The Bora 65 costs so much ($350; www.arcteryx.com) because it's so darned good. Not a big packthe medium size holds 66 liters, or about 4,000 cubic inchesbut its suspension is such that you could fill it with lead shot and, assuming you can pick it up, still find a way to accommodate the load. It's a dream to pack, with a full side zip, sleeping bag compartment, and lots of places to tie stuff on. It's a rugged pack, too, with a double-layered bottom to resist abrasion.
Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone
That said, the Bora also falls in the sweet spot of pack sizing these days, so there is plenty of competition. One of the best is Gregory's Reality ($229; www.gregorypacks.com), which can handle 4,350 cubic inches in the medium size. I've had a Reality for several years, and it's still a great pack even though the newer models are much improved. It'll handle loads between 35 to 45 pounds nicely, packs well, and is plenty durable.
Another option to consider in this category is Granite Gear's Nimbus Ozone ($195; www.granitegear.com). It's about the same size as the Bora, and while it weighs a wispy three pounds, its suspension will manage 40-pound loads. Granite Gear stuff is always aptly namedin other words, it's very tough. Finally, you should also check out Mountainsmith's Auspex (www.mountainsmith.com), an enormously popular pack since it was introduced in 2001. The Auspex's 2004 incarnation sells for $230; it carries well, is pretty tough, and is easy to pack with 4,000 cubic inches of capacity (in its long-torso configuration).
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside →