their spring gear out yet. I went there last month and was disappointed because they had such a limited selection of backpacks. I think it was just a winter stocking issue, because as Ann said they used to have a much better selection there.

-- Ivy

Wander Yonder
02-08-2003, 13:32
I have had several packs, but the only two of the ones I had that I would consider for an AT thru hike are the Go-Lite Trek and the Women's Kelty Satori 4500.

The Go-Lite trek is fine if you keep weight under 25 pounds. Above that, I had to tighten the hip belt too tight. It cut into my hipbones and finally pulled apart from the frame. Also it has closed cell padding right up against your back and you sweat profusely no matter how cold it is. They recommend wearing a vapor barrier vest, but I decided the pack just wasn't for me.

It looks really good, but if you look at the stitching inside, you can see that it is very cheaply put together. I would have gotten a C-minus in Home Ec for that sewing job!

The Kelty Satori 4500 is wonderful! The suspension is awesome and it is very comfortable. It weighs 5 lbs 2 oz, but is modular and can be stripped down in summer. If you are an ultralighter, you can strip it down to 2 pounds. http://www.outbackgear.com/satori4500.html

02-08-2003, 20:04
Just wanted to clarify that the Golite Gust and the new models that came out last year DO have hip belts.

It is the Golite Breeze that does NOT have a hip belt.

The Gust, doesn't have a sternum strap and honestly I do not miss it with loads under 25 lbs, I actually LIKE the freedom of NOT wearing a sternum strap. The newer models of Golite packs, the generations that came out last season, DO have sternum straps.

One drawback of the Golite Gust that I should mention is that it is NOT a good winter pack especially if you want to carry snowshoes. I have not seen the newer generation Golites to see if carrying snowshoes would be easier so I cannot say one way or another. I use another pack when hiking in the winter if I want to carry snowshoes...a pack that has a taco.

02-12-2003, 13:54
ATTroll, I presume your girlfriend is not about to start a thru-hike, just some weekend and maybe longer trips. So I would recommend something versatile - not a light pack meant only for loads <25 lbs, but something that can carry the 35-40 lb loads needed in late fall as well. If she carries less, that's good, and it will still be comfortable in a pack with a good suspension. I don't like the trend toward narrow pack bags seen in most women's packs and some men's packs. Narrow packs are hard to get a 3-season or winter sleeping bag into, and they force the weight either further away from your back or higher up, both of which make balance more difficult.

02-15-2003, 10:05
I use a Dana Design Glacier. It is a bit on the heavy side, and a bit expensive. However, it carries like a dream. Of course everyone has to find their own pack. I wouldn't trade my Glacier for anything though! Oh, I usually carry between 25-30lbs.

02-15-2003, 10:47
If you can keep her weight down and can live with 2900 cu kelty makes a tempest that is only 2.5 pounds and 80 bucks retail.

02-15-2003, 15:54
I have the EMS summitt 4500 and LOVE it! Lots of room, very easy to adjust, and compresses well too. Weighs in at 6 lbs but so comfortable! Not ultra light obviously, but wihtout the cap/fanny pack it is lighter, smaller and PERFECT.

02-15-2003, 18:41
I use the Kelty Tempest as my "winter" pack. It carries snowshoes nicely in the "taco" section of the pack and has two side pockets which make things easily accessable in winter and a large top pocket. I have managed to CRAM 41 lbs. of gear in that pack and it carries nicely.

The only problem with the pack I've found has been on multi-day trips. The non-paded hip belt cuts into my hip bones, and I end up red raw with sores and pain that lasts for days. There are two problems that I have with the hipbelt, one is that it is NOT padded..I don't know if the design has changed but mine is NOT padded. Also the hipbelt seems large so when it is pulled in it creates a fold with the side supports and I think the crease itself is what is causing the pain. (I'm about 5'6'' and about 115 lbs)

I don't think this would be a problem for use of the pack for "normal weights" or for use during an overnight but I HAVE found it a problem for anything over a few days use. Otherwise I really like the pack but tend to ONLY use it now for winter day hiking and take my Golite in the summer months for overnights and 3 day weekends.

This pack might work out well for someone other than myself.

07-10-2003, 14:36
My favorite pack right now is the Kelty Haiku (W) 4250. That's what I'm planning to use on my thru-hike next summer. I also have the men's version in 3000 cuin. It's a very well padded, lightweight, adjustable pack. I have a base weight around 16lbs, so what works for me might not work for others. I'm 5'4.5" (when you're short you count half inches) and 130#. Torso length is 17". I had the Kelty Gale (the 1999 model-- 3000 cubes) but it was too long for my torso, so I gave it to my taller brother (fits him fine). I also had the REI Valhalla (small-- 3600 cubes) for a short while and it was very comfortable. I returned it and got the women's Haiku because it was not only a higher capacity pack, but also lighter (about a pound).

07-10-2003, 22:17
Check out the ULA 2 that's available at Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap, GA.

http://www.mountaincrossings.com I think.

It was designed by Winton Porter (proprietor) and the lightweight hikers who also work at the store with him.

As I understand, those who use it are very complimentary (or is that complementary?).

It also comes in a small for the small of torso.

For other lightweight gear, have you checked out http://www.trailquest.net and the online store there? You can lighten your load considerably with silnylon rain suit, tarp or tent, etc.

Coosa and Casey the WonderDog (whose photo was in the Bristol (VA) newspaper during Trail Days 2003)


07-11-2003, 11:51
Coosa! Longtime no see! (<--Amanda & Beau from the Traildog list)

07-12-2003, 22:27
Hi, has Beau tried the Frosty Paws? Casey's not impressed, indicates that Dairy Queen is much better. Hows the hiking in your area?

07-16-2003, 09:07
Beau is of the opinion that if it's food he'll try to eat it. Haven't found frosty paws yet, though.

Hiking is pretty good. Took a canoe out with a friend over the weekend and suddenly remembered that I never taught Beau to ride in one like I'd planned (he wasn't along, but it still hit me that I need to teach him that).

08-04-2003, 00:08
Amanda, will you get a life jacket for Beau? I use Casey's to pull her back into the kayak after she takes a flying leap from the bow. Even if your dog can swim fine, it's hard to pull a dog into a boat of any kind without some kind of "handle" and the life jacket provides that.

In the summer, Casey loves kayaking.

08-19-2003, 12:46
I am a southbound AT section hiker taking a few days off due to a sprained ankle and have hiked with an external, internal and a frameless pack. I currently have a GVP gear G4 and LOVE IT!! for carrying anything under 40# (which EVEYONE should try) it's the best pack i've ever owned. my fiance does gear testing for GVP gear and has tried out tons of packs. The G4 goes for ~$85 i think, and you can customize it in several ways. check out the latest issue of backpacker magazine for the women's gear issue and see the mithiril made my moonbowgear.com come in at #4. it's also very lightweight but more durable than the G4,. and smaller.

good luck!

02-24-2004, 11:56
Ok first off im a guy so telling you what i use would be a waste of time, but i do have some experiance with the whole pack for the girl friend thing.


A pack is a very personal item and each pack will fit different people differently this is even more true with females. If your girlfriend is ummmmm larger or smaller in the frontal area a pack will feel different to her then another person who is a different size.

My suggestion is to do what i ended up doing and just take her to the store and let her find one that is best for her.

03-30-2004, 16:47
No frame. I hiked with the gvp 4

11-02-2004, 13:54
I feel this is really a very personal choice that depends on many factors. I first went with an internal frame pack because everything I read said that was the way to go. After going thru 5 different packs, 3 different brands, and many miserable hikes, I finally took a look at an external frame pack. Thank goodness I did!! My problem is I am short with a very short back, and I simply couldnot get an internal frame pack that fit properly. I also found that my shoulders were carrying most of the weight and my upper back/shoulders were just not strong enough. With an external frame pack most of the weight rode lower on hips and with an adjustable frame I was able to get just the right fit for my small back. I may have a unique situation but, again that is why I feel that this a very personal choice. My recommendation would be to bring your girlfriend along and let her make the decision. Happy Trails!! WLDLFR

11-03-2004, 00:56
I used a Go-Lite Gust, size med. this past summer for 1500 miles and loved it...when I was carrying 20 pounds or less. 20-30 was not so bad and over 30 was just downright uncomfortable.

How you pack the Gust up does definitely make a huge difference in comfort. I used a thin blue foamy pad from Wal-Mart as my sleeping pad and rolled it up inside so the pack had kind of a frame and then I just put all my stuff inside. Without the stiffness from the pad I think it might not have been as comfortable.

10-20-2005, 21:04
... I first went with an internal frame pack because everything I read said that was the way to go. After going thru 5 different packs, 3 different brands, and many miserable hikes, I finally took a look at an external frame pack. Thank goodness I did!! ... I simply could not get an internal frame pack that fit properly. I also found that my shoulders were carrying most of the weight and my upper back/shoulders were just not strong enough. WLDLFR

This was exactly my problem. I'm not short torsoed like WLDLFR, but I couldn't find an internal frame pack that fit correctly. I even tried many "womens" packs. I eventually purchased a Kelty Super Tioga after trying my husband's. Mine is a man's model, but it fits me perfectly (medium bust, very wide shoulders). It is very adjustable, has more than enough capacity and has the cadillac of hip belts. My Vermont secton hike taught me to get a really beefy hip belt. Since then, my son (still has a boy's build), who was using a Kelty red cloud internal frame pack, has switched to the Tioga too. By the way, I'm not ultra light. My pack usually weighs in between 35 to 50 lbs (got to carry the young kids stuff still).
On a side note, I always carry half the weight of the equipment. I couldn't live with myself if I let my husband carry more. And he can tell you, I'm hard to live with!! :D

10-20-2005, 21:46
I'm not having much luck finding a pack that fits comfortably - I'm 5'2", chunky, and big busted -not a winning combo.

I found a really really really really nasty old LL Bean external frame pack at a consignment shop that I tried on for kicks and it fit great! But unfortuately I dont' think even Clorox had a hope of killing what was living in that pack.

But I am leaning more towards the externals. I don't like the Jansports at Dicks and have to get to EMS and try on the Kelty's.

I did try on the Kelty Santa Fe 4000 at Dicks (and as an FYI this is some sort of a Dicks only Kelty pack - its not on their website but per customer service its based on the RedCloud). Its not a bad pack and its only $119 in store and I think $99 on Dick's website. I think I will be running with that in the spring if I can't find a different one between now and then.

10-21-2005, 07:01
Ditto here on the EMS packs. I have used their 3000 cc and their 4500 cc (sorry forgot the names) and have liked both of them quite a lot. I like an internal frame for the balance issues... a new bp'er may be very concerned about tipping over or becoming unbalanced on a hill or rocks and the internal frame helps with that.

OTOH... my daughter swears by her squeaky old external frame. She's tried an internal frame and spent three days with it hanging off her, completely unbuckled. So it also depends if your girlfriend wants something hugging her that tightly (other than you, that is!).

Jane in CT

10-21-2005, 09:40
I've enjoyed Golite's Speed pack, which has many handy pockets as well as waist belt, for light loads. It's plenty big.
For more structure, I like the old LLBean Summmit pack, which looks like it might be a gregory underneath, and has a wonderful waistbelt, mesh pockets and neat &quot;wing&quot; pockets that you can reach and unzip while wearing the pack. They don't, of course, make this pack anymore. It was marketed as a day pack, but is ample for long-distance hiking with compact loads. I stripped about 2 lbs of stuff off it, and use the Golite top lid if I need a lid at all.
Like purses, the bigger the pack, the more stuff you can find to put in it....

Clementine Lindt
01-26-2006, 02:33
I have a Kelty Yukon, an external.. i perfer external, so i have more access to my stuff and i also like the adjustments availible for weight, as well as more air getting to my back so I dont sweat to much on my back...

suppose it's just preference.


08-16-2006, 17:27
I bought my Acr teryx Bora 80 about five years ago after a really uncomfortable hike down the Grand Canyon with a Kelty pack. That was only 4.5 miles and the next day I wanted to die. So I bought the Bora, and I can go 10 lbs. heavier than the Kelty and it distributes the weight so well that it actually feels lighter while hiking. They aren't cheap but they are worth every penny!!

08-16-2006, 18:28
I have a Gregory Tega right now, and I'm really starting to like it. Despite that, I really would have liked to have an eternal, if they weren't all so heavy. I think they're much easier to pack and organize.

08-16-2006, 18:49
I switched this year to a GG Vapor Ki and really, really liked it.

04-04-2009, 19:06
I saw many women with the gregory deva. I use the gregory Jade and love it

04-04-2009, 22:00
I love my Kelty Deva but it is heavy and I carry too heavy with it. It is five pounds. My favorite is my Kelty exterior frame. I am a short and have a short torso. I too recommend a hip belt. What ever is comfortable for her will work, but go somehwere they will load her up at the store and make adjustments. Some young nice guy really took the time to work with the fact I am so short...five feet. Both of my packs fit great. When I want to go lighter I take the external frame. I am not saying a brand is better. We don't get a whole lot of choices here and I had to go to Arkansas to get my packs. I am in both on pics on this site and it is obvious the exterior was a lighter and more porportionate load.

06-01-2009, 13:20
I recently went on my first ever backpacking trip. Being rather clueless, I ended up buying the only pack I tried on. I kinda regret not trying more packs on or doing more research, but I think I happened to get a pretty decent pack.

It's a North Face Crestone 60 pack. Internal frame. It's pretty comfortable around my hips and on my shoulders. It is rather heavy though... probably between 4-5lbs. I was probably carrying about 40lbs, but I was definitely impressed by how comfortable carrying that weight was.

http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=8455 24442595863&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=282574488340267

Now, I am disappointed to see that it is on sale at EMS (where I purchased it from) for about 30 dollars less than what I purchased it for. (I paid about $200, but I got a 15% student discount).

My boyfriend got an EMS pack that he's pretty happy with. The other person who accompanied us on our hike had an external frame pack. One of the supports broke, though, and ended up poking him in the back and making his loud rather uneven. We tried to duck it, but it was still pretty uncomfortable.

06-01-2009, 13:21

That's what I get for not proof reading until after I post.

06-10-2009, 18:55
I love the REI Ridgeline. Here are some good links:


08-28-2010, 14:05
I use an Osprey Tallon 33. 1lb 14oz. You have to be willing to leave a few things behind or ask your dog to carry them.

08-28-2010, 14:07
The Ridgeline is good, but it doesn't fit smaller torso women well. The sternum strap almost always comes across and over ones boobs, and that is just not comfortable. It needs to be 1 to 2 inches below the collar bone.

09-01-2010, 11:52
osprey ariel 65

09-01-2010, 13:47
I saw many women with the gregory deva. I use the gregory Jade and love it
My daughter found the Gregory Deva more comfortable and liked the suspension better than Ospreys and others even though it's a pound+ heavier. She demoed about five different packs at EMS before settling on it.

Sassafras Lass
09-07-2010, 11:45
I bought the Osprey Aura 50 after deciding that 35-40 lbs would be my max weight no matter what. Found it on sale for $50 off at Outside Outfitters a month ago and got the medium in Brown Sugar (which isn't a warm brown as the pics show, more of an odd olive-y brown, but whatever, I like natural colors).

Anyway, I aesthetically like the pack, but I've been sick for nearly a month - fever, sore throat, etc. - and haven't even loaded it up for a proper trek to make sure it's comfortable and sits well. Very stupid, as at this point I only have 2 days to return it if it doesn't work out, but I'm keeping it regardless. It has a ton of room, pockets on the hipbelt, a built-in emergency whistle on one shoulder strap, and all kinds of compression straps and doo-dads to cinch it up and make it comfortable. I'm sure it will be fine and if not, I can always avail myself of this forum and sell it/trade it.

It's a shame that outfitters don't really care the good gear - so far, I haven't tried on/used a single thing in advance of purchasing it - my hiking poles, sleeping bag, pack, 2 pads, boots - and it's actually all turned out very well. You certainly get what you pay for.

09-07-2010, 11:56
It's a little silly to ask women to tell you what pack they like. We are all different and you'll get as many different answers as if you asked men what pack they like.

I have liked external frame, internal frame, no frame. I wouldn't go back to external frame anymore since I like to hike lightweight.

I currently have an Osprey Aura and feel that it fits well. Other women have hated it. One poor bony gal had to cut up her sleeping pad and tape it all over the shoulder straps and hip belt so there would be enough cushioning for her. I don't use the Osprey Aura anymore because it's too large (carries too much volume) and will probably sell it.

I now have a Gossamer Gear G4 but will probably sell it because the volume is too much now that I'm not thru-hiking anymore.

I usually use my ULA Relay, which is a very small frameless pack that fits me like they made it just for me.

09-07-2010, 14:14
I started backpacking with a Lowe Alpine Sirocco II that is super heavy 6 plus lbs. I loved the pack and it would hold EVERYTHING...therein lies the problem. About 4-5 years ago, I switched to a Go-lite Perspective (now discontinued) and carry a much lighter load. My body is happier and I hike more. The Go-lite perspective has a hip belt and chest strap and is very comfortable. I have packed as much as 32 lbs with it.

09-26-2010, 17:11
DITTO for the Granite Gear Vapor Ki. My "go to" pack! I'm also taking another look at the Nimbus Latitude Ki. Very nice looking pack with excellent features. May be my AT "go to" pack. GO GIRLS!!!!!!

11-11-2010, 07:59
Hey atroll, congrats on your Thru! I would look into the Featherlight Freedom at
http://www.aarnusa.com (http://www.aarnusa.com/) . NO weight on her shoulders and back! It all sits on her hips, which we females have plenty of :) I section hike a month at a time and this pack is always comfy. And you get to keep all the things you need for the day in the front. My partner is a cancer survivor who had 7 ribs removed on one side of her body as part of the battle against renal cell carcinoma. She is doing great now, and loves this pack. She can hike all day and her back and ribs don't hurt. She loves keeping all her "day stuff" in the front balance packs. I found this pack for her, but ending up buying one for myself too! Good luck on your quest, it is great to share the outdoors with someone you love.

11-11-2010, 18:52
my wife uses internal, i tried to get her ot use my old kelty external which was hell for her (it didn't fit well though) ... she likes how the internal is close to her body for narrow trails, she is short and can't stand the feeling of a pack sitting high above her head.