View Full Version : Lightweight External Frame BackPack

12-30-2002, 15:59
Well I have modified my Kelty Trekker. Most noticeable is the lack of a waist belt, and suspension transfer system. I've also removed exterior side pockets, mesh waterbottle holders, and trimmed lashings. Believe it or not it's still comfortable with 20lbs. I have yet to test above this weight yet however (more to follow on this). It's incredibly stable too. I love how everything cinches to the frame, and it's like one solid mass, instead of a globule of flexing media. I'm thinkning of making a one-off aluminum tubed external frame pack. Instead of interlocking U-Tubes, it would be one solid custom curved oval-like frame reducing weight even further. Next august/september I will be thru-hiking the long trail (S to N), hopefully I'll get all my custom gear done by then!

12-31-2002, 22:51
The essential point of having the external frame is to transfer 100% of the weight to the hips. By removing your hipbelt you would be losing the main benefit of a frame pack, yet holding on to the disadvantages. But if it works for you then more power to ya, just wondering if you're making yourself do more work than you have to.

12-31-2002, 23:32
I like the tortional rigidity of an external frame, and it's resistance to puncturing from sharp items like cramp-ons, stakes, poles, etc. I know traditionally external frames are used for extremely heavy loads, allowing direct transfer to the hips, but I use the frame for stability & rigidity. I also enjoy supporting the load off from my back keeping it dry and warm. Ideally I would eliminate the telescoping U-Tubes and replace them with a single lightweight oval like tube (with a cross support or two of course). Obviously this would be a one-off design made for my height only. This type of tube framed ruck-sack would weigh well under three pounds (closer to 2 or ven less), be extremely sturdy, and comfortable. you wouldn't even need an actual pack. You could just use drybags strapped to the frame. This would also eliminate the need for a pack cover.

I can sense the lack of enthusiasm to this idea here (lol). It's almost tangible, I can almost grab a handul of raised eyebrows. We'll see what happens...

Blue Jay
01-01-2003, 04:00
I carried a modified K2 external for a thru and 2 complete section hikes. I am always interested in frame modifications. I am willing to trade the very small amount of extra weight for the comfort and suspension. I can actually run with up to 35 to 40 pounds with no adverse effect (not that I do it often). It helps my knees to go fast downhill. I often see external frames on thrus.

01-01-2003, 07:18
Not that I have weighed anything but in my experience traditional Jansport frames seem to be very light, they also have a decent spine curve to them and are pretty comfortable, however I have never tested one without a hipbelt. Might wanna check them out, Jansport generally uses the same frame for almost every external.

01-10-2003, 10:32
I have yet to make the one off aluminum frame, but i stripped my Kelty Trekker even further. The heavy frame, shoulder pads/straps, mesh backpanels (to hold loads away from you), and clips weigh in at about 2 pounds. You simply strap reinforced sil-nylon bags to the frame Most gear comes with a waterproof stuff-sack anyways. Just strap it on. Everything is always easily accessble, no food odors (strap a critter-resistant bag on with your food in it), and it's also simpler!

When I finally get around to making my one-off custom frame, it should reduce alot of weight. My anticipated weight is somewhere around 1.5lb!

I'm slowly but surely making up for my 3.5lb Therm-a-Rest!