No matter how much weight your pack is designed to haul, it must also allow you to carry the load comfortably. Many daypacks don’t have a frame, but all packs intended for heavier loads will have one. These frames can be rigid, such as those made of aluminum, or they can have some flexibility, such as models constructed of high-density plastic or carbon fibre (flexibility is more important if you’re going to be climbing or otherwise contorting your body). Load capacity and comfort aren’t necessarily compromised with either a rigid or flexible frame.
Now popular are modular hunting packs that allow you to swap out different pack sizes on the same frame. This design is ideal for hunters who want a single frame to accommodate a variety of different scenarios, from one-day excursions to extended backcountry trips to hauling home meat.
For maximum comfort with heavy loads, you’ll want a pack that has highly adjustable shoulder straps and a waist belt, along with load-lifter straps at the top of the pack that allow you to cinch the load tighter to your back; this helps shift the load from your shoulders down to your hips, where you want the weight to reside. Plenty of adjustability allows you to properly fit a pack to your body, which is essential for ensuring you can comfortably carry a heavy load. When a pack fits well, it’s amazing how much weight you can carry for extended periods.