So I bought what was at the time the best external-frame pack on the marketDana Design's Terraframe, which hung a Terraplane pack bag onto the frame of Dana Design's estimable Longbed external-frame pack.
Alas, you no longer can purchase these packs (except on eBay, where they pop up on occasion). So these days there's really only one choice: Kelty's Super Tioga ($190; www.kelty.com). Which is a pretty good pack, but it's sad that no one is really taking external-frame packs seriously. They work great, but marketing has convinced everyone that internal frame is the only way to go.
Here are some other tips: One thing that helped me, and that I still use, is to cut a little "doughnut" out of Ensolite foam (the blue stuff used to make cheap sleeping pads). Put the hole of the doughnut over the bony peak, and that does quite a bit to distribute the load away from that area. You also can take your pack strap to an outdoor-gear repair place and have them split it where the sore spot is, so the strap neatly goes down either side.
Anyway, good luck. In time the shoulder will get used to a load.
Check out Outside's Gear of the Year winners in the 2005 Buyer's Guide , then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!
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