Walking, Hiking & Trail Running

Arc’Teryx Bora AR 50 Backpack | Review

'RotoGlide' tech helps make the Arc'Teryx Bora 50 AR an impressively comfortable pack

Canadian brand Arc’Teryx spare no expense when it comes to making their gear, and it shows – whether its jackets, boots, harnesses or in this case, backpacks, these guys are basically the best in the business.

The new Bora AR 50 backpack takes its name from a model that’s been around for a few years, but it represents a great leap forward in terms of backpack technology. The main feature to shout about here is the innovative ‘RotoGlide’ hip belt.

“Arc’Teryx’s product designer Dan Jackson and his team looked at how backpacks moved when you’re scrambling and came up with the innovative ‘RotoGlide’ hipbelt.”

Arc’Teryx’s product designer Dan Jackson and his team looked at how backpacks moved and realised that your back changes lengths as you’re scrambling over rocks and up steep trails. As well as allowing the hip belt to pivot with your hips as you climb, they mounted the pivot on a joint which slides up and down, allowing the belt to move with your back.

This might sound like a gimmick, but when you’re carrying 50 litres worth of hiking and camping kit on your back, the extra comfort it affords makes a real difference. Our testers spent time clambering over rocks in the French Pyrenees, and were impressed by how well the waist belt helped to keep the weight of the load centralised, making balancing and climbing much easier. But it’s not just that, the way it swivels and slides even makes the simple act of walking easier.

Arc'Teryx designed the Bora to move with your body to make the simple act of walking even easier. Photo: Chris Johnson.
The most exposed areas on the pack feature weatherproof AC2 fabric to protect your belongings. Photo: Chris Johnson.
The Bora's back panel is made of a super lightweight thermoplastic composite called Tegris. Photo: Chris Johnson.
A pivot in the Bora's 'RotoGlide' hipbelt helps the pack move with your back. Photo: Chris Johnson.

That’s not the only feature worth shouting about on this backpack either. The back panel is made of a thermoplastic composite called Tegris, which is hard-wearing and gives the pack rigidity but is simultaneously super-lightweight. The “Adjustable Gridlock” shoulder straps are mounted on a grid which allows you to customise both their width and length for the best fit.

The Bora features external taped zips to keep moisture out and the areas of the pack which are most exposed to the elements are made of weatherproof AC2 fabric. The rest of the rucksack is durable 630d nylon. This being Arc’Teryx, the configuration of the compartments is typically well thought-out. There are spaces for everything you’d ever need, from ice axe loops to hipbelt mesh pockets and side pockets that can carry one litre water bottles or trekking poles.

Of course all this innovation doesn’t come particularly cheap, but if you’re looking for a backpack for two-to-three day treks or camping missions, you won’t find a better one than the Arc’Teryx Bora AR 50.

Arc’teryx Bora Backpack

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