Gear Guy


What's the best backpack for a two-week trip into the Canadian Rockies?

For last ten years I've engaged in yearly two-week backpacking trips in Canadian Rockies with hiking buddy. We carry in all of our food and gear for 10 to 12 days and then emerge, and I'm looking to replace I my six-year-old Arc'Teyrx Bora 95 litre pack, which blew out under one of its lateral tension rods this year, two years after I replaced the harness.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island


Yikes. That surprises me a little. The Arc'Teryx Bora ($375) is a well-made pack. But you're doing big trips and carrying big loads, so I guess it's possible the pack was just over-matched.

The Denali Pro

The Denali Pro

My short list for a replacement would start with the Gregory Denali Pro ($499). This pack has been around for some time and is essentially unchanged since 2003, aside from minor tweaks to color and suspension. A great pack. A great BIG pack, with 6,400 cubic inches of capacity. Excellent suspension, good design for organization, lots of external tie-downs.

You might also check out the Granite Gear Stratus Access FZ 5500 ($390). As the name implies, Granite Gear is determined to make stuff that is tough. And the Access is, without adding so much weight that just carrying the pack becomes a chore. The FZ 5500 is a bit smaller than the Gregory, but still has an ample 5,500 cubic inches of capacity. Which should be plenty. I know food still takes up a lot of space on long trips, but the rest of your gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc.) is likely more compact than it was when you started these trips.

Third choice: Osprey's Argon 110 ($419). This is even larger than the Gregory, with 6,700 cubic inches. I really like the way Osprey designs a pack for storing stuff, and the Argon is no exception. Easy to pack, and easy to put stuff you need where you can find it. Excellent suspension, including a hip belt that can be custom molded. Very nice pack.

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