The different types of backpacks for hiking and trekking

Hikes usually require a backpack to easily carry water, food, extra clothing and other necessities. Because backpacks for hiking vary greatly in design, capacity, fit, and features, it can be difficult to know what type of backpack to buy. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the different types of backpacking backpacks and their features in order to choose the one that is right for you.

Frameless backpacks

Frameless backpacks have a flexible construction and are therefore very light (they do not contain aluminium rods or plastic frame sheets). A high-quality, frameless hiking backpack with a volume of 40 litres can weigh less than 600 grams. The disadvantage of frameless backpacks is that they do not transfer the weight from the shoulders to the hips (via the waist belt) effectively, as a rigid construction is required for this. Therefore, they are not suitable for carrying heavy loads and usually have a capacity of no more than 40 litres. Nevertheless, frameless backpacks are very useful for day hikes and quick, light ascents in the Alps, thanks to their low weight.

Backpacks with internal frame

Inner frame backpacks have a rigid or semi-rigid construction, as they use flat aluminum rods or plastic frames. The first passes vertically behind the back panel of the backpack hiking and prevents the bag from collapsing. The rigid construction effectively transfers the weight of the backpack from the shoulders to the hips, allowing a heavier load to be carried because the hips are supported by larger muscle groups than the shoulders. However, the rigid construction adds weight to the inner frame backpack, which are generally heavier than frameless backpacks. Nevertheless, some inner-frame backpacks come with removable rods, allowing you to reduce the weight of the backpack in case the rigidity is not necessary (when carrying light objects, for example).

Outer frame backpacks

Externally reinforced backpacks are rarely used for hiking because they are heavier, bulkier and less easy to carry than the other two types of backpacks. An outer frame backpack consists of a harness (shoulder straps and waist belt), an aluminum frame and a backpack. The aluminum frame is completely rigid to provide good load support. However, the aluminium frame increases the weight of the whole rucksack considerably, a rucksack with a 50 litre capacity outer frame usually weighs more than 2 kg. The advantage of outer frame backpacks is that they usually have highly adjustable harnesses (they are suitable for both tall adults and teenagers). In addition, they can also be customized, so you can easily replace the bag with a larger or smaller one without replacing the frame or harness.

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