Times have changed and so have the hikers go-to backpacks. An internal frame backpack differs from the traditional external frame models — the internal frame allows the backpack to sit right against your body. 

When the pack is against your body, you can better maintain your center of gravity. The backpacks sit tight and don’t shift about as you move through the paths less traveled. This means you can hike longer and carry more with less fatigue and muscle strain — and that’s good news for you! If you’ve been thinking about buying an internal frame backpack, consider our choice picks that rate higher for user comfort and durability.

Comparison Table 

Take a Pick from the
Top 10 Internal Frame Backpacks of 2019

Let’s take a look at a few crowd favorites for 2018.

The NorthFace Terra 35 internal frame backpack is perfect for overnight excursions with its slim design. This backpack has a mesh back detail, so it’s perfect for staying cool. The NorthFace Terra 35 is midsized and versatile, with a comfortable suspension system.

Reviews of this backpack are positive, and many users would recommend this product to others. If you’re looking for a great pack that you can use for multiple days out, this may be the one for you.  


  • Weight: Small: 3 pounds, 7.7 ounces or Large: 3 pounds, 10.5 ounces
  • Gear capacity: 2,319 in3
  • Pack access: Top, sleeping
  • Torso Fit: 16 inches to 21 inches
  • Waist/ hip fit: 28 inches to 42 inches

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Hiking Pack, 70L,...
  • DESIGNED FOR COMFORT and EASE OF CARRYING: this 70L hiking backpack features non-slip shoulder pads and adjustable...
  • DURABLE, RIPSTOP FABRIC: this High Sierra 70L internal frame backpack is made with 600D Polyester Dobby; with a...
  • LARGE MAIN COMPARTMENT: this 70-liter hiking backpack features a top loading large main compartment with cinch closure...

The High Sierra Pathway 70L is priced at just $99 while offering all of the latest technology.

The back panel of this pack allows ample airflow to keep you cool during extended hikes. The shoulder straps have both slip-resistant pads and mesh material, allowing evenly distributed weight with a breathable fabric to help keep you cool.

This pack is generously sized and perfect for multiple night trips out on the trails.

Users of this pack find it incredibly versatile and are loving the ventilation system that brings the pack slightly off of your back to allow more airflow.

The High Sierra Pathway 70L is a great option for hikers of all levels with its large capacity and user-friendly design.


  • Weight: 4 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Gear capacity: 4,270 in3
  • Pack access: top, sleeping
  • Torso fit: 15 inches to 23 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: 30 inches and up

Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 75 Liter Men's Multi Day Hiking...
  • Vented back panel features LifeSpan foam & silicone lumbar grip for a precise fit Pre-curved LifeSpan foam components...
  • Removable raincover stowes in its own zippered pocket
  • WeatherShield PU-coated hipbelt accessory pocket

Distance hikers rejoice with the Gregory Baltoro 75! This internal frame backpack has rave reviews for its design that allows hikers to go the distance with ease.

This pack comes with a custom fit rain cover on the bottom side of the top lid, allowing quick access in a pinch. The suspension system rotates with you through the rotating harness and hip belt. The back pad, shoulder straps, and the hip belt all utilize moisture-wicking mesh technology to ensure the hiker stays cool and the pack dries quickly after a long day’s adventure.

Those who have hiked with this pack commend its sturdy and well-designed structure. This is the go-to pack for long hikes or even those in the winter because of its large capacity and rugged usefulness.


  • Weight: Small: 4 pounds, 13.2 ounces, Medium: 4 pounds, 15.3 ounces, or Large: 5 pounds, 3.5 ounces
  • Gear capacity: Small: 4,394 in3, Medium: 4,577 in3, Large: 4,760 in3
  • Pack access: Top, panel, bottom
  • Torso fit: Small: 16 inches to 18 inches, Medium: 18 inches to 20 inches, Large: 20 inches to 22 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: Small: 27 inches to 47 inches, Medium: 28 inches to 48 inches, Large: 30 inches to 50 inches

Osprey Aether AG 60 Men's Backpacking Backpack
  • Removable top-lid converts to DayLid daypack
  • Top to bottom suspended mesh wraps shoulders, back and hips for a fully integrated backpanel fit
  • Front stretch mesh pocket and zippered hipbelt pockets for quick storage

The Osprey Aether AG 60 proclaims to be the one for hiking excursions up to one week. This technical internal frame backpack contains an anti-gravity system and customizable fit that truly allows the hiker comfort for the long haul.

As with most internal frame backpack models, try before you buy. Some reviewers have mentioned this pack tends to slide off the hips. But, those who find Osprey Aether AG 60 sits just right swear by it.

Once you get it fitted, it has endless capabilities for extended trips and heavy loads.


  • Weight: Small: 5.096 pounds, Medium: 5.148 pounds, Large: 5.199 pounds
  • Gear capacity: Small: 3,478 in3, Medium: 3,268 in3, Large: 3,845 in3
  • Pack access: Top
  • Torso fit: Small: 16 inches to 19 inches, Medium: 18 inches to 21 inches, Large: 20 inches to 23 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: Small: 24 inches to 45 inches, Medium: 27 inches to 48 inches, Large: 29 inches to 55 inches
Thule Versant 60L Men's Backpacking Pack, Dark Forest
  • Easily customizable for a perfect fit with 12cm/4. 75in of torso and 10cm/4in of hip belt adjustability
  • Top lid converts to a sling pack for summit hikes
  • Large u-zip panel allows for easy access

Are you looking for a lightweight pack that can be used for both hiking and traveling? The Thule Versant 60 is perfect for both.

This internal frame backpack will fit within an airplane overhead compartment while traveling. This allows the hiker a truly minimalist experience with its multipurpose design.

This women’s internal frame backpack has both an adjustable hip belt and torso sizing, allowing it to fit most users. This pack also comes with a partial rain cover and a waterproof bottom.

The Thule Versant 60 is known to be one of the more comfortable hiking backpacks.


  • Weight: 3 pounds, 14 ounces
  • Gear capacity: 3,661 in3
  • Pack access: Top
  • Torso fit: 14 inches to 20 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: 25 inches to 45 inches

Deuter Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL Backpack for Hiking and Mountaineering
  • USE CASE: Designed for everything from trekking and mountaineering tours to overnights in the front country, this pack...
  • MAX VENTILATION, MAX ENDURANCE: Aircontact Lite back system is proven to reduce perspiration by 15%; Breathable padding...
  • REVOLUTION IN COMFORT: Auto-Compress, Ergonomic Comfort Lock hip fins of dual density foam deliver a custom fit for load...

This women’s internal frame backpack is an excellent choice for trekking both short and long distances. The Deuter ACT Lite is sturdy and comfortable with ergonomic construction. This pack is designed for women, by women, with a differently designed hip belt and narrow shoulder pads.

If you are in the market for an internal frame backpack for the seasoned hiker, this may be the one for you. Users describe this as their go-to pack with a great design.

Whether you’re going out with friends or on a trek with your family, there are pockets for everything. If you need to carry a heavy load, consider the Deuter ACT Lite 60.


  • Weight: 4 pounds, 3 ounces
  • Gear capacity: 4,271 in3
  • Pack access: Top and bottom
  • Torso fit: 14 inches to 20 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: 27 inches to 52 inches
Osprey Exos 48 Men's Backpacking Backpack, Tunnel Green, Large
  • AirSpeed suspension keeps the weight in the pack off your back, enabling highly ventilated carrying comfort
  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear
  • Front stretch mesh pocket for quick storage of rain gear or extra layers

The Osprey Exox 48 is an ultralight technical internal frame backpack for either short weekend hikes or longer, depending on your minimalist packing abilities. This pack comes in three sizes and can be used for both men and women.

Offering incredibly comfortable design with the latest in technology to meet the needs of the seasoned hiker — you get agility and prowess with a comfortable harness suspension system.


  • Weight: Small: 2.55 pounds, Medium: 2.57 pounds, Large: 2.60 pounds
  • Gear capacity: Small: 2,746 in3, Medium: 2,929 in3, Large: 3,112 in3
  • Pack access: Top
  • Torso fit: Small: 16 inches to 18 inches, Medium: 18 inches to 20 inches, Large: 20 inches to 23 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: Small: 24 inches to 45 inches, Medium: 27 inches to 48 inches, or Large: 29 inches to 55 inches

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack; High-Performance...
  • NOT YOUR BASIC BACKPACK: Continues to be the top selling internal frame backpack on Amazon at a great price for all the...
  • VERSATILE QUICK TRIP PACK: Perfect backpack for men, woman and youth; best for 3-5-day backpacking trips; 4000 cubic...
  • COMFORT YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE: Multi-position torso adjustment fits wide range of body sizes; Durable open-cell foam lumbar...

The Teton Explorer 4000 is a large capacity internal frame backpack that’s ideal for trips ranging in length from three to five days.

The Explorer 4000 is adjustable for people who range in height from 5 foot 1 inch to 6 feet 4 inches, making it ideal for most people. The waist belt also adjusts out to 70 inches, accommodating the largest waist size of all the packs discussed here.

The structure of the frame allows for even weight distribution and easy carry.

As with most packs, this comes with an integrated water-resistant rainfly, allowing your pack to stay dry even in the wettest conditions.


  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Gear capacity: 4,000 in3
  • Pack access: Top, side, bottom
  • Torso fit: 19 inches to 23 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: 28 inches to 70 inches

Kelty Coyote 80 Internal Frame Backpack
  • Torso Fit Range: 14.5" - 21" / 37 - 53 cm
  • Volume: 4900 in³ (80 Liter)
  • Weight: 5lb 5oz / 2.4kg

The Kelty Coyote 80 internal frame backpack is a unisex pack that you can adjust to the perfect fit right on your body.

This system provides outstanding support for the heaviest of loads for those extended trips. This pack also offers a sleeping bag compartment and a top lid that converts into a sling pack.

Versatility made easy!


  • Weight: 5 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Gear capacity: 4,900 in3
  • Pack access: Top and bottom
  • Torso fit: 15.5 inches to 21 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: Adjustable

Granite Gear Crown 2 60 Backpack - Men's
  • Dual density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps and removable sternum strap
  • Re-Fit fully adjustable (from 28 - 40in), dual density hip belt
  • Dual large hip belt pockets with DWR treated zippers

The Granite Gear Crown2 is a lightweight multiple day pack that succeeds the classic version.

This pack offers a patent-pending fully adjustable waist strap in three separates torso sizes, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit.

Users of the Granite Gear Crown2 rave about the price, function, and fit of this versatile and lightweight internal frame backpack.


  • Weight: Small: 2 pounds, Medium: 2.12 pounds, Large: 2.25 pounds
  • Gear capacity: 3,660 in3
  • Pack access: Top
  • Torso fit: Small: 15 inches to 18 inches, Medium: 18 inches to 21 inches, Large: 21 inches to 25 inches
  • Waist/hip fit: 26 inches to 42 inches
low-angle photography of two men playing beside two women

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Internal Frame Backpack Product Consideration

If you’re new to hiking and in search of the best internal frame backpack for you, we have set you up with a few solid options.

Be mindful that backpacks fit everyone differently and you may want to hop over to your local sporting goods store and try a few on before making your final decision.

Seasoned hikers are always looking for waterproof covers and hydration ready systems.

You may also want to consider how the pack feels on your back. Is it right against you? Is there any ventilation or mesh wicking backing? How do the shoulder pads feel? Are there enough pockets?

Keep these pointers in mind and you are sure to find the perfect pack for you.

Happy adventuring!

Last update on 2021-05-18 at 06:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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