Internal  vs.  External  Frame Packs

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  • External Frame:

    • rigid frame upon which pockets, pack bag, and suspension are attached.

    • typically has lots of pockets for easy gear distribution and organization.

    • good for carrying heavy loads, on-trails only, and on relatively easy terrain.

    • more open space between frame and person's back for better ventilation than Internal Frame.

    • dimensions of fully loaded backpack has wider, taller, less-stable profile than Internal Frame backpacks--very high center of gravity--(don't even try to walk under tree limbs or you could end up flat on your back).

  • Internal Frame:

    • framing is an integral component integrated with suspension and pack bag.

    • pack designed to fit snugly and comfortably against a person's own profile.

    • very stable and functional off-trail as well as on-trail.

    • snug fit against the body allows for better balance and maneuverability on rough terrain.

    • narrow profile allows flexibility to venture into tight places.

    • tends to be warmer against the back--ventilation not as good as external frame.

    • typically, lack of pockets for organizing gear.

  • The Lightweight Backpacker