How to pack an internal frame backpack for camping

How To Choose The Right Internal Frame Backpack?

Whether an internal frame backpack suits your requirement depends on whether you are going camping, trekking, or just heading to a neighboring city for a weekend trip. We tell you how to choose the right backpack in a few simple steps.

  1. Measure your body: Start measuring your torso from the topmost part of your neck and end near the hips. An extra small backpack is ideal if you have a torso length of up to 15 inches. You can choose a longer version if your torso is 20 inches or longer. Women should also choose backpacks with shoulder straps and belts that are better suited to their body shape.
  1. The gear you have to carry: If you are going camping for two to three nights, then a backpack should have 60l capacity, while a trip that lasts over five nights will need an 80l or larger backpack. Additionally, if you are camping or trekking in the winter, you will need a large internal frame backpack.
  1. Options to customize the backpack: A good internal frame backpack can be customized for fit you well and could minimize the strain on your shoulders. The ones with a custom fit are stable and remain in place even when hiking over uneven terrain.
  1. Number of compartments and pockets: Consider the number of compartments available within the backpack and its exterior. Go for one with more compartments for better and easy organization. A backpack with a main compartment that can be accessed from the top and sides with easy access to gear is a better pick.
  1. Rain cover: If you choose an internal frame backpack with a rain cover, then you can get good protection for your gear when it rains, and you do not have to spend extra to purchase one separately.
  1. Durable material: Picking a backpack that is made from tear and water-resistant fabric will ensure that it lasts longer. Also, check the quality of zippers, such as top quality YKK ones that are less likely to fail.
  1. Hydration bladder sleeve: Some backpacks come with a sleeve that is designed to store a hydration bladder and a port for it, and these are ideal for getting a quick drink on the go when trekking.
  1. Exterior attachment points: You will need attachment points on the backpack exterior to hang gear, tools, a sleeping bag, or poles, so ensure these are available.

As backpacks have a lot to carry in them, a normal one would cause sore shoulders and pain. In such case, internal frame backpacks come as a great help. You must purchase a backpack that can be customized to suit your requirements. Always check the number of compartments it offers and whether it comes with a rain cover. With optimum durability and comfort to be carried around, you are good to go for your next hike.


Detachable Daypacks And Other Useful Things

When I first started hiking and backpacking, I just used a very basic bag. When I got more experience under my belt, and talk to more hikers, I was able to look for features that could help me. Each person has different needs to fit their comfort level and hiking areas. Here are some things I have learned about along the way.

If you are traveling with a larger pack, one handy addition is a removable daypack. There have been countless times where I have dropped the big pack off, unhooked the daypack, and off I went. It’s like having a purse or fanny pack, but you don’t have to lug it around all the time.

Hydration packs are water reservoirs or bladders that store clean drinking water. There is a drinking straw or tube for easy access. When hiking in the summer, these are a must. The packs hold anywhere from one to three liters of water. You usually have to buy the hydration pack separately, but the backpack should have a spot made specifically to carry hydrations packs.

Dave Chenaults Pack

My thinking changed when Dave Chenault began to blog about his modifications to the Unaweep pack. By streamlining the design, he created a lighter and smaller pack than the commercial Unaweep.

Dave’s lightweight version of the Seek Outsi
Dave’s lightweight version of the Seek Outside Unaweep was the inspiration for my MYOG pack projects.

I immediately saw the benefits because his design would allow me to create a relatively light pack that could carry plenty of weight, and compress down small if needed for shorter trips. I could also make a smaller and lighter version for non-packrafting trips.

I ended up making multiple pack bags for different applications all using the same frame and hipbelt system. So with full credit to Dave for inspiring the idea, here are the basics for the pack design.

Tools and Other Materials

Sewing machine (I use an old Singer 301) Rotary cutting tool Decent fabric scissors Cloth measuring tape Cutting mat Clear acrylic ruler

Issues For Tall People With Internal Frame Backpacks

Many of the packs today range in torso lengths from 15 to 20 inches, which may not be long enough for very tall people, or even shorter people with long torsos. Remember, it’s the length of the back that matters, not the person's height. I found a larger internal frame backpack with adjustable and longer torso lengths that had the best fit. The beginning length was 19 inches, but I was able to expand it to 23 inches with the torso adjuster located by the upper shoulders, so it did not interfere with the air cooling channels.

Internal Frame Backpack As Carry On


Other Useful links

Here are 5 links that I had bookmarked when making my first frame bag. The first video is very comprehensive and really all that you will need:

This video is pretty much what I went by. A tutorial by Ruby Two Birds A tutorial on JD Finley’s tutorial A tutorial on MTBR Tags


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