To be clear, “How to Pack an External Frame Backpack” are not very common for usual usage. But they have the heart of adventurers like campers, hikers. What’s the reason?

People love external frame backpacks as they generally come with more compartments, sections, and pockets.

Moreover, they have attached external straps to carry your extra gears outside the backpack. Stunningly, their larger load capacity is the main reason for their being so popular among commuters.

As the adventurers mostly need to carry lots of essential gear to make their living possible at their chosen place. So, they surely need more space to pack in items.

But the proper organization of gears is much more important than anything else. As no one would like to spend hours packing stuff again and again while searching for a single item.

That’s why you must know the nitty-gritty of packing the backpack. And if you’ve got an external frame backpack, you might be asking the question that “How to pack an external frame backpack?”

To be honest, it’s tricky to effectively pack an external frame backpack. But don’t worry, you’re going to learn everything in this step-by-step guide. Let’s have a look at How to Pack an External Frame Backpack with ease!

See Also: How to Wash Vera Bradley Backpack? 11 Helpful Steps!

What’s the Difference between Internal and External Frame Backpacks?

On the clear ground, both internal and external frame backpacks have their uses. They are differently designed for different purposes. Let’s discuss what’s the main difference between them.

How to Pack an External Frame Backpack

<.> Internal Frame

Design-wise, internal frame backpacks are more compact and they come with one or more aluminum stays. These aluminum stays are placed inside the pack right against your back to offer better support and rigidity.

The good is that you can adjust or reshape them to better suit your comfort level. And the compact size makes them easier to fit in the trunk or to take it as luggage for travel.

The good thing about them is that they have a bigger internal capacity which allows you to pack almost all gears inside. Moreover, they have adjustable straps to easily fit with the body size of users.

But the downside of internal frame backpacks is that they carry lower weight than the external frame design. And it won’t allow you to securely pack gears outside the backpacks. Plus, mostly they don’t have smaller additional pockets to organize your gears.

Above all, they are pricier than external frame backpacks.

<.> External Frame Backpack

The most significant feature of an external frame backpack is that they stay away from your torso which greatly helps in increasing the ventilation and reducing the sweat factor against your back.

Furthermore, the weight is positioned on the top to allow bearable load transfer to your lower body. Hence, they support upright walking posture. But the heavier top can shift around as you move.

On the other hand, you can’t easily adjust the straps on these backpacks and they are often compatible with the narrower range of height.

Furthermore, they are bulkier than internal frame designs, so don’t expect them convenient for car or plane travel.

The major selling point of these bags is the ability to securely attach lots of gears with the backpack without affecting access to the internal compartments.

So, you will have ample space to pack your sensitive gears inside. Moreover, it allows easy access to attached gears in an hour of need. But remember, your attached gears will be more prone to the external environment.

Above all, external frame backpacks are much affordable than internal frame ones.

Another good thing about them is the available multiple side pockets to sort and organize your smaller items that need quick access.

How to Pack an External Frame Backpack?

On the clear ground, the backing is the real game-changer for any trip. The way you pack things determines your comfort level throughout the travel.

As external frame backpacks are mostly used for camping, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. And your comfort level outdoor determines how much you are ready to enjoy your trip.

If you’re holding or planning to grab an external frame backpack, your next will be “How to pack an external frame backpack? Well, it’s somehow tricky to effectively pack in an externally designed bag. Just follow the below-mentioned steps to make your job easier.

Step#1: Enlist your all Gears

The very first thing you need to do is to make a checklist of all necessary items which you need to take to your adventure.

For this, you can take the help of your companions, family members or simply search it on the internet. You can consider taking the below-mentioned items in addition to your other necessities.

  • First aid kit for any emergency
  • Plastic bags or zipped lock waterproof bags
  • Bug repellent to overcome bug-related diseases
  • Pocket knife to cut food or other things
  • Whistle to call for help in an hour of need
  • Rain gear for comfy wet weather
  • Compass to use in no-internet areas
  • Map for safe travel
  • Nylon straps or extra cords to attach more things to your external frame backpack
  • Clean drinking water
  • Sleeping bag for comfortable night hours
  • Sunscreen for a better experience
  • Flashlight or torch to light up ways and things when needed
  • Lighter, matches, or fire striker
  • All your cooking gears
  • Things for personal use, like clothes, shoes, shaving kits, or feminine products
  • Weather-resistant gears

Step#2: Keep Weighty things aside

It’s the most important step, which you can’t ignore in any case. Here, you need to have a look at your checklist and try to organize things based on their weight.

All you need to do is to separate the lighter things from heavier ones. And if you got some too bulky gears, try to group them separately.

Well, you are required to do so because effective packing depends on the weight of your items and their proper placement.

Step#3: Pack the bottom of the External Frame

The very first thing you need to pack in your external frame backpack is the sleeping bag. Looking awkward? Let me explain it!

Although you have an external frame backpack that can stand on its own, your added sleeping bag can greatly help in keeping it stiff to save you from any hassle on the go.

If you’re using a lighter sleeping bag or matte, you can consider placing it inside the bag to left the outer place for other bulkier items like a tent. But if you’re going to pack a sleeping bag at the bottom, consider following the given steps for effective packing.

  • Roll your sleeping bag tightly and place it in some waterproof cover.
  • Use a pair of Nylon straps to attach the sleeping bag to the provided frame
  • Make sure that the rolled bag is tightly attached to the metal frame
  • Try to feel any swaying or jigging
  • If you didn’t find it comfortable, check the tightness of nylon straps
  • Finally, you’re done! Jump to the next step now.

Step#4: Pack the main compartment

Now it’s time to pack in the provided storage space inside. As we have already made the groups of items based on their weight, so it’s going to much easier to pack them in the main compartment.

While packing in the main compartment, you need to be a bit more conscious as it’s going to determine your comfort level while picking the bag.

Here, you need to place the moderately heavy things at the bottom of the backpack. Place the heavy things in the middle compartment to keep them much closer to your upper back, this will greatly help you to balance your position.

Stunningly, the center of gravity must be stable for tireless carry, and this technique will help you to get one. Moreover, you don’t need any heavy things during traveling, so it’s better to place them in the main compartment.

Finally, you need to place the soft lighter items around the bulky things to overcome any shifting. What kind of items it could be? Well, you can consider placing tent footprint, rainfly, and extra clothing to fill the gaps to keep your stuff in place.

Step#5: Packing the top of the main compartment

Grounded in fact, you need to carefully pack the top space of the main compartment. We recommend you to place campsite essentials here at the top. As it will help you to immediately get what you need to set up your camp.

Effectively packing the main compartment and placing all the things in order of how quickly you need to access them will greatly help you to overcome any random shifting to find the right item.

Above all, if you haven’t got any side or external pockets, try to place things like a first aid kit, glasses, survival knife, torchlight, and other such handy things to help you in an hour of need.

Step#6: Pack External Pockets

Now, it’s time to pack the outer and side pockets. You must place your quick-access items in the external pockets. You consider placing items like a first aid kit, mobile phone, torchlight, survival watch, water bottles, snacks, etc.

Some people love to keep books for leisure reading in the external pockets, but we don’t recommend this as you must leave this place for quick essentials. Try to place books, magazines in the main compartment.

What if your external frame backpack hasn’t got any external pockets? Don’t worry, and try to place these things in the bottom compartment.

Although packing the external pockets is quite straightforward, but keep in mind that your placed items will be more prone to environmental damage than the items placed inside the bag.

Step#7: Attach your extra things

The major benefit of an external frame backpack is that you can easily attach your extra gears with the backpack. Now, after packing in all the compartments and pockets, you must avail this feature to attach your heavy or weather-resistant gears outside.

What you can attach to the backpack? You consider attaching tent poles, large sleeping pad. Ice ax, crampons, camp stool, and climbing rope.

Your external frame backpack must have incorporated loops to fasten extra storage. Moreover, you can use lash patches, daisy chains, and compression straps to carry your gears.

But try to attach only a few items outside the backpack, as they could be damaged when going through messy areas and are also more prone to environmental effects.

Finally, you’re all done!

How to Effectively Carry External Frame Backpack?

After packing your external frame backpack, you might be feeling somehow confused that how you can carry such a heavy backpack with ease. We got you!

Out in the open, the most common mistake that almost all beginners do is they try to pick the backpack with shoulder straps.

As a result, they end up damaging shoulder harnesses and later it becomes very difficult to handle the backpack. So, you must learn that how to fit an external frame backpack.

To do the trick, you need to follow the given steps to prevent any impaired damage

  1. Firstly, you need to lose all the straps on the backpack to make it convenient to slip on.
  2. Position your external frame backpack in an upright position on the clear ground.
  3. Now you need to stand next to the back panel.
  4. Bent down on your knees and keep your legs well apart.
  5. Grab the haul loop which is placed on the top of the back panel of your external frame backpack.
  6. Skid the backpack up to your thighs and allow it to rest.
  7. Meanwhile, keep your hand on the haul loop for better control.
  8. Slip your one free arm and shoulder by way of one shoulder strap to the point when your shoulder becomes cradled by the strap padding.
  9. Skillfully wobble the backpack onto your back.
  10. Pass the hand that was grabbing the haul loop through the other shoulder strap.
  11. Finally, close the buckles fit in our body adjustments.
  12. You’re ready to go!

Final Words

All in all, external frame backpacks are the perfect packing place for almost all adventurers. As they have got huge storage space due to many added pockets and compartments, so you can hold them to pack everything with the full organization.

As they have got many places to hold your stuff, so you might be confused that “How to Pack an External Frame Backpack?”. Never rush to packing your external frame backpack before understanding the steps which we mentioned to follow while packing your gears.

Remember to keep the weight of your backpack to a maximum of 25% of your body weight.

Effective backpack packing means a comfortable trip!