Internal vs. External Frame Backpacks

    Hi, Dave.

    I am going backpacking through Spain and Morocco and I am confused about all the different backpacks. Is it better to have an external vs. internal frame? What are all the straps for?

    Thanks in advance.


    Dave says:

    If I were traveling abroad, I’d probably pick an internal frame pack. An internal frame pack is easier to manuever in and out of vehicles and crowds than an external frame.

    If you are doing off trail hiking, like mountaineering, the internal frame is more versatile on steep mountainsides and while climbing.

    An external frame is more comfortable, on the open trail since it carries the weight higher over your shoulders and allows ventilation better to the back than an internal frame pack.


    The straps serve several purposes: some adjust the comfort of the pack to fit you, and some are for tying things on, like a sleeping pad or tent; some tighten the load so it doesn’t shift.

    If you are checking the pack in as baggage, you might consider putting it in a travel bag or big duffel bag to keep the straps from catching on things.

    Happy traveling!

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