Best Hiking Backpacks: External Frame Vs. Internal Frame

Best Hiking Backpacks: External Frame Vs. Internal Frame

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As a frequent hiker or traveler, you understand the value of having a sturdy and comfortable backpack. When selecting the right backpack, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is between an external and an internal frame backpack. 

Each backpack has its distinct features, benefits, and drawbacks. This blog will compare the two types of backpacks and help you determine which is best for your specific needs.

Advantages of Best Hiking Internal Frame Backpacks

They Have A Large Internal Capacity

Because the internal frame provides extra storage space, you can carry more items. This is especially useful for those who need to carry a large amount of gear while traveling, as the internal frame allows you to keep your items organized and easily accessible. 

The internal frame can also be adjusted to fit your specific body shape. The internal frame design also prevents gear from shifting or becoming disorganized. Allowing you to quickly and easily access what you need.

Easy To Adjust The Shoulder Strap

One of the main benefits of these backpacks is that the shoulder straps can be easily adjusted. The backpack can be adjusted to fit the individual wearer’s body. Providing a secure and comfortable fit that aids in evenly distributing the backpack’s weight. 

This is especially important for people who carry heavy loads because it helps to reduce the risk of back pain or discomfort during prolonged use.

It Sits Against Your Back

Internal frame backpacks are designed to sit flush against your back, providing a secure and comfortable fit. This feature distributes the backpack’s weight evenly across your back and hips, reducing stress on your shoulders and neck. 

Because the internal frame provides a sturdy support structure, the gap between the backpack and your back is eliminated, reducing pressure points and hot spots that can cause discomfort. This is especially useful for those planning long hikes or camping trips with heavy loads.

They Are Compact

Internal frame backpacks also have the advantage of being compact and streamlined. This is accomplished through the use of lightweight materials, as well as an internal frame design that aids in the reduction of the backpack’s bulk. 

This makes it easier to carry the backpack, especially when moving through crowded areas or narrow passageways. Furthermore, the backpack’s compact design makes it easier to store, as it takes up less space in a closet or luggage bag.

young man hiking on a mountain with backpack and trekking poles

Disadvantages Of Internal Frame Backpacks

Few Compartments

Internal frame backpacks typically have fewer compartments than external frame backpacks, which often have multiple compartments. 

This can make organizing and accessing your gear and supplies while on the go difficult. Furthermore, the lack of compartments makes your gear cluttered, disorganized, frustrating, and time-consuming. 

This can be especially difficult for those who need a lot of gear for outdoor activities. As they may need help to fit everything into a single compartment.

They Carry Weight Lower Than External Frame Designs

This can be an issue for people who need to carry heavy loads because it puts more strain on the lower back and can cause discomfort. 

Internal frame backpacks are designed to be carried close to the body, making it difficult to evenly distribute the weight, resulting in discomfort and potential injury. 

The lower weight position also makes it more challenging to maintain proper posture, which can lead to back pain and other health issues over time.

Internal Frame Backpacks Can Be Expensive

Internal Frame Backpacks are popular among outdoor enthusiasts and travelers. However, these can be quite expensive compared to other types of backpacks.

The high price is due to the design and materials used to produce the backpacks. The internal frame provides more support and stability but necessitates more advanced technology and materials, raising the cost. 

Furthermore, many internal frame backpacks include extra features such as multiple compartments, pockets, and straps, which can increase the price.

Advantages Of External Frame Backpacks

Generally Less Expensive

External frame backpacks are known to be less expensive than internal frame backpacks. This is because they are typically made of less costly materials and do not have as complex a design. 

Furthermore, external frame backpacks are frequently produced in larger quantities, which helps to reduce their cost. This makes them a more affordable option for those looking to save money without sacrificing quality.

More Compartments

This allows for better gear organization and makes everything more accessible. Furthermore, the extra compartments will enable you to divide your gear more easily between different sections of the backpack, making it easier to find what you need quickly and efficiently. 

This is especially useful for outdoor activities requiring a lot of gear, such as hiking, camping, and trekking. The additional compartments make it easier to keep your gear dry and organized, which is important in wet or rainy weather.

red backpack filled with hiking gear in rainforest

Increases The Ventilation Since It Sits Farther Away From Your Torso

This feature prevents sweat and moisture from accumulating, making the backpack lighter and more comfortable to wear. 

The space between the backpack and the body also prevents the backpack from making contact with the body, reducing friction between the two. This results in less heat retention and allows the backpack to dry faster. 

Furthermore, the external frame design allows more air to circulate and reduces the amount of pressure placed on the back, which can result in better posture and less back strain.

Offer A Multitude Of Smaller Side Pockets

The best hiking external frame backpacks have several smaller side pockets ideal for storing small items like water bottles, snacks, and other necessities. 

These pockets allow you to quickly access items you need while on the go without having to rummage through the main compartment. They also allow you to organize your belongings and keep them separate from one another. 

This keeps items from becoming lost or damaged and ensures you can easily find what you need.

Disadvantages Of External Frame Backpacks

Usually Bulkier Than Internal Frame Packs

Because of its larger size, it may be more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces or fit into small compartments, such as airplane overhead bins. 

Furthermore, the frame’s bulkiness can be cumbersome when hiking, making it more challenging to navigate through dense forests or rocky terrain. 

This can be especially troublesome for those who enjoy more technical or backcountry hiking, as the frame can become entangled in branches or rocks, slowing them down and causing discomfort.

Can Impede Hiking

The best hiking external frame backpacks can also make hiking more difficult because they sit further away from the body, creating a more comprehensive profile. 

This can complicate balancing, particularly when navigating steep inclines or descents. The frame also takes up more space on the back, making proper posture and weight distribution more difficult. 

Because of the distance between the frame and the back, there is less direct contact between the pack and the body, which can cause pressure points and discomfort, especially on long hikes.

Conclusion: Best Hiking Backpacks

Finally, when it comes to hiking on a well-established trail, an external frame pack is the superior option. These packs are more comfortable and cost-effective, allowing for better gear organization. 

On the other hand, internal frame packs can make it challenging to access your items as they are all stored in a single compartment. While internal frame packs are more suitable for off-trail adventures, external frame packs tend to get caught on branches and other obstacles when hiking off the beaten path.

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