Internal Frame Backpack

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Internal Frame Backpack

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The Fox5200 provides a great fit and huge cargo space. Dual aluminum stays adjust to the shape of your back. Contoured shoulder straps, heavily padded lumbar panel and hip straps, and load tensioners allow extreme customization. Take time to fit bag properly before your trip and you will be able to support very heavy loads. Pack has side butterfly pockets, front map pocket, mesh side pouches, two zip pockets in detachable hood and slide storage for jackets. Plus, lower compression straps and daisy chain gear hangers.

Comes with sleeping bag compartment located on bottom of bag and accessed with a front zipper. This compartment is designed for less bulky bags so if your larger sleeping bag won't fit, put it in the main compartment and use the bottom compartment for clothes. Or unzip false floor of main compartment to connect the two compartments and gain extra vertical space for longer items. Or hang sleeping bag on bottom of pack with attached compression straps.

With pockets, pouches, slide storage and straps, you can hang, tie or tuck away all the gear for a weeklong trip. For shorter trips, check out TETON Sports Scout3400 or Explorer4000. The Explorer4000 fits extra-long torsos better.

The Teton Fox 75+10L internal frame backpack is a great fit for the serious hiker. Comfort-wise, the Fox is outfitted with dual aluminum stays that adjust to the shape of your back, along with contoured shoulder, lumbar, and hip pads. In addition, the height of the shoulder straps is adjustable, helping the pack accommodate a wide range of torso lengths. The upshot is a comfortable, ergonomic pack that won't put undue stress on your back and shoulders even after a full day of hiking.

On the interior, the 5,187-cubic-inch pack holds all your gear in its top-loading main compartment, expandable front section, and unique sleeping bag compartment. Meanwhile, hikers looking for an easy place to access their first-aid kits and mini flashlights will delight in the pair of hideaway side pockets. The design concludes with an attached rain fly that keeps your gear dry and is compatible with separately sold hydration systems.

An attached rain fly will keep your gear dry in unexpected wet weather.

Amazon.com Backpack Guide
Finding the Right Backpack
For extended trips into the backcountry, there's no getting around the fact that you'll have to carry life-sustaining supplies on your back. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a backpack:

Internal vs. External
Up until late 1970's, external frame packs--which consist of an exposed, lightweight metal frame attached to a fabric pack-bag--were the only thing going. In recent years, though, packs that place the support structure of the pack inside the pack, known as internal frame packs, have boomed in popularity.

The good news about internal frame packs is that they hold the weight of your load close to your body, making it easier to maintain your balance on uneven terrain. Meanwhile, internals provide stiffness and support, but they are not completely rigid, which makes them more flexible when you're doing active sports. With the added flexibility comes a high degree of compressibility, meaning you can use the pack's compression straps to cinch down your load and keep items from shifting and throwing you off balance. Internals also sport slimmer shapes that allow for more arm movement in all directions--another big plus for off-trail bushwhackers, skiers and climbers. Last but not least, internal frame packs offer a greater range of adjustability in the shoulder harness and hip-belt than external frame packs.

There are some negatives for internals. First, once packed, it can be difficult to grab needed items out of them quickly. And because internal frame packs consolidate the load into a single, body-hugging unit, proper packing is very important. To distribute the weight properly, you should pack your heaviest items close to your back and in the middle portion of the pack-bag. Plan on getting a sweaty back with an internal, too, given the fact that they are pressed right against you. Finally, internal frame packs are priced higher than external models.

External frame packs are very good at focusing the weight of a load directly to the right place: your load-loving hips. While internals, when properly packed, do this effectively, too, you can always rest assured that an external will distribute the load evenly, no matter how unevenly packed it may be. Externals also offer easy access to your gear via multiple, easily-accessible compartments. Plus, because externals don't situate the load directly against your back, you'll enjoy far more air flow. Finally, if you're on a budget, or you're buying for a growing child, externals are more affordable.

If you plan on hiking on easy to moderate trails and you don't need a lot of body movement, you'll probably be fine with an external. But because externals are so rigid and inflexible, challenging trails or any kind of off-trail pursuit can become painful and frustrating. Also know that your balance is far more compromised with an external frame pack during activities like stream crossings and hops through talus fields.

Packs for Shorter Trips
In addition to backpacks designed for overnight trips, rucksacks are great for day-trips, warm-weather one-nighters, single-day ski trips, or fast alpine assaults. Some rucksacks blur the line between backpack and rucksack with integrated internal supports and sophisticated hip belts and shoulder harnesses. Choose a pack in this category based on your intended use. Short day hikers don't need an internal frame, while climbers and skiers with heavier loads likely do.

Sizes and Capacities
Packs in the 3,000 cubic inches and lower category are good for day hikes or overnighters in warm weather with minimal gear. Packs in the 3,000 to 4,000 cubic inch range are good for one- or two-night trips in colder weather. If you're going to be out for up to three days, look for a pack in the sub-4,000 cubic inch range. Choose a pack with 5,000-6,000 cubic inches for week-long outings. And finally, for trips lasting a week or more, you'll need something in the 6,000-plus cubic inch category. Keep in mind, though, that bigger packs weigh more, and since every ounce counts, you'll want to choose a pack that offers just enough space for your outings and no more.

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