Spare your back and shoulders by investing in the best internal frame backpack. This is the way to for travel. Check out our top choices. Sometimes it can be hard to choose the right travel gear. Lucky for you, we took the guesswork out of it with our list of choices for the best internal frame backpack. When it comes to finding the best one, we admit it isn’t easy. There are thousands of options out there on the market. How do you narrow it down?
Well, after doing some research, we decided to test out a few and see how they held up. During our search, we kept several key things in mind. The best internal frame backpack picks are durable, shift weight off of your back and shoulders, are made of good material, offer plenty of space, and have extra compartments for storage. Style goes a long way too.
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Who Really Uses Internal Frame Backpacks?
Have you ever heard what makes up the best internal frame backpack before? If not, you might be a little confused. For those of you who are still relatively new to the world of travel, these backpacks are designed to promote good posture and spare your back, neck, and shoulders some weight. They lift and shift the weight of your belongings off of your back and down your hips. Not only is this more grounding but will also spare you a lot of pain and toil in the long run.
Common Features of the Best Interal Frame Backpack
- Back and shoulder support
- Padded straps and hip belt
- Water resistant
- checkDurable material and construction
- checkPlenty of internal and external storage space
- checkStrong internal frame (e.g. aluminum chassis)
- checkStorage on side for water bottle or hydration pack
- checkHighly adjustable (e.g. torso)
- checkRain cover and storage space
- checkStrong zippers
Here Are Our Picks for the Best Internal Frame Backpack
Teton Sports Explorer 4000
This bag is built for whatever travel throws at it and it won’t break the bank. The design is well thought out with your comfort in mind. If you’ve ever traveled with a regular backpack, you will appreciate the internal frame in this style so much. The Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is built to shift the weight of your pack off of your back and shoulders. In fact, it is completely adjustable in the torso, waist, shoulders, and chest. Get the perfect fit for your next adventure.
This strong internal frame is built so much better than most competitor packs. After all, it is composed of aluminum. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how durable it is. Besides its structural integrity, there are plenty of other features that make it a great find. Pass through side pockets are perfect for storing tent poles and accommodating a hydration bladder of up to 3 liters.
Loaded up with various pockets and pouches, there are plenty of ways to stay organized with the Teton Sports Explorer 4000. Not including the main compartment, there are six total pockets throughout the interior offering a 65-liter capacity. An additional three mesh pockets offer extra storage. While floating pockets may be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with them, you can store plenty of useful gear in them. Tools, trekking poles, tent poles, and gear with clips are just a few of the options.
We have noticed that even when the backpack is fully loaded, you can still cinch it down with the four compression straps. This handy feature makes moving a breeze. The compression straps also double for storing your sleeping bag, tent, and rain jacket. Finally, there is a built-in rainfly in the special bottom pocket. Instead of taking up space and packing away your rain cover in one of the pockets or pouches, you can keep it out on its own. Not only does this provide easy access should you be caught in a storm but it’s also a space saver. That sounds like a win-win to us.
Walking around, you’ll find out just how comfortable the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is. Various features contribute to this light as a feather feel. Molded back panels support the natural curvature of your spine without putting too much pressure on your back and shoulders. In addition, they are designed for maximum airflow. The padding continues throughout the back and the hip belt.
An open-cell foam style padding is used in the Teton Sports Explorer 4000. We love this material since it’s durable and won’t break down, even after consistent use. We all know what kind of wears and tears the ups and downs of travel can bring. Luckily, this bag is made to stand up against the elements. The dual aluminum internal frame helps you to carry a load comfortably and safely, while also being bendable. These lumbar support panels help you maintain a healthy and proper posture, even while hiking. This is definitely a top contender for the best internal frame backpack.
- Top-selling internal frame backpack on Amazon
- check65-liter capacity
- checkHighly adjustable
- checkGreat lumbar support
- checkDurable open-cell foam for breathability
- checkSpacious interior with 6 standard pockets in addition to the main compartment and 3 mesh pockets
- Dual aluminum internal frame
- Compression straps
- Sewn-in rain fly
- Sleeping bag pouch
- Floating pockets
- Versatile (fits a large spectrum of heights and body shapes)
- Padding throughout the back and hip belt
- plus Great interior storage
- plus Strong frame
- plusHighly adjustable
- plusLots of padding
- close Floating pockets can be confusing
Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack
Wondering what to pack can be tricky. Make sure to bring the essentials by season. For the fall and spring, it’s always smart to have a raincoat and a light pair of gloves on hand. Come summer, you can swap those items out for a swimming towel and suit. Here’s the best part. You can leave your bulky water bottle behind. The Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack comes equipped with a reservoir for convenient hydration on the go.
Leave your water bottle behind and fill up with the convenient built-in reservoir from Gregory. Three liters is a good amount of water storage. If you are only going on a day’s hike, that should be plenty. However, if you know you will be drinking a lot more, you can supplement the reservoir with an additional bottle of water. And if you’re looking to cut the bulk of extra carrying altogether, bring a filtration straw.
Nothing is quite as great as having a ventilated back panel in the heat of summer. We’re sure you’ve experienced back sweat when traveling before. Your pack is weighing heavy, you have been carrying it for a long time, and there is still quite a ways to walk before you get to your hostel. That creates a sticky situation. Instead of bearing the heat and discomfort, invest in a pack that supports your needs. With the Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack, you will stay cool and dry on the trail or wherever you go.
Here is yet another important feature of the Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack. Travelers often overlook padding when choosing their backpack. But good padding makes a world of difference. After all, you don’t want an aching back and straps that dig into your shoulders. These problems are more common than you would think. The padded, adjustable hip belt and shoulder harness transfer the weight of the pack off of your back and shoulders and down to your hips. Not only is this more comfortable but it also spares you from unnecessary back pain. It is the healthier way to wear a pack.
Travelers love the Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack too. Even when the backpack is fully loaded, you won’t feel tired and weighed down after walking with it on. The hip belt makes it very comfortable to wear and the hip pockets are in a good location for easy access to items you may need.
In addition to the durable quality, the interior is so spacious. With interior dimensions of 20 liters, you will have plenty of room for the gear you need to bring. If you are considering investing in a high-quality backpack for the great outdoors, this is it. It’s not only highly adjustable but it also offers customization for nearly any physique. Gregory Inertia 20 3D-Hydro Daypack offers plenty of informative videos to walk you through the features and adjustments so you will get the right fit.
- Ventilated back panel
- Padded shoulder harness and hip belt
- Hydro reservoir reserved
- checkFront and side stretch pockets
- plus Great padding
- plus Mesh ventilation
- plusHydro reservoir
- plusGood storage
- close None
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack
Are you looking for the best internal frame backpack? From the outset, it’s clear to see that this little bag packs a big punch. We love that it has a well-cushioned back and strong shoulder straps. When you’re on the go, it’s so nice to have a bag that shifts the weight from your back and shoulders down to your hips. This way, you are not straining your spine and you will be able to carry your load for much longer. This ergonomic design makes the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack a great choice for backpackers and avid hikers. With a limited lifetime warranty, you can rest easy knowing your purchase is secure.
In this 20 liter bag, you can comfortably store the essentials without it getting too heavy. We were able to fit a rain jacket, first aid kit, water, snacks, a headlamp, and a few other necessities without the pack feeling bulky or weighed down. For those who have a thrill-seeking side, this is the perfect pack for fast-paced sports. The streamlined design also makes it a good fit for alpine hiking and mountaineering. Enjoy optimal comfort and performance through solid construction. The Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack is made to last. Did we mention that it’s also highly adjustable? The flexible Delrin U-frame stabilizes and distributes your load weight in order to help you feel more balanced. Stabilizing hip wings, chest straps, Airmesh shoulder straps, and a waist belt can adjust to your dimensions.
Specialized compartments offer the perfect place to store your hydration pack, items like your phone, wallet, keys, and some snacks for energy on the go. Mesh side pockets offer easy access convenience, there are 3M reflectors for visibility, and the SOS label has life-saving tips.The frame of the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack allows it to be much lighter than the average backpacking pack. It weighs in at only 1.1 pounds on its own. When you are out exploring the backcountry and have a ten-mile trek to see the waterfall of your dreams, every pound you can shave off your load counts. Backpackers will appreciate how light this pack is; it won’t weigh you down. Weight limits are also essential when you fly nowadays. Budget airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet are very strict when it comes to carry-on weight limits. By buying a lighter bag, you will have the liberty to pack a little more for your carry-on. And you will save money from skipping checking a bag. It’s a win-win situation, really. Last but certainly not least, the waist belt and shoulder straps are low profile and easy to tuck away for storage on buses and planes.
We have yet to find a more ergonomic day. In terms of ease of use, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Athletic Daypack checks all of the necessary boxes. It offers just the right amount and type of organization to keep you sane on the go. Some backpacks have too many storage compartments and others offer far too few. Now, you won’t have to play go fish and try to figure out where you put your energy bars or car keys.
- Made in the USA
- 20L storage capacity
- 3D mesh ventilated back panel
- checkWeight: 1 lb., 1 oz.
- checkU-frame for ultimate stabilization
- checkThermolite hip wings, chest strap, air mesh shoulder straps, and waist belt
- checkSpecialized compartments for your hydration system
- checkMesh water bottle holders on side of the pack
- checkSOS label
- Limited lifetime warranty
- 3M reflectors for visibility
- plus Lightweight
- plus Mesh back panel ventilation
- plusLifetime warranty
- plusReflectors for visibility
- close Not a lot of storage space
Thule Versant 60
When it comes to the best internal frame backpack, this style is hard to beat. While it is classified as a men’s backpacking pack by the company, it comfortably fits both men and women. The straps are narrow yet padded to suit all body shapes and sizes. It’s also sleek and can be compressed into small spaces. With all the features this bag has, it’s hard not to want to snag a few extra for friends and family who love to hit the road.
The frame of the Thule Versant 60 allows it to be much lighter than the average backpacking pack. It weighs in at only 4.38 pounds on its own. When you are out exploring the backcountry and have a ten-mile trek to see the waterfall of your dreams, every pound you can shave off your load counts. Backpackers will appreciate how light this pack is; it won’t weigh you down.
Weight limits are also essential when you fly nowadays. Budget airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet are very strict when it comes to carry-on weight limits. By buying a lighter bag, you will have the liberty to pack a little more for your carry-on. And you will save money from skipping checking a bag. It’s a win-win situation, really. Last but certainly not least, the waist belt and shoulder straps are low profile and easy to tuck away for storage on buses and planes.
Does it look low profile? Sure. Does it also work like magic? Yes. We swear you’ll forget you are even wearing this pack. While some backpacks can cut into your shoulders and put extra weight on your back, the Thule Versant 60 does quite the opposite. Instead, it shifts the weight off of your back and shoulders and moves it towards your hips. This not only gives you more stability but is better for your overall posture and movement.
While the pack is not made to perform well with very heavy loads, it works beautifully with mid-sized loads. It distributes weight well, even when it is loaded up with heavier items like water and food. Since the back of the pack is very well padded, you will have much better lumbar support than those found in competitor brand bags. Sometimes those land on the overpadded side of the spectrum, which won’t help posture. You need a bag that adjusts to the natural curvature of your back and the Thule Versant 60 does just that and more.
- Durable 420D Cordura Nylon Fabric
- Customizable hip belt
- Waterproof roll-top pocket
- check¾ rain liner to keep bag waterproof
- Torso adjustability for a perfect fit
- Padded back and shoulder straps
- Top loading and U-zip packing options
- Top lid can be taken off and converted into a sling
- plus Durable fabric
- plus Padded back and shoulder straps
- plusAdjustable torso fit
- close Water bottle holders are small and slanted
Osprey Exos 48
Say hello to another top contender for the best internal frame backpack. Many reviewers say that the Osprey Exos 48 Backpack comfortably carries up to 30 pounds of gear and we agree. The tensioned frame structure is what makes it so easy to carry. This frame distributes the weight of your gear with ease, transferring the weight from your back and shoulder to your hips. When you’re on the go, this is an important feature to have in the bag, Hiking in the backcountry is strenuous enough. You want your backpack of choice to be as comfortable as possible.
We can’t say enough good things about all the features of the Exos. It’s rare that a product completely sets itself apart from market competitors in our book. But this case is different. The Osprey Exos 48 Backpack is definitely in a league of its own with all of its standard features. Not only does this tensioned frame bag have a floating lid but it also offers a flapjacket tip closure. The exterior’s stretchy pockets hold a large volume.
Looking at the side of the bag, you will find large hip pockets and small elasticated pockets on the shoulder. These smaller pockets are super handy for holding items you need to access quickly. Store your wallet, keys, iPhone, sunglasses, or keys in there. Compression straps run alongside the bag and can be stored inside or out of the pockets. In comparison to its predecessor, the Osprey Exos 48 Backpack is more streamlined. It’s also easier to use and in sync with popular ultralight backing models.
- Ripstop nylon fabric
- 48-liter internal storage capacity
- Internal sleeve with clip attachment (can accommodate up to 3 liters of hydration)
- checkExoform sewn-in hip belt
- check6065 aluminum alloy frame
- checkRemovable floating top pocket
- checkCompression straps
- Multiple cord tie points for additional gear Mesh ventilation for your back
- Water bottle pouch
- plus Durable construction
- plusGood storage capacity
- close None
Gregory Mountain Baltoro 75 Liter Men's Multi-Day Hiking Backpack
There are multiple elements that give this backpack a custom fit. The torso length, hip belt size, shoulder harness size, and lumbar tune all come together to create comfort you’ll enjoy. When it comes to the pack details, weather shield pockets, u-zip access, a sleeping bag compartment, and more are all desirable features. The torso length measurement works well. The design ensures that the majority of the backpack’s load is transferred directly onto the hips instead of your back and shoulders. This makes it so much easier to carry and helps to prevent any injuries. The last thing you want to do is strain your body when you’re hiking and camping out in the backcountry. Investing in the 75 Liter Men's Multi-Day Hiking Backpack from Gregory Mountain is investing in your health.
The Gregory Mountain Baltoro 75 Liter Men's Multi-Day Hiking Backpack offers pre-curved hip belts in multiple sizes. It’s equipped with lifespan foam too, making it easy to adjust to the shape of your body. You won’t have to wear it for a while to break it in. The comfortable fit comes naturally. Just like the hip belt size, the shoulder harness also offers a pre-curved ergonomic design. The shoulder harness straps are available in multiple sizes to accommodate all types of body shapes. While the label on Amazon classifies this backpack as a men’s style, we think it could fit women as well. It would be more accurate to classify it as a unisex pack. The removable EVA shim offers the traveler the perfect contouring in the lumbar region.
One of the most fascinating elements of the Gregory Mountain Baltoro 75 Liter Men's Multi-Day Hiking Backpack is the top-loading design and u-zip panel. This means that the bag does not open on the side. Instead, you load and unload it from top to bottom. While this does provide a more ergonomic method for storage, it can make it difficult to get what you need without rummaging through your contents. Make sure to keep the items you need most in the exterior storage compartments for this reason. This is such a great pick for the best internal frame backpack.
- Large 75-liter storage capacity
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Water-resistant hip belt pocket
- checkBack panel provides lumbar support and conforms to the shape of your body
- checkSide bottle holder with a mesh drawstring
- checkDurable YKK zippers
- Vented back panel with lifespan foam for breathability
- U-zip access (loads top to bottom)
- Removable rain cover stored in its own compartment
- plus Excellent storage capacity
- plus Back panel
- plusSide bottle holder
- close U- zip access can be annoying
Check out these other travel products and tips for winter travel:
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- Winter Apparel Tips: Buying the Best Boot Liners
Invest in the Best Internal Frame Backpack for Your Next Big Trip
We hope you enjoyed reading our feature on the best internal frame backpack picks for travel. As you can see, there are plenty of options out there to help you stay organized and stylish while you're on the go. Features like durable material, spacious compartments, and mesh ventilation capabilities take the stress out of travel and help give you ease of mind while you're on the go.
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