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  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Storage 70% 70%
  • Accessories 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Price: $550 

What We Like: Integrated weatherproof material and rotoglide hipbelt.

What We Don’t: Price.

Men’s

Regular

63 L

18.3″-20.3″ torsos

5 lbs

2.27kg

Tall

64 L

19.9″-21.8″ torsos

5.19 lbs

2.34kg

Women’s

Regular

61 L

16.7″-18.7″ torsos

4.813 lbs

2.18 kg

Tall

63 L

18.3″-20.3″ torsos

4.94 lbs

2.24 kg

** Arc’teryx doesn’t provide dimensions for their Bora packs. 

If you didn’t notice the price before reading this, don’t go and look now. That said, Arc’teryx has designed a weatherproof, mountaineering, forward backpack, and it won’t disappoint. The Roto-Glide hipbelt paired with the lightweight but flexible internal frame system creates an innovative harness system that flows with the body. The material on the “exposed” sections of the pack are weatherproof, eliminating the need for backpack covers. The streamlined design does limit the overall storage options, however, as everything is protected inside the main compartment, top lid, or a single exterior thin pocket. 

In terms of innovation, this backpack is an all-star. In the world of affordability for the average camper mixed with the mountaineering specialization of the backpack, it is a bit of a miss. Do I want to use this backpack daily… of course. Will I in the near future… unlikely. 

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Pros

Integrated Weatherproof Material

Rotoglide Hipbelt

Cons

Price

I almost didn’t include this pack because of the price. I mean holy $549, Batman! But this pack comes with some really great technology and design features that need to be discussed, and if you have that kind of disposable income, why not?

The Arc’teryx Bora line comes in a men’s and women’s fit. The men’s line includes a 50 L and a 63 L, and the women’s packs come in a 49 L and a 61 L. From there, each pack is available in a regular or tall version, depending on your torso size, and for this price, you’ll want to make sure you get the right fit.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

The suspension is why the Bora deserved to be discussed. Arc’teryx has designed the most innovative hip belt on the market. Using a system called the Roto Glide, the hipbelt is able to twist horizontally and vertically with your body as you move through terrain. 

 

The shoulder straps are also highly adjustable with a gridlock shoulder strap. The shoulder straps can be adjusted vertically and horizontally on a 3×5 clip sheet attached to the backpanel. 

 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

Each section of the harness is molded into a Thermo molded Tigris frame sheet that looks like a piece of carbon fiber. Huge points for style in my opinion. The frame sheet is flexible and has aluminium vertical stays to support heavy loads.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

Features and Convenience

On the first look, the backpack appears quite minimalistic, but this is an important design feature as the fabrics on the upper sections of the backpack are weatherproof. The main compartment of the pack is accessible through a drawstring opening on the top, which has a compression strap for a rope or to keep everything secure. There is no individual sleeping bag pocket, but that helps to reduce the number of areas for water to sneak in. 

 

The large vertical zipper on the front of the pack opens to a separate storage section, which is great for extra layers or thin flexible material. The zipper is waterproof to keep gear clean and dry. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

The top lid is fully removable and has two zippered pockets, one on the top and one on the underside of the lid. Both pockets include ample storage to keep valuables out of the main compartment and easy to find. 

 

On the outside of the pack are gear loops and tool attachment points for ice axes. There are two side water bottle pockets as well. The hip belts have small stretch mesh storage, which are perfect for snacks or your phone.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

Weight and Material

The men’s Bora 63 L regularly weighs in at 5 lbs even. For the amount of technology included with the pack and the integrated waterproof material, that’s pretty good. The waterproof sections of the pack are made with a 400D ripstop nylon, while sections of the pack that won’t see direct weather are made of a 420D or 630D high tenacity nylon.

As always, the weight of the pack is not as important as how light it makes the load you are carrying feel. With the RotoGlide hipbelt, its load conversion is very high, and the backpack seems to float on your back. 

 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Did I just convince myself that the price tag is worth it…? I don’t think so, but if you are going into serious alpine environments and need a well-designed pack this is a great option. The adjustable shoulder straps and the RotoGlide hipbelt are incredibly comfortable and the pack is essentially weatherproof. 

A few misses for me are additional storage areas on the exterior of the pack and the price. At $539 for the 63 L, the pack may cost more than the equivalent of all the gear it carries! It feels like when I’m sitting at a stoplight in my Toyota and a Ferrari rolls by. Sure I’d like to be in the driver seat, but my Toyota will get my everywhere that Ferrari can and then some. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Arcteryx Bora AR 63 - Gear Hacker

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