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RE: [at-l] External frame packs

You should be able to special order an appropriate (and maybe much more comfy) hip belt from either/both of Kelty or Camp Trails. This and a pair of shoulder straps will refurbish the suspension end of things magnificently, as the back bands don't tend to wear out. Otherwise, I'd hit Kelty, which fit me much more comfortably than the K2/Dana model(s) or the {snif-snif} JanSport {which, because of the lightness of much of their gear, I *really* wanted to like}. If the pack bag is nasty, I understand that Stephenson's/Warmlite will recreate a bag for you. I'm considering it myself.

My 26! year old pvc-framed Alpine Designs Expedition pack sports newer shoulder straps and hip belt, from special-ordered from Camp Trails, and has never been this comfortable. It also weighs about 4-4.5 pounds. Except for certain MountainSmith models, the best other packs can do at this point is *match* its comfort..........

Good Luck! 

Low cost alternative I'd pick a Kelty, which one based on the size he needs.  Medium cost I LOVE my Dana Shortbed!!!!!  Very adaptable to light or ridiculous loads and a suspension system to die for.


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