View Full Version : External Frame Pack anyone using?

2006-03-04, 10:44
I live in coastal SC, hot in the summer, I am thinking of going back to an external frame pack. Anyone using one? If so what?

2006-03-04, 11:08
I still go back and forth, and have considered marrying a UL pack (like the Golite Breeze) to my very old, but still very serviceable and comfortable frame. The result would be under 4 pounds, but with essentially unlimited capacity. you get the ventilation of an external, and the ever-ready backrest ala Colin Fletcher.

I use my external now for all of my trail work; I have a laundry basket strapped to it. It's tough to carry shovels, axes, saws and other trail tools any other way.

2006-03-13, 07:43
I am also sort of a retro guy. I went ultralite and sort of burned out on it, always wished I had brought this or that. The big thing was not bringing coffee, I have rebuilt my wifes very old Kelty external and am in the process of getting some creature conforts to carry. Soon it will be hot, it was 83 yesterday.

2006-03-13, 10:46
I just weighed the Kelty frame pack that I've had for 27 yr and done a lot of hiking with. It weighs 4# 11oz. That weight is without the extendable top portion of the frame which I never used. That is a LOT lighter than most non-ultralight internal frame packs. It carries the weight higher than the internals do but that is by design. For trail walking this is probably an asset, not a liability. I wouldn't want to scramble a scree slope with it again or try a ski descent with it but it is still a useful piece of gear. I had a pocket seam fail years ago and I mailed the bag back to Kelty and they promptly repaired it.

2006-03-13, 10:52
I favor the external frame. I can't stand to have an object hugging my back while I'm exerting myself. That .5" or so of air between the back band and the bag make a big difference in my comfort. Oh, the bag and frame are CampTrails modified with shoulder straps that go over the shoulder and affix to the bottom of the frame with some stabilizers behind the shoulder. That way the load pushes down over the top of my shoulder rather than pull back toward the frame.

2006-03-13, 11:54
i had a kelty trekker... i gave it to my brother after i got a golite gust. yes, it's a bit sweaty underneath the gust, but the kelty was heavy... still, for some things, like trail maintenance, you need to carry a heavy load, and then an external frame is a necessity, imho. i never did understand the internal frame thing for non-lightweight packs (''expedition packs''). mostly hype, i think. but to each his/her own...

anyone out there still use a maine packbasket for anything? my trapper friends growing up liked it, because you could fit all sorts of pointy things in it and not get poked in the back.

2006-03-13, 14:15
Another pro to the external frame: my 1969 Kelty could still be re-fitted with a new waist belt, new shoulder straps, and new back webbing - all for a few bucks at Campmor. Unless I manage to break one of the welds, it will outlast me!

2006-03-13, 22:25
The "Expedition" pack comes into its own when you have to operate in an alpine or arctic environment. You need the volume for all that hawk gear. You can manage on flat terrain on snowshoes okay with a frame pack but one run down a mountain on skiis will convince you there is a better way. The absolute worst rough terrain pack is the ALICE. Anyone who's ever been hit in the back of the head with that crossbar will agree. Kelty used to make an expedition internal frame pack out of kevlar, it was light and "bulletproof". It was white 'cause the fabric couldn't be dyed.

2006-03-14, 01:58
I'm using the FjällRäven Råstu 90 (http://www.fjallraven.se/spring2006/en/27010.htm). It's my third backpack but it's the best. It keeps shape even if heavy loaded and I can strap on a hole lot of stuff and straps to balance the load of e.g. tent.
On last backpack, the shoulder straps were not secured properly, so they twisted when heavily loaded - Very painfull!
My Råstu 90 easily handles >35kg.