Amazon Basics 65 Internal Frame Backpack Review

Amazon Basics 65L Internal Frame Backpack Review

The Amazon Basics 65L Internal Frame Backpack is an adjustable length backpack designed for multi-day backpacking trips. Priced at  $65, it’s a surprisingly good value if you want a fully functional multi-day backpack that can carry 40 lbs of gear, food, and water without breaking the bank. We think it’s a good starter pack for someone who’s just getting into backpacking and can’t spend a lot of money to gear up. Given its adjustable torso length, it’s also a good option for a parent seeking to outfit a growing teen (see our 10 Best Backpacks for Kids).

The Amazon Basics 65 very similar to the Teton Sports Scout 3400 Backpack with minor differences and we wouldn’t be surprised if Teton Sports designed and manufactured it for resale under the Amazon Basics label.

Amazon Basics 65L Internal Frame Backpack

Comfort
Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Durability

Adjustable-Length Backpack

While the Amazon Basics 65L Internal Frame Backpack is made with inexpensive materials, there’s no denying that it gets the job done. While the pack has its quirks, it’s a perfectly functional pack and a very good value especially for a growing child or an adult that fits its torso range.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Price: $65
  • Volume: 60L w/ 5L in extension collar
  • Weight: 4 lbs 7 oz
  • Type: Internal Frame
  • Adjustable Length: Yes
  • Torso Range: 15″-19.5″
  • Top Lid: Yes
  • Rain Cover: Included
  • Pockets: 7 closed, 2 open
  • Hydration: Yes, with internal pocket and hang loop
  • Load lifters: Yes
  • Hip Belt Pockets: No
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment: Yes
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 7 x 32 inches
Webbing straps on the top of the pack and the bottom let you carry bulky gear
Webbing straps on the top of the pack and the bottom let you carry bulky gear

Backpack Storage and Organization

The Amazon Basics 65L Backpack is a top loader with a sewn-on top lid that has two pockets, one external on top and one under the lid. There’s a separate sleeping bag hatch at the base of the main compartment with an optional shelf that can be zippered out of the way if you want to use the entire space for packing. The sleeping bag compartment is on the small side if you have a bulky synthetic sleeping bag, but you can still fit it into the bag by zipping that shelf out of the way. The pack also has an internal hydration pocket with a hang loop above to hang a bladder and a rain cover pocket in the base of the main compartment.

The side pockets are good for carry a Jetboil and water bottles
The side pockets are good to carry a Jetboil and water bottles

The pack has four side pockets: a pair of open mesh water bottle pockets size for 1 liter Nalgene bottles and two closed pockets, good for storing a Jetboil, a narrow cookpot, fuel, stove accessories, or a pump water filter. There’s a large front pocket positioned over the sleeping bag hatch that’s good for storing loose layers. Three exterior daisy chains also make it possible to lash get to the outside with cord or elastic straps.

This pocket layout is a little unusual compared to what you’ll find on more mainstream backpacks from Osprey, Gregory, and the like, and is reminiscent of the old school pack bags on external frame packs like the Kelty Trekker 65 with its stacked side pockets. It is perfectly functional though. One very noticeable difference is the lack of any side compression straps, which limits how much you can shrink the pack’s volume if you don’t fill it full.

The backpack has a separate sleeping bag hatch although the internal separator can be folded away to fit larger sleeping bags
The backpack has a separate sleeping bag hatch although the internal separator can be folded away to fit larger sleeping bags

There are also webbing straps on the top lid and above the sleeping bag had that you can use to attach bulky gear to the outside of the pack which won’t it inside, like a tent body, tent poles or a foam sleeping pad. The straps on the top lid are not long enough to fit a bear canister, however, they are removable, so you could rig up something using your own straps. The straps above the sleeping pad are not removable, however, but they are long enough to secure most folding foam pads, including the Exped FlexMat Plus, shown.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Amazon Basics 65L an adjustable length backpack so you can adjust the distance between the hip belt and the shoulder straps to match your torso length. The shoulder yoke, which joins the two shoulder straps, can be moved up and down a series of horizontal fabric webbing straps and reattached with velcro. It’s very simple to use but the torso length distances are not marked in inches, so you should fit the torso length with a friend who knows what they’re doing. This same adjustment mechanism is used on many backpacks, including the Jansport Katahdin 50 and the REI Trailbreak 60 which we reviewed recently.

The torso range on this pack is 15-19.5″, so it won’t be suitable for people with longer torsos. Measure your torso before you purchase this pack to make sure that you fall in the correct range. If you wear a pack that has a torso that is too short for you, the pack weight will sit entirely on your shoulders, which is bad, You want it to rest on your hips, which are much stronger and can support the load more comfortably.

The hip belt is 6 inches wide and transfers load to the hips
The hip belt is 6 inches wide and transfers load to the hips

The frame is consists of a plastic sheet and two frame stays. These are accessible from the inside of the pack and removable if you want, but I’d recommend just leaving them alone if you plan to carry 20 lbs or more. This type of frame can carry 40 lbs pounds without a problem. The combination of frame stays and the plastic frame sheet give the pack the ability to flex as you walk or scramble, which is a desirable feature.

The pack comes with load lifters which are anchored at the top of the framesheet and you can adjust where they connect to the shoulder pads to fine-tune the fit. This is a premium feature that you seldom find on packs at this price point.

The shoulder pads are J-shaped, so they’re best for men. They’re covered with a soft mesh to wick sweat and provide increase comfort. The exterior of the shoulder straps have daisy chains sewn to them, making it easy to attach accessory pockets or clip on navigation gear. Elastic hose keeper straps and an adjustable sternum strap are also provided. One of our reviewers has observed that the shoulder strap webbing can slip through the bottom buckle used to adjust its length. There are a number of easy ways to prevent this: by forming a knot in the webbing or pushing a safety pin through it adjacent to the buckle to prevent it from sliding through the buckle.

You adjust the torso length by raising or lowering the shoulder yoke
You adjust the torso length by raising or lowering the shoulder yoke

The hip belt is 6″ inch wide and pre-curved so it hugs the hips well. There’s a noticeable lumbar pad on the back of the hip belt, which some may find uncomfortable to start, but it’s soft and you soon forget it’s there. The hip belt is covered with a comfortable open weave mesh that helps wick moisture and is securely connected to the pack with velcro behind the lumbar pad. The hip belt wings are connected to the pack sides with control straps that let you pull heavy loads toward your hips for a more efficient carry, but there are no hip belt pockets or attachment points to clip on extra gear. The webbing strap used to cinch the hip belt is wide, with a beefy center buckle making it easy to use and durable.

Comparable Low-Cost Adjustable-Length Backpacks

Make / ModelTorso RangePrice
Alps Mountaineering Nomad 65L-85L16-22"$135
Alps Mountaineering Shasta 7016-22"$90
Amazon Basics 6515-19.5"$65
Amazon Basics 5515-19.5"$60
High Sierra Appalachian 7515-23"$99
High Sierra Pathway 6015-23"$110
High Sierra Explorer 5515-23"$70
Teton Sports Scout 4000 (65L)19-23"$88
Teton Sports Scout 3400 (65L)15-19.5"$75

Recommendation

We review a wide range of backpacks on SectionHiker, ranging from ultralights backpacks for long-distance and weekend backpack to hunting backpacks for hauling heavy meat out of the wilderness. The Amazon Basics 65 is a different league, however, because it is so low-priced. While it is made with inexpensive materials, there’s no denying that it gets the job done. While the pack has its quirks, it’s a perfectly functional pack and a very good value especially for a growing child or an adult that fits its torso range.

Disclosure: The author purchased this backpack.

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5 comments

  1. This was the first pack I purchased to get into backpacking. The review is spot on. I honesty still sometimes miss those huge side pockets when I’m out with my Osprey. I never got rid of this pack after upgrading, as its adjustability means it really comes in handy to bring others out who are looking to get into the sport. I also sometimes use it to carry my cooking gear when I’m car camping. My main gripe with it is that the lumbar straps slipped and had to be readjusted several times a day on the trail. This has been the pack I recommend to anyone looking to get into the sport, and I’m glad to see it’s still available online and people are taking notice of it. It really is a great starter pack!

  2. I love how you’re using an HMG shoulder pocket with the Amazon Basics pack.

    • Ha. I saw that too. $40 pouch on a $60 pack.

      Looks like a great pack for the cost. Nice to see things lower the barrier for entry into an activity that still have some quality in the build and not going to disintegrate after a couple uses.

  3. I was disappointed with this pack it felt good at home but when I got out of the trail I had to constantly tighten up shoulder straps which slip constantly now it just hangs on my wall and collects dust

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