Internal frames have “ruled” since the ‘90s being closer to the body, though foam channels can help with heat. Probably a little marketing in there too, but they were originally for climbers to mostly haul up.
Interestingly some manufacturers have added back air space with a pseudo-external frame like Osprey (from regular gear to light) and made to order Zpacks (ultralight). The latter even has a model with just air space.
That was one of the reasons I was so confused. I immediately think of the Osprey Aether. Isn't it farther away from the back anyhow? That is one of the biggest reasons to use an internal frame that I'm hearing so far, being that they're closer to the back.
The modern “hybrid” trampoline type frames do have a bit of back sway to them. I’ve felt a bit off-center using them so I’ve sold mine. I could see using a Z-packs Arc in robic fabric if I did many desert hikes as they can carry more than the typical UL pack. May be good in the more humid east too.
Mountains? I’m using an internal-frame optional LiteAF ruck in the new Ultra fabric at the expense of a little back sweat, while awaiting my SWD in heavier Ultra fabric with a sleeve for padding to reduce back sweat (even more rugged I plan to use it as a “travel” pack too by customizing a solid pocket instead of the ubiquitous netting). Some say even that little padding is too much and will cause some sway. At that point think it’s individual taste. YMMV
Post by bushmaster on Dec 26, 2021 12:39:14 GMT -8
My first pack was an osprey, and i didn't like it and sent it back for refund, Then I bought a Mystery Ranch that i really want to like, but since I prefer a pack tight to my back it doesn't work without the frame trying to dig in making for a miserable day. My favorite is my Savotta, but will eventually have to upgrade to their larger size. the only down side is that they are a 5 plus lbs, and 60 liter
Post by High Sierra Fan on Dec 27, 2021 12:18:28 GMT -8
At the end of the day it’s really all about fit and comfort for the intended load. I suspect most of us could trim a bit off shelters etc. if we really needed to compensate for a bit “heavier” pack that fit perfect and had our load completely conquered.
Post by geezinbutnotweezin on Dec 30, 2021 9:48:22 GMT -8
I've still got my old Kelty D4 on a Mountaineer frame which I purchased on the advice of Ed Garvey back in 1977. It is not lightweight by current standards but isn't an anvil either (a little more than 4 pounds) and it actually carries very comfortably. On a rail trail or the C and O Canal towpath it's unbeatable (probably the last time I took it out for an extended hike - Georgetown to Harpers Ferry). Beats the pants off any internal frame pack. But it rides high and does not balance well. There are sections of the AT that I would never do again with an external pack (e.g., a lot of PA) and there are sections which I hope to do which apparently would be insane to attempt with an external (Mahoosuc Notch in ME). I'll never sell the D4 off (unlike my Coleman Peak 1 stove or my Marmot Mountainworks Winter Solstice tent) but I'll probably rarely use it as well.
Hmmm... I'm not buying that! Depends on the internal (I've owned dozens).
Based on what I've seen, I've found most folks have little idea how to fit an internal framed pack. And of course there are "internals" and "internals." Most of what passes today as an internal is really a dumbed-down hybrid (trampoline-style, internal/external amalgamation). I prefer a customizable pack with removable, shape-able stays.
I gave up my old Jansport D3 in 1978 and went to internal's that year (I never did care for Kelty packs, and found the Jansport's more comfortable). The one external today I'd consider is a Seek Outside for hauling truly heavy loads (over 65 lbs). I've found a full wrap-around hipbelt (with forward pull tightening) beats the typical "behind the lumbar" belt arrangement for truly heavy loads. Side pull tightening hipbelts are an antiquated joke, though a few makers haven't quite figured that out!
This question has been answered multiple times by now. Have you ever backpacked with either? If you don't trust the reasons that have been given, perhaps you could trust the experience of the members of this forum. Many or most of us grew up using external-frame packs. None of us are using them as our primary pack now. This is not because of fads or availability, it is because internal-frame packs serve our needs as backpackers far better. Your needs may well be different, so HYOH.
Man, that's what I love about hiking/backpacking: there's no right or wrong way to do it as along as you're respecting the environment and fellow hikers.
Want to go out with a bandaid and sippy cup for three weeks? Go for it. Want to carry 150 lbs with an electric stand mixer and full baking set up? Go crazy.
Ultimately, I'm about enjoying the environment and the hike itself, and I want to be as comfortable as possible with a few needed things that are lightweight. While I love researching and talking about gear, ultimately, I want to think as little about it as possible while I'm out on the trail. I want easy setup and use of gear and few points of failure. An external frame pack's benefits (primarily, versatility in carrying stuff) are the opposite of what I'm looking for (carrying few things compactedly).
My pack of choice is an Osprey Exos because it serves virtually every purpose I have for a backpack, was fairly inexpensive, and is extremely comfortable, especially hiking in the humid southeast.
But at the end of the day, it's HYOH. Look forward to hearing how that pack handles on your next trip!
I grew up using external frames, and Kelty still has a full range of externals. Good internal frame packs don't sway as much as externals because the weight is closer to your core. The advantage is that you're less likely to lose your balance carrying a large load. On steeper, rougher trails, where a fall can be somewhere between bad and catastrophic, that is pretty important. If you ever bushwhack, internals are less prone to hanging up on branches & scrub. Internal frame packs can save some weight, whereas most external frame packs are at least 5-6 pounds.
Externals are by and large better for ventilation, less 'back sweat. Also, most externals allow you to change the attachment point of the shoulder straps, whereas only some internals offer that. i like external frames for younger hikers for that reason, you can keep a child/teen on the same pack for more years. when i was guiding teens on weeklong trips in the Adirondacks, i had a few spare external frame packs available if they showed up with something deficient that was going to be hard to carry or hurt their back or shoulders.
There are hunting or military-oriented companies that offer what i consider hybrids - Kifaru and Mystery Ranch, for example, both offer frames (but not hard aluminum H frames) with separate bags or other carry options like a fold-out 'shelf.' these are premium products, heavy quite expensive, but a friend who hunts says they're the way to go if you carry extreme weight (60-70+ pounds) or hunt and pack out something large like elk.
As some have said, McHale is strictly custom. You would have to call, get a test pack, decide what works for you, and order. He'll do anything from small/ultralight to a massive load carrier, and you can choose your fabric - including dyneema/spectra, which saves weight and is incredibly durable. another premium product, and custom means patience, but if you figure you'll use it ten years or more, the cost evens out.
the mid-large backpack i use is a gregory baltoro, and the large (for trips a week or more or winter) is what mystery ranch used to call the G6000 but now calls the T100. They're both internal frame packs, I have used both for a long time and like them a lot. The mesh pocket on one side of the Gregory has some rodent damage, which is annoying.