Arc'teryx Bora 95
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $165
Had it for nearly 10 years. It's a brute trooper. For carrying 10 days' worth of stuff, nothing tops it.
- Convenient access to everything
- Not a wasted or weird pocket anywhere
- Large profile makes nimble navigation in brush a problem
- A bit heavy base weight
- Back fits well, but sweats due to limited ventilation
- Waist strap pouches would be nice to have
Cf. my Osprey Atmos 65 review on this site. This pack has made it on difficult trails in the White Mtns admirably, but it's really way more pack than I need for 2-3 days. But when it comes to anything longer, it's a dominant monster. I have my entire Burning Man resources in it easily (except, of course, for gallons and gallons of water), and walk with it comfortably.
All straps, pouches, zippers are straight-forward, well-planned, and obvious as to their purpose and uses. I underscore this, because—while I love my Osprey Atmos 65 for a shorter hike—this thing is straight-forward, non-confusing, and nothing is wasted. The Osprey had a few things (inner pocket with zipper at top but no bottom to it ... for example ... or an utterly stupid claim "hydration" pouch that requires a lock-picker and bulldozer to get into and out of) that made me scratch my head and go "— nothing like that in the Arc'teryx design.
As to structure, the Arc-teryx is very nicely back-conformed which works well for big loads. At 6', 165lbs, it's very comfortable and rides well. It does ride heavy, but then, you're carrying 5-10 days' of stuff ... however, I did not have any real back pains or other trouble from it, it distributed changing loads well and fairly. I keep it in the vestibule of my Marmot Swallow and the side zipper makes for a perfect closet for all that I need without leaving my tent (GREAT for dust storms on the playa!).
The removable, fanny-pack-strapped top compartment is simply sublime. Steve Jobs would have loved that design ... it's simple, perfect, and so adaptable to multiple uses. Multiple kudos to the designer of that little touch.
It is brute strong, and the extra weight you see in the near indestructible fabric, zippers, etc. While I love my new Osprey Atmos 65 for weight, I challenge it to hold up to all the 10 years of hell I put this Arc'teryx through. I knew nothing of the Arc'teryx when I found it at an REI sidewalk sale for under $180 ... wow, did I get a steal.
I like it so much, I actually apologized to it after taking my Osprey out last weekend instead of it for a 3-day outing. When it's more than 3 days worth of stuff, and the conditions and situations are gonna be tough, this is the pack to have.
Size: 6000, plus
Number of Pockets: main plus 2
Max. Load Carried: 85 pounds (ouch)
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: 275 (one time deal)
Let me say at first I am a backpacker, not a climber, so my experience is given accordingly. And the listed number for pounds carried is weighed, not some arbitrary "I am a cool guy" amount. I am really not all that cool.
Well, I have to say here that ARC'TERYX is the builder of a world class pack. The suspension is absolutely wonderful. The shoulder straps are superb, the hip belt is sublime. The load is nearly non-existent on my back. The pack bag is a work of art! Top loading, sleeping bag compartment, side access zip and a voluminous 'rope' pocket. The rope pocket, though designed otherwise is great for shell, fleece lunch and first aid kit. The pocket also has a full length access zipper.
I won't go into the super-technical aspects of the design. But I will say it has dual aluminum stays, all seam are tacked or back stitiched. The body is 420 ripstop and a 1000 cordura on the bottom and rope pockets. Dual daisy chains, axe loops, triple compresion straps. Every standard...done to nuke it levels.
This Bora is the pack to make Dana stop and see that it has a very real competitor and at considerably less money. I have used a Terraplane, and let me say that the Bora is much more comfy, user friendly, and like I said a gem to look at (not that that really has anything to do with anything.
AND...if anyone knows what ARC TERYX means, please email me.
Update: August 2, 1997
I lifted this thing off the floor fully loaded, minus the bear canister I would add at the trail head. OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!," I thought! Eighty-five pounds was by far and away the most I had ever packed. Nine days worth of food, trail clothes and gear were now stuffed into this work of art.
Before I had hauled between 40 and 50 lbs on 3 to 4 day trips, but now preparing for 9 in Montana (the BOB Marshall Wilderness) was by far and away the most I had ever dared pack!
First, I never, ever want to carry that much stuff again!
The pack? The Bora 95 was a master at load control, rode very well and was even comfortable. My legs were very pissed off, but the part of the pack was played beautifully by the Bora! The only exception would be the size of the hip belt. I have a 32" waist, which is the smallest size for the large hip belt. As a result I had a time keeping it tight during large ranges of motion. It never came loose, just didn't saty quite snug. I spoke to the people at Arc'Teryx and we both agreed that a load of that size and weight along with my border line sizing requires the use of the medium hip belt, which they are going to send me free of charge.
I only had 3 small, very small, beefs with the pack.
1) I would like to see a little better design on the lid pocket. Maybe 2 zippers and 2 side straps (like the Osprey's and Lowe CrossBow). The single compartment is kind of floppy when not stuffed and shaped kinda funny.
2) Because of the outer rope pocket, the internal pack bag has an odd shape when full. It's kind of narrow (Again it could be more like the Osprey's whose pack bag designs are pure brilliance, though the Osprey suspension is lacking. which is why I gave up my Osprey Xenith).
And 3) The verticomp strap is too narrow. It is only half inch nylon webbing, rather than 1 inch. I worry that trying to compress the load too tightly may blow a seem.
But, all said, this pack rode like a dream at this weight. It can carry more comfortably than I enjoy. This 80 plus pound load did not make my legs at all happy during 12 mile days...the pack did its job very well, my body just told to "go to hell!!" The Bora is recommended highly!!
For a detailed review on features there is one left by myself in the older reviews area.
Design: USMC Bora 95 Varient
Size: 6710 Cu In
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 115 lbs for 12 miles on sand
Height of Owner: 5'11"
Price Paid: USMC Isued
A little known fact is that the Bora 95 has been adapted for service in the United States Marine Corps. I didn't know it myself untill the day I stood in line for a new pack. There had been a lot of rumors speculating on the preformance of the new pack. Great field test reviews and so on, but the real test is to give it to a bunch of grunts like us and head out for some good old fashioned Marine Corps training.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I was handed a brand new pack still in the plastic (Marines usualy get hand-me-downs from other parts of the armed forces). I was stunned further when I noticed its resmblance to friend's Bora 95 he'd loand me for a week in Colorado. That pack was a dream to wear and made me yearn for it every time we went on a hump (Marine for hike). I was like a kid who'd just been handed a huge box for X-Mass I couldn't wait to go on another hump and try it out.
It recieved its fair shre of abuse on training operations carying loads in excess of 70 lbs for training. It wasn't untill my unit recieved orders to go to Iraq that the pack recieved its true test. I caried 115 lbs of amumnition for 12 grueling miles across the Iraqi desert and could still move at the end of it. I must say that this pack is a dream to use. If it can survive the abuse put to it by the Marines you shouldn't worry about it on a leisurely backpacking trip.
Semper Fi and thank you, Arc'Teryx.
Price Paid: $250
I've had this big boy for a few years now. Very comfortable, obviously huge, and very well-made and rugged. I use it on canoe trips with long portages.
Number of Pockets: Many
Max. Load Carried: 85 LBS
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $325
Have used this back since 2000 on 3-14 day ventures in the NW and Canada. Carried loads from 45 ~ 80 lbs with ease. Very comfortable: Pack was very stable and rode on my hips nicely. After 7 years and lots of NW miles, pack still wears very and I feel no need to replace or upgrade. A bit pricey but in the long run, well worth it.
Strongly recommend: For heavy loads and extended trips
Max. Load Carried: 65 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'5"
This pack held everything I wanted to take on a 4-day trek on the Appalachian Trail. My first day out the pack weighed 65 pounds. I like how it feels on my spine rising off my back keeping me from sweating too much unlike my old internal frame pack. I strapped my tent on the side one day to make room for more group food, but it made the load lopsided causing too much pressure on one hip. I balanced the load the next day and all felt better.
Could use a little more padding on the front hip bones, but after a couple of days I got used to the way it rode. I slung it low and hardly noticed it. I love the way you can tilt your head back in the formed pocket to look up at the trees and mountains or the sky. At rest stops and at night all compartments accessed easily from the lower zip pouch to the side zipped main.
Tried carrying my hydration system in the rope pocket but the tube was too hard to reach. Put it on top of the load and it was perfect. Just glad the large volume bladder didn't leak. The hydration bladder pocket inside was too small for my bladder. They could make that bigger. I also enjoyed the fanny pack function of the top flap pouch. Great for a trip to the water hole from camp.
After four days I was married to this versatile expedition pack. I love Arc'Teryx's Gore-Tex products. My rain jacket is my favorite of all time. Very utilitarian and stylish. Keep it up guys. Can we buy stock in your company?
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 70 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'4
Price Paid: 380 (Cdn)
Definitely the most comfortable and well-built pack I've ever been burdened with. The capacity of the short version is 86 litres as opposed to the 95 litres in the standard size - sad to say I don't know the conversion to cu. in. but the difference in capacity is roughly equal to 1/3 of a daypack. Like everyone else I just HAVE to rave about how comfortable the hip belt and back panels are, even if the knees take some (lots!) abuse from a big load.
One extremely insignificant complaint: though it comes with two ice-axe loops, it only comes with one velcro strap to hold the shaft of the ice-tool or axe. I ended up making my own make-shift strap with some webbing for my second tool which is good enough for now and I'm sure I can most likely buy another velcro strap. Not a big deal, but I did find that interesting.
Plus another added bonus for having a pack this size for someone with my (lack of) stature - it can be used as an emergency bivy sack! :-)
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 30-40 Lbs
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $355
This is quite a large pack (at least for me) and is my first expedition size pack. The pack rode extremely comfortably and after a short while I barely noticied the ~40 pounds I was carrying with it. The quality of the materials and the workmanship are all first rate and quite noticable in even the smallest details such as the large front pocket's oversize zipper.
The foam that the shoulder pads and hip belt is also extremly confortable and I would venture to say somewhat breathable since you barely notice how clammy it is (from absorbing sweat) after you put the pack back on (even in the summer).
Overall this is an outstanding pack especially when you consider it costs less than a comparable Dana or North Face.
Design: top loading internal
Size: 99 liters
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 65
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
Price Paid: $269
Lower edge of very stiff molded hip belt was cutting in too much, painful and caused muscle cramps on ascent on sev tries (Rainier, Gannet, Granite, Big Horns, etc)(pack loads 45-65 lbs). Tried to refit the suspension, adjust all straps to no avail. I am by no means slim, but not significantly overweight (5' 11", 188 lbs). Old pack North Face Burma Road, similarly loaded caused no problems whatsoever.
Size: about 6000
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $355 US, 335 Canadian
This is a really super pack. It was comfortable enough as to be unnoticeable in my recent month-long NOLS Alaska mountaineering course, and it didn't show any wear at all. Nice features include a side access zipper, a large 'kangaroo' outside pocket, hook and loop ice axe retainer, fanny pack convertable top pocket with its own waistbelt and a place to strap your crampons onto.
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