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Arc'teryx Bora 95

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

The Bora 95 has been discontinued. It was replaced by the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63.

photo: Arc'teryx Bora 95 expedition pack (70l+)

Great large capacity pack that is excellent in cold wet/snowy weather.


  • Water resistant
  • Easy access
  • Large capacity
  • Removable lid
  • Hydration compartment
  • Heat formed hip pads


  • Sternum strap needs to go a bit tighter
  • Weighs a bit over 7lbs

Bora 95 performs in all weather conditions.

I've put this pack through some interesting situations. Once, I wanted to camp out on an island on a river so I threw the full pack on an inner tube and swam across the river to the island. Along the way the pack was about 1/4 submerged. When I unpacked, everything was dry. 

Another time I brought the pack up a frozen river with a bunch of small, frozen-over cascades. On the way out, I rode the pack down the iced river on a sled. I crashed into a bunch of stuff on the way down with enough impact to eject me into the air. No problems with the pack.

Yet another time I had to push the pack through a narrow cleavage of abrasive rock about 10 yards. No one in the party could get their packs through without jamming them through. My friend had a brand new Deuter pack that got shredded. The Bora went though with nearly no visible abrasions. 

It's a really tough pack that delivers.

Fit: Fits great. There's a concave head depression so when the pack is riding close to you, it doesn't bump your noggin.

Comfort: Venting and lumbar pad are very comfortable. I wish the sternum strap would tighten down a bit more to take some more weight off the hips.(update: I've figured out how to use the straps and now I have no problems distributing the weight between top and bottom). It has an elastic strap. I think static straps offer more support.

Capacity: Accurate volume. If you can't fit it in here, you're packing way too much. I think you could travel the world with this one. 

Organization and Accessibility: Water bottle pockets are meant for smaller bottles. My 32oz Nalgene sometimes pops out. I attached a paracord to the bottle and the pack so I don't lose my bottle. All pockets are easy access. There's a full length vertical zipper to access the main compartment (pic) . Lid is detachable. Compression straps work very well.

Bag compartment has a cinch hole that links it to the rest of the main compartment (pic)

interior cinch to separate the top and bottom.

bag compartment holds bigger -20° bag with small pillow
Sub-zero temps don't affect the waterproof membrane


Ride: Distributes load very well. Slightly heavier on the hips than the shoulders. (Update: I have figured out how to adjust the ride while on the move and now it's a breeze to take weight off the hips and put it to the shoulders or vise-versa.)

Compression: Adjusts well to a variety of larger loads. Not really a day pack but you can remove the lid and use it as a day pack! Comes with its own heavy duty built on hip belt.

Ease of Use: Very easy to use. Has quite a few bells and whistles (the ones I've mentioned in the review), all of which are intuitive and practical.

Features: Non-removable hydration pack (pic), removable lid, wet swimsuit pocket (pic), climbing loops, waterproof zips, very waterproof interior. (Update: after years of use, the waterproofing along the zippers has deteriorated but so has the waterproof rubber membrane on all the waterproof zippers that I've owned) 

Non-removable hydration pack sleeve

Big vertical pouch on exterior of pack. Notice the waterproof coating (white). Even in -20°F I've had no issues with its performance (doesn't crack)

Construction and Durability: Very strong ripstop materials with extra thick waterproofing membrane. Takes a great beating. The stitching on one of the shoulder straps started to come apart. I am guessing that there was a bad stitch on this one particular pack and is an independent incident.

(update: I found out that the area where the shoulder straps rub against the cervical vertebrae pad is where the stitching has come apart. This was due to the thousands/millions of friction rubs on this area with a weighed down pack. It wore through the stitching. A small design flaw that I will overlook {the bag still performs})

Conditions: I bought this pack along with one other from a fella that said they were both used several years earlier for a world tour. So, it's been around the world and has been through a good deal over the past 2 years. Still hammering nails all-day.

Update 4/03/18: I just picked up a Bora 80L pack and the 80 does not have the plasticized waterproof membrane on the inside layer of material. It just has the old school spray on coating for waterproofing. The 80 is from the same era (made in Canada)  Be aware that they are very different packs. 

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $70

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!

The result?

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: internal
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)

A tough, durable backpack designed to last forever! You can fit a vast volume of things in this backpack, so it's perfect for longer trips, i.e. not for ultralight backpacking.


  • Very spacious
  • Weight distribution
  • Durable
  • Comfortable


  • A little bit on the heavy side

Conditions: I'm living in Ecuador, and have been working a couple of years in the jungle, making maps. The humidity is constantly high and the vegetation is pretty much always wet, there are thorns and sharp rocks everywhere, and the elevations differences lead to quite high falls. I routinely fall into mud and every now and then a river.

Sometimes I do week long trips walking from place A to B though the jungle, and sometimes I do faster and shorter excursions leaving a place in the morning and coming pack to the same place in the afternoon. For the longer types of trips my pack is usually pretty full with food, my camping gear and clothes. For the short trips I usually just bring the top compartment of the pack.

Fit & Comfort: I'm 178/5'10" and it fits me perfectly. But given the adjustment possibilities, I don't think my height is a huge factor; it would probably fit both smaller and bigger guys than me without any problems. I like the small shoulder-height straps that adjusts how close or far to/from your body the pack sits.

I find the pack is well ventilated, but I've mainly used it in the Amazon jungle where it's hot and humid all the time anyway so my back stays wet!

Capacity: I haven't made any measurements, but I'm fairly certain that I've had quite a bit more than 95 liters in it. You can augment the pack height-wise a LOT. It loses some of its comfort and the weight distribution is a little off when you fill it up too much though.

Organization & Accessibility: The pack stores the equipment very securely, and the top compartment is great for storing things you might need access to fast. You need to plan well though, because the main compartment can be a little bit less accessible.

Ride: The weight distribution is incredible. I usually carry about 20 kg/45 lbs of equipment when I go for week long jungle treks, and it feels way lighter!

Compression: My pack is usually fairly full, but I always tighten all the side straps before heading out, and the load stays very close to my body.

Ease of use: It works like a backpack is supposed to, no surprises there.

Features: The top compartment is very handy, and I've taken it off the backpack many times to use as a day excursion when I know I'll be heading back to the camp/village the same day. It fits the GPS, snacks and a flashlight without any problems.

There's a waterproof compartment in the pack that has saved my passport and tech things quite a few times when falling into rivers. The main compartment usually stays dry as well, but sometimes the top compartment and the outer compartment get a little bit wet, but I guess that's to expect from pretty much any pack in those conditions.

Construction & Durability: The backpack is tough as nails. I've used it for 4 years now, and it's seen some places. I usually come back from the jungle with cuts and bruises and once without part of my ring finger, but the backpack is still completely intact!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250

Had it for nearly 10 years. It's a brute trooper. For carrying 10 days' worth of stuff, nothing tops it.


  • Storage!!!
  • 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.  

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $165

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.

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

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?

Max. Load Carried: 65 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'5"

Bought my Bora 95 in 1998 for $300 and worth it! Here it is 2020 and still in perfect condition after all of those years of backpacking every year through all types of terrain. Yes, heavier than today's packs, but worth it! Have friends that have gone through many packs in those years from wear and tear while my Bora 95 is still kicking ass.


  • Durable / longevity
  • Stable
  • Can handle a large load
  • Comfortable
  • Well thought out compartments
  • Inexpensive in the long run
  • Good looking and ready for mother nature


  • A dash heavier but not an issue for what you get in return.

See my overall top of the line satisfaction with this great product in the summary. 


Many years of backpacking with it throughout the West.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300

Version reviewed: Short

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! :-)

Design: internal
Size: ~6000
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 70 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'4
Price Paid: 380 (Cdn)

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: Internal
Size: 6,040
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 30-40 Lbs
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $355

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

Design: Internal
Size: Large
Number of Pockets: Many
Max. Load Carried: 85 LBS
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $325

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.

Design: top loading internal
Size: 99 liters
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 65
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
Price Paid: $269

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.

Design: internal
Size: about 6000
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $355 US, 335 Canadian

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.

Price Paid: $250

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The original Arc'teryx Bora pack series was discontinued in 2014. The newly redesigned Bora AR pack series currently only goes up to a 63-liter size.


Short Regular Tall
Price MSRP: $435.00
Historic Range: $245.33-$449.00
Reviewers Paid: $70.00-$355.00
Weight 3.2 kg / 113 oz 3.4 kg / 120 oz 3.5 kg / 123 oz
Capacity 86 L / 5248 cu in, extends to 96 L / 5858 cu in 92 L / 5614 cu in / 1021, extends to 102 L / 6224 cu in 99 L / 6041 cu in, extends to 110 L / 6713 cu in
Materials 210D Invista HT Ripstorm™ Lining, 420D Invista HT Ripstorm™, 630D Invista HT Superpack Nylon Reinforcement, Hypalon™ Trim, 6061 Aluminum Stays, HDPE Framesheet 210D Invista HT Ripstorm™ Lining, 420D Invista HT Ripstorm™, 630D Invista HT Superpack Nylon Reinforcement, Hypalon™ Trim, 6061 Aluminum Stays, HDPE Framesheet 210D Invista HT Ripstorm™ Lining, 420D Invista HT Ripstorm™, 630D Invista HT Superpack Nylon Reinforcement, Hypalon™ Trim, 6061 Aluminum Stays, HDPE Framesheet

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