September 23, 2015

PGP011: Backpacks & Frames, A Beginners Guild and what to look for

by Mark Boyle
PGP010 Hiking

3 Things to Think about when Buying Backpacks.

If you are new to Being Prepared, or should I say Getting Prepared, then you may be as confused as I was when it came to Backpacks, Bug-Out-Bags and Get Home Bags.  There is plenty of info out there, but what it all means can be quite daunting and makes asking the right questions... difficult.


I will take you through my 4-6 month journey and some of what I finally got my head around.  There are many choices and they all look so very cool and tactical, but will they work for you and do you already have a pack or two?

My intentional thoughts and questions:

  • What is that fabric and why do I need it over that one there?
  • Zippers or Velcro, Hummm?
  • Do I want/need an Internal or External Frame?
  • If I spend more, will it meet my needs?
  • What are my needs?
  • I should just buy another Gun.

      Internal Frames are Packs, that have a plastic or metal frame built in and are a "Turn Key" set up, but are limited and may have less Adaptability to your all around needs.  Keep in mind that internal frames come intagrated into a pack.


  • ​Fits close to your body
  • Less load shifting
  • Narrow and good in the bush
  • Form Fitting


  • ​Poor ventilation and heat build-up
  • One massive compartment
  • Hard to get to gear
  • No attachment points for add-on's

      External Frames offer Adaptability, from different harnesses and packing arrangements to the materials of the frame itself, metal, polycarbonate and carbon fiber.  But have a lack of compactness and a bulky feel.


      • ​Can handle heavier loads
      • More adaptable to needs
      • Better ventilation
      • They transfer load very easily


      • ​Designed for wide, clear trails
      • Not the most stable thing out there
      • Frame may weigh more depending on types and manufacture 

      Price is the key factor because once you buy it you may be stuck with a very expensive pack that won't or can't do what you expected it to do.  A well made internal frame cost more to get the fabric you need but with an external frame you can add better quality packs, piece by piece and over time, or use any existing ones.

It is my opinion, that since the Pro's & Con's were gathered mostly from Hikers and Backpackers, from around the internet, they do not truly reflect the needs of Preppers.  In a Bug-out situation, the trail is not the actual route you may be taking, and choosing the duration and camp location may become fluid at best.

If you most Bug-out, or Fall back, then taking your gear is the most important part of your "Get out of Dodge" plan and whether it is convenient or bulky is a non-issue.  For that reason alone, I choose an External frame for my pack system.  I can learn to deal with the Con's while I'm hiking for sport and be Ready when it hits the fan.

So have a listen to my Podcast on the thought process I used to make my decision to go with an External Frame system and how it kills 3 birds with one stone, so to speak.  

Here is a link to my Frame and pack choice

Pack-Rabbit Frames

All subjects are based on a Minimalist Mindset and point of view towards adaptability to help take the Scary out of all the "What if's" in life.

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