Re: Backpacking Equipment
Robert M. Lewis (rlewis3@IC3.ITHACA.EDU)
Sun, 28 Dec 1997 00:09:57 -0500
There are advantages to both types of packs.
The external frame packs are know for being very rugged. They are great
for beginning scouts because of this. They also have may points to lash
gear on to them, another great feature for beginning scouts because this
means that they can actually carry eerything they need on their back,
since it usually is very bulky at young ages. Another good thing about
external frames is that they usually carry a load very well. The last
good thing is that they usually have many pockets and can organize a
scouts things, which is needed until they get a packing style of their
Internal frames are also good. They are usually more comfortable to
wear. They hug the body more and feel more stable than externals. They
also are usually narrower. They are great for trips where you know that
you will be bushwacking, or scrambling alot. The downfalls fo the packs
is their lack of expandability and low ammount of organization possible.
This is because most have 2 main compartments, and a "hood" which holds
things. Some do have plety of lashing points, but I wouldn't trust most
of them to hold heavy stuff.
Now to step up on the soapbox *
I personally ahve used both types of packs. The external was a jansport,
and the internal was a camp trails. When I was jsut starting I used the
external, and found that it suited my needs, but it can, and did get
uncomfortable. As I said before it offered many pockets to organize
things, and I did get my own packing style from it.
As I got more advanced in my backpacking, I was looking for a lighter,
more comfortable pack, especially for Philmont. That is when I got the
internal. I have since fallen in love with them. I personally reccomend
that anyone that has done some backpacking, and wants to get very serious,
get an internal frame. this does a couple of things which an external
doesn't. Due to it's limited size, it will limit the ammount of stuff
that you bring, since you also have to fit in crew gear too. This will
help lower your weight, making it a much more enjoyable trip. It also
allows you to get all your gear into a protected area from the elements,
when used with a rain cover. The one disadvantage that occures from time
to time depending on the user is that the pack can get very hot on the
back, causing sweating.
I guess overall, Berfore you go out and buy a pack, borrow the pack you
are looking at and try it on a trip. Many stores offer a rental of the
pack that they sell. The best brands on the market, and found out from
experience, are Camp Trails, Kelty, Peak 1, and Dana Designs. Dana
Designs are internal, and very expensive, don't buy unless very serious
about packing. The other three have a good selection of packs, internal
and external. I would recomend one that havs over 4000 cubic inches.
Remeber though, that the bigger the pack you buy, the more stuff you will
put into it, and the more it will weigh. As for the pocket problems on
internals, they can be solved by buying pockets from places like Campmor
(www.campmor.com) or REI (www.rei.com).
Hope that that helps....
Robert M. Lewis
ASM T-12 Ithaca, NY, T-88 Waldwick, NJ
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City