User Review: Arc'teryx Bora 80
Design: front-loading internal
Size: 80 liters
Number of Pockets: 4 + 2
Max. Load Carried: 55 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2"
Price Paid: $375
'07 Bora 80. Let me start by saying that after thoroughly reviewing several packs Arc'teryx has some of the finest equipment out there. Expensive, but well worth the investment if you backpack a lot.
The pack is very comfortable, and it is obvious that some careful research went into the design of this pack. I tested this pack in a near worst-case scenario setup:
1) 4-season tent
2) 3 liters water
3) 400 cu. inch bear canister
4) Larger, and heavier duty cooking stove and mess kit
5) Plenty of cold weather clothes
The proportions and dimensions of the main, sleeping bag, and top lid compartment are perfect for trips involving a lot of gear. The dual daisy chains are well placed to accommodate ice axes, shovels, or trekking poles. The kangaroo pouch is the perfect size and place to store a fleece top and pants, and the center zip offers quick access when the temps suddenly drop. The drain hole at the bottom also makes it a safe place to store things that might leak (white gas, insect repellent, etc). The interior is a light color (good in the dark), double-walled (low friction), and water resistant. A zipper has been installed for access between the layers separating the main and kangaroo compartments, which is a large enough to drop in a thin magazine or other reading material for camp.
The top pouch, which can be removed and used for day trips, can carry all of your rain gear, first aid kit, and other essentials for day hikes. The new model also houses a large water bladder. Detach the top lid, slide a T-shirt over it, and now it becomes your water pillow for the night, with a convenient source of drinking water. The side zip is also an awesome thing to have for getting to things after you've packed the whole bag.
Cool features of the new pack:
1) Large hydration pocket in top lid
2) Flip out water bottle holders
3) Compression straps that all unclip
4) Good placement of tougher fabrics around bottom
5) Compression straps are very strongly anchored into pack body, especially for the very important center strap, attached to the top of the kangaroo pouch. This one bears a high load when hauling rope, pickets, etc.
Existing coolnesses are:
1) Overall quality of materials and workmanship
2) Excellent suspension
3) Well-placed zippers, compartments, etc.
Wish list for next model:
1) Make the pack as waterproof as possible, while keeping the user friendly features it has now.
a) Use a material similar to either the '06 Bora, or better yet, what is on the '06 Needle.
b) Add covered storage bays for zipper pulls, like on the Needle, for keeping out water.
2) Make the top lid wearable like a backpack somehow. Or, better yet, offer a separately purchased compression stuffsack (for sleeping bag) that can be converted into a day pack, and will also allow the top lid to of a Bora to clip to it. This would save overall weight, save prep time, and remain comfortable.
3) Add attachment points to shoulder straps. Just one simple D-ring on each strap would be nice.
I think anyone who wants a comfortable and very tough pack that will last for years, and can carry larger loads when needed, will be very happy with the Bora 80.