Internal frame pack for backpacking?



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  • Internal frame pack for backpacking?

    Hi all,

    I'm starting to look for a internal frame pack to use for backpacking this summer. I'm looking for something that will do well for 3-5 day backpacking trips with appx. 50 lbs of gear. I've never really used a internal frame before, just external. Are they different types of things to look at in a internal frame as compared to an external? Does it ride in a diff. area, etc.?

    I would like something somewhat economical (like, say, below $300) If possible?

    I haven't had a chance to look much so far, and am trying to get an idea of where to focus my search. I've taken a peek at Kelty and Osprey. Any other companies that y'all would suggest? Pack size? I was thinking ~5-6000 CI's? Right now I have a 4800 CI external frame that I use, and it seems slightly short of space.

    Any/all help y'all can provide is greatly appreciated!



  • #2
    I have one of these:

    I love it. Have hauled out 4 different caribou with it too. 5500 cu inches. Super comfortable (for me), right up until you through 2 hind quarters and a front shoulder of a caribou in it.

    I'd suggest heading down to REI and finding what brand fits YOU!!! Then looking on online classifieds as most of the top brand packs can be had around your listed price limit as linked to above.

    Osprey, Gregory, Arcteryx are all great brands if the pack fits ya.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      You are in luck...

      I'm looking for something that will do well for 3-5 day backpacking trips with appx. 50 lbs of gear.
      You are in luck, Jon. There are probably hundreds of packs on the market today designed to just what you are looking for. These are the typical "weekend-warrior" type packs; probably the largest market in the park world. Good news for you is you have many to choose from, but this choice may be overwhelming for the same reason.

      Choosing an internal frame pack is a lot like choosing a pair of boots--something great for one person may not be for the next. I see you are in Anchorage. My advice, pay a visit to AMH and REI and try on as many packs as they have. You will probably find that one brand fits your body type better than another; for example, Gregory packs fit me well, but Osprey packs do not. You may want to go armed with the knowledge of your torso length, as often men like to buy packs that are too big for them thinking that they need a large when they actually need a medium (just an example). I am sure you can find a tutorial on YouTube or if you aren't sure what your torso length is.

      You know your pile of gear better than any of us on the forum. Unless you are carrying a lot of camera gear or optics, 50 pounds for a 3-5 day summer trip is rather heavy. Maybe you are carrying for the misses, too? I would be reluctant to go over 5,000 CI as you may be tempted to fill it! Really the 4,000 - 5,000 range should be good for you, but again you know your gear better than I. Backpacker just mailed out their annual Gear Guide, if you want more specific ideas of models out there.

      Someone at AMH or REI should be able to help you with fit, as it is unlikely that you will just be able to slide a pack off the rack and onto your back and have it fit well.

      Happy shopping...



      • #4
        Check out Eberlestock

        You might look at Eberlestock out of Boise Idaho

        They make a J017 Dragon Fly Internal Frame that expands and contracts from 2200 ci to 5000 ci. Plus a fanny pack on top. In addition it has a rifle scabard, bladdars for drinking water, and a bunch of other features. Infact you can turn it into a 7-10 day pack by zipping in the spike camp expansion bumping up your capacity to something like 8000 ci. The pack if fully adjustable to match your torso etc.




        • #5
          Trying some out at REI is the best advise. They have the biggest selection. They also have sandbags to simulate weight. Staff is very knowledgeable.

          When I was deciding what size I wanted, I walked around grabbed a tent like mine, a sleeping bag, pad, and cook kit off the shelves to get a feel for how much space I was going to need.


          • #6
            What I did was went to REI and Sportsmans, tried on some packs and decided on one that was just right for me. Then I checked out Amazon and found the same pack I wanted $80.00 cheaper even after shipping. So now I have my Kelty but paid far less.
            Former A.F Staff Sergeant


            • #7
              i have an osprey aether 85 that will handle 50 lb loads well. a little light for heavier loads. great pack. used it for 7 day trip in Wrangell St Elias NP.

              Plenty of good packs out there. fit is key, as was mentioned. pack it with the weights/sandbags they have and walk for a bit around the store.


              • #8

                I have a badlands 2200 and can easily carry 50 lbs of gear... It is not the 5,000 cubic inches you are looking for but it is the most comfortable pack I have used... I will be using it for a caribou hunt this fall... Good Luck


                • #9
                  When I made the transition from external pack to internal, I also made an effort to cut the weight & bulk of my gear. I use a 3,200 ci pack that holds about 30 lbs. comfortably, but I only carry that much during 6-day trips. I try to keep the weight down to about 20 lbs. if I can.

                  Here's the next pack I'm thinking of picking up: It's about 4,600 ci and can hold up to 40 lbs. It's got a good reputation for being tough, yet light.

                  One way you can get your gear to fit in an internal pack is to use compression stuffsacks. You might also have to do some experimentation to figure out how to arrange it all so it fits; in my pack, I can only get it all in there if I slide in the bear canister sideways instead of vertically. I also find myself lashing my sleeping pad vertically behind the pack instead of trying to cram it in.

                  One feature I'd look for in a new pack is waist strap pockets. They're very handy for holding small items you use all the time.
                  Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info guys!

                    I'll be heading down to REI Monday to try some on, and I'll make sure to let y'all know what I like.



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