Best Pack Frames For Hunting In 2022 [Top 5 Picks]

[As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more]

Are you in search of the best pack frames for hunting?

Don’t worry. We have selected the best hunting frame packs for you. Hunting is more than a chance to experience the wild. It’s even more than stalking your prey. To ensure success on your next hunting expedition, you need the right hunting pack frame.

Pack Frames for Hunting
With the best big game backpack, not only will you store your gear conveniently and comfortably. But, you will get to distribute the weight of the hunting accessories and meat across your shoulders, hips, and back.

Want to know more about the best pack frames for hunting?

Keep reading!

What Is a Pack Frame?

A pack frame is a lightweight framework designed to support a backpack. It has curved extensions which fit over the wearer’s shoulder. A backpack serves as your luggage holder as you hunt in the woods while the pack frame provides extra storage for your gear.

Without the right hunting pack frame, you will not be able to carry the varied gear and accessories every hunter or backpacker needs. What you need to know is that each pack frame has a rating in volume- liters or cubic inches.

How Do You Use a Pack Frame?

A pack frame enables you to carry heavy loads while hunting without hurting your lower back. A majority of packs have aluminum frames. They are lightweight and sturdy. Combine this with other features such as the freighter shelf, adjustable suspension system, and padded straps, no sore back for you.

To use the pack frame, strap the recommended backpack. Once the backpack is secure, fill the pockets with your hunting essentials and accessories. Remember to leave space for hauling your meat after the hunt.

What’s the Difference between Internal and External Frame Packs?

The internal and external frame packs have several differences.

Balance: The internal frame pack sits against your back, helping you maintain your center of gravity and balance. The external frame pack sits a bit further from the torso. As a result, ventilation improves, reducing sweat. Thanks to its position, the wearer will experience better load transfer too.

Storage capacity: Internal pack frames have more storage. They come with several compartments and pockets to store your gear. For the external pack frame, it’s easier to secure thanks to the available straps. The straps do not affect access to the internal compartments. They improve flexibility and accessibility.

Posture: Since internal pack frames carry the weight much lower, you have to lean forward. With external pack frames, the weight is higher. It allows the wearer to walk in an upright posture. Also, it will enable you to be agile. As such, it comes in handy if you decide to walk quickly.

Weight: Internal backpacks are much lighter compared to external ones because they have thick frame pieces. With internal models, you have a choice of lightweight to ultralight.

Organization: Internal backpacks have more than one main compartment. You can fill the pack with hunting accessories and other stuff. On the other hand, external backpacks have lots of side pockets.

Which Is a Better Internal or External Frame Backpack for Hunting?

External frame packs are more suited for hunting compared to internal packs. Why? They have a visible frame, which is excellent for securing bulky gear – 45 pounds and over.

The aluminum frame is lightweight and sturdy. You can carry your hunting essentials together with your sleeping bag and meat. Since you can store all bulkier items on the outside, you don’t have to worry about space.

The aluminum frame also distributes the weight across your shoulders, back, and hips. It makes carrying heavy loads much tolerable.

Editor’s Top Pick | Top 5 best pack frames for hunting

Finding the best pack frames for hunting can be confusing. To help you with this, I have selected and reviewed the best pack frames for you.

1. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag

external frame hunting backpackLooking for an external frame hunting backpack made of durable nylon ripstop fabric? If so, I recommend the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag. Thanks to the use of high-quality materials, it’s durable. In fact, it’s suitable for use even in extreme weather conditions.

The pack frame has several pockets. You have:

  • Main
  • Front
  • Spotting scope pockets

Its main compartment has a capacity of 5250 cubic inches. As such, it has ample room to store your hunting gear and other essentials.

The pack has the spotting scope pocket and drop-down rifle holder. For long distant hunts, the spotting scope pocket comes in handy. It measures 16 inches by inches by 2.3 inches.

The drop-down rifle holder keeps your rifle close and your hands-free. Apart from organizing and storing your gear, this pack frame comes with a lashing system. The system is ideal for hauling game meat.

If planning on carrying extra-large loads, the pack bag comes with three extension straps. Apart from the unique lashing system, you also have adjustable torso straps. You can adjust the straps from 17 inches to 23 inches.

As such, you can custom fit for any body size.

  • Has freighter shelf for securing loads.
  • Several pockets for your essentials.
  • Made of durable nylon rip stop fabric.
  • Has a secure lashing system.
  • Adjustable for a custom fit.
  • Material is not waterproof.
  • Lacks a water bottle pocket.


2. STANSPORT – Deluxe Freighter Aluminum Pack Frame

meat pack framesWant to carry more hunting essentials? The STANSPORT – Deluxe Freighter Aluminum Pack Frame comes with a built-in freighter shelf. The shelf has many attachment points. As such, it can support up to 75 pounds of gear.

It also folds down, providing excellent support while hauling heavy loads such as game meat and hunting essentials.

The pack has an aluminum frame. It’s lightweight and ergonomic. Thanks to the padded belt, you have extra support when carrying heavy loads. What you need to know is that the padded hip belt has multiple attachment points. The padding enhances your comfort.

The ergonomic design distributes weight across your shoulders and back. As such, you will be able to carry heavy loads that include meat and hunting essentials. Apart from the hip belt, the shoulder straps have padding too.

The frame pack also comes with a fully adjustable suspension system. It makes your hiking and hunting experience exceptional. How? The flexible suspension system will take the load off your shoulders, hips, or back.

The pack frame weighs 4 pounds and has the following dimensions – 32 by 16 by 1 inch. It’s available in black.

  • Lightweight and sturdy<
  • Has padded straps for enhanced comfort.
  • Available in an ergonomic design.
  • Designed for hunters and hikers.
  • Comes with an aluminum frame.
  • Clips are plastic and can snap.
  • Stitching quality needs improvement.


3. Eberlestock Mainframe Pack

hunting frame packsThe Eberlestock Mainframe Pack is a game-changing pack frame. How? It comes with an ultra-light Intex frame. The frame is sturdy too. As such, it can support heavy loads such as hunting gear and game meat.

When you combine this big game backpack with Eberlestock dry bags, duffels, piggy backpacks, and casings, you will carry more hunting essentials. As a modular system, the Eberlestock Mainframe Pack works with several accessories.

These accessories can help you extend the functionality of the meat hauler backpack. Available accessories from Eberlestock include the freight pack, day pack, and meat hauler. What you need to know is that you can transform the pack frame in a matter of seconds with these accessories.

The hunting pack frame has three built-in compression straps. It also has an adjustable ladder harness and is made from 1000 denier waterproof nylon. The material is water-resistant and available in dry earth color.

  • Best minimalist hunting pack.
  • Works with lots of accessories.
  • Can function as a day pack.
  • Comes with built-in compression straps.
  • Made of 1000 denier waterproof nylon.
  • Expensive compared to other models.


4. Kelty Tioga External Frame Pack

big game backpackKelty is a reputable brand founded in 1952. Since then, the company has been making high-quality outdoor gear. They include pack frames, backpacks, tents, and shelters. They are making sleeping bags and pads for adults and kids too.

One of the best pack frames for hunting is the Kelty Tioga External Frame Pack. It comes with an external frame and an adjustable suspension. As such, it distributes the weight of the heavy load across your shoulders, hips, and back.

The radial frame also places the load closer to your body. It ensures that you have a better balance as you hike. It has a three-layer padded waist belt.

For added comfort when carrying heavy loads, the pack frame has a removable waist belt and padded shoulder straps. It has a capacity of 5500 cubic inches with two main compartments. Not only can you fit your hunting essentials but other accessories too.

The pack has one front pocket, one long side pocket, two small side pockets plus a water bottle holder. It’s made of 420 denier coated packcloth and 1000 denier Kodra reinforcements.

Thanks to its top-loading design, it’s much easier to organize your hunting essentials and access your stuff. Available in forest color, it has a sleeping bag compartment.

  • Frame pack’s radial frame improves balance.
  • Has padded straps for your comfort.
  • Internal divider helps you organize stuff.
  • Made of 420 denier coated material.
  • Has a capacity of 90 liters.
  • Needs more compression straps.


5. Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler

meat hauler backpack

Fully loaded, the Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Pack is made of KXo-32 fabric. It is one of the strongest and waterproof materials. The company carried out several tests on the material until they got it right.

Now, hunters have the opportunity of using a soft and quiet hunting pack. To adapt to your surroundings, the manufacturer has incorporated the approach camo pattern. This pattern even changes to the lighting conditions. As such, you can stay hidden when it matters the most.

The pack frame features built-in hip belt pistol holders and an integrated rifle boot. It comes with compression straps that provide different options for gear attachment. To extend the pack’s life, the manufacturer offers an unconditional lifetime warranty.

Even though the pack frame can withstand extreme weather conditions, Badland will fix it if it gets damaged. This model weighs 5 pounds and 15 ounces. The main compartment has a volume of 1980 Cl (32.4L).

When you combine with the eight side pockets, the total volume is 2250 Cl (36.9 L).

  • Thermo Mold suspension matches your body contour.
  • T-6 Aluminum internal frame reduces fatigue.
  • Waterproof fabric protects your supplies.
  • Approach camo pattern makes you invisible.
  • Made of KXO-32, a durable fabric.
  • Does not come with hydration systems.


How to Choose the Best Pack Frames for Hunting

To buy the best meat pack frames, there are a few factors you need to consider. Here are the top 5.

I. Number of Pockets

As a hunter, you need the right gear and accessories with you while in the woods. Without them, it will be difficult for you to achieve your objectives. The best pack frame should have several pockets. That includes the main compartments, side pockets, front, and others.

As such, you can fit your sleeping bag, hunting rifle, water, and food.

II. Freighter Shelf

You want to keep your heavy loads secure after the hunt. To ensure this happens, shop for a pack frame with a freighter shelf. The best model should have a foldable freighter shelf.

With this, all you have to do is load the meat and adjust the straps on the sides. By doing so, it maximizes the support.

III.Fully Padded Straps

When carrying heavy loads, especially over long distances, you need to be comfortable. To ensure you are satisfied, buy a meat hauler backpack with fully padded straps. The padded straps have foam padding.

They can either be open or closed-cell foams. As such, the straps will not dig into your shoulders. Also, they will not pinch the nerves.

IV.Adjustable Suspension System

Apart from the fully padded straps, the best pack frame should have a flexible suspension system. It helps to distribute the weight across your shoulders, hips, and back. The adjustable suspension system is a handy feature for hunters or hikers because they have to carry loads over long distances.

Thanks to this system, you will not experience lower back pain.


It’s wise to go for a pack frame made of water-resistant or waterproof materials. As you already know, the weather can be unpredictable. To ensure that your hunting gear has the right protection, look for models made of nylon.

When it comes to the frame, we recommend aluminum. Why? It’s lightweight and sturdy, unlike plastic frames. Also, aluminum is more durable than plastic making it the perfect choice for carrying heavy loads over long distances.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

1.What Do You Pack in a Hunting Day Pack?

It is essential to include a first aid kit, sleeping bag, water, hunting rifle, and rain gear. You also need to add a hunting knife, trash bags, rubber gloves, headlamp, and of course, food/snacks. Without food, your energy levels will be low, affecting your concentration.

2.How Big of a Pack Do I Need?

The first thing you need to know is that the size of your pack relates to the length of your hunting trip. It’s also associated with how much hunting gear and accessories you will be carrying. If you are spending 2 to 3 days in the woods, we recommend a 35 to 50-liter pack.

It is enough to store your sleeping bag, extra clothing, and other accessories. But, the pack will be challenging to carry. Be wise about the stuff you are packing.

3.Is a 50-Liter Backpack Enough?

Yes, a 50-liter backpack is enough if you will be spending less than three days in the woods. If you plan on extending your hunt, we recommend a pack with a bigger capacity. That means 60 liters to 90 liters. What you need to keep in mind is that a 50-liter backpack is suitable for beginners on a budget.

4.How Big of a Backpack Can You Carry On?

If you are planning on going for day hunts, you don’t need anything over 2,000 cubic inches. A general rule of thumb is to estimate 1,000 cubic inches for each day. If you have to carry hunting gear and camping supplies too, you will need a backpack with 5,000 cubic inches and over.

5.How Can I Maintain My Hunting Backpack?

Buy a rain cover if the model does not come with one. It is essential to line the insides to protect it from stains. Don’t forget to clean the backpack. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for great results. Remember, don’t soak the pack. You may damage the internal lining.

Final Verdict

When you buy the best pack frames for hunting, you will have enough storage to pack your hunting essentials. That includes your first aid kit, headlamp, rain gear, sleeping bag, hunting rifle, and more.

If you are in search of large backpacks to pack five days worth of hunting supplies, I recommend the Kelty Tioga External Frame Pack. I also recommend the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack. But, if you want backpacks for 2 to 3 days hunting, I recommend the Eberlestock Mainframe Pack, and Badlands 2200.

What I recommend to the average hunter is the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag. It comes with a pack bag, made of durable nylon ripstop fabric, and has a freighter shelf.

It also has three extension straps, a unique lashing system, and several pockets.

Best of luck!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

5 × 5 =