Getting the perfect gear for your travel needs can get a little challenging, especially with the wide array of options you can find online. But if you are only starting to complete your travel essentials, the first thing you need to have is a travel backpack, preferably those with internal frames.
Internal frame backpacks have become a staple in every outdoor enthusiast’s list of travel basics. Not only do they function as a reliable container for all your items. They also ensure that you manage to maintain your proper posture while moving and ensure that you do not suffer from injuries that may be caused by carrying heavy camping gear.
The best internal frame backpacks are those that can serve their purpose without compromising your comfort. They must be able to accommodate all the items you need to bring while also keeping everything evenly distributed.
You can find the best internal frame backpacks by going over the features and product details before making a decision.
- 1 10 Best Rated Internal Frame Backpacks Reviews
- 1.1 TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
- 1.2 AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
- 1.3 MOUNTAINTOP 70L/75L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
- 1.4 WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack
- 1.5 NEVO RHINO 50L/60L/80L Internal Frame Backpack
- 1.6 Mardingtop 65+10L/65L Molle Hiking Internal Frame Backpacks
- 1.7 High Sierra Long Trail 90L Top Load Internal Frame Backpack
- 1.8 BOLANG Internal Frame Pack Hiking Daypack
- 1.9 Free Knight 60L Internal Frame Backpack
- 1.10 DAVIDNILE Hiking Backpack
- 2 What is an Internal Frame Backpack?
- 3 Internal Frame Backpacks Vs External Frame Backpacks
- 4 Why do you need Internal Frame Backpacks?
- 5 What Things To Look For When Buying Internal Frame Backpacks
- 6 Conclusion
10 Best Rated Internal Frame Backpacks Reviews
TETON Sports’ Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is the top-selling brand on Amazon for good reason. This internal frame backpack was designed for both the youth and adults who are looking for an internal frame hiking backpack that’s perfect for a light backpacking trip.
The Scout 3400 backpack is made from extremely durable material that is also lightweight and easy-dry, making it the ideal choice of a backpack for all weather conditions. It was designed with comfort as the number one priority, which is why it comes with padded back panels with proper ventilation as well as padded shoulder straps that are adjustable according to your weight load and size.
This Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack also comes with multi-position design, making it fully adjustable in the torso, chest, waist, and shoulders. You do not need to worry about the bag being too big for your frame because the adjustable straps can surely fit your size.
This internal frame backpack comes with a lot of storage options aside from the main compartment. You can pack your sleeping bag in the dedicated compartment, while several other pockets can be used to store your water bottle, flashlight, and other essential gear that you need quick access to. It also has bungee storage in front where you can put your jacket or windbreaker when you don’t need it yet, as well as the integrated rainfly that has its own compartment.
- Perfect for light backpacking trips
- Features a sleeping bag compartment
- Includes multiple other pockets and compartments for strategic packing
- Includes multi-directional compression straps
- Comes with a sewn-in rainfly that can be tucked away when not needed
- Might be too big for a day trip
- The internal frame bars are a little hard to put back in when taken out for washing
This AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack has a 65L capacity that is great for some light backpacking adventures. You can easily fit items that can last you for 2 to 4 days in the outdoors without making it feel too heavy for your torso. It is made of durable polyester material, which is ideal for both sunny and rainy seasons.
The AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack is made for those who prefer light packing. This backpack is ideal for loads that are not too heavy and outdoor adventures that would only last a couple of days. It comes with extensive storage pockets where you can fit all your essential hiking or camping gear. It also has a dedicated compartment for your sleeping bag so you are able to pack it neatly and transport it with ease.
This AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack can accommodate a variety of body sizes, thanks to its adjustable body straps, waist belt, and shoulder panels. This ensures that the bag is kept in place and hugs your body properly for stability.
The lumbar pads and molded channels, meanwhile, provide important support for your lower back and promote increased airflow. This guarantees comfort as you climb your way uphill and descend on steep terrain. The downside is that it does not have a separate space for a water bladder. Instead, you can use the velcro hook that comes with the backpack.
- Comes with an extension collar for an additional 5L of space
- Great for the outdoors with its durable polyester material
- Features a water-repellent exterior coating for light drizzles
- Includes an integrated rainfly to protect your gear during a downpour
- Ensures comfort with its lumbar support
- Does not have space for a water bladder except for the velcro hook
- Not recommended for long treks with a heavy load
A backpack that’s great for backpacking from city to city is how MOUNTAINTOP advertises this internal frame hiking gear to customers. It can store at least two weeks’ worth of clothes, dry food, up to as much as 3 liters of water, and all other essential hiking or camping gears all without damaging its water-resistant nylon material.
This Mountaintop Internal Frame Hiking Backpack is great for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for something that can store their necessities for a hike. The space in this hiking backpack can accommodate clothes, food, and gear that can last up to two weeks.
And if that’s still not enough for you, you can also benefit from the extension collar that provides an additional 5 liters of storage space. The main compartment also features a sleeve for your water bladder, with ample space for 3 liters of fluids. This Mountaintop Internal Frame Backpack also features a fully adjustable waist and back length so it fits your body frame more comfortably. It also comes with small pockets on the belt where you can fit your sunscreen or sunglasses.
When your hiking backpack is proportionate to your torso, you are guaranteed with better stability and you also have easier access to the pockets even while wearing the bag. It is made with a high-quality, water-resistant nylon material that keeps all your belongings protected even if you are under a heavy downpour.
- Can store up to two weeks’ worth of clothes, food, water, and other essential gear
- Comes with a dedicated sleeping bag compartment at the bottom for easy access
- Includes an extension collar for additional storage space on top
- Features a separate water bladder sleeve
- Fully adjustable back length for all frames
- The top lid may tilt backward and makes it hard to tie a tent with
- The belly strap is not removable
An affordable hiking backpack is sometimes what you need if you are only going for a quick hike to the mountains or an overnight camping trip. And for that, this WASING Internal Frame Backpack is perfect for you. It has a total capacity of 55L (including the entire weight of the bag), leaving you with enough space for a few days’ worth of items.
If you are in search of the perfect internal frame hiking backpack for a short adventure trip, this WASING Internal Frame Backpack is an ideal choice. It was designed using durable man-made materials that ensure your belongings are kept safe and protected despite all the banging and bumping while you move.
It features a zippered compartment at the bottom of the bag where you can easily pack your sleeping bag, while the top lid of the bag can be connected to an extension collar that provides an extra storage space of 5 liters.
This bag also has a sternum strap that you can adjust depending on the size of your torso. This means that the bag remains in place as you move and will not compromise your safety and stability. The sternum strap comes with an emergency whistle. A hip belt is also included for maximum comfort and proper airflow. It is fully padded to ensure that your hips do not suffer from the weight of your backpack. It also comes with a rain cover and a pickaxe slot.
- One of the most affordable brands in the market
- Comes with padded shoulder straps and hip belt
- Adjustable sternum strap that also comes with an emergency whistle
- Features an extension collar for extra storage space
- The universal frame makes it perfect for women and smaller framed men
- Not ideal for packing gear for long mountain treks
- There might be some minor stitching defects
Mechanics and breathability are the two main considerations in the designing process of the NEVO RHINO Internal Frame Backpack. Manufacturers made this backpack in a way that will guarantee the even weight distribution of all contents so that the wearer will not have a hard time carrying the backpack for a long time.
NEVO RHINO promotes this ultralight waterproof daypack for hiking and camping because of its padded shoulder straps and proper weight distribution. It assures users that pressure on the shoulders is reduced and transferred to the lower part of the torso where the waist can assist in the lifting. The bottom opening of the bag, meanwhile, is equipped with a durable rain cover so you can easily take it out when you have to and store it after use without getting your other items wet with rainwater.
To ensure that weight is evenly distributed in your torso and hips, this NEVO RHINO Internal Frame Backpack comes with an adjustable sternum strap and a hip belt. You can also find small pockets on the belt where you can store items such as money, sunscreen, or your phone.
Other small but equally important features include a nylon elastic rope, a keychain, a survival whistle, and a hook for your water bladder with a hose outlet that allows you to drink water without taking the entire bladder out of the bag. However, you might need a compression sack if you want to squeeze in a sleeping bag in this backpack.
- Lightweight and made from waterproof nylon
- Comes with a breathable fabric panel on the back for great ventilation
- Features a waist belt that transfers some weight to your hips
- Fully padded and adjustable shoulder straps
- Large, deep pockets on both sides
- The cell phone pockets on the waist belt are too small
- Calls for a compression sack to fit a sleeping bag
Outdoor enthusiasts who tend to pack a lot of items even for a short hiking or camping trip would benefit greatly in this Mardingtop Mille Hiking Internal Frame Backpack. Designed for tactical use, this product is made from water-resistant polyester material and features multiple Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment or MOLLE loopholes in front.
This Mardingtop has the basic features of internal frame backpacks from the most popular brands and a few other add-ons that are unique to military-spec backpacks. It has several Molle holes where you can easily attach your first aid kit, sleeping bag, tent, rope, para-cord, and other essential items you are thinking of bringing to your adventure.
It also has ample space in the main compartment to store clothes and dry goods that can last you up to three days, as well as a sleeve for a water bladder that can hold up to 5 liters. For a more practical way to drink your water, this backpack also comes with a tube that goes through the top side of the bag near the cap.
The construction of this internal frame backpack ensures that weight is evenly distributed in your torso and hips. This effectively reduces the pressure on your shoulders and back while also promoting stability and tension on your waist. It features two external side pockets with deep compartments to store additional water bottles and camping tools that you can access quickly even while moving and carrying the backpack.
- Features molle webbing for outdoor equipment and other gear
- Has 2 quick-access side pockets for water bottles and camping items
- Has the capacity to hold a 5-liter water bladder
- Has ample space to fit essentials good for three days
- Made with water-resistant polyester
- Thinner fabric than military-spec backpacks
- Weighs approximately one pound heavier than other internal frame backpacks
Long outdoor trips require the use of backpacks that have ample storage space for all the things you would need to bring. And nothing could be better than a pack that can hold up to 90 liters of essentials like this High Sierra Long Trail Top Load Internal Frame Backpack. Made with durable material and a dual, contoured aluminum frame, you can be sure this product can store your belongings securely at all times.
This expedition-sized backpack from High Sierra is the ideal item for outdoor enthusiasts in search of a bag that can accommodate a lot of belongings for long trips. The versatile lifestyle gear is made with durable material to meet its load capacity of 90 liters.
It comes with an Ergo-Fit shoulder harness with adjustable load-lifters that makes carrying easier and more comfortable despite the total weight of the bag. It also features adjustable sternum straps to keep the backpack and all its contents stable, especially while you traverse your trail. The molded foam back panel of this High Sierra backpack keeps the back cool and dry with its airflow system, while the Hex-Vent mesh and foam padding on the waist belt provides added support.
The main compartment has a drawstring closure that allows you to secure everything in place while also keeping the shape perfect for the tuck-away rainfly that comes with the backpack. This rainfly can be stored in the bottom pocket of the backpack when not in use.
- Has an extremely large storage capacity of 90 liters
- Adjustable aluminum frame bars to fit the size of your back
- Features a back panel with molded foam and airflow channels
- Also includes a moisture-wicking waist belt with high-density foam padding
- Extendable bottom compression straps for extra storage space
- Could be too big for a day pack
- The mesh side pockets can be hard to reach when the backpack is worn
The BOLANG Internal Frame Pack is great for day hikes and outdoor travels that do not require you to bring a lot of items. It’s perfect for adventurers who are in search of travel backpacks with about 45 liters of storage capacity. This product was designed to redefine a timeless style, which is BOLANG’s commitment to its customers.
This bag also features a suspension support system to ensure that the pressure is reduced from your shoulders and evenly distributed throughout your torso and hips. Not only does this help you keep a proper walking and standing posture. It also uses the waist for additional support.
The suspension support system can be removed if you don’t think you need it and you can use this BOLANG backpack as an ordinary bag. It also features a hydration exit port that passes through the main compartment of the bag, where you can keep a water bladder that can store as much as 3 to 5 liters of fluid.
Outer compression straps are also included when you buy this internal frame backpack. It allows you to tie up your sleeping bag, tent, hammock, and other gears you deem necessary for your trip but can’t store inside the bag, while the bottom compartment comes with dividers that are perfect for storing shoes. For added comfort as you traverse rugged terrains, BOLANG integrated its Bear Breathable System to this backpack. This mechanism helps dissipate heat quickly so you do not sweat a lot on your back while carrying it.
- Features a hydration exit port that connects through the main compartment
- It has a removable suspension support system
- Includes outer compression straps to tie additional equipment
- Comes with a separate shoe compartment
- Its Bear Breathable System helps dissipate heat
- Does not include a water bladder
- The zippers are small and a little flimsy
This Free Knight Internal Frame Backpack was made using high-quality, water-resistant, and tear-resistant 600D nylon material, ensuring it can withstand constant banging and extreme weather conditions. The bottom panel is also abrasion-resistant so you can be sure it does not get torn after multiple uses, while the seams and zippers guarantee maximum strength and long-lasting performance.
The Free Knight Internal Frame Backpack is great for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a lightweight backpack with enough capacity to store as much as 60 liters of outdoor gear and essentials. It is made from high-quality nylon material that keeps all your items dry and safe from all weather conditions even without a rainfly.
It also comes with breathable mesh panels at the back to ensure proper airflow in your torso. This helps keep you feeling comfortable and not too sweaty while carrying a heavy load on your back. The shoulder straps are also fully padded and adjustable to make them fit perfectly and reduce the strain on your shoulders, neck, and upper back area. In terms of organization, the main compartment comes with multiple pockets such as an internal organizer and laptop sleeve. This allows you to take your work with you if necessary even while you travel.
But more importantly, the main compartment has ample space to accommodate all your belongings for a multi-day trip. You can also find a fabric divider and a top double-sided pouch for additional storage. The exterior of the bag, meanwhile, has a spandex pouch that gives you quick access to bigger items, as well as side pockets that are perfect for water bottles.
- Made from water-resistant, easy wash, and fast dry material
- Features breathable mesh panels for proper ventilation
- High-quality two-way zippers run smoothly
- Includes padded shoulder straps that are fully adjustable
- Tear-resistant and abrasion-resistant nylon
- Only available in 60L capacity
- The internal frame is mostly made of plastic
The DAVIDNILE Hiking Backpack is perfect for light backpacking needs with its 40-liter capacity that can store clothes, dry goods, and other essentials for up to 3 days. It is made from a water- and tear-resistant nylon material that guarantees the backpack’s ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. You can be sure that your items will be kept safe and dry even if you are under a heavy downpour without a rainfly.
This internal frame backpack from DAVIDNILE is great for a short weekend trip or hike that lasts for one to two days. It has more than enough space to store clothes, cameras, and camping gear, especially at the bottom compartment. The main compartment is easy to access even while carrying the backpack and comes with a handy organizer for smaller items such as pens, chargers, earphones, a mobile phone, and a tablet.
It is thoughtfully designed to include a detachable heat-dissipating partition to ensure that you can get proper airflow even as you carry the bag during summer. This helps you feel comfortable and prevents excessive sweating, which could contribute to dehydration and dizziness while on the trail.
This backpack also comes with an adjustable fixation strap to keep it in place and maintain stability. The strap secures your items in place as well as the pack itself while you strap it onto your torso. Additional features also include a D-type hanging buckle where you can attach a carabiner to hang other camping gear and a survival whistle that is positioned close to your chest.
- Water and tear-resistant nylon fabric
- Easy bottom pack access for bigger items
- Includes an internal organizer for smaller items
- Comes with two bottle pockets with easy access
- Removable internal frame converts the bag for regular use
- Does not include a latch for a water bladder
- Not recommended for extended trips
What is an Internal Frame Backpack?
An internal frame backpack is a backpack that comes with a frame inside. It is typically used when hiking rugged trails or when you are planning to go off-trail. Backpacks with internal frames tend to hold the weight closer to the body and take away the weight from your upper back, which also explains why they have more stability.
The internal frame makes the bag capable of handling more weight and allows it to maintain its shape no matter how much gear is put inside. Its sleek and more compact design makes it ideal for hiking through bushy terrains and those that require sharp maneuvers.
Internal Frame Backpacks Vs External Frame Backpacks
External frame backpacks used to be the standard for hikers in the beginning. But in recent years, internal frame backpacks started to go on the rise for several reasons.
The main difference between internal and external frame backpacks, as the name suggests, is the location of the frame. This decision on the part of the manufacturers was brought about by consideration of the terrains and the stability provided by the pack.
Internal frame backpacks are sleeker, more form-fitting, and hugs closer to the body, making them the ideal choice when going through terrains that are particularly bushy or where you have to make sharp twists and maneuvers. They are also great for hikers who need to pack a lot of gear because internal frame packs can hold up to as much as 20 lbs without compromising your stability. Plus, they are lighter and appropriate as carry-on luggage.
External frame backpacks, on the other hand, put the weight on your upper back and distribute the weight to your hips, giving you a more upright walking posture. They also have a better ventilation system, which is one of the main reasons why they are ideal for use in the summer. However, they also tend to be significantly heavier than internal frame packs.
Why do you need Internal Frame Backpacks?
Assessing your plans and the condition of the terrain you are hiking to is essential before you decide to buy an internal frame backpack.
Will you be walking through rough terrain or climbing and descending on paths with steep incline? Are you planning to bring heavy gear with you? Do you experience challenges with your stability?
If you answered yes to all, then you need an internal frame backpack.
Packs with built-in frames are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who have concerns with maintaining their stability and walking posture, especially if you are planning to traverse rugged terrain. Internal frame backpacks are designed so they hug closer to your body, meaning the weight is not only concentrated on your upper back but in the entire body and hips as well.
You would also need an internal frame pack if you intend to bring a lot of heavy gear when you travel. The built-in frame makes it possible for you to not feel the weight of the bag on your shoulders as much while also keeping your gear cushioned from banging or accidental slips. Plus, the straps and belts ensure that the load inside the bag does not shift as you move.
What Things To Look For When Buying Internal Frame Backpacks
Buying internal frame backpacks for your next travel adventure is not as simple as checking its storage capacity and feeling if the shoulder straps and waist belts are fully padded. There are several other things that you need to consider before you finalize your purchase, not only to make the most of your money but also to ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk by using backpacks that fall below the standard.
These are just some of the things you need to look for when buying internal frame backpacks:
- Weight capacity
Of course, the first thing you are probably going to check is the weight or storage capacity of the backpack. This should depend on the length of time you are planning to go on an adventure. Will you be going for a day hike? Then a 50-liter backpack might be too big for the trip. Are you planning for a 3-week backpacking trip? Then you might want to check out backpacks with a storage capacity of 90 liters.
- Sizing and dimensions
You might be confused with the difference between sizing and weight capacity. The former is the actual size of the backpack and how proportional it can be with your torso, whereas the weight capacity is your bag’s storage limit.
When buying internal frame backpacks, you also have to check if it can be adjusted to fit your size, especially if you have a smaller frame. A lot of internal frame backpacks sold in stores come with sternum and shoulder straps that allow you to adjust the position of the backpack according to your torso’s size. This way, you can maintain proper walking posture and eliminate the risks of slipping off.
- Pockets and compartments
The number of pockets and compartments are another important factor to some. You would like an internal frame backpack that has a roomy and easily accessible main compartment as well as several other smaller compartments to help keep your things organized.
Deep side pockets would be great if you tend to bring water bottles with you all the time, while hooks and sleeves are ideal for water bladders that you can attach to a hose outlet. You might also want a backpack that has a zip-up compartment at the bottom for the rainfly or something that can serve as storage space for your sleeping bag.
- Material and ventilation
When it comes to the material used, you’d want something that is durable at the same time breathable. Proper airflow is one of the things that backpack manufacturers closely pay attention to. This is because it is very important to keep you feeling comfortable while carrying heavy loads on your back.
You will not go wrong with high-quality polyester and nylon because they are both lightweight and durable. Take time to check if the backpack has mesh panels as well. An internal frame backpack that comes with mesh panels in the torso area has better ventilation compared to those that do not have one.
- Removable daypacks
You might also want to consider looking for a backpack that comes with a removable day pack or top lid, which is ideal if you have quick day trips in between your backpacking adventures. A removable day pack is also great when mountain climbing, especially if you can only bring a few items to the summit. Try to look for a top lid that can be easily removed from the backpack and has ample space for a day’s worth of items.
- Attachment points
These additional features also provide an efficient way for you to lug around items that you wouldn’t normally keep inside the backpack. Look for products with holes on the sides where you can insert a pickaxe, rope, tent, flashlight, para-cord, or even your sleeping bag. You can also consider internal frame backpacks that come with Molle loops to hold your removable day kits and equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it necessary to have an internal frame in my backpack?
Internal frames are there for a reason. If you are planning a trip that will last for more than a couple of days or if you are anticipating more than 20 lbs of load, it is ideal to get a backpack that has an internal frame.
The internal frame makes it easier for you to carry around a heavy bag without putting too much pressure on your shoulders and upper back. It also helps in maintaining an upright posture and stabilizing you and your items each time you move. It’s great for even weight distribution and allows you to pack more gear for your trip.
- How do I select the storage capacity of my internal frame backpack?
The storage capacity of your internal frame backpack should depend on the length of your trip. Weekend trips call for weekend packs that can store anywhere between 30 and 50 liters. Multi-day adventures, meanwhile, require backpacks that have the capacity to hold 50 to 80 liters. Extended trips that may last for more than 5 days would benefit from internal frame backpacks with a 70 to 90-liter capacity.
- Is it okay to not have a rainfly?
Rainfly is not a requirement per se, but it is very essential in keeping your belongings dry and protected A lot of brands manufacturing internal frame backpacks now include a rainfly in each of their products, so it should not be very difficult for you to find one.
But while there is nothing wrong with not having a rainfly, you would surely find it more advantageous if your items are weatherproofed. This is especially the case when you are traveling during the monsoon season. Aside from keeping your belongings dry, a rainfly also prevents the pockets and compartments of your backpack from being too exposed.
Internal frame backpacks are very trendy these days but there are still a lot of factors that you need to consider before making a purchase. You need to take time to examine your needs and preferences to determine whether you truly need an internal frame backpack or if your trusty external frame pack would suffice.
Among the first things you need to consider is the material of the pack and its customizability. It is also important to know if it’s suitable for your activities and if it can accommodate the amount of gear you are planning to bring with you.