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What ever happened to External Frame Packs??

6904 Views 29 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  dand
My Doc's been riding me pretty hard lately about loosing weight. I was debating joining the gym when he talked me out of it saying I probably wouldn't go because I wouldn't enjoy it, instead I should use God's gym. I live about 10 mins from a state park with several miles of trails and an overnight shelter. I've got my trusty external REI pack. I stopped by one of those super duper outdoor mogul stores to pick up a few backpacking items and while browsing noticed that there was almost no external frame packs. The sales guys spoke as if all my stuff was essentially obsolete and that I should "upgrade" if I was gonna be serious about backpacking. I bought a few things, a fuel bottle, some freeze dried meals, an extra water bottle and a book on backpacking basics. Over all I wasn't too excited with my shopping experience. It's been a while since I've had a pack on my shoulders but this is something I'd like to get back into without being made feel like my gear "isn't good enough" to get started with. :evil:

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Not out of date, out of style!

I would love to see someone throw a moose hind quarter into an internal framed pack!

The Cabela's Alaskan Outfitter or Guide model packs are popular up here. The extra shelf on the bottom allows heavier loads to be packed with or without the pack mounted. Without the pack you can haul chainsaws and keep your arm free incase of a fall. I have a rifle hanger bracket on the top of my frame for the rifle sling and a velcro tie at the bottom to secure my rifle. Mine is a Eureka frame that I modified to simulate the cabela's.

I also have a piece of foam pipe insulation notched and duct taped to the top of the frame as a soft rifle rest. Remove the pack, set it in front of yourself and you have a fairly steady rest.

Try short walks at first with about 20 lbs of weights in the pack. Add a little every few weeks until you get into shape.When you get up to 150 lbs give me a call and we'll go moose hunting. :grin:
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

HI.Dave.I just had to get a new frame pack for my last Elk hunt last year.The old Kelthy gave out.The fram tubes were just to small for heavy loadsso I got one of Cabelas Alaskan Outfitter packs,it has the room to put just about anything you think you can carry.
It was pretty pricy but when it came and looked at it it's worth it.The fram is solid,and all of the pouches on it it is verry handy.On the Elk hunt I took the pack off the frame to carry drinking water from the lake to camp,camp was about 1/2 mile so I took the six gallon can put it on first than tied on a five gallon to it and took off,HA.that lasted for agout 300 yds.climbing over the dead fall and being up at 10,500 feet the knees were like rubber bands.So I dont think I could handle your 150 lbs anymore,there was a time I could.
When I go on my walks I use a day fanny pack.That is big enough were I can put 3 mre meals in and little Dragon fly pack stove and feul,and a coupple pair of socks and a place to tie a jungle hammock and a small tarp and the .44 on the belt so I dont have all the weight hanging on my waist.That will last me for a week or more.Lp. :D
Dont go were the path leads,go were there is no path and leave a trail
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Leadpot! I was kidding about the 150 pounds. My back doctor has limited me to 25lbs. Please don't tell him what I really do. Fortunately he is a hunter and understands some of the time. Wasn't happy when I started shooting my 80 lb. Person with two fingers, blew out two tendons in the wrist and ended up haveing to go to a release. My stupidity!!!!

Yea the Cabela's is a good pack. My moose hunting partner has one and I will too one of these days.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

This is a good question. I'm probably the exception to this group as I like to hunt, backpack AND do some mountaineering. For the latter pursuit, An internal hugging your back is essential as an external can act like a sail. But for just about everything else, an external is more supportive and comfortable. Internals have kind of a cool factor for the young folks, AND the manufacturers feel like they can charge more for them.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

Just curious, is there something out there that is a vast improvement over plain ol' military issue? I always hated those things, they always meant more work :oops: , but I could never see much that could be improved on them, except the shelf could have folded up instead of being detachable, I've lost more than one. Two sizes of packs for the same frame, and I found them to be pretty darned serviceable. Plenty of pockets and lashing points. Just wondering.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

Man this computer is slow tonight I had one cup of coffee and a glass of ice with something in it before this page came up. :)

Butler I use a Alaskan pack with a folding shelf,and a lot of tie downs and a good pack that stays dry.It is a lot better than the GI pack they issued me.It rides good and it is adjustable with a good wast band a mule would even like. Lp.

I quartered and back-packed my Elk on a Bull-Pacs frame---12 miles to my truck. :grin: It's a long way! Does that qualify me to hunt moose with you? :-D Afterall, I am almost 50 yrs young. :( I found it easier not to bone all the meat. The stability the leg bones provide on the pack keeps the meat from shifting. Meat that shifts even a little can destroy a man's shoulder or hip! I've never done 150, but my pack/hinds weighed an honest 135! I only go 180. :eek: I know from meeting some guys who try to back-pack, they think their packs weighs a lot more than it really does. :shock: Most men can't carry 1/2 their own body weight very far. :eek: It takes a lot of training to do that, and I have the utmost respect for any one who is a true back-pack hunter! :D
External Frame Backpacks

Every time I strap mine on, I remember that there are pack horses, and wish I had one. 8)
Exercise Frame Pack

I purchased a Kelty 50th Anniversary (frame) pack 4 months ago. I use 80 lbs of rock salt (2 forty lb bags) in my exercise regimen. The Kelty has held together well and is comfortable as an 85 lb rig can be. The 80 lbs was destroying my frameless pack last February after 2+ years of 73-80 lb hauling. The manufacturer repaired it for free and it is now relegated to my backwoods treks where the load is usually only about 50-60lbs with firearm included.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I have to agree externals will handle heavy loads better than internals. But there is one exception. A company call Kifaru makes a top line internal pack that is not a your everyday backpack. Kifaru makes packs and accessories design for the hunter (and some for the military). Without question the best pack out there for hunting use.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I have found that externals are a problem at airports and don't pack well. I have had frames bent and busted from the baggage handlers. I went with an internal on my last trek to Peru and it held up well through the airports and baggage handlers. Anytime you get over 50 lbs. in the pack it seems to magnifiy with every 100 yrds especilly up hill. :D
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I haven't used mine in a long time. I can see where there might be airport problems though. I've heard good about the Dana's and a few others. I tend to over look mine whenever I get to thinking about backpacking somewhere.
I don't think I'll be using my externals for anything but loaners and freighters. I do have a child-size one for kids that gets used some.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

Yes....Kelty still makes external frame packs...and some of the highest quality around. I lived down the street from Dick Kelty when I was a kid in Glendale, Calif.
My favorite for packing is still a B.S.A. external frame,but

for just kicking around...those little day packs are sweet. I prefer them to a suitcase any day of the week. Plus..they dont put holes in the ceiling upolstery of your car.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

since you live in golden, where kifaru is made, you wouldn't be biased would you?
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I've still got my old Alpinlight out in the garage that I used to take to the high Sierra SO MANY years ago!! It was strong as could be and I wore it for far too many hours per day with too much weight (and my knees tell me about it every once in awhile!). Ah, fond memories.
What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I realize that this long after the thread ended, but I would like to say I LIKE internal frame packs. I find that I pack my gear better, distribute weight more evenly, and get a better fit from an internal. In my experience, the internals make me have better posture while hiking than externals do.

They do have some drawbacks as mentioned before, but I like internals better overall.

Then again, I am a member of the "younger generation." I'll probably complain when the trend switches back to externals in the future.

What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

I think that camping equipment is sort of converging in design between brands due to technology, to some extent. I have an old Kelty aluminum external frame with a Boyscout catalog camper packbag. I tore up two hip belts before I figured out how to properly mount them. (This is when I was like 11) I hiked many miles with it. To be honest, with my normal load it is perfectly fine for me. With a good proper hip belt it can be far more comfortable than the old military packs with simple belts and sparse padding. More modern military ALICE packs are pretty good, but a bit short for real freight packing in my opinion. Good thing I don't have to use one.

Of course, I am also not afraid of packing a distance with a canvas softsided rucksack as well. I tailor my loads to my pack and the conditions, and just live with having to shift the weight around to get comfortable.

Nobody seems to be offering external frames because they aren't cool any more. Simple as that. If camping equipment hinged on sheer practicality there wouldn't be so much junk in sporting goods stores. Some people prefer more modern designs, but that doesn't mean the old designs are useless. If you really wanted an external frame pack, Campmor has a free catalog with gajillions of packs and bags in it. If anybody had an external frame pack they would, I think.
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What ever happened to External Frame Packs?

External framed packs were, and still is the best for very heavy loads. You can still buy them for expedition type outings - and the good ones are very pricey. One bad aspect for them is the relatively high center of gravity, and difficulty in navigating when walking on very difficult terrain.

Internal framed packs are better for moderate loads (which fits the bill for 99% of us) - as long as you are not trying to carry something big or bulky (like an animal). Their flex and fit makes for a more comfortable load.

If I was planning to carry out an animal - go with the external frames, for camping/hiking - internal.
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