I am new to backpacking and just acquired an old style Camp Trails external frame backpack. It is in excellent condition with all waterproofing intact. I was hoping for some advice, pros and cons? Does anyone still use these kinds of packs?
External pack frames are just fine. I have an old one, bought in the 1970s at an EMS rentals sale. It is the same weight, solidly strong still, better pockets than a very nice new internal frame pack i bought 3 yrs ago - i still question why i bought the new internal frame pack, probably because that's what's out there and being 45 yrs newer technology, i though it would be better - the old pack is clearly more durable..... i do like both though.
Bottom line, my advice would be to spend your $ on other needed equipment and use the external frame pack you have. Hope this helps...
I have sold backpacks including Camp Trails backpacks. That'll be a fine backpack for an introduction and may be the only backpack you need in your career. Frame packs are cooler and are a little easier for trail walking because they carry the load a little bit higher. Internal frame packs often make your back sweat a lot but are more stable as they are closer to your hips and center-of-gravity for off-trail walking. Internal frame packs can weigh less also. Like the commenter above, I also highly recommend to newer hikers to not spend a whole lot of money on gear at first. You'll get by with what you have and figure out what you really want as you move along. Welcome, find your own way, you'll be fine out there.