Internal Frame Backpacks

10 Best Internal Frame Backpacks in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

You learn the value of a good backpack while you’re traveling and exploring. And if you’re traveling for longer periods of time, your backpacks are typically full and hard. How will you do after all without the first pair of trousers you have to carry? This is why you need the best internal frame backpacks if you’re going to travel or hike for a week or more. It is easier to be equipped for the wilderness than to wander in the center of nowhere and to catch wishful thought. Those backpacks, given the weight, are designed to be sturdy and protect your back. And they come with loads of or pockets where you can store your stuff well.

Hiking and camping took the top spot as the ultimate thrill for people from all over the country. The unique vision of seeing nature in its natural environment tends to excite people who enjoy exciting journeys. The option of a correct backpack is something that is still in the minds of a beginner as well as an experienced hiker/camper. The right backpack might just as easily overwhelm your travel or ruin it for good. Choosing the best internal frame backpack for outdoor activities is certainly a very essential activity. This important investment is your belongings out there in the wilderness, where you can have fun with limited supplies.

In a Hurry? The test winners after 12 hrs of research

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack – Premium Pick

Why is it better?

  • The zippers and straps are strong and hold up well to its heavy load
  • Extra straps to hold down a sleeping pad and tent
  • The pack has lots of storage and is fairly light
  • Included rain cover does an amazing job

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Backpack

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Backpack – Best Value

Why is it better?

  • The padding on the shoulder and waist straps is thick
  • There is a zippered pocket on each side of the waist strap
  • A zippered opening at the bottom of the main compartment allows you to access items from the bottom
  • Eight pockets of varying sizes

Best Internal Frame Backpacks – Overview

Back in the 1990s, internal frame backpacks became common because they are incredibly light to wear, and far more convenient than their predecessors. An internal backpack frame is usually constructed of aluminum, titanium, or durable strong plastic. Since they are lightweight, compact, and comfortable, internal frame backpacks have certain benefits over external frame backpacks. External frame backpacks, though, do have their applications today too. They are still the backpack industry’s powerhouse.

Internal Frame Backpacks Reviews

1. TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack – Premium Pick

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack

Incredible views and remote trails are just some of the rewards you’ll enjoy when you’re backpacking in the wilderness. And because backpacking can push you to your limits, you need a backpack that can keep up with you and your latest adventure. The TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack is a high-quality backpack that is loaded with features like a sleeping bag compartment, compression straps, and multiple compartments and pockets for strategic packing.

Comfort features include a padded back panel that is channeled for optimal airflow, padded lumbar and waist and shoulder straps that help carry the load. Adjust the torso, waist, chest, and shoulders to fit men, women, and youth. The Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack was designed with you in mind. But don’t take our word for it—read the reviews! The Explorer 4000 is helping thousands of backpackers enjoy The Great Outdoors. Our handy guide to the best lightweight hiking backpacks features more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Pass-through side pockets
  • Fully adjustable
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Integrated rainfly

Specifications:

  • Brand: TETON Sports
  • Capacity: 65L
  • Dimensions: 32″ H x 18″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 5 lbs
Pros
  • The zippers and straps are strong and hold up well to its heavy load
  • Extra straps to hold down a sleeping pad and tent
  • The pack has lots of storage and is fairly light
  • Included rain cover does an amazing job
Cons
  • No waist/hip belt pockets for easy access to snacks/camera

2. HAWK GEAR Internal Frame Backpack

HAWK GEAR Internal Frame Backpack

The HAWK GEAR Internal Frame Backpack continues to be a top-selling internal frame backpack on Amazon Japan at a great price for all the included features. Aluminum internal frames support the pack and distribute the weight of its contents across the body more appropriately, by transferring much of the weight to the hips and legs. Multi-position torso 7-step adjustment fits a wide range of body sizes for men, women, youth.

The padded back panel is channeled for maximum airflow and padded shoulder straps are adjustable for your size and load. There is a divider between the sleeping bag compartment(at the bottom) and the main compartment at the top. You can access the main compartment from the bottom if needed. An extension collar with two drawstrings on the top can expand the pack and increase the main compartment capacity by 5 liters. Rainfly is sewn-in and can be tucked away when it is not needed. Love backpacks? Check out our review of the best expedition backpacks for our top picks.

Key Features:

  • Multi-position torso 7-step adjustment
  • Padded back panel
  • Zippered front pocket includes an organizer 
  • Bungee code for your jacket or other items

Specifications:

  • Brand: World Sports Online
  • Capacity: 80L
  • Dimensions: 31.5″ H x 18.9″ W x 15.7″ D
  • Weight: 5.27 lbs
Pros
  • There are belts on the chest and waist
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Can be expanded if you need more space
  • Materials are very rugged and heavy-duty
Cons
  • Even if you squeeze the drawstring, you can squeeze only half

3. High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Backpack – Best Value

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Backpack

This High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Backpack is made with 500 x 500-denier waffle ripstop Duralite fabric combined with a durable 900-Denier Duralite, water-resistant Tech-Weave to help keep gear dry. This 40L hiking backpack is designed for comfort and ease of carrying; shoulder straps are adjustable to fit your height; non-slip shoulder pads disburse weight more evenly on your shoulder.

Features deep zipper access to large main compartment; includes a large front zippered pocket with internal organizer and stretch mesh exterior pockets. Stay hydrated by keeping your drink close at hand with a mesh beverage pocket. This hiking backpack also includes a daisy chain and adjustable trekking pole loops

Key Features:

  • Large front zippered pocket with internal organizer
  • Padded air mesh back panel with an internal frame
  • Daisy chain and adjustable trekking pole loops
  • Bottom compression strap sleeping pad attachment

Specifications:

  • Brand: High Sierra
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 23″ H x 12.5″ W x 9″ D
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs
Pros
  • The padding on the shoulder and waist straps is thick
  • There is a zippered pocket on each side of the waist strap
  • A zippered opening at the bottom of the main compartment allows you to access items from the bottom
  • Eight pockets of varying sizes
Cons
  • No hooks on the shoulder straps

4. AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly

Gear up for your next great outdoor adventure with the AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly. Ideal for hiking and camping, the backpack provides a durable design for reliable performance, and it offers loads of space for all those must-have essentials. Best of all, it ensures a comfortable fit that will help inspire you further along the trail and onto that next beautiful vista.

Designed for a variety of body sizes, the backpack provides a secure, fully adjustable fit around the torso, an adjustable waist belt, and adjustable straps at the shoulders for upper-load balance and support. An open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels offer important lower-back support and promote increased airflow, while thick padded shoulder straps make even heavier loads comfortable to carry. Extensive pockets and roomy compartments help keep stored items organized and easy to find. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best budget hiking backpacks.

Key Features:

  • Multi-directional compression straps
  • Adjustable straps for a secure fit
  • Lumbar support for added comfort
  • Thick padded shoulder straps
  • Integrated water-resistant rainfly

Specifications:

  • Brand: AmazonBasics
  • Capacity: 65L
  • Dimensions: 32″ H x 15.5″ W x 7″ D
  • Weight: 5.11 lbs
Pros
  • Many thoughtful pockets
  • Nice padding on the shoulder and waist straps
  • Good material and build quality
  • Many buckles and straps for securing additional items external to the backpack, such as a tent, sleeping pad, and camping stove
Cons
  • No small pockets on the padded waist strap for small items such as keys, pocket knives or energy bar

5. MOUNTAINTOP 55L/65L Internal Frame Backpack

MOUNTAINTOP 55L/65L Internal Frame Backpack

For multiple-day camping trips, you’ll want the largest packs, those that allow a capacity of 50 or more liters. The MOUNTAINTOP 55L/65L Internal Frame Backpack is one good example of this backpack. There is a divider between the sleeping bag compartment (at the bottom) and the main compartment at the top. You can open this divider to make one large pack. You can access the main compartment from the bottom if needed.

The rain cover, which is located in a separate compartment, is so large that it fits easily over the packed backpack. Hydration access on a side of the pack with water bladder sleeve in the main compartment. 2 hooks in the main compartment can hang your keys or a hydration bladder. Padded and breathable mesh back panel and shoulder straps offer cushioned comfort

Key Features:

  • Aluminum rod backpacking system
  • Weight adjustment straps
  • Air diversion structure
  • Breathable sponge padding
  • Adjustable waist belt

Specifications:

  • Brand: MOUNTAINTOP 
  • Capacity: 55L
  • Dimensions: 28.3″ H x 11.8″ W x 8.3″ D
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
Pros
  • No space is wasted, pockets and straps are everywhere
  • Fits fat people and skinny people
  • The sides have a few small tiny areas for storing a flashlight, matches and a pocket knife
  • Fabric is good and seems durable for the price
Cons
  • Unless fully packed, the top pouch wants to slide down and leave the top of pack exposed

6. Kelty Coyote Internal Frame Backpack

Kelty Coyote Internal Frame Backpack

The Kelty Coyote Internal Frame Backpack is the flagship trekking pack from the bright minds over at Kelty. Fully featured and re-designed for 2020, the Coyote features an advanced perimeter frame for supreme stability on the trail. Kelty Signature wing pockets, two front zippered pockets, and large J-zip top-loading access to the main compartment. Daisy chains, water bottle pockets, and sleeping bag compartment keep everything tidy on the trail.

A thru hiker’s dream, the Coyote features the new Fit Pro technology, providing a quick and customized torso fit for each user. A fit pro can be adjusted on the fly with ease when shedding layers or passing off your pack. The Amp Flow ventilated back panel will keep you cool and dry on long jaunts in the wild. Make sure you also check our selection of the best hiking backpacks for women.

Key Features:

  • Top loading
  • Front panel access
  • Pass-through behind zippered pockets
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Hex mesh back panel

Specifications:

  • Brand: Kelty Coyote
  • Capacity: 85L
  • Dimensions: 32″ H x 19″ W x 13″ D
  • Weight: 4.87 lbs
Pros
  • Amount of pockets is great
  • Great pack overall for evenly distribution of weight
  • The frame and the straps help to keep it where it needs to be while properly supporting the back
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • It’s waterproofing is not that great

7. Osprey Exos Internal Frame Backpack

Osprey Exos Internal Frame Backpack

Osprey Exos Internal Frame Backpack is a lightweight pack with outstanding ventilation, strippable features, and comfort in spades. The Exos provides backpackers with an unbeatable combination of comfort, ventilation, function in a lightweight package. It works great for weekend trips and depending on your packing style can go way further.

The incredibly comfortable Exoform harness and AirSpeed ventilated suspension combine with trail-friendly features like Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole carry. Tensioned backpanel keeps the weight in the pack off your back, enabling highly ventilated carrying comfort. It’s designed in conjunction with a 4mm Lightwire alloy frame for carrying ability. Ultralight doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable, and the Exos proves this

Key Features:

  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets
  • Front stretch mesh pocket
  • Top lid web loop attachment points
  • Ice axe attachment with bungee tie-off

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 48L
  • Dimensions: 28″ H x 17″ W x 5″ D
  • Weight: 2.57 lbs
Pros
  • The Osprey suspension system really does keep the pack off your back
  • Utility pouches on the waist belt
  • Very comfortable
  • Lots of pockets
Cons
  • There are big open pockets along the side that would benefit from zippers

8. Granite Gear Blaze 60L Internal Frame Backpack

Granite Gear Blaze 60L Internal Frame Backpack

The Granite Gear Blaze 60L Internal Frame Backpack is built to go the distance, comfortably, and tailored to you. The A.C. frame lets you lock in your fit precisely to your torso size. The frame, in combination with the patent-pending fully adjustable Re-Fit hip belt and the molded foam back panel, lets the pack comfortably carry up to 50 lbs. The custom fabric is an innovative technology that makes this Granite Gear’s most durable pack to date.

In the high-impact and high-abrasion areas, they’re using a Granite Gear exclusive 210D Robic nylon UHMWPE triple ripstop. The lid, which is fully removable to cut grams, can be converted to an optional chest pack to carry on your front to keep even more contents at the ready. A tall vertical hidden zipper now allows you to access the main compartment quickly, especially to get to those contents at bottom of the pack. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best thru-hiking backpacks.

Key Features:

  • Dual-density shoulder harness
  • Cinch-and-roll closure with crossing webbing straps
  • Removable lid compartment with DWR treated zipper
  • Hydration port & internal hydration sleeve

Specifications:

  • Brand: Granite Gear
  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 25″ H x 14″ W x 6″ D
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
Pros
  • The belt works well and is easily adjustable
  • The hip pockets are generous but not overly large
  • The backing of the pack keeps items from jabbing one in the back
  • The two side pockets and the mesh pocket on the bag are fine
Cons
  • Granite Gear’s lids have a small skirt that can be in the way depending on how high and tall one fills the bag

9. Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 Internal Frame Backpack

Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 Internal Frame Backpack

The foundation of any great trekking pack is in a great carry system. For Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 Internal Frame Backpack, this is achieved through a body contact philosophy where stability and effective energy transfer are optimized by bringing the weight of the pack close to the body and therefore close to the center of gravity of the wearer. This results in full control and an efficient carry of heavier loads. Making this carry system even more comfortable is the unique Aircontact cushions of open chamber foam that provides fantastic ventilation by pumping out hot moist air with every moment and maintaining a central chimney effect down the middle of the wearers back.

Designed to accommodate a wide range of wearers through simple adjustments. The Vari-Quick shoulder harness adjustment allows for each pack to fit a range of torso lengths from 15-21 inches while advanced ergonomics create a unique fit for each individual through the pivoting S-shaped shoulder straps and the dual-density foam comfort-lock hip belt.

Key Features:

  • Dual stretch mesh zippered pockets on the hip belt
  • Extendable 10L pack collar for optional volume expansion
  • Accessory loops for gear or helmet holder attachment
  • Ice tool and hiking pole attachment loops
  • Side compression straps for regulating pack volume
  • Stretch side water bottle pockets

Specifications:

  • Brand: Deuter
  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 31.5″ H x 11.8″ W x 10.2″ D
  • Weight: 6.58 lbs
Pros
  • The straps are all adjustable
  • The bag also looked great and high quality
  • Lots of room
  • Separate compartment at top (which is also removable) and a separate compartment for your tent
Cons
  • No water hose loop on the right side

10. NEVO RHINO Hiking Internal Frame Backpack

NEVO RHINO Hiking Internal Frame Backpack

The NEVO RHINO Hiking Internal Frame Backpack is made of durable waterproof Nylon material, lightweight and enough space are suitable for 2 to 3 days of backpacking, hiking, or camping. Equipped with a sleeping bag compartment at the bottom which can neatly storage your outdoor sleeping gear or picnic mat. Easy to access at any time and occasions.

There are a pair of waist bags on the belt that can store mobile phones, keys, sunglasses, and other small items for easy access. It is made of flexible mesh material that can be adapted to different sizes of mobile phones. Designed with elastic hanging rope on the sides of the backpack. Feel free to hang your tent poles or trekking poles on the rope when not use them. The elastic mesh side pockets can hold umbrellas, kettles, etc. Easily satisfy your daily demand. You may also be interested in some of the best backpacking backpacks from our list, so check them out.

Key Features:

  • Hydration compartment
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Mesh side pockets
  • Elastic nylon rope
  • Two way lockable zipper

Specifications:

  • Brand: NEVO RHINO
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 20.47″ H x 12.59″ W x 10.24″ D
  • Weight: 2 lbs
Pros
  • Curved inner spine provides good ventilation
  • Enough pockets and extra gadgetry without going overboard
  • Emergency whistle included on the chest strap
  • Beautiful color
Cons
  • Side pockets are too far away for reaching

Buying Guide

Frame

You’ll want to search for a robust and lightweight frame. Remember if you’re having to carry a number of gears on your back, you don’t want the structure slowing you down. Look for products that are lightweight and robust, such as aluminum or alloy. However, the frame should also be designed to match your back curve – making for a more secure and supportive fit. X-frames are common because they have multidimensional suspension and improve stability.

Comfort

Although internal frame backpacks are deemed lighter than other alternatives for backpacks, there is always a possibility you’ll wear them on your back for long stretches. And you’re going to want decent protection on the straps or hip belts so you don’t feel early tiredness. Make sure that the straps are adjustable so that they are broad enough not to dig into the shoulders uncomfortably. So there should be flexible hip belts too. Likewise, it is important to have a backpack with a mesh system or ventilation channels, so that heat is not trapped between the pack and your back.

Size

First, will the backpack suit your physical form? A strong backpack with the internal frame will fit easily between your neck and hip bones. That shouldn’t be much bigger than your neck, in other terms. This should be remembered for taller adults, as most internal frame backpacks vary from 15 and 20 inches.

Materials

The material which is used to create the backpack can lead directly to the bag’s durability. You’re definitely not at all trying to purchase anything that can last only a single journey? Your money should be worth it, after all. And, since you’re using robust, high-quality products, these usually end up on the heavy side but trust us it’s worth it all in the long run.

Capacity

If you plan a day trip hiking then you won’t need the biggest internal frame backpack capabilities on the market. Anything lighter is going to be perfect. On the other side, a weekend camping trip or a long-term journey will need greater flexibility because you are expected to take more supplies with you. Daypacks (20 to 40 liters), Multi-Day Packs (40 to 80 liters), and Expedition Packs (80 + liters) are the three major capacity choices for internal frame backpacks. But remember all the internal or external pockets or added straps that offer you an improved ability to carry water bottles or other important items.

Frequently Ask Questions

What are internal frame backpacks?

Internal frame backpacks rest flat against your back, holding the total gravity core closer to its natural location.  Most internal frame pack designs feature one or two stays in aluminum — long, flat bars positioned within the pack against your back, providing rigidity and strength.

What is the difference between an internal and external frame backpack?

Many internal frame packs have one large compartment with a few zippered access points, while there are typically loads of smaller compartments in external frame packs that make organizing simpler. You can also conveniently mount extra gear to the frame-like a sleeping bag or fishing pole.

How do you pack an internal frame backpack?

Load your backpack for optimum protection so that the heaviest equipment is right next to your back and balanced within the pack. Medium weight gear should be transported to the top and out section of the pack and lightweight gear should be stored in the bottom like your sleeping bag.

Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best internal frame backpacks as well as our guide on features to look for in an internal frame backpack. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.