backpack preferences

Backpacks, Daypacks, Hydration Packs, etc...

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Paintninaz
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backpack preferences

Post by Paintninaz » May 23 2002 9:29 am

Internal or External frames? Which do you prefer and why?

:?:
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slayte
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Post by slayte » May 23 2002 10:46 am

I own both. I primarily use my external frame pack. My internal is a little more comfortable and balances better when scrambling. However, I can just plain mule more stuff with my external pack. It also seems to distribute weight to my hips better, and the frame keeps the actual pack off of my back, so my back doesn't get hot.

You will probably find lots of religiously strong opinions on this matter, many of which will differ from mine.

Ed

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Randy
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backpack preference

Post by Randy » May 23 2002 10:55 am

Tracy:

The quick answer is: Both....

Each has its drawbacks and benefits. External frames can carry large heavy loads a bit better, and they are much much cooler when hiking in warm country. They tend to ride further away from your back and permit more ventilation in warm climates. People hiking in Montana rarely value this point, but in Az, it's worth something. Let's say you are going to circumnavigate Navajo Mountain up near the Utah border, climb up to War God Spring near the 10k summit, and then drop down to Rainbow Bridge where a boat filled with cold guacamole and mexican beer will be waiting for you. Daily highs will be about 85, and you will need to pack about 8 liters of water plus all your other gear. An external frame is probably the ticket.

Or, you are planning to hike down the Canyon in March on the Bouchet (sp?) trail which is about 30" wide thru the redwall, with sheer dropoffs on the right. The winds will be gusting to 30mph, and temperatures will climb to the mid 50s. There is water enroute, and at your destination. An external frame pack will act like a hang glider and you'll be worried that you may blow off the trail (DAMHIKT). Internal frame packs ride closer to the body, give you better balance off trail, and don't get hung up as much on tree limbs, and rocks. Climbing down Siphon Draw from the Flatiron in the dark with an external frame pack would not be fun, and the frame would end up somewhat worse for wear.

Internals may not carry extreme loads as well, and are more fussy in terms of packing and weight balance. You can load an external frame with a shovel and get away with it. Hiking thru slot canyons or off trail in heavy forests makes one admire how elk can run through trees with those big antlers...Internals are also quieter, since they don't have the mechanical pin mounts which can squeek annoyingly with externals.

I have both, and pick the best pack for the trip. The recent Supai trek required my Dana Loadmaster since I became the extra pack mule for our crowd (come to think of it the mule got paid.....) and carried 78 pounds down.

You have a short torso (but it is a very nice short torso....don't get sensitive... :wink: ), and will need to be fitted carefully to assure that a pack properly fits you and doesn't leave the shoulder straps 3 inches high when the hip belt is fastened.

You should fit a pack loaded (the pack, not you....) so take lots of full water bottles, a sleeping bag and a sack full of heavy gear so you can really see how it feels with a full load rather than empty (they all feel great empty). Dana Design (the Rolls Royce of externals...) and Kelty make very good external frame packs. For internals, the high end lines include Dana Design, Osprey, Arc'Teryx, Gregory, and North Face. I'm not sure who is making the internal frame REI models, I think Camp Trails or Kelty makes their externals. The Kelty internals are ok too. I think some of the current REi models are butt ugly aesthetically, but not everyone gets hung up on color coordinated ensembles like I do.

Its hard to pick one model that covers all situations from overnight boulder scrambling to thru hikes on the PCT.

Now, if they could only figure out how to get them to follow you on a leash, :roll: -Randy

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Lizard
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Post by Lizard » May 23 2002 11:45 am

Randy has provided an excellent summary. If you have the money and inclination, get both kinds of packs, preferably in different capacities for different length trips. However, if you only hike often enough to justify getting one single pack for all purposes, then I would recommend getting an internal frame pack. Internal frames are simply more flexible. An external frame is primarily suited to on-trail hikes. I would not want to use an E-frame on an off-trail snowshoeing trip, nor on a slot canyon hike. An internal frame would work better for either of those trips, and it would also work on a regular on-trail trip without too much trouble. I-frames are simply more adaptable to a multitude of purposes. I would only buy an external frame if the only type of hiking you see yourself doing is trips that stay on well-marked trails.

Chris
"Of course we weren't lost. We were merely where we shouldn't have been, without knowing exactly where that was."

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olesma
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Randy is the man

Post by olesma » May 23 2002 3:08 pm

Randy did such a good job of summing up some of the strengths and weaknesses of the two types of packs - well done. Very nice.

I will second some of his suggestions:

- When you select a backpack - go with what feels best for you. Don't let anyone (salesman, friend, whatever) push a pack on you because they like it. Backpacks are like shoes - what works for one person will not be the best for another person.

- Take some stuff in a duffle back to load the pack up with (typical items you will pack in) - DO NOT rely on the feel of the sandbags and stuff that most stores usually carry. Sandbags are a very poor substitute of how a real load feels with all the lumps and such - plus sandbags shift around and don't carry the same way solid loads do.

- Don't be affraid to ask for a different sales person when you go to try them on. Take your time and do it right. By and large REI has good people that are willing to spend some time with you and they generally know what they are talking about - but if you feel that they aren't giving you the attention you want or deserve, get someone else or go another day.

Remember that the two most important pieces of equipment you can buy are your shoes and your backpack. They are what will make or break any good outing. Don't be afraid to spend the extra time (and likely a little extra money) for the pack that is right for you.
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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CindyC
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Packs?

Post by CindyC » May 23 2002 3:59 pm

My first backpack at 14 was an external. Once I wore that one out I bought an internal. External's do carry more and are cooler but I have found that since I can't "afford both" I will stick to an internal. I do most of my backpacking in canyons and appreciate that "at one" feeling an internal provides. 8) Cindy

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Nighthiker
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Post by Nighthiker » May 23 2002 5:54 pm

Very good summary Randy. I utilize several different pack combinations depending on trail conditions (terrain, length, expected duration etc.) and I utilize two different sizes of frame less packs, two different sizes of external frames and two different sizes of waist packs and I may include using a shoulder bag.

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Randy
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big garages

Post by Randy » May 23 2002 11:59 pm

Sounds like some of you belong to the same new-gear-of-the-month-club that I do....That's what big garages are for. Good sales people are very helpful. As Glen will attest, Summit Hut has great people but it's a drive for us up here in Phx. I think my next pack will be a llama, or a sherpa :lol: -R

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evenstarx3
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Re: big garages

Post by evenstarx3 » May 24 2002 6:55 am

Randy wrote: I think my next pack will be a llama, or a sherpa :lol: -R
Don't need a LLama or Sherpa if you have GTG handy....just load him up and aim him in the right direction :lol: :lol:
Hooli, aka Trihairopelli
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http://www.arizonahikers.com/
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I don't believe that. How many of your friends have you neutered?"
--Larry Reeb

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olesma
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where can I get one?

Post by olesma » May 24 2002 9:58 am

Hey! I'd like to have one of them there GTG's! Where can I buy one?

(I'd like one that is fairly new, in good condition with not too many miles on the odometer...)
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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Snick33
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To Each His Own

Post by Snick33 » May 24 2002 10:40 am

Two years ago on the Peralta trail I passed a guy with a external frame backpack, but he carried his tent and sleeping bag strapped across his stomach. I had to ask; his response was that it kinda balanced things out.

:?:
Mother nature seems to like humans, and not just because they taste like chicken

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evenstarx3
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Re: where can I get one?

Post by evenstarx3 » May 24 2002 10:52 am

olesma wrote:Hey! I'd like to have one of them there GTG's! Where can I buy one?

(I'd like one that is fairly new, in good condition with not too many miles on the odometer...)
I'll check with Linda and see how much she wants for him! :lol:
Hooli, aka Trihairopelli
http://members.tripod.com/~evenstar/
http://www.arizonahikers.com/
"They say the dog is man's best friend.
I don't believe that. How many of your friends have you neutered?"
--Larry Reeb

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Randy
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tent in front

Post by Randy » May 24 2002 10:53 am

Snick, that WAS my stomach....I just use that tent line to explain the "milwaukee tumor".... :wink: -R

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Snick33
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Post by Snick33 » May 24 2002 10:54 am

I thought you looked familar.
Mother nature seems to like humans, and not just because they taste like chicken

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jeremy77777
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Post by jeremy77777 » May 25 2002 8:25 pm

When rock hoping, Internal is always better. The first few times I hiked West Clear Creek I had an External. Then I have hiked it four times since I got an Internal and WOW what a difference. Always remember, Just because you have 7000 cubic inches doesn't mean you should fill it! :D
Oh Be Wise, Need I Say More?
- Jeremy

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