Advantages and Disadvantages of External Frame Backpacks

I hear people talking all the time about external frame backpacks or internal frame backpacks. Asking which is better, which is lighter, etc? Well if you ask me, it’s more about comfort, weight and personal preference.

Is one model better than the other? That depends on what and where you will be hiking.

Let’s look at the External Frame Backpacks.

Some of its characteristics are:

– Rigid frame made from lightweight metal, plastic or wood.
– The fabric pack is attached to this frame.
– You have good ventilation between your back and the backpack.

Lots of pockets and straps to attach items to, I like this. The more pockets, the better you can organize stuff, providing you can remember where it all went.

Large capacity for heavier loads.

Some have extender bars so that even more items can be added or as the hiker grows, the backpack will grow with him/her. I really don’t recommend that you buy an over-sized backpack to grow into. This just makes the first few years really miserable.

My backpack has an extender bar, which I took off and never used. I am always looking to reduce my weight, not add to it.

Less expensive than internal frame backpacks.

Better for beginners and kids. Children are not going to be able to carry a lot of weight to begin with. The volume size of an 11 year olds backpack is going to be a lot less than an adult. They will grow out of it, so why pay more at the beginning?

For families that backpack, the larger volume of these backpacks will be an advantage if a child gets tired and you have to carry some of their stuff.

Now, external frames are not as stable as the internal ones. This is true for a number of reasons:

– Sits further from your back.
– Not as snug a fit.
– May have more stuff hanging off of the outside of the pack.

If you will mostly be hiking in flat to rolling hills country, you can go with the external frame backpacks.