choosing a backpack, you should ask yourself some
very important questions. How long will you be needing
a pack, for a day, a weekend, or an extended period
of time? What kind of terrain will you be covering?
Back country or developed? What kind of activity
will you be doing while you have the pack on your
back? What kind of gear will you need to bring?
These are all important questions to ask yourself
in order to determine whether you will need an internal
or an external framed pack.
An internal framed pack can let you carry a large
amount of gear comfortably over rugged terrain.
The support system is built into the pack so it
can provide you with better balance and freedom
of movement. The internal frame also makes for easy
storage in canoes, planes, or vehicles.
An external frame allows you to carry a large amount
of gear comfortably over easier terrain. External
frames place the weight of your load over your natural
center of gravity. This allows you to walk more
upright and conserve energy even while carrying
heavier loads. This type of frame also holds the
pack off your back, so air circulates, which keeps
you cool and comfortable. The people at Camp Trails
sent me two of their packs to see what I thought
of them. One was an internal frame (The Wilderness)
and the other was an external frame (The Ranger).
The Wilderness comes in two sizes: medium (5928-6669
cubic inches - 5 lb 12 oz - fits torso 15" to 20")
and large (6303-7044 cubic inches - 6 lb - fits
torso 18" to 23"). They are made with an 8 oz pack
cloth body and an 11 oz Kadora reinforced bottom.
This is a large capacity bag that can hold a lot
of gear for extended trips. It has twocompartments
that you can topload or access through the bottom.
The compartments come with a drawstring divider
to keep your gear separated.
bag has expansion straps, so it can grow to carry
even more gear, or compress to keep the pack as
compact as possible. Along with the two main compartments,
it has six roomy pockets that allow you to keep
your gear organized. Side tunnel pockets are for
storing water bottles or tent poles. It has a convertible
storm hood, with gear pocket, to keep your pack
dry and this detaches to convert to a lumber pack.
In addition to these many features, it comes with
multiple tie-ons, with daisy chain, with six-slot
lash tabs and web loops.
The Ranger is the external frame pack they sent
to me. The frame that comes with this pack has what
Camp Trails calls their "Comfort-Flex" external
frame. This frame is designed to be virtually indestructible.
Its inherent flexing capability lets the pack move
with you. This conserves energy because the frame
flexes with your body's movement every time you
take a step. Its curved cross members allow the
pack to stay off your back, giving you a cooler,
more comfortable hiking experience. It allows you
to carry a load lower to your center of gravity
than traditional external frames. This combination
allows for the high capacity and ventilation of
an external frame, with the balance control of an
internal frame. The frame also features adjustable
shoulder straps in both width and height. It is
available in three different sizes to fit every
Ranger pack itself has a toploading main compartment
and a bottom panel opening, which makes it simple
to grab your gear. Along with the two main compartments,
it offers five external pockets for even more gear
storage. It has a mesh rain cover pocket for your
wet rain jacket, an insulated water bottle pocket,
a side organizer pocket for essentials like your map,
compass, and flashlight, a daisy chain on top for
tying extra gear, and six-slot lash tabs for an optional
kitchen sink pocket that Camp Trails offers separately.
This pack also comes in two sizes, medium (2880-3380
cu in, 6 lb 2 oz, fits torso 15" to 20") and large
(3330-4330 cu in, 6 lb 8 oz, fits torso 17" to 23").
It is also made out of 8 oz pack cloth.
I found both of these packs exceptionally spacious,
and well suited to organizing my gear. These packs
made my outdoor experience hassle-free, to the point
where I could get to any of my gear at any given time
without ripping the whole pack apart.
Visit The Camp Trails web site at http://www.camptrails.com/