Internal Frame vs. External Frame Packs

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
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Re: Internal Frame vs. External Frame Packs

Post by zacjust32 » Thu May 26, 2016 3:26 pm

The lack of back sweat on an external frame is a huge plus for me

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Re: Internal Frame vs. External Frame Packs

Post by freestone » Fri May 27, 2016 8:58 pm

My first backpacking trip into the Sierra with some of us using wooden external frames. August 1967, "Summer of Love". We were more beach bum and less moutaineer.


Times have changed and now my external frame pack is the Exped Lightning. This frame departs from the traditional square design by using a more anatomical approach, the single flat bar as the spine, the small cross bar at the top as the shoulder girdle, and the belt attached directly to the bar in the sacral area transferring the weight to the hips. This design does a good job of keeping the weight close to the core and transferring weight directly to the hips.


I have now seen it go full circle with packs- external, internal, frameless, hybrid, and back to external. My all time favorite external frame pack for monster loads or ultralight was the Kelty 50th Anniversary pack. Kelty abandoned that design after a couple of years and went back to the original concept.

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Re: Internal Frame vs. External Frame Packs

Post by » Sun May 29, 2016 4:10 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. It's been interesting to read.

Wandering Daisy, have any pics you can share of your setup?

I believe my body shape to be a bit odd and has much to do with my difficulty in finding a pack that fits me well. I'm only 5' 9" but have a 21" torso. When I'm in shape I weigh around 175 with a 32" waist, but I carry most of my weight in my torso and have chicken legs! My trapezius muscles are larger than normal (not sure if this affects this or not) and this is where my pain and discomfort tend to be.

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Re: Internal Frame vs. External Frame Packs

Post by RonnR » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:57 pm

Speaking of that 50th anniversary pack, I agree Freestone! I've been using mine ever since and would continue except I managed to lose one of the levitators this last summer (2017). I had purchased two new levitators a few years back but I cant seem to find them for sale anywhere. That pack rocked! I don't know what to get now...

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