External Frame Hiking Packs

What is An External Frame Hiking Pack?

You can easily tell an external frame hiking pack because it has a rigid frame attached to the hiker's back by straps. The rucksack or pack itself and other hiking gear like bedrolls, tents and poles, are attached to this rigid frame. The frame is usually constructed of a lightweight metal - aluminum or a metal allois usually used in modern external frame backpacks.

Here is a sampling of external frame hiking packs:


Kelty Trekker Backpack ALPS Bryce Backpack Outdoor Products Dragonfly Backpack

What Are The Advantages Of External Frame Backpacks?

  • Ideal for carrying very heavy loads because it transfers weight from the shoulders to the hips and legs.
  • The external frame has lots of attachment points so you are not restricted by the capacity of your the main pack.
  • Easy to reconfigure for different hiker body types. Teens will find this pack adjustable as they grow bigger.
  • Superior back ventilation while hiking.
  • A backpack that is able to stay upright without leaning on anything, a much appreciated feature on the trail.
  • Makes it easier to organize your gear.

Disadvantages of External Frame Backpacks

  • Heavier weight when empty when compared to internal frame backpacks.
  • The frame will have a tendency to snag against branches and other obstructions in the trail.
  • Since your hiking or camping items are more spread out on the frame, an external frame backpack is more unbalanced compared to an internal frame pack if you have to do some rock scrambling during your hike.

External Frame Backpacks: The Bottom Line

If you need to carry a lot of stuff, the external frame backpack is for you. Just take care to fit it properly and you'll be able to nullify its main disadvantages. You have to be strong for this rugged pack but that's just part of what it takes to tackle the great outdoors. Be safe and have fun!

Recommended External Frame Backpack

If you're looking for an external frame hiking pack I recommend the Kelty Yukon External Frame Pack.


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack

Let's take a closer look at this pack . . .

The external frame

Here is where you can put your rolled up tent.


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack tent area

And Here is where you can put your sleeping bag.


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack sleeping bag area

As you can see, you've already packed these two bulky items and you haven't even consumed any space in the main pack!

49 liters of space in the main compartment

inside the Kelty Yukon External Backpack

That's 3,000 cubic inches of space in the main bag including a special compartment for your hydration pack.

Four extremely useful external pockets

Here are the four pockets.


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack external pockets

Each of these four pockets contain has a surprising amount of space and are extremely useful on the trail.

zipped pocket

The zipped pocket is right under this flap


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack zip pocket

You use this one for quick access - stuff that you don't want to go rooting for in the main compartment.


back of the Kelty Yukon External Backpack

The sleeping bag pocket.

Here is the sleeping bag pocket out in the front of the bag.


Kelty Yukon External Frame Backpack sleeping bag pocket

That said, I don't recommend that you use it for a sleeping bag. If you strap your sleeping bag at the bottom of the external frame you can use this generous space for something else.

Here's a video showing the Kelty Yukon all loaded up.

You can get this hiking pack from Amazon.



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Kelty Yukon External Frame Pack