View Full Version : Need some input on backpacks.

07-25-2011, 18:46
I really want to get into long distance hiking and i'm leaning towards external frame packs. I'm 6'4'' and weigh 215 lbs. Any good suggestions on what brand and model of pack to go with. Thanks.:confused:

30 Large
07-25-2011, 18:51
Just out of curiosity, what motivation do you have for seeking an external frame pack?

07-25-2011, 19:38
wecome to WB Riverbear
IMO the external frame pack is the perfect pack for the AT.
my personal favorite is the kelty super tioga,recently i purchased a dana design k2 shortbed off e-bay, look forward to trying it out.
in 1998-99 i think my super tioga was in the 6-7 pound range, my lastest super tioga, is a spin off of the kelty 50th year anniversary pack(lighter hour glass shaped frame with the lighter, stronger pack cloth like the 50th year pack has, i think its in the 4-5 pound range
happy hiking :-)

07-25-2011, 19:45
External frame packs are great. What motivation leads one to an internal frame other than advertising. Alpenlites are ultralight aircraft aluminum works of art. My alpenlte circa ' 79 out of ventura, ca has traveled over 2400 miles and will be going another 400 this week.

The Old Boot
07-25-2011, 21:10
Take a look at Luxurylite.com

The benefits of an external frame combined with a light weight! I've opted for buying just the frame and making my own packs cause I can!

I like being able to segregate my stuff into different packs unlike the internals where most everything is just crammed in there.

map man
07-25-2011, 22:21
I second the luxurylite.com recommendation. One of their packs has been my only pack for over five years now and I wouldn't part with it (my rig, without front pack, weighs two pounds and holds around 70 liters). It is idiosyncratic and definitely expensive but I'm glad I spent the money.

07-25-2011, 22:42
I found it interesting seeing so many large external frame packs at the beginning of the AT but so few the further i went up the trail.
Just like the camp shoes, machetes, and Nalgene bottles.. you see a lot of them at first, then very few of them until they are non-existant by the time you pass the Mid Atlantic states.
Then around New Hampshire you begin to run into South bounders and you see those same items in increasing frequency again.
I have a different perspective. I hiked the PCT before the AT and many of the people I met there had already completed the AT.
Not a single one of those AT veterans on the PCT carried an external frame pack.
Maybe they were all sheep. Maybe they ALL "drank the koolaid".
Or maybe they all learned the same lessons.
I have no personal stake in what anyone carries. Just observed what worked for many, many successful thru hikers first hand.
The overwhelming majority of thru hikers i have met use some form of internal frame or frameless pack.
They have found, as i did, that the extra weight of an external frame is uneccesary to carry 8-25 lb loads that are typical of a long Distance hike.

Sierra Echo
07-25-2011, 22:44
With external frame packs you run the risk of getting tangled up in low hanging tree limbs! LOL

Tipi Walter
07-25-2011, 22:51
With external frame packs you run the risk of getting tangled up in low hanging tree limbs! LOL

The AT is like a well-groomed boulevard, there are no low hanging tree limbs.;)

You may want to consider this older North Face BackMagic, the same pack I used for over 20 years---see if it's still for sale:


Here's the link above:

Tipi Walter
07-25-2011, 22:58
Here's one in action on the North Fork of the Citico, in Tennessee:


Sierra Echo
07-25-2011, 23:04
Here's one in action on the North Fork of the Citico, in Tennessee:


HA! The guy with the blue pack would get tangled up in low hanging limbs, but high hanging ones as well!

Tipi Walter
07-25-2011, 23:37
HA! The guy with the blue pack would get tangled up in low hanging limbs, but high hanging ones as well!

Shush, be quiet---don't let riverbear hear.

Tipi Walter
07-25-2011, 23:40
Here's another one---



Or how about this modified shorty?:


Sierra Echo
07-25-2011, 23:41
ALPS Mountaineering makes external frame backpacks as well.

07-26-2011, 11:35
Is it true that one benefit with an external model is the fact there is more open space between the frame and you back for better ventilation? How light are some new externals? What successes have you had with internals? Thanks for any info.

07-26-2011, 11:38
Thank you k2basecamp

07-26-2011, 11:40
Really appreciate the input CrumbSnatcher. thanks

07-26-2011, 11:52
Big Thanks Tipi Walter.

Raul Perez
07-26-2011, 12:11
Riverbear,Internal frames in general are lighter and are a little more expensive. But many models (check out osprey) have a raised mesh back to allow ventillation.Externals are cheaper and generally heavier. For me I've found internal packs easier to pack and keep the weight centered on my hips.If your interested I made a series on general hiking gear on youtube (check my signature) which goes over the basic gear you will encounter including backpacks.... Hiking 101. Perhaps it will help you with better gear choices in various areas and may lighten your pack weight.Water Monkey

Jim Adams
07-27-2011, 02:17
Most externals these days aren't heavier than the average internal but are WAY more comfortable. I went back to externals after 20 years of internals. The internals were just too hot, too uncomfortable, too much "packing" with just that main compartment...I will never go back. My current external is 2lbs, 4oz. and is totally comfortable with my 28lbs on board.

Tipi Walter
07-27-2011, 08:49
The problem with externals nowadays are their quality as I've head sour reports from Kelty users that the later models are not what they used to be. In the old days some of the best quality backpacks around were made by Kelty and Jansport and Dana Design (Terraframes, etc) and North Face. Now the quality has shifted to internals and it's hard to find a top notch external unless you go to the Mystery Ranch NICE frames and packbags, which can haul enormous weight but which weigh around 9lbs empty...ugh. So, many people balk at the few choices available in externals (Kelty, Jansport) and turn to internals which are at the top of the heap quality-wise, like Gregory, Osprey, Mystery Ranch, etc, etc.

07-28-2011, 13:07
Thanks Water Monkey

07-28-2011, 13:15
Thanks a mill Tipi Walter

07-28-2011, 13:31
Thanks a mill Tipi Walter

Are you still only looking at external packs? A bit more info would help also... how much weight are you trying to carry, how many liters of space do you need, are multiple pockets important, do you plan to use a hydration bladder or bottles?

07-29-2011, 00:02
Lots of good reasons to go with an internal frame pack over an external - but what works best for you and your body IS WHAT WORKS BEST PERIOD. For me - more than anything else - most of the external frame packs are older - so they are made with older fabrics and other materials that are not only heavier - but don't perform as well. That's the biggest reason I'd start looking at internal famed packs. I actually still wear Mountain Hardware's internal/external framed "Maestro" pack - which was a financial disaster for the company about 5 years ago though. It is a bit heavy, and doesn't have nice stretchy pockets like an Osprey - but it perfect for me.

07-29-2011, 12:40
If you want an external, watch EBay and try to find a 2002 vintage Kelty 50th Anniversary. I still believe that the big switch to internals had more to do with marketing and a keen fashion sense above all else. Everyone talks about how internals balance better, and are better for bushwacking, but 99.9% of the backpacking done is all on groomed trails.

And for all my big talk, I own about 10 frameless/internal packs. But my old Jansport D5 with the velocity arms on the hip belt (working around the Alpenlite patent) carries as well as anything I own. Especially with a chainsaw, or 4-5 gallons of water.

lemon b
07-29-2011, 12:56
Used a Kelty Super Toga for years. Just switched to an internal Osprey Altmos 65. Only have a few hundred miles on the Osprey so far.
Quite frankly I wish I had made the change a few years ago. The internal really did not take that long to get used to, rides a bit lower which took some getting used to, the balance on the internal is better and there is no more banging low hanging branches. Everything fits in just fine. Also dropped 5 pounds.