External frame backpacks have been substantially used by climbers, hikers and campers because of their brilliant design and utility. However, these are getting rarer to spot as sleeker and innovative internal frame bags have moved into the market.

External Frame Packs

These are good for lashing on gear that is bulky, making them a preferred choice among hunters and crews. Their visible frame element is their identity. They serve you best when you take them on well-maintained and well-graded trails.

Internal Frame Packs

These are better in terms of their structural flexibility. Much sleeker design is form-fitting, holding the weight closer to the body. This makes them way more stable than the external frame backpacks.  You can take them on rugged trails or an off trail path. The slim design makes them less likely to bang into branches or get stuck in a brush or rock face.

Here are five general differences that these frame packs have between each other:

Storage Capacity – Though both are available in same storage capacities of 60 litres, the external frame bags feature exposed frame pieces that can be used to lash heavy and bulky items whereas an Internal frame backpacks feature lash patches that you can use to attach extra gear e.g a sleeping bag.

Weight Distribution and Support – The external frame backpacks transfer the weight to the hips and back in a way that the upright position is maintained while walking. However, this walking position makes you slower, which is a hindrance in case you need to move quickly. In case of the internal frame backpacks, their design makes them stick closer to the body, thus creating more stability and ease of carry the load, even on difficult terrains. Most internal frame backpacks have suspension systems that help transfer the weight to the hip effectively. Their advanced dynamics allow you to easily twist and turn without losing balance.

Organization of Items – External backpacks are typically designed with plenty of side pockets that are really helpful when there is a lot smaller gear which you don’t know where to keep. The main compartment access is also from the top. The internals, however, are available in a variety of options, from ultra-light with few pockets to the deluxe with plenty of pockets; these backpacks have something to offer for every travelling condition. The main compartment access also varies with each type of internal frame backpack. Some have front or a top panel and other have side zipped panels.

Cooling Mechanisms – One of the most necessary comfort features is each backpack have a different set of cooling mechanism. The externals have a large space between the pack bag and the frame which allows the air to flow across the back. For better ventilation, internal backpacks have air channels that help keep your back cool. Also, the suspended mesh panels on the back give breathability to the fabric.

Cost Effectiveness – It is no more a concern for an average camper, hiker or trekker as both these backpacks can be bought at a bargain price. Though, the internals are getting much more popular because of the comfort and design. In the initial years of internal frame backpacks, the cost was way low in comparison to the externals. But with the advancement in technology and design, these have become the super techy and pricey backpacks. This does not mean that there is no good quality backpack available in the market at an affordable price.