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Woodsdrummer Signature Series
What basically amounts to a canvas sack with a frame, this pack that I cobbled together at the last minute actually ended up filling all of my needs. I didn't just assemble the pieces then stare at it from across the room, it really did see a lot of hard use in real conditions. It's not pretty or high tech but it works for what I need it for---working in the woods.

[Image: forum2014kelty.jpg]

I've decided to invest a little more time and money into The Fugly Pack. After countless searches looking for frames, I've decided to go with this platform. It was a last minute 'light bulb' find and the quality just seems so much better than everything else that I've seen.

[url=""]Pack Frame[/url]


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
Great looking set up Eric.

I have a similar frame and can attach a Tatonka bag for several days or my Filson medium field bag if I am hiking in and hope to pack an animal out.

I hope one day to be able to wrangle a Mystery Ranch set up from Montana, but they are as much as a new rifle <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Rolleyes' />

Hopefully the S won't HTF and I pray every day that it won't. It would not be fun.

I have a high art..I wound with cruelty, all who wound me...Archillocus; 650 B.C.
An external frame? And people accuse me of being a Luddite...

I still have an old Camp Trails external that carries heavy loads better than any internal frame I've ever used, it just squeaks like hell...
I Hear Voices.....And They Don't Like You.

"Further, I propose that this "Moment of Misery" be hence-to-forth be referred to as "Moment of Misery for Misanthropic Yammering", or "MOMMY"!" ~ DDennis2

(what an effing moron. - i feel such pity now for his lovely wife and intelligent children - and maybe even for his food-quality dawg, nick-named "Spicy" sez i.)
Try carrying all this shit in an internal pack.

[Image: solitude17.jpg]

Everything has its advantages. I may or may not choose an internal frame for more conventional outdoor activities. I do remember having to lean forward a lot more with my Lowe Alpine pack.


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
[quote name='MISANTHROPE' timestamp='1428691043' post='600251']

An external frame? And people accuse me of being a Luddite...


That's cause you are... <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />

Eric, I would suspect that the Cabala's Alaska series frame will work well for you. It doesn't feel like a small pack, but that small pack will attach out of the way, and there is room for larger material.

I can't remember what mine was, Freighter model, maybe? It was also a Cabalas frame. It was highly recommended for my Alaska hunt trip. A small, waterproof pack carried everything important while wandering around in the wilderness, and when it came time to pack the trophy out, it lashed onto the pack with no problems.

I think it's a good choice.

Good to know Cabela's makes good frames Bill. When I zoomed in on the photos, I could see the stitching and welds looked strong. I imagine hunters would be quick to point out if something failed during a big hunt. Wonder who manufactures them for Cabela's.

Here's a few more shots of ML's classic Dick Kelty frame in action. I have no reason to retire the old girl but I do wish to preserve what is now considered to be a classic design.

[Image: door5.jpg]

[Image: door6.jpg]

[Image: door7.jpg]


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
Good external-frame packs are hard to come by these days; 40 years ago you had your choice of several excellent models. The best I’ve ever used was a K2 Terraframe. Here’s a shot of the Rat Bastard’s better half carrying one up on the approach trail to San Gorgonio several years ago.

[Image: Trail1.jpg]

[Image: BigPack.jpg]

These were only produced for a couple of years, but they are the Cadillac ride, the best of any frame pack I’ve ever carried (bag, frame, and suspension). I still have two of them (one for her, one for me). A little complicated in terms of the suspension, but man, they are the best of all worlds, combining internal-frame comfort, stability, and CG with external-frame hauling capacity. But they appeared right when Americans decided to start porking out and quit backpacking in any meaningful way. Hard to find today, and all in used condition, but if you can score one in your size that’s in good shape, I HIGHLY recommend one for serious loads in the big steep. On my last ten-day trip this is the pack I chose.

But that old Kelty frame in Mr. Stoskopf’s photos, they do a great job. Here’s my old Super Tioga, a pack I bought from Dick Kelty himself back when he still had his Glendale CA backpacking shop. God rest that great man’s soul—he opened up the backcountry for a whole generation of us. I didn’t even have a car then—I rode my ten-speed bicycle all the way out there and rode home with that pack on my back. And here’s a second shot of that same pack out in the Sierra, on a trip with either Ron and/or Mike Starr, in about 1978. Lookit them old German boiled-wool Ragg socks, Pivetta Muir Trail boots, about five-percent body fat--I thought nothing of carrying a load equal to three-quarters of my body weight up and over the Sierra crest, week after week, or running six miles in 38 minutes. Now look at me--I’m lucky if I can unload the groceries from my car and make it to the front door without stopping for a rest or having a stroke.

[Image: SuperTioga.jpg]

[Image: MLWithPackHW_zps4af3666f.jpg]

Mr. Stoskopf knows what he’s talking about—an external frame lets you carry loads you otherwise could never manage. It’s the Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife of the man-portable world. I once carried an Evinrude outboard motor four miles uphill to a mountain lake on my Kelty frame! Of course, most sensible folks would have hired a mule or stayed at home watching the Stuporbowl. But my back was curved at an early age by a father who used his kids as his own mules, and to this day I just don’t know no better. And as I got older I sure didn’t get any smarter. The Marine Corps wanted me to fly, but did I say yes? You’re born an infantryman, and I’ll probably croak with a load on my back too, one step up the evolutionary ladder from a snail. Come to think of it, when I run I’m in the snail class now—what the hell happened?

Ötzi the Iceman knew, 5000 years ago. He used a wooden pack frame to carry his loads. And before Dick Kelty showed us a better way, we built our own wooden pack frames, like the two the Rat Bastard crafted with his own young hands.

[Image: TwoPackframes.jpg]

[Image: Packframe2back.jpg]

[Image: Packframe1back.jpg]

I don’t think I’ve seen an external frame in Europe in the last 30 years. And a trip to my local backpacking shop shows tons of great internal-frame packs, but really no external frames that aren’t an embarrassment. In the States I hardly see anyone backpacking anymore, and they’re almost always carrying an internal frame. But for the big, steep mountains of the American west, when you’re out for a week at a time, man, I’d pick an an external frame just about every time if it were a good design and if I weren’t on skis.

There is an upside to all this, you know. And it’s called ebay. Type in “vintage Kelty pack” and see what comes up. You can score a rippin’ deal. What you want is one of the old US-made (Sunland or Glendale) unpainted aluminum frames, like Eric S. shows in his photos. The padding in the straps may be hard, and the waistbelt is a little primitive, but if you get a good one, you can strip off the bag and you will have a frame that you can depend on for a lifetime. Even today, if I had only my old Kelty Super Tioga, a sleeping bag and a tarp and some sort of white-gas stove, I'd be living a great life in the mountains for a week or more at a time. Most of those packs didn't get worn out, and they'll serve you as well today as they did us back then. It's one of the reasons I still keep my old Kelty--not just out of sentimentality, but because it still works.

I sent ES that old Massif frame, and it makes my heart beat lighter to see it out in that harsh Sierra sunlight, being used as it was made to be used. And I’m sure ol’' Dick Kelty is smiling down on Eric too. And so, probably, is the great Norman Clyde, who used a wooden pack frame and an old GI duffle bag to cover more miles in the mountains than any of us ever will.

Misanthrope--Your old Camp Trail's squeaking? That used to annoy me too; know I hear it and I smile, knowing I'm making progress up the trail. For every hundred squeaks you just have to let out a loud fart.

It’s never the equipment that holds you back. What excuses do any of us have?

Man, I love seeing that old Kelty frame out there again. Thanks, compadre.


[Image: NormanwithPack.jpg]
I am very late to the external frame game. I'm not much of backpacker so that probably has something to do with it. I do like short hikes to camp and carrying my stuff comfortably though!

I did get an external frame pack last year and I totally agree. The felixibility of use is great - from big to small loads, one bag to rule them all <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />
{  "Trust in Jesus but carry a sixgun in the bathroom."€  Phantom  }
Tatonka makes a pretty good freighter frame

Mine is not Tatonka but looks similar


Hopefully the S won't HTF and I pray every day that it won't. It would not be fun.

I have a high art..I wound with cruelty, all who wound me...Archillocus; 650 B.C.
I find it odd that the Tatonka pack frame did not come up in my searches because it's right along the lines of what I was looking for. Thanks for that Dave.

Here's the company. There's a Youtube video that explains the pack.

[url=""]Tatonka Lastenkraxe[/url]

The suspension system on the Tatonka looks to be a bit more refined than the Cabela's frame. The only thing I may not care for on the Totonka is that the freighter shelf is permanent and cannot be folded away or removed. And I do feel a bit more at ease purchasing from Cabela's just in case I need to return or exchange a product.

Even though the majority of the backpacking crowd may not be into external frame packs anymore, I think there's always going to be hunters (and idiots like me) that need a very sturdy platform for odd, bulky and heavy loads.

A special thanks to ML for wandering out to the yard in his underwear again to snap a few photos for the class. Always a treat actually being able to see the items he's talking about. I'd pay a pocket full of quarters and a few minutes with my sister to take a quick peak in that garage of his!


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
The old Camp trails freighter is about the same frame. I had one for years and gifted it to a friend in

a moment of weakness. then as I was passing through Nebraska I went into the original Cabelas and found

the Alaskan set-up in their bargain cave. For most uses I have the internal frame pack I use, but the

Alaskan and an old Kelty still have a place of honor in the Gear locker ready to go.

I did not like all of the suspension on the Alaskan frame and upgraded with mesh back band, shoulder

straps and hip belt from the camp trails . The frame is great and has plenty of adjustments so it

can fit the whole range of body types.
"...Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most

of them seemed to come from Texas."

Casino Royale. Chapter VII
Dave's information on the Tatonka packs made me step back for a moment and rethink my decision to go with the Cabela's frame. The Tatonka is definitely a nice pack (made in Germany). But like my quest earlier to track down a Bergan's Finnmark, the Lastenkraxe is nowhere to be found here in the US and that could prove to be an issue if any problems with the transaction or the product were to surface. You can purchase them online from European and Canadian shops all day long though. I guess that reenforces ML's observations that seeing a backpacker using an external frame back over here in the United States is very rare.

So...I'm still going with the frame from Cabela's. Anyone else here get a rush out of convincing themselves they need something when they really don't?


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
There's a show on VH1 called "That Metal Show" and features the segment "Stump the Trunk". Basically it's a part of the show when audience members try to stump one of the hosts with a very obscure trivia related question. The host Eddie Trunk really knows his shit regarding metal and hard rock music and rarely misses a question.

Time for me to stump our very own ML with a question that will probably take oh about ten seconds or less to provide an answer to. But I gotsta know.

Browsing through the plethora of used external frame packs being offered on Ebay, I ran across one in particular that set of a couple bells. The first bell was the full length mesh back panel on the pack I'm posting below. The frame you sent me features the same style and size of mesh but I've never seen it on any of the other earlier Kelty frames. And here's the second "ding". Taking a closer look, the frame itself appeared to be very similar to the Massif. Is it possible that the Seaway "Campmaster" was manufactured for Seaway by Kelty?

Tick Tock Tick Tock....

[Image: forum2015seaway1.jpg]

[Image: forum2015seaway2.jpg]


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
And I think of all the years I lugged around All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment sans frame.

I think the first frame I was ever issued was in 1990, as we prepared to fight the first Gulf War........I had only been in the Army 19 years at that point..........<img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />/>

Eric and --ML....thanks for sharing. Superb content as always.


Some mornings it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps!

For our reading pleasure.

[url=""]Kelty Packs[/url]

[url=""]Gear / Backpacking History[/url]


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart

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