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Cheap scout pack from your attic? No! Inexpensive old school external frame that fits multiple people? Yes! Outdoor Products Firefly is a good entry-level backpack, as I found on various trips around Jefferson National Forest, in Virginia.
At the heart, is the polypropylene frame. With multiple adjustment points in the “ClickFit” system including the hipbelt, shoulder straps, and width of shoulders, it can be modified for many body types. It also has an adjustable mesh suspension.
Cool feature: The shoulder and hipbelt remain on the frame, but you can remove the packbag! So it works as a frame carry system, too. Bonus: Multiple attachment points.
During a three-day trip in Jefferson National Forest, VA, the Firefly hauled 40 pounds of gear with ease. It did take adjustment, as the narrow shoulder setting on the frame made the pack bounce around on my average shoulders until I made adjustments.
With pockets galore for the packrats, six of ’em to be exact, there is plenty of room for a gear junky. The main front pocket worked for all the little things, and the side pockets worked for a lightweight jacket or tarp. Total capacity: 3,750 cubic in.
The two easy-to-reach lower pockets work for water bottles, but they also have a draw string so you can secure a map or snacks.
The main compartment has enough room for plenty of clothes, and the bottom compartment can hold a 0 degree bag and still have a little room, perfect for those new to backpacking, and want to bring everything along.
Bonus: It comes with its own rain cover that stores in the top.
Overall, I was surprised with the performance of this inexpensive pack. I was a bit skeptical of the construction but the stitches held up fine over several months of hard use. Bonus: Lifetime guarantee.
By Joe Flowers