Why I keep the external

I get a lot of looks of awe and astonishment whenever I come hobbling along the trail with my Adventure16 external hip hugger external2backpack.; some sort of remnant artifact left over from an era of archaic travelers. The external frame backpacks are being replaced by internal frame backpacks.

In my first years as a Poway Backpacker, I remember being wowed by Scott Rinehart’s old external frame Adventure16 backpack. By sheer chance, I came across an almost identical Adventure16 backpack at an army surplus outlet on Big Bear Mountain. The nice gentleman running the shop clearly had no idea that there was a diamond in the rough. I purchased the pack for $5 and have brought it with me for more than ten years now!

People ask me all the time, “Why not get yourself a nice internal frame backpack?”

It comes down to one thing for me, organization. I find that the compartmentalization of the older external frames is far superior to that of the newer internal frames. Ask me if you can borrow something from my pack, and I can guide you to exactly where it is. Ask my good friend Jane if you can borrow her trowel and you will be greeted with a sigh and a ,”Oh noooo, I just packed my backpack.”

jane explo
Jane finds the struggle to be very real on her first day on the trail with her new internal frame backpack

The Internal frame structure is essentially just a very big empty bag that you are left to cram your life into. Inside the compartmentalized external frame backpacks, I have a spot for socks, underwear, and swim gear, another compartment for the cook kit, and a final compartment that stores my toiletries. You get the idea!

I am not saying you shouldn’t get an internal frame backpack; in fact, they are generally lighter weight and substantially more comfortable. I am just stating that if you are like me, and need everything in your life to be organized, then the external frame Kelty backpack might be the right choice for you. I am sure I will get an internal frame backpack eventually, but for now I prefer the satisfaction I get from seeing the bewildered looks on people’s faces as I come tromping by with my massive pack.

Don’t let the backpack explosion happen to you!

jane explo2


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