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What is the difference between internal and external frame backpacks?

Gregory Z 35 Med Hiking Backpack There is a bounty of backpacks in the world. While some backpacks are generic and interchangeable for different purposes, hiking and camping backpacks are specialized. When hiking or camping, you must carry a fully-loaded backpack long distances over rough terrain. Choosing the best hiking backpack for your needs is key to a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Internal frame hiking backpacks are narrow backpacks with the supporting framework inside the bag. They fit close to the body allowing for better balance and mobility when hiking mountainous terrain or narrow trails where obstacles impede movement and even for cross-country ski adventures. However, because of their design, an internal frame hiking backpack cannot carry as much weight as external frame backpacks.

External frame hiking backpacks are the Mother Lode of hiking backpacks. They are large backpacks with a rigid external frame. The backpack is secured to the body with a hip belt and shoulder loops. Because the frame absorbs some of the load and the center of gravity is around the hips, a large external frame backpack can carry more gear and heavier weight for longer distances when hiking or camping.

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Written by Andrea

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