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Internal frame versus extrenal frame packs?

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  • #16
    Well I also have a bad lower back and I love the rigidity I get with a frame and hip belt. My back feels actually better after a hike.


    • #17
      Well, I'm not planning on hiking the least not anytime msoon.

      It was our Council Registrar who is going to hike the AT this weekend.

      As far as trees, I don't see myself bushwhacking anytime soon either. JUst think of your avareage council camp or state park . THink about tjosr trails. Most are sufficently clear enough for two people to walk side by side, so I'd think I'd be okay.

      But I did want to hear what the more experienced people say.

      AS for clipping things on, I do plan on doing that, but not to the effect I look like a Christmas tree with "ornaments hanging every where. I don't necessarily mean everything will be clipped on either. Could be strapped tight to the frame.

      Right now, I will mostly be doing 3 days worth of clothing and misc gear and even the whole week as a leader for summer camp

      I am thinking my canteen, my hammock( rolled up and strapped in place) my sleeping bag, and maybe a 1 or 2 litre bottle of water.

      Again, not "real" hiking just yet. More along the lines of parking my truck when I first get to camp and hiking in instead of driving in, unloading then driving back out to park.

      Plus I am thinking that if I use a back pack, I will only bring what I need and not have room for other junk that could fit it's way in othyerwise.

      Thanks for the replies and don't stop giving them!


      • #18
        My Kelty "Tioga" has an extension bar that reaches about 6-8 inches above the top of the flap covered main compartment of the pack. That allows a stuff sack or bag of pretty much any size desired to be strapped onto that extension.

        When you want to get into the main compartment, that stuff sack is just flipped over the extension from being on top of the pack to being in back of the pack, allowing easy access to that main compartment.

        Often I strapped a tent and sleeping bag in that position. On long trips I would strap my food bag there.

        I once strapped a three hundred foot ferry boat to my Kelty Tioga pack, although I have to admit I never found a way to pick it up.

        Also, the extension bar made it easy to put the pack on: I did a dead lift of the pack over my head head holding the extension bar, then maneuvered it behind my back while holding it up. Then I put one arm at a time through the straps and dropped it on my shoulders. Nice 'n easy.

        I really like that pack!


        • #19
          I also have to be careful with my back. Hurt it when I was 10 years old. Not a spinal thing or nerve thing - just did something wrong to a muscle during crucial development time - according to a couple Dr.s.

          Thing is, I can pick up heavy stuff al day long with no problem. What I have to watch out for is reaching over too far or bending over and standing back up too quickly. I can far reach over to my right side and grab a 16oz drink the wrong way and be out of commission for a week.

          So anyays, I tried one on at the scout shop and it was comfortable. I mean it actually felt good to put it on. The weight ested on my hips and the chest straps pretty much just kept it from leaning over backwards.

          Cant remember what brand it was though. It was light bluish gray color. External fram, Big size.


          • #20
            Hmmmm!? Seems like it's all a matter of what are you doing. Moose antlers don't fit on my internal Kelty, but it holds everything for a week-long hike. Think about this, though. Most of us don't average over a day or two a year strapped to a load of stuff on our back, so whatever you buy, it better fit you because you will never change to fit it!

            A vote for the Kelty: I mistakenly ran over it with the scout trailer last year and I just bent the spring steel bars back into shape and kept on packin. Bought it for Philmont in '08 and have left it packed ever since. The squeaks just let me know that I am still walking and haven't died on the trail!

            My externals are loaners for new scouts and stolen by my Eagle son to build equipment packs for his job. You see, this might all pay off one day.

            Good scouting and keep packin!


            • #21

              Your going to get a lot of opinions.....

              I will say what are your intentions????

              Just camping???? a duff bag might be a better choice.

              Are you going to actually backpack???? then go and see an outfitter and get one fitted right.

              Internal or external who cares as long as it is comfortable and fits ya right


              • #22
                I have and use both.

                For trail walking, I like the light weight, comfort and organization of an external frame. I have a Kelty, which is the lightest. I take it to scout camps, mostly. It replaced a Northface Back Magic, which I loved. Then I have a Dana Design external frame, which can carry the most weight. I take it hunting and when I'm packing trail maintenance gear.

                Off trail, it's all about balance, and nothing balances like a well-fitting internal frame. I use a Dana Design pack, one of two depending on how much I need to pack. For a climbing expedition, it's a Terraplane. For everything else, I use a Bridger. Once fitted, they are part of me.

                I am impressed, though, with REI's new lightweight internal, the Flash 62. I'd like to try one out. It might be a nice blend of both.


                • #23
                  I have hiked with both (and multiple models of both) i hiked Philmont in 10 with a Kelty RedCloud 5600. I personally like a internal better, i seem to hit my head or just feel uncomfortable with an external.


                  • #24
                    I've been a huge Kelty fan since I bought my first Kelty, a B5 Expedition pack/external frame in 1973. Still use it on a regular basis. I also have a Kelty El Cap internal frame that's actually bigger then the B5. It's good, but I've never fully gone the internal frame route. I also have a nice Kelty Gale(?) or is it a Tornado(?) can't remeber, but I like it for overnight short trips when I don't need to haul much.

                    My younger son and I did Philmont #32 in 2009 and the decision was between the El Cap and B5. B5 won out, I love external frames, more comfortable for me, better air circulation between pack and my back, plus I can attach equipment on top or below bag more easily. My son also carried an external frame Kelty that he likes. If I get to do Philmont again, I might try my El Cap for comparisons, but most likely will stick with what I like, the B5 external frame. Half our 12 man Philmont crew carried external frames. No major complaints from either side of the debate. Everybody's equipment worked well and no major malfunctions occured. Go with what's comfortable, what you can afford, but mostly go with a good reputable pack.


                    • #25
                      I still have my old Camp Trails Astral Cruiser frame and a couple of (no-longer-waterproof) Camp Trails packs (Skyline and Horizon). The external frame is cooler. That's important for summers here in the South. And like Scoutfish notes, you can strap stuff to the frame, although there are so many places to tie onto the internal frame packs that this is a minor difference.
                      My internal frame packs (I have several) are ones I use for longer trips and winter. When I'm strapped into one of them, the pack fits almost like I'm wearing a cast and its much warmer (winter, remember?). But this aspect might be better for Scoutfish's back concerns. The internal frame designs tend to 'hug' your body and fit you more closely and this, I think, would help provide more 'back' comfort.
                      I really like the way the internal frame designs fit and feel. I also like the airy openness of the external frame. It's all about the context.

                      As far as tree limbs go, I've never worried much about that. If you're on a decent trail it's not that much of a problem.


                      • #26
                        Decent trail system....

                        Well most every trail system I have ever been on, except city parks, get fallen trees, briars over hang the trail....

                        Some of the more remote ones are very rugged......Basically a narrow corridor thru the brush. Son tore up his sleeping pad that was hung horizontally below his pack on one of these trails....

                        Again....depends on your expectations.... If it doesn't fit in the pack it doesn't go.... Trying to work with my boys about that.....noting worse than a couple of nalgene bottles swinging on carabiners or tennis shoes swinging my their laces on the back of a pack......

                        So are we doing our scouts a favor by letting them strap a bunch of crap to their packs and looking like a bunch of hobos????? OR Train them on what they need to take.....An honest discussion of gear, clothing and shelter....

                        Then we have adult leaders acting the hero with the 120 liter packs....Completely packed I might add......

                        I have a Granite Gear crown VC 60...I have about 80 miles on it....2 pounds.....For 99% of my backpacking it is exactly what I need.....



                        • #27
                          Yes, dead falls occur everywhere. Those are just temporary inconveniences and then you're back on the regular trail. And if briars are catching on your pack frame, you must be a LOT shorter than average. All that stuff is normal expectations, no big deal for any frame design...just part of the experience.
                          But the AT, Bartram, Foothills, Pacific Crest, almost everything in the mid-west, and countless other trails in national forests and parks just don't tend to have the overgrown, virtual bushwhacking character that would cause me to choose the internal frame...for that reason alone.

                          If you are going to have one pack only, and you want to backpack on those remote, seldom-used and overgrown trails, then I agree, the internal frame may be the way to go.
                          Given what Scoutfish wrote in the OP, I didn't see that kind of trip in his future, at least not any time soon.

                          Edit: Just remembered that hobo remark. Unless you live in the Stepford community, I've observed that 'looking like hobos' seems inevitable for most scouts (and scouters for that matter). (This message has been edited by packsaddle)


                          • #28
                            Local briars grow to 6 foot tall.....

                            guess I backpack more remote than most.....Family goes a couple times a year.....Several times we don't see another person the entire trip....


                            • #29
                              "Local briars grow to 6 foot tall....." I guess they do around here too..well not up to eye level but maybe 5 ft. I just don't worry about briars that know, me and old Brer Rabbit....


                              • #30
                                Well, we have briars that can grow to 6 foot tall around here too. We also have vines thatcan grow to about a half inch thick with 1 inch thorns on them. We even have those trees that average about an inch and a quarter thick and have more thorns on them than a cat has hair!

                                But most of those are in thicker, denser places than most of us travel.

                                If I am going hiking on the AT ( one day soon ) I do not expect to just plow my owm path, I'm pretty sure that most of the trails will be decently clear enough that the frame won't be an issue.

                                Kinda goes with following LNT.

                                Sure, I know deadfalls and/or high water over trails, rock slides, ect can cause you to have to deviate from a followed trail, but that's teh exception, not the norm.

                                Also, My body will be wider than the backpack, so if there is the kind of foilage that will grab my pack and stop me dead in my tracks...chances are better than great that - that very same foilage has already grabbed, poked or assaulted my wider than backpack body first.

                                At that point, I have already stopped or backed up ..or could be cussing enough to blush a sailor!