Revised: OWNER REVIEW Arcteryx Bora 80 Pack Braeden Kepner-Kraus
- Arcteryx Bora 80 Pack (2008)
March 24, 2008
Name: Braeden Kepner-Kraus
Height: 6' 0"/1.83m
Weight: 165 lbs./75 kg.
Email address: BKepner at Princeton dot edu
City, State, Country: Princeton, NJ, USA (Originally Cleveland, OH)
Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking in various forms since
I was 13 years old. I backpack mostly in the Northeast, Midwest, and
Canada, where wet and cold weather is the rule. Winter is my favorite
season for backpacking, and I consider myself a midweight backpacker.
I also enjoy survival camping, and take 2-3 trips each year where my
partner and I bring only clothing and rudimentary tools.
Model: Bora 80L
Color: Gray (also available in Blue)
Frame Size Received: Tall
Hip Belt Size Received: Medium
Capacity: 84L/4882 cu. in. (tall size)
Fabrics used: 420D ripstorm, 630D superpack nylon reinforcements,
Listed weight: 7.0 lbs./3.18 kg. (Tall)
Measured weight: 7.0 lbs./3.18 kg.
Comfortable Loading Range: 40-75 lbs./18.14-34 kg.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
MSRP: $375 USD
The Arcteryx Bora 80 is a full-featured hiking/mountaineering
pack that can carry everything from thru-hiking to moderate expedition
loads. The pack is equipped with all the standard fare zip-close
partition for the sleeping bag compartment, full length side-access
zipper to the main compartment, a cavernous kangaroo pocket and much
more. The lid can be detached and used as a lumbar pack with ample
room for water bottle, emergency first aid kit, food, and any other
extras that are desired.
The main compartment is made from a pale yellow colored fabric that
provides high contrast to help locate objects even in bad light, and
this fabric also serves as the backing for the kangaroo pocket. The
kangaroo pocket is spacious, and has the ability to zip completely
open down its center. This pocket can be compressed to the pack with a
clip draw cord that also serves as a vertical compression strap. There
are six external compression straps as well as daisy chains and ice
axe holders on each side, and the two straps meant to secure a
sleeping pad can also function to compress gear in the sleeping bag
compartment. All externally exposed zippers are waterproof and the
fabric is coated with a strong DWR.
The back panel of the pack is thermoformed HDPE and two 6061 aluminum
stays in a V shape. The hip belt and shoulder straps are both
interchangeable for customized fit. There is firm lumbar support and a
ridged foam back panel for ventilation.
I purchased this pack in early January, and I've taken it on two trips
so far, one 7-day winter trip in Vermont on Mt. Mansfield, and a 4-day
backpacking trip on the Chuck Keiper Trail in Central Pennsylvania. I
ordered the Tall sized pack with the medium hipbelt online, and I was
able to fit it to myself at home.
Upon receiving the Bora, I was immediately struck by its neatness. All
the major straps have sliding clips so that the tails don't hang
loose, a big help in very thorny or brushy situations. In addition,
while the pack compresses very well, and the dual daisy chains provide
ample attachment points, there are no unnecessary straps, which create
a cleaner look and makes the Bora easier to use.
I took the trip to Mt. Mansfield with a very good friend from
high school. He is in Army ROTC, and was in Vermont to attend Mountain
Warfare School, and we thought it would be an excellent time to get in
a trip beforehand. We hike hard, usually for approximately 10 hours
each day not counting meal and rest breaks, and previous packs had
left my back in painful condition and my hips bruised.
Mt. Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont, with a peak
elevation of 1339 m (4393 feet). The terrain is extremely rugged. Not
counting wind-chill, the temperature varied between a high of around
34 F and a low of around 0 F (1 to -18 C) snow was plentiful.
Fully loaded, the pack weighed around 55 lbs. (25 kg.) for
the Vermont trip, and was at about ¾ of absolute maximum space
capacity. With the compression straps tightened, the pack fit snugly
against my back and felt well-balanced during climbs. The first day we
had a 7 mile (11.27 km) hike with approximately 3300 feet (1006 m) of
total elevation. The thermoform hip belt and shoulder straps had begun
to mold themselves after about an hour on the trail, and by the end of
the day had completely molded.
We brought a ground-cloth/tarp setup with us, and stopped to
set up camp and cook about 40 minutes before dark. Since all the
external zippers on the Bora are waterproof, Arcteryx was able to put
the side zip literally on the outside of the pack, which is much more
convenient than attempting to place it somewhere semi-internal (i.e.
inside the front pocket). This turned out to be a great help in
quickly setting up camp and preparing food.
The fifth day out, we awoke in the middle of heavy snowfall,
and by that night it was clear that we would be unable to make an
effective tarp shelter. We dug snow caves, but I was so exhausted that
I forgot to cover my pack before going to sleep. Despite this fact, no
moisture had penetrated the pack fabric by morning, and all of my gear
stayed dry as a result.
Despite the elevation and distance covered over the course of
the week, I experienced no back pain any time during the trip. Over
the course of the 7-day trip, the pack consistently performed under
the most adverse conditions.
The Pennsylvania trip on the Chuck Keiper Trail was significantly
warmer, with temperatures between 22 and 45 F (-5.5 and 7 C) and
extremely wet. Over the course of the 4 days there was constant
precipitation, mostly freezing rain with some light snow showers mixed
in. The trail was very icy and slippery, but the Bora offers
remarkable freedom of movement in the hip area by allowing the hip
belt to pivot semi-independently of the pack body. This was remarkably
helpful in icy scrambles up and down slopes.
One of my hiking partners and I during the third day.(Picture)
On the third day of the trip, the trail made multiple crossings of a
flooding run. Despite being about 3/4 submerged for a period of
several seconds, the Bora suffered minimal internal wetness, and in
fact, nothing in the main compartment was even damp. This is partially
due to the fact that not just the outer fabric, but all internal
fabrics are coated with DWR, which also prevented a leaking water
bladder from soaking the rest of the pack.
This brings me to my one complaint about the Bora. While it does have
two very effective water bottle holders, there is no built-in
compartment for a water bladder, nor is there a hose port (oddly,
there is a hose clip on the shoulder strap). I ended up putting my
bladder in the kangaroo pouch, but this is less than ideal both for
weight distribution and hose reach. This problem is easily solved by
bringing water bottles, but if you're the kind of person who loves
their hands-free water, you'll need to get creative.
There are three things about this pack that have consistently stood
out to me. First, the comfort and fit of this pack have been great for
me, even after long hard hikes with a lot of weight. Second, I can't
overemphasize the water-repellent capabilities of this bag. While I
wouldn't suggest putting it uncovered in the bottom of a kayak, it
will keep anything you put in dry, which has been a huge help to my
camping in the Northeast. Finally, while the pack is packed (no pun
intended) with features, they reveal themselves naturally, so it's not
a pack that I've felt unfamiliar with after the first few days. I'm
sure as time goes on I'll discover various idiosyncrasies, but the
combination of simplicity and features on the pack is a major plus.
The lack of a water bladder pouch is disappointing, but that's really
the only bad thing I can say about the Bora.
1. Very Comfortable
2. Very water-repellent
3. Ease of Use
1. No water bladder pouch