View Full Version : External Frame Backpack

8-Oct-2016, 11:57
Looking for recommendations for a pack to carry a large rail camera, approx 17"x19"x7" and 20lbs

Don't need padding as I'll make whatever I need

All accessories will be stored/carried separately

Not moving very long distances but need something comfortable

Thinking an external pack frame is best

I'm 6'4" tall and lean

Greg Y
8-Oct-2016, 15:26
This would work for you. Can't get better quality for less $$. I know Drew likes them. I haven't owned or used one for years....but a good choice. $29

8-Oct-2016, 15:35

Wondering if the pack tapers

Seller says it's 16x20x9"

May be tight

8-Oct-2016, 16:23
It's only 14.5" across inside the bag, wouldn't work

Too bad

8-Oct-2016, 16:31
I used one for years in the 1970s carrying my 8x10 in its bulky case up many a gorge south of Rochester NY. Tried attaching the case to the pack frame with tight bungie cords which failed on my first hike in. Ended up using 2 very secure non-elastic tie-down cords which were permanently attached to the frame with small sheet metal screws and duct taped to the case... looked ugly but worked.

8-Oct-2016, 21:15
Have you thought about heading over to your local Army/Navy store and seeing if they had an ALICE pack there? I did the same thing your thinking about with the frame of one. I have a Calumet CC-403 in its case. I had a friend weld me a platform and I attached it with some nuts and bolts as well as 550 cord to the pack frame. It works ok but akward to carry around.


David Schaller
9-Oct-2016, 07:19
I use an old Lowe internal frame with a big bag. It's a tight fit, but I get everything in.

Drew Bedo
12-Oct-2016, 06:40
There are good external pack frames out there. I know Kelty is good, as mentioned above. In the old days, I had a Gerry external frame pack and liked it. These tings turn up new and used on The-Bay all the time.

You might think about using one of these external pack frames with a hard-shell case from Pelican or one of the others; just strap it on. There is an aftermarket set of shoulder straps for Pelican cases which might meet your needs.

Drew Wiley
12-Oct-2016, 09:13
All these old packs take a bit of tweaking for sizing and comfort. I use em for general backpacking too, and given the fact that vintage Keltys and certain other old US mfg packs have better frames than new packs, and can be found cheap, often completely unused, I have a number of em. But you have to be careful with misleading Fleabay listings regarding sizing, condition of hip belts and back supports (replacements for these are no longer available). And there are some tricksters out there who list packs cheap, but then attach utterly ludicrous shipping fees. You want to have extra clevis pins and rings in your first aid kit. Capacity of side pouches and condition of zippers is another issue - this is one area where newer packs are an improvement. My backpacking pals always seem to have the latest and the greatest, and basically find their huge internal frame packs comfortable, except for being a bit hot on the back due to limited ventilation. But then I see how much fuss it is for them to unpack things, and appreciate the better compartmentalization and rigidity of a true frame pack. I can rapidly switch the pack configuration using Gatorboard dividers, bubble packing, and even Rubbermaid wastebaskets for use with different camera systems,
whether MF. 4x5 folders, Sinar monorails, or my 8x10 system. No need for a bunch of redundant sponge foam like an official camera pack, though those might
be fine for smaller dedicated day use systems. For really bulky camera, you can get game-carrier frames new, then customize those. Talking to some of the
Vets here, I dunno about Alice packs. They're awfully heavy and maybe way too many pouches n' pockets.

Robert Opheim
12-Oct-2016, 12:19
I have been looking for a pack for my calumet 8x10 about 17x14x9 inches and a few pound more than other 8x10 cameras. I think there are some expedition packs made that will be big enough.

13-Oct-2016, 13:08
I have a Loewpro Super Trekker that is absolutely huge. It will carry my Toyo 45g, four lenses, Two bellows, extension rail, 12 film holders and still has room for more. It is anything but light, but is remarkably comfortable. It is adjustable to accommodate many sizes of people - I am 6' 5" and it fits me well. There are ample pockets on the inside, as well, for filters, cable releases, etc. I have been contemplating selling it so, if you would like to see some photos, send me a PM.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

13-Jun-2018, 01:55
Sorry that I will wet in the old conversation...
Try it on before you buy it. The pack has to fit your body more then anything else that's why they make men and woman packs support on differen't parts.
What type of gear do you want to carry? How much weight? and bulk? Pick a pack that will fit all your gear and fits you what pack that is doesn't mater as long as it fits you.
You can use a Yukon backpack it's very cheap ie you need a tarp or a blanket and some rope. They work way better if you just use a frame and then wrap the pack up as long as you know how to pack it works well now it's not as nice as just being able to reach in and grab some gear like a normal backpack but it's less weight and you can carry more gear or food instead.
I got this little Rokk brand pack frame https://secretstorages.com/best-bushcraft-backpacks/ off of ebay for working out with. That way I don't wear out my good mountain pack. I don't know if they make them anymore. I'm glad I got it because one of the bricks I carry wore through the old towel I had it wrapped in and then wore a hole through the pack. It works pretty well to simulate packing elk meat but it squeaks like crazy when you put over about 35 lbs in it. I've used it at 35 lbs, 45 lbs, 55 lbs and last night 69 lbs. I had no major complaints with it until I found out that with 69 lbs it was a little overloaded. The shoulder straps and waist belt kept working loose and I had to keep yanking them back tight. The mesh lumbar pad straps came loose and the bars were smashing against my back the entire second mile. There's no way to adjust those without taking the pack off so I just toughed it out. I guess I'll tighten it all up again before my next hike with 69 lbs.

Jim Andrada
13-Jun-2018, 12:44
I used to use a Kelty. I got rid of the pack part and made my own carrier to fit the camera and the frame - as I recall it was a simple Masonite or Plywood sheet cut appropriately and had places to strap the camera and accessories and a fabric cover. Worked fine. I fell down a slope in Yosemite and the only damage was a slight bend in one of the focus drive shafts of the Linhof Kardan Bi. That was 45 years ago and the camera still has the slightly bent shaft and still works just fine. (I was taking the Ansel Adams workshop at the time.)

Drew Wiley
13-Jun-2018, 15:03
Bragging rights, just like AA's bent nose!

Drew Bedo
23-Jun-2018, 04:48
What did the OP finally do?

23-Jun-2018, 06:24
I found some possible frame solutions but eventually decided to pack a smaller camera

23-Jun-2018, 06:26
Btw I can fit a p2 8x10 in a Lowepro 650
It’s comfortable enough but I don’t go more than a mile or so

6-Jul-2018, 00:45
I'm very pleased with my Loewpro Super Trekker, though how I wish there are exterior pouches for glasses, etc.

6-Jul-2018, 04:00
I keep my Sinar F2 in a case made from cardboard covered with contact paper. It also has room for film holders, lenses and accessories. When I want to carry it very far (no more than a mile or so) I just strap it to a military surplus ALICE backpack frame that I purchased which came with a shelf.