For avid adventure enthusiasts, choosing a backpack is no small matter. This piece of gear becomes an extension of yourself, says a great deal about who you are and how you approach the outdoors, and, most importantly, has a significant impact on your physical comfort.
When choosing an externally framed backpack, there are a few key things to take into consideration that may make or break your decision. Whether you’re into summit pushes, high-alpine lake hikes, or rolling hills through lush forests, follow this advice when choosing your externally framed backpack and you’ll adventure comfortably and confidently.
Weight Distribution and Carriage are Everything
Externally framed backpacks are often short-changed by the hiking world because many hikers mistakenly assume that these backpacks are bulky or heavy. Vargo’s ultralight titanium frame is ergonomically designed to be durable and to sit close to the body while evenly distributing the weight of your backpack’s contents and ensuring that it sits comfortably on your hips.
While other backpacks ignore the importance of weight distribution, Vargo knows that distributing weight onto the hips rather than the shoulders or upper body, while also keeping the bulk of your gear high and tight, means more comfort, stability, and mobility on the trail.
Furthermore, a unique feature of Vargo backpacks is the ergonomic lumbar support plate ensures the best load-transfer to your lower back, which reduces strain whether you are pushing up 3,000 feet of elevation gain or maneuvering over obstacles on the trail.
While all Vargo backpacks offer external frames and exceptional lumbar support, let’s break down each pack’s unique features so that you can determine which one is right for your adventuring needs.
Traditional External Frame Accessibility: ExoTi™ AR2 Backpack
Whether it’s a quick 5 miler just outside the city or a 10-mile trek through the remote mountains, the ExoTi™ AR2 will carry wonderfully well over anything nature throws at it. This lightweight and efficient little number packs flat for easy transport and has load-lifting compression straps that ensure your pack carries high and tight against your back.
Fitting and adjusting this approachable backpack is made even simpler when you check out Vargo’s fitting and adjusting guide.
- Lightweight and efficient design
- Packs flat for easy transport
- Hydration bladder compatibility
- Load-lifting compression straps
- ¾ length bag for gear attachment
- Simplified fitting and adjusting mechanism
- Ease of transport and storage
- Suitable for hydration needs during hikes
- Ensures snug and stable fit
- Can attach additional gear like sleeping pads
- User-friendly adjustments
- Limited capacity due to ¾ length design
- May not suit very heavy or bulky loads
Versatile Watertight Removable Bag: The ExoTi™ BOG Backpack
Want a backpack that is versatile and also protects your precious gear from the elements? The ExoTi™ BOG utilizes a roll-top design allowing you to pack all of your dry necessities (extra clothing layers, camp pillow, socks, etc.) into its unique 40-liter removable bag which is water-resistant and has fully taped seams.
- Versatile roll-top design
- 40-liter capacity
- Removable water-resistant bag
- Fully taped seams for extra protection
- Versatility for various outdoor activities
- Ensures gear remains dry
- Spacious for essential items
- Durable in diverse weather conditions
- Roll-top design might limit quick access
- Removable bag adds an extra step in packing
Carries Like an External with Internal Features: ExoTi™ 50 Backpack
With its 50-liter cinch top bag and removable floating lid, the ExoTi™ 50 is designed for hikers who want the best features from both internal and external packs. The fully ventilated and adjustable shoulder harness adjusts with ease to ensure a perfect fit.
This backpack is great for hikers seeking a spacious and adaptable pack. You can carry all that you need without worrying that extra ounces will mean more strain on your body.
- 50-liter cinch top bag
- Removable floating lid
- Fully ventilated and adjustable shoulder harness
- Large capacity for extended trips
- Flexibility with removable lid
- Comfortable fit with adjustable harness
- Suitable for various hiking needs
- May be bulkier compared to smaller packs
- Adjustability might require more effort to find the perfect fit
Where These Packs Can Go and What They Can Do
Your new Vargo pack is versatile and perfect for all of your day hiking needs. Made to carry up to 30lbs comfortably, an overnight or 2-3 day trip is more than doable, particularly for minimalists who prize lightweight mobility.
Vargo backpacks will move with you as you push for a summit, cross scenic streams, and enjoy endless miles of rolling trails.
ExoTi™: The Bells and Whistles
Along with comfort, you’ll also enjoy the other fun and useful features of your Vargo such as:
- Exceptional back ventilation
- Hip belt pockets for sunscreen or cell phones.
- Ample water storage options including additional water bottle pockets
All of the Vargo backpacks consider every hiker's need to stay hydrated on the trail. While many backpacks throw on external attachment points willy-nilly, the Vargo packs keep the accessories simple and elegant by giving you, as they proudly state, “everything you need and nothing that you don’t.”
Some Takeaways: Where Do You Go From Here?
Keep in mind that an external frame does not mean your backpack will be heavy. On the contrary, when you choose Vargo, it means your backpack will distribute weight properly for maximum comfort and stability.
Here are two things you should consider in choosing the right external frame packs:
- Weight Distribution and Lumbar Support: Essential for comfortable carrying across varied terrains. Make sure it's apt to your capabilities in carrying weight up hiking tracks.
- Look for Ergonomic Design and Adjustable Features: Ensures the backpack moves with you and fits perfectly on your body. Vargo backpacks are designed to distribute weight effectively, ensuring comfort and stability.
Ready to explore? Try your Vargo backpack on these trails: