Best Internal Frame Backpack: Carry Your Outdoor Gear and Supplies in Style

Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

Whether you are going on a short hiking trip that lasts for a day or more, you will need appropriate outdoor equipment.  The purchase of the equipment for your adventures should begin with choosing the right backpack since it is the basic outdoor gear.

You should consider buying a backpack as an essential investment, so its choice should not be taken lightly. Since the outdoor market nowadays offers a great variety of backpacks, choosing the best gear can be rather daunting. However, we hope that this article and guide will be useful for you:  it will focus particularly on one specific type of backpacks  – the internal frame pack.


We hope that our reviews of backpacks that we have provided belowwill help you choose the best internal frame backpack so you can have an unforgettable outdoor experience.

What is an internal frame backpack?

First of all, it is worth explaining what exactly an internal frame pack is. An internal frame backpack is defined as a pack constructed with a resin or aluminium frame sewn into pockets in the harness of the bag. Very often, the frame can consist of two “stays” running vertically along the backplate. It should be also noted that this type of backpack is quite new because it was invented by the founder of Lowepro, Greg Lowe in 1967.

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

All modern backpacks can be divided into two types – external and internal frame packs.  Since this article is about an internal type, it is worth explaining first what are the differences between these two types and why internal frame backpacks are more preferred. First of all, it is necessary to note that internal and external frame backpacks are completely different, and the only similarity shared by both types is that are designed for carrying and storing stuff.

difference between an external and internal frame backpack

In contrast to external packs, internal frame backpacks are respected for their mobility. They have a unique design, due to which you almost do not feel the backpack on your back and it feels like it became a part of you. Therefore, thanks to this essential characteristic you have better balance and control during our hiking trips. By having such backpack you can easily manoeuvre even through the most difficult and tightest paths and trails.

Other advantages of internal frame backpacks include:

  • Due to its unique and innovative framing, it is possible to adjust an internal backpack in many different ways, which allows to fit the bag in the most comfortable way for yourself.
  • Internal backpacks usually do not hang down very much, so they are as close to your body as possible. As a result, it does not distort the centre of gravity. This feature is especially appreciated when you have to walk through steep and even dangerous landscapes.
  • Usually modern internal backpacks offer a great variety of straps, including chest and hip straps by allowing to spread the weight of the backpack out over the whole body. Moreover, a backpack with many straps usually does not shift around too much, which does not negatively influence your balance and coordination of movements.

What should I take into consideration when choosing a backpack?

There is an overwhelming variety of backpacks available in the outdoor market nowadays. Different sizes, shapes, designs, features – this might be a serious issue for you to find a backpack that will perfectly suit you and your needs during outdoor trips.


Therefore, below we will tell you, what exactly you should take into consideration if you have decided that you want to buy a new pack.

The purpose of and size of the backpack

If you decided to purchase a pack for your outdoor adventure, the first thing that you should think about is where and how you are going to use your backpack, including the conditions and the number of days.  It is obvious that the longer your trip is, the bigger a backpack should be, since you have to take a lot of equipment and supplies with you.

The volume of all backpacks is rated by litters or cubic inches, which indicates how much space is available not only in the main compartment, but also in additional pockets. All backpacks have a tag, on which the volume and the recommended amount of days is pointed out, so there should be no problem when choosing a pack for the right purpose and size.


For example, a backpack with the volume of 3000 cubic inches is perfect for short trips or for overnight stays in the wilderness.  Usually such smaller pack is better for trips in warm weather, when you do not have to carry any heavy cold gear protection.

However, if you are going on a hike that will last at least a couple of days, then you should choose a pack with the volume ofat least 4000 cubic inches. Trips with the duration of up to a week requires a backpack with the volume of at least 5000 cubic inches.

And if your outdoor trip is more like an expedition, during which you are planning to stay in wilderness for more than 7 days, then you will definitely need the biggest pack that has a volume of 6000 cubic inches.  However, the heavier the pack, the more energy you’ll expend while carrying it. Thus, it’s always best to come at a fair compromise.


Ventilation is also an important feature that should be taken into consideration, especially if you are planning to hike during summer in very warm and humid climate conditions. Backpacks that provide a good ventilation system are those, the backs and shoulders of which are equipped with a special breathable mesh.


Of course, ventilation does not affect the performance of the backpack in general, but it definitely increases the level of comfort during hikes.

Padded shoulder & hip straps

It is very important to make sure that most of the weight of the backpack is on the hips, rather than on shoulders, back or other parts of the body.  Therefore, the presence of a comfortable and adjustable padded hip strap is important.  Shoulder straps and their design are also very important in order to prevent them cutting into you and causing discomfort.

hip straps backpack

Many modern backpacks are also equipped with a chest strap that provides more comfort and prevents the weight of the backpack cutting into your shoulders. It is important to remember that the heavier and bigger the pack is, the more important padding and the straps system becomes.

Waterproof features

Since you are going to use your backpack outdoors and weather conditions can be absolutely different, it is important to make sure that your backpack is waterproof enough. It does not mean though that it must be made of 100% waterproof material. However, it should be at least semi-waterproof, so the pack and items inside of it do not become wet in a drizzle.


In addition, it is also necessary to make sure that the materials that the pack is made of will not stay wet too long.  A good alternative is to have a rain cover that most of modern backpacks are equipped with. But even if your back does not have a built-in cover, you can always purchase one separately.

Pack access

There two types of pack access – a top-loading and panel access. Your choice should depend on your own personal preferences. With regard to a top-loading access, it is considered to be quite the standard. Such packs are opened from the top like a garbage bag.

Pack access backpack

In general,  this type is quite convenient, but you might find it hard when you have to get out something that is deep inside the backpack. As for panel or front-loading access, these packs are opened like suitcases, which means that you will always have an easy access to any item without messing up the rest.

Reviews of the best backpack with internal frame

Now, when you know what advantages internal frame backpacks have and what features should be taken into consideration when shopping, it is time to highlight some of the best backpacks available in the market that we highly recommend. We have taken the liberty to review some of these backpacks and hopefully you’ll find one that perfectly meets your needs and requirements.

Kaka Hiking Backpack

Weight: 4.6 poundsKAKA Hiking Travelling Rucksack

Dimensions: 4.5 x 12 x 15 inches

Features: Made with durable terylene oxford, wide and soft shoulder straps; economical, practical and multifunctional design.

Best use: Outdoor trips, backpacking, travelling, camping, cycling, climbing and other outdoor activities

This Kaka Hiking Backpack has a very good reputation in the outdoor and travel market and is appreciated by many experienced travelers and outdoor lovers. One of the main advantages of the pack is that it is made with high-quality terylene oxford lawn that is characterized as very durable and waterproof material – perfect for any outdoor conditions.

Moreover, since this material is also dirt-resistant, it is easy to take care of it. Outdoor adventurers also like this backpack for its unique humanized design: fantastic flexibility and breathability, multi-pockets for storing many items, thick and wide shoulder straps that easily adjusted if necessary, and the thickening sponge protection – this all adds up to a great experience with this backpack and it makes it as comfortable as possible.

Additionally, the design of the pack allows to carry it in three different ways: in addition to a regular backpack, you can also use it as a crossbody or messenger bag.

Related: Kaka Ultra-light Foldable Travel Backpack – another great backpack from KAKA that you can consider purchasing if you need something smaller for shorter excursions.

Check the price on Amazon

Susufaa Hiking Backpack

Weight: 2 poundsSusufaa Hiking Backpack Daypack Waterproof

Dimensions: 5.5 x 10.6 x 21.3 inches

Features: Made with high-quality polyester + nylon fabric, strong, hanging system for carrying more items, breathable mesh shoulder straps with an adjustable length, two-zipped front pocket.

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, touring

This great spacious Susufaa Hiking Backpack is perfectly suitable both for male and female of all ages. Its volume is 50 litters, which makes it a good choice for multiple-day trips. Besides the main compartment, it is also equipped with a special compartment for sleeping bag, as well as with smaller side pockets that allow to bring many additional outdoor gears that might be needed during your outdoor trips.

Since the pack is made with high-quality polyester and nylon, it is characterized as very durable and strong.  You will not have to complain about a low level of comfort with this backpack because it has soft, wide and breathable shoulder straps  that allow to relieve stress from your shoulders. One of the most unique features of this backpack is that it has airstripes back system that provides with all-around ventilation.

Thus, you can make sure that even in the hottest days of hiking, you will not lose the feeling of coolness and will stay dry. You also do not have to worry that your belongings can get wet in rainy conditions because the backpack is equipped with the built-in rain cover.

Related: Onepack Tour Camp Chair – if you want to make your camping experience more comfortable and feel like at home while staying in wilderness, you might need this portable and very lightweight camping chair in order to sit and relax on it after a long hiking day.

Check the price on Amazon

Generic Waterproof Hiking Backpack

Weight: 65 poundsGeneric Waterproof Hiking Backpack

Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 13 inches

Features: Made with waterproof nylon, lightweight, multi-pockets, durable and solid, 2 separate compartments inside, equipped with a chest strap for better comfort.

Best use: Biking, hiking, walking, mountain climbing, camping and other outdoor activities

This Generic Backpack can become your great and reliable companion during outdoor trips and sport activities in wilderness. Due to its waterproof material, you do not have to worry that your stuff can get wet during rainy weather.

It is also equipped with air vario-futura that increases the comfort level and airflows against the back. Outdoor lovers appreciate this backpack also for its volume and well-structured space inside: it has 2 separate compartments, and 3 outside and 2 bags for water on both sides.

Even if your pack will be stuffed full, you can be sure that you will comfortable when hiking, since it is equipped with a chest strap for high comfort and reducing stress on the shoulders.

Related: Generic Pair 2 Trekking Walking Hiking Sticks – in case if your backpack is too heavy and you need extra support for your body to keep balance while moving, think about purchasing these durable and adjustable hiking sticks from Generic.

Check the price on Amazon

Fjallraven Kajka Backpack

Weight: 7.8 poundsFjallraven Kajka Backpack

Dimensions: 11.4 x 31.5 x 14.6 inches

Features: Made with vinylon, front opening, removable hidden compression poles, strap stop, expandable side pockets, attachment for hiking poles or ice axe.

Best use: Hiking, camping, touring, backpacking, travel

This multi-functional, durable and simple Fjallraven Kajka Backpack is designed and made in classic spirit of Fjallraven. It is a very strong and solid pack that is perfect for the heaviest loads. It is also characterized by a unique fit adjustment system that allows the user to adjust the backpack to any body type. High-quality vinylon, the fabric that the backpack is made of, is characterized as durable, waterproof and very light.

It is also worth noting that this backpack is especially appreciated by environmentalists because it is certified in accordance with the Gold Standard due to its beneficial effects to the environment and eco-consciousness.

Related: Fjallraven Kanken Daypack – if you are looking for a smaller and more stylish daypack from Fjallraven, then you should consider purchasing  this functional classic backpack of Swedish design that is perfect not only for outdoor trips, but also for everyday use.

Check the price on Amazon

Terra Peak Hiking Backpack

Weight: 4.5 lbTERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack

Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 5.5 inches

Features: Fully adjustable, lightweight, high capacity, hydration system compatible, waterproof, terra-pro fabrics.

Best use: Hiking, camping and backpacking

This professional and functional Terra Peak Backpack made with terra-pro fabric is designed specifically for long hikes and camping trips in the wilderness. Due to its internal frame system, the backpack is able to provide the highest level of comfort even with heavy loads. It has deep butterfly expansion pockets that are equipped with mesh side pockets and compression straps, which allows better organization of its contents.

Though the backpack is quite spacious and is able to store stuff that will be enough for up to 12 days, it is lightweight – only around 2.26 kg. It also comes with a free rain cover which is nice.

Check the price on Amazon


When you are going on an outdoor trip, buying a backpack is the first and the most essential step. Though there are so many backpacks in the outdoor market, which makes your choice confusing, we hope that this article has appeared to be useful and helpful in choosing the best and the most suitable internal frame backpack for your trips. Share with us, what backpack is the most appropriate for you and why?


Russell McCarty

Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.