The early years of backpacking were all about the external frame pack. You needed the rigid support of an external frame to allow you to carry heavy loads. In the days prior to titanium and carbon fiber, most of the camping gear was extremely heavy and the frame pack made it possible to carry everything including the kitchen sink if you so desired. As the sport evolved the pounds fell off and the invention of the internal frame pack has almost become the demise of these external frame packs.
The external frame pack should still have a place in your heart and on your back if you are a true trophy hunter. Getting into the backcountry and away from your competition puts you at an advantage for harvesting the next trophy of a lifetime. Alps Outdoorz has redesigned its’ Commander Freighter Frame and Backpack for just this type of person.
The Commander is a backpacking frame system that is completely adjustable. It can fit a torso from 17” up to 23”. The freighter shelf is ideal for hauling out those big elk racks, and distributing the heavy load of a moose quarter. The cinch straps will keep the load tight against the frame and eliminate unwanted movement. It includes a couple of pockets, which are a great place to store knives, rope, saw, or anything else you might need to recover your trophy.
Couple the Commander frame with the Commander Pack Bag and you have enough room for your gear for a lengthy back country stay. The Commander Pack Bag has an enormous 5,250 cubic inches of storage. A hydration pocket allows easy access to your water bladder. It includes a rifle holder to keep your favorite bang stick secure while you hike in and out.
The hold open frame makes finding the gear you need easy. Ample padding on the waist band and shoulder pads keeps you comfortable and adjustment straps help balance even the heaviest loads so you don’t wear out trying to haul all of your gear. A special pocket holds your favorite spotting scope and protects it from being dropped, banged around, or scratched.
The entire rig weighs in at around 7 and half pounds, leaving it plenty light to allow you to fill up on gear and food and haul plenty of game out. I like this system for the extreme backcountry hunts where you haul your entire camp in on your back and once there, pull a few clevis pins, and you can leave the Commander Pack Bag behind and just take the frame. This allows me to transport an entire boned out deer to my backcountry camp in one trip. This is also a great setup for places like Alaska where the wind never stops. I take the pack and frame everywhere and if I want to sit down on the turdra to spot, I always have a windbreak with me at all times.