Traveling sometimes requires some serious luggage. And I don’t mean that you take a lot of useless things with you. But maybe your trip is extended, or you go backpacking through an entire continent, who knows? Suitcases and duffle bags are not always a great idea because of the way you have to handle them. You need to carry them or drag them along. That is why I believe there is a better solution for packing: the internal frame backpack.
If you are a traveler, then you are very familiar with searching for the best option when it comes to luggage. It is a very important aspect because you need to carry a lot of stuff, but at the same time, you want to be comfortable and not overwhelmed with weight. It’s entirely understandable, and finding the balance between practicality and comfort is not an easy task. However, I think that an internal frame backpack does a pretty good job.
The advantages of an internal frame backpack
Since I like the idea of an internal frame backpack, and I saw the difference between several types of luggage, I find that this one has the best benefits. Once you try it, you will only have good things to say about it. But for that to happen, you need to make sure that you choose the right one. Otherwise, you will have a bad experience.
- ü It has a closer fit – that means it will be perfectly stable on your back. It will not budge. For you, that is a very good thing because you will feel more balanced. When you go hiking, the last thing you need is a backpack to unbalance you. Rugged terrain is tricky as it is, do you really need an unsteady bag on your back? Not really. You will feel it closer to your body, and you will feel more confident in overpassing all kinds of obstacles in your way.
- ü It usually has thicker shoulder straps – when I say this, I am referring to some of the best models. Thicker shoulder straps mean more comfort, and you will be able to carry the weight for longer, without feeling the straps going through your flesh. It is okay for people who carry the bag for a little while not to worry about the thickness of the shoulder straps, but individuals who go hiking or trekking…let’s just say that they care a lot.
- ü Better internal storage – the habit is to strap everything that doesn’t go in the bag to the outside of your backpack, right? A lot of people do that, and it’s okay, I guess. However, depending on the places where you are going, some of the things you have strapped to the bag are somewhat ‘hookable.’ I don’t even know if that is a word, but it describes the situation perfectly. The items in question get snagged by tree branches or bushes, which can be very inconvenient at times. A better internal storage means less stuff snagged in the woods.
- ü Better mobility – one of the things that I like the most about an internal frame backpack is that you can move with more ease. That is because the design is more compact than with the external frame counterpart, for example. If you go on a trail, moving around will be comfortable, and even your hands will enjoy a better movement.
Just like any other thing in this world, an internal frame backpack comes with a few drawbacks as well. Honestly, I am not so keen on calling them drawbacks because they are minor kinks that go away once you invest in a high-quality bag. However, for the sake of full disclosure, here are the things that some people may find inconvenient.
- ü Internal frame backpacks are more expensive than the frameless counterparts – it’s indeed true, but I still find them affordable. After all, that thing is going to keep all your stuff while you travel. You need it to be high-quality, right? And quality costs.
- ü They are heavier than the frameless bags – not all, though. If you look for the best internal frame backpack, which has an aluminum frame, you will see that the difference is not that big.
- ü There is a ventilation issue – this one is as accurate as it gets. Being so close to your back, it is kind of hard for the air to go in. However, some models come with airflow channels. So go for those.
Things to consider when looking for the best internal frame backpack
There are a few things you should consider buying an internal frame backpack. Making a random purchase can be wrong for multiple reasons, which is why you need to do a little research. Here are the things you should look at.
- ü Adjustability – not all people are the same size. That means the straps need to be adjustable. For you to enjoy as much comfort aspossible, you need to be able to fully adjust the torso and waist belt. Not only it will be easier on your back, but you won’t feel the weight of the bag as heavy.
- ü Water-resistant material – taking into consideration that the weather will not always be sunny, you need to protect the items inside the bag. The only way to do that is to purchase a waterproof internal frame backpack. Or, you can go for one that has a hiddenrainfly. Just take it out from its little pouch when it’s raining, and all of your items should be protected enough.
- ü Back ventilation – as I mentioned above, the problem with internal frame backpacks is that they are positioned very tightly to your back, which may cause you to sweat. Being dry is one of the most important things when you go hiking. That is why you need a backpack that has a back panel with airflow channels. They will keep your back ventilated, so your back will be dry. Simple as that.
- ü Side pockets – the more, the merrier. The whole point of a backpack is to carry all of your things in one bag. There are plenty of items you will be taking with you. You can put the bigger items in the main compartment, and the smaller things in the side pockets. It’s more convenient that way, and you can put the items you need more often within easier reach.
What are the best internal frame backpacks?
People always ask that question, but it’s not the most reasonable thing they can ask. Nobody has ever tried all the products on the market to tell you which one is the best. However, the closest thing you can get is reviews. People who already bought a particular product are the most qualified to tell you if that product is as advertised or not. With that in mind, here are three products that enjoy popularity these days.
Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
This backpack must be one of the best internal frame backpacks I have ever see. I say that because this is the one I currently own. It is very sturdy, the material is more than durable, and the lightweight makes you think that there isn’t a frame somewhere in there. The frame is made of aluminum, and it feels very comfortable on your back. It weighs only 4.5 pounds.
The Scout 3400 is the ideal choice for beginners. It’s perfect for light backpacking trips. You won’t be able to go on a 10-day hike, but the bag should fit everything you need for 3 or 4 days. That is because the capacity is just 3400 cubic inches or 55 liters. Even so, the bag is spacious enough. It has a large sleeping bag compartment, and multiple compartments and side pockets for strategic packing.
As far as the comfort goes, the Teton backpack is entirely adjustable to fit a vast variety of body shapes and sizes. The straps are very comfortable, and the waist belt is an open-cell foam lumbar pad. The channels on the back panel will allow for the air to circulate, which will keep your back dry during your hike. If it’s cold outside, that featureis more than welcome. Just in case you get caught by rain, there is a hidden rainfly at the top of the backpack that can cover the entire bag. No drop of water will get inside. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Wasing 55L Internal Frame Backpack
The Wasing model seems to be just as high-quality as the first backpack I presented. It is made of highly durable materials that will resist almost anything. The water-resistantripstop polyester will protect all of your items inside the bag. The sturdiness and the durability of the model are very appreciated by people who already bought the product, and it has gained quite the popularity since its release.
Just as the title suggest, this backpack has a capacity of 55 liters but is has plenty of space for everything you need for a 4-day trip. It has a bottom compartment that has zippered access and comes with a zippered divider, just in case you have a certain strategy for packing. There are plenty of side pockets as well, and the shoulder straps come with D-rings for linking different items. The point is that space will not be an issue.
The model enjoys full adjustability. Even the aluminum frame bar can be adjusted to fit the shape of your back perfectly. The back panel is made of molded foam, and there are airflow channels that will allow your back to breathe. A dry back in cold weather is something you want at all times, which is why the manufacturer thought of that and designed the bag accordingly. You can find the Wasing model in a variety of colors. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Mountaintop Water-resistant Internal Frame Backpack
The Mountaintop model is designed for more experienced hikers and travelers. I say that because it has a 70-liter capacity, which is usually meant for longer hikes. I must admit that I find myself craving for this backpack, and it’s definitely on my wishlist. Just by looking at it I can tell that it’s a lot more comfortable than the bag I have now.
The ripstop polyester makes this model water-resistant. Water will simply slide even before having the chance to penetrate the surface. The overall construction is durable. All the accessories (zippers and belts) are made by YKK, which is a renowned brand for its zippers. Chances are thatthematerial will give in way ahead of the zippers. And that is not going to happen anytime soon.
The bag is very spacious. As I said, it has a capacity of 70 liters, but if you struggle a bit, you can add 10 more. All the access is zippered, including the side pockets. The backpack has 10 compression straps that will allow you to hang your sleeping bag, tent, hammock, or anything else you may want to hang. If you don’t use them, you can simply tie them up to hold the bag together, just in case you overpacked. The Mountaintop internal frame backpack is fully adjustable and very comfortable. All the straps are heavily padded, including the back panel and the lumbar straps. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I am satisfied with the backpack I currently own. However, I feel as if I need to evolve to a better version. For me, one of the best internal frame backpacks is the Mountaintop. It has all the right features, it seems more comfortable than anything I have ever seen, and it has the perfect quality-price ratio.
I know that traveling and hiking gear is expensive at times, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is to keep looking until you find the thing you want. As far as bags are concerned, the internal frame backpack represents a fantastic alternative to frameless packs. You can choose whichever product you want. Just make sure you pick one of the three products I described above. Their quality is guaranteed by thousands of satisfied customers. Click here to buy on Amazon
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