How to Compare Internal Frame Backpacks

How to Compare Internal Frame BackpacksA frame backpack is an integral part of any camper's equipment, enabling you to carry more than you could otherwise in comfort. However, with the large number of internal frame backpacks available on the market, finding and selecting the best one for you can be a bit of a challenge. Where and when you will be hiking play a part in the pack you choose, but the most important factors may be the length of your anticipated backpacking trips and the comfort and fit of the pack you choose.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure
Step 1
Look at capacity. Based on the amount of gear you plan to carry when you camp, you should be able to easily narrow the field of potential packs. Approximately 3,000 cubic inches is standard for a midsize pack that is appropriate for three-day or weekend trips or even for a weeklong trip if you pack lightly. Expedition-style backpacks can reach capacities of up to 7,000 cubic inches, which are far too big for most campers but ideal for guides and those hiking for long periods.
Step 2
Measure yourself. Take a moment with a tape measure to determine your waist and hip measurements, the height of your torso from hips to shoulders and the width of your shoulders. These measurements will allow you to quickly look at the dimensions of potential frame packs and decide which will and will not fit your body.
Step 3
Look at bells and whistles. The basic package for any internal frame pack consists of the shoulders straps, the waist belt and the bag itself, which may be one or two large pouches. Everything else is an extra. If you tend to need access to many things while camping, look for a pack that has numerous exterior pockets. A built-in hydration system is common in many modern frame packs as well. If you do not plan to use it, it will only get in the way.
Step 4
Look at price tags. The bottom line of your selection may come down to cost. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on a high-quality frame pack. The lighter the frame is, the more high-tech the materials involved and thus the higher the price. If you can live with a pack that weighs 1 pound more than another option, you may be able to save as much as $100.
Step 5
Try it out. The best way to determine which pack is best for you is simply to try it on. Bring some items from home or ask to use some from the store where you are shopping. Some outdoor supply stores let you try out equipment in the field for a moderate fee, and if you have two contenders and are unable to choose between them, such a strategy is highly recommended.

Article Written By Beau Prichard

Beau Prichard has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He specializes in fiction, travel and writing coaching. He has traveled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico and Australia. Prichard grew up in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from George Fox University.

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