View Full Version : frame or internal frame. Who like's what

02-18-2008, 10:11
Do you like frame packs or internal frame packs?

Frolicking Dinosaurs
02-18-2008, 10:14
He-Dino prefers external frame packs because of the superior load handling ability and the fact that his back gets some ventilation. She-Dino has gone back to internal frames from external because the snug fit make managing balance issues easier.

Lone Wolf
02-18-2008, 10:16
i like them both equally

Tipi Walter
02-18-2008, 10:41
Yeah, both are great. Just having the opportunity to be out backpacking is the most important thing, having two legs and a willing heart. Whatever pack I take and is comfy is all right with me.

gold bond
02-18-2008, 10:47
Was always a external untill I decided to buy a Osprey Cresent 85.

02-18-2008, 10:47
I like the one that fits right

02-18-2008, 11:22
Was a die-hard frame pack user, even after internals became popular. But since I've upgraded all my gear to lightweight/ultra-lightweight the frame pack has been retired mostly. It is still a very worthy and willing loaner when someone wants to backpack, but not invest in their own gear. I'm sure the frame pack would carry the light gear very comfortably, but I just don't need that extra volume anymore, or the extra lbs.

I very much understand those who still prefer their frame pack, they are amazingly comfortable pieces of equipment, and if you are still carrying loads in the 35+ range they make perfect sense.

Pack of choice now: ULA P2 May someday go lighter, but for now it is great!

02-18-2008, 11:33
I still like my old external frame pack. I can organize my stuff in the pockets, there's good ventiation for my back...and who says that you HAVE to fill the thing with equipment just because you have the space?:D

02-18-2008, 11:38

02-18-2008, 11:58
Both are fine, but I think I'm starting to like my internal frame (Nimbus Ozone) better. Fits more snugly to the body, less shifting of the pack and its contents.

02-18-2008, 12:08
External for camping, internal for dayhiking.

02-18-2008, 13:20
I have both and use both depending on what I need. If I hike during my spring break, I take the external for cold weather gear. Summers, I use my internal. Love my Kelty Trekker (external), but I love my ULA P-2 as well.

I always love to see a person out there with a vintage external pack. It tells a lot about a person.

02-18-2008, 13:33
Recently bought my new OSprrey Atmos 65 from a Jr. sized Kelty external model. I was amazed. Osprey's ventilation system, "airscape" i think, is like an air conditioner on my back. Great for an internal. My father just switched cause we got a free Vortex 4600 from a friend, but he still has his 197? Kelty ex. Its really is an excellent pack too.


02-18-2008, 18:37
Had to retire my old (late 1960's) external frame pack. Just purchased a new Jansport Carson (4900 ci) external frame pack. Sure, they are a little heavier and are not as good with balancing the center of gravity, but they are (to me) cooler on the back, can organize gear better, more forgiving about how one packs their gear inside, can safely handle a heavier load, and less expensive than a comparable size internal frame.

02-18-2008, 19:04
I still like my old external frame pack. I can organize my stuff in the pockets, there's good ventiation for my back...and who says that you HAVE to fill the thing with equipment just because you have the space?:D
Yeah, what he says.

Cherokee Bill
02-18-2008, 19:13
Had an external for 20-years. Gave my external away, :mad: and purchased an internal, and I HATE the thing :(.

Externals are my favorite!

02-18-2008, 19:24
external pros: solid frame, less contact w/ back, typically more pockets, which some may appreciate

external cons: typically bigger and clumsier, typically heavier, not always, harder to implement as a pillow than say a nimbus ozone

internal pros: typically lighter, snug on the back, easier to compress gear

cons: more back contact, not desirable in warmer weather, typically one main compartment, not always though, less manly looking

Appalachian Tater
02-18-2008, 19:42
less manly lookingWouldn't that be a PRO if you were a woman?

02-18-2008, 19:55
Like most who started hiking in the early 70s, I used an external frame pack. Kelty was the brand of the day. Mine was a Tioga. It served me well for many years.

But even as early as the mid-seventies, I had an internal frame pack, which I used for all day hikes. It was large enough for an overnight summer trip. This pack was a Hine Snowbridge. It had internal aluminum stays and a heavy leather bottom; bullet-proof. I dust it off, occasionally, and take it for a walk. My hiking buddy laughs at me, and jokes about my "new pack". Hey, I like that old stuff. In many respects, quality was better than today's products.

02-18-2008, 20:07
Well I used to use a external back in the early 90's and switched to internal just 3 years ago. well I love my vapor trail, but I keep that external around just incase I need to take and do some bushwacking or building something out in the middle of no where.

02-18-2008, 20:18
When internals first began to be aggressively marketed, one of the main selling points was that they had no external frame to snag on brush when bushwhacking...come on, folks, who bushwhacks on the AT, except to find a good stealth campsite??? (I mean, the trail maintenence isn't THAT bad!)

02-18-2008, 20:27
Internal is more comfortable for me. But I saw a fair number of exernal packs out there on the trail last year.

warren doyle
02-18-2008, 20:37
External frame for hiking the AT in the spring/summer/fall.
Internal frame for hiking the AT in the winter cold and snow.

02-19-2008, 21:34
I agree with Warren on the seasonal thing. A couple of years ago someone asked a question about what one would do differently if one were to hike the trail again.

One of my comments was that I might actually switch packs during my hike. I might start with an internal in the early spring in the south, because

a) it is colder
b) over the fall and winter trail conditions in some areas might deteriorate a bit to the point that having a lower center of gravity might be to one's advantage

I'd switch out packs perhaps at Damascus, because

a) it's starting to get warmer, and
b) trail conditions are smoother, and my external's height wouldn't be a disadvantage

I'd then switch back to my internal perhaps in Hanover, because it would be getting colder and the trail gets rougher north of there.

I already have both kinds of packs, though; I wouldn't advocate buying two packs for one hike.

Jim Adams
02-19-2008, 21:46
depends on the day and the use.


02-20-2008, 00:34
I started in the 70s with a JanSport 3D external, which served me very well for years. Then when the internals became popular, I switched to a Gregory. Now I'm on my second generation Gregory . . . the Whitney. I love it! It provides the best of both worlds (as witnessed by the pro/con comments in this thread).

You get the balanced loads of an internal, along with the external pockets on the sides for organizing. You can gain access to the main compartment from the top, and from zippered access on the front and both sides of the pack. A Nalgene bottle holder on the side hip can be easily reached without having to remove the pack, which is great!

With 5450 cu. in. of storage, it will haul about as much as anyone would want to, or should I say dare carry, but just because you have the space doesn't mean you have to pack heavy. I can carry everything, including tent and ground pad inside the pack, making for a neatly packed pack.

02-20-2008, 00:43
external framepack yesterday,today and tommorrow...

02-20-2008, 16:08
Internal (Granite Gear Vapor Trail) for fast, light &/or solo.
External (Kelty Tioga) for when I'm carrying a load for others (i.e. family or group trips) or going "luxury camping." Also makes a good loaner.

02-21-2008, 00:34
I agee with LilRed. I like my internal, Gregory, when it is cold. I love my external in the desert or when it is hot...a Kelty. The external is a pound lighter. Both fit perfectly and at five feet one, that is an accomplishment. I started with my brother's 70's vintage orange Camp Trails, and I woud use it still, but it was too big in the shoulders. I may be old fashioned, but after two big section hikes last year , using one for the AT and one for the Grand Canyon, I prefer the external frame. The Gregory is like an easy chair, but it is like carrying one also. It is heavy.

02-21-2008, 00:42
I apologize. I got LilRed's post mixed with Jester on the cold v warm weather preference. So, I do have a question for LilRed? Why do you prefer the external in the colder weather and the internal in the warmer weather? I would appreciate hearing the difference to try a different mouse trap, so to say. Thanks, E.

02-21-2008, 01:25
I like the externals at least as much as the internal frames. For heavier 'base-camp' loads you can't beat the externals, but for long distance hikes the internals are my preference and I love my ULA Catalyst. I already hear the call of the frameless packs, but it's gonna take further reductions in my gear weight before I'd be comfortable with one.