What are the Best External Frame Backpacks?

Backpacks come in different forms, including those with an external frame. These are ideal for long backpacking trips because they are designed to carry heavier loads. Investing in the best external frame pack allows you to benefit from better ventilation that its counterpart.

Just be sure to pick a high quality hike backpack that best suits your needs and your budget. We have come up with the list of well-rated gear to make things easier for you.

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame Bag – Best Bang for your Buck

You get your money’s worth in this high-end bag that works as a backpack and freighter frame. The top loading, external frame pack has a rifle holder, hydration pocket and other pouches that make it a perfect companion for your outdoor backpacking.

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The pack bag is removable to the frame and offers a generous storage volume of 5,250 cubic inches. The frame can serve as standalone freighter frame if the bag compartment is removed.

It includes a spotting scope, two side hinged and front pockets aside from the main bag compartment. You can use the frame to haul your meat as it comes with a lashing system. The padded straps allow you to carry your heavy load comfortably.

Some other helpful features of this pack bag include its spindrift collar and lower door access for extra storage space and its durable fabric used throughout making the over all design incredibly strong.

ALPS takes pride in the quality of their products and follow a strict set of specifications and standards to provide you with the best. They are trusted and strive to develop the highest quality, performance-driven outdoor products so that's why they offer you a manufacturer warranty. If your product is defected in any way, contact them and they will take care of it!

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame Bag – Best Bang for your Buck

Extreme Pak Dgt Camo Mountaineers Backpack – Best Value

This tough looking bag is easy on your pocket, for it is very inexpensive! It’s a heavy-duty pack for mountaineers who want extra storage and superior suspension.

This backpack’s compartment is big enough to hold 12 small duck decoys plus a few other items. It has six other pockets that allow you to bring everything you need in the day, like your water bottle and any other gear. You might even want to throw on your dog's pack!

This is the hike backpack that can handle external elements such as bad weather, due to its water resistant material. The extra straps and loops provide adjustable suspension and allow you to bring extras that won’t fit inside the bag but you still need to bring with you.

For comfort, the pack is built with an adjustable shoulder harness and waist strap. It looks like a military bag but it is perfect for hikers and campers as well. If you love long hikes and camping trips, this is the best external frame pack for the price and features.

Extreme Pak Dgt Camo Mountaineers Backpack – Best Value

Kelty Trekker Hiking Backpack – Awesome for the Price

Kelty remains consistent to their tradition of bringing excellent packs with this mid-range priced hiking backpack. It has plenty of pockets and simple and lightweight design that makes it ideal on any trail.

The comfortable frame has adjustable suspension, foam hip belt, padded shoulder straps, sternum strap, belt stabilizer and load lifter straps. Multiple pockets let you carry so many items in an organized fashion.

It even has a laptop sleeve and is hydration compatible, making it the perfect bag for serious backpackers. You can read other Kelty external frame backpack review to learn more about the product.

Kelty Trekker Hiking Backpack – Awesome for the Price

Outdoor Products Dragonfly External Frame Backpack – Most Affordable

This pack is low in price, but not in quality. The top loading bag is designed for entry-level hikers with a capacity of 2,780 cubic inches.

It is designed with your comfort in mind, that is why it features a superior suspension system. Padded hip belt and shoulder straps are adjustable while the mesh material keeps users cool even on long hikes.

It is built with bungee compression that keeps contents from shifting. It only weighs 3 pounds and 10 ounces, with 7 different pockets for multiple storage. It even has a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and materials!

Outdoor Products Dragonfly External Frame Backpack

ALPS Mountaineering Zion 3900 Cubic Inches External Pack – for Ballers

Another ALPS high-end backpack makes it on our list. It is loaded with features, giving good value for your money. Compared with their other backpacks, it is lower in price but was designed to meet the needs of users.

The Zion is built with top loading access and a compartment for a sleeping bag. It allows you to bring as much hiking essentials for it has numerous pockets including a large front pocket, zippered side pockets, and a big mesh pocket for your water bottle.

It also comes with ice-axe loops, daisy chain with carry handle, spindrift collar, hold-open bar, and is hydration compatible. Not to mention its padded waist belt and shoulder straps to give you extra comfort when carrying such a heavy load.

 ALPS Mountaineering Zion 3900 Cubic Inches External Pack

Final Thoughts

External frame backpacks offer durability, stability, and comfort. Apart from reading external frame backpack reviews, think about your important points of consideration in order to pick the best one around. Determine the product’s load support, material, padding, pockets, and capacity.

Choosing the one that suits your needs is not supposed to be difficult. Don’t let the wide variety of options confuse you. Instead, think about your needs. Most of these backpacks are cheaper than their internal frame counterparts, offering more bang for your buck!

So, what do you plan to use your backpack for?

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Got a pup you want to bring on the trail? Read our article about dog backpacks before you go on your next hike.

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