Arcteryx Bora 95 Backpack Fitting Guide

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arc'teryx Bora 80 Backpack - 4390-5000cu in Deep Blue, Tall[/amazon_link]The Arcteryx Bora 95 is a beast of an expedition backpack to say the least. This backpack is an absolute monster when it comes to interior capacity. With a fully loaded Bora 95, you could be carrying in excess of 100 pounds with all the room available, so it is important that you have the proper fit. Once you have figured out the proper size that you need, you will need to be able to fit the pack to the contours of your body. Below, we will go over how you can adjust and configure your Arcteryx Bora 95 to fit your body in the proper manner.

Shaping the Aluminum Frame Stays

The first thing to check is if your back is resting flush against the aluminum support of your pack. Fill up your Bora 95 with a regular sized load. See the packing guide here. Put the pack on and stand up straight. Tighten the belt and straps as best as possible, we will discuss the proper adjustment for those below. Your back should rest flush with the aluminum stays of your pack. If they are not, you will need to bend them to fit the contour of your back. This will ensure that as you hike, you are receiving the right support from the pack, which will increase comfort and decrease back pain.

Your aluminum stays can be accessed through Velcro flaps in the main compartment of your pack. Remove the stays. Remove your hip belt from the pack (see How To Assemble Your Arcteryx Bora Hip Belt). Strap on the belt with the aluminum stays in their grooves in back. The two stays should be splayed out across your shoulder blades as shown in the first image below. With you wearing the belt and stays, have someone help you by slightly bending the stays to fit the contour of your back, going one at a time. Bend the stays a little at a time, so you don’t over-bend them. Bending aluminum back and forth weakens the metal. Images 2 and 3 below illustrate the proper bending technique.

Arcteryx Pack Fitting Aluminum

Once you are confident that the contour of your back is flush with the stays, replace them in the pack and re-assemble the hip belt.

Hip Belt Adjustment

Once your pack fits the contours of your back, it is time to fine-tune the other straps, starting with the hip belt. The key to fitting the hip belt properly is to center the hip pads at the top of your hip bone (Iliac Crest) on either side. You don’t have to have a full load, but make sure you have at least 20 pounds evenly dispersed throughout your pack (not all at the bottom). Wrap the hip belt around your waist and clip it in. Center the pads top to bottom at the tip of your hip bones. You should feel the weight shifting from your shoulders and back to your hips once your belt is tight and secured. See the image below:

Arcteryx Bora Belt FittingThe next adjustment to make on your belt is the flare angle, and can add more comfort to your pack. The flare angle has to do with the angle at which your hip pads flare away from below your hip bones. Women will want their belts flared out more than men will. This will keep the weight of your pack from digging into your hips while you hike. To do this, you simply adjust the exit angle of the straps. The rest is done by the contour of your hips. See the image below for an illustration of this adjustment:

Bora Belt Fitting 2

The last fine-tune adjustment on the hip belt involves the load transfer area. This is a direct frame-to-hipbelt transfer of weight, allowing you to have a more upright hiking posture. Tightening these straps increases forward load transfer (the ability to walk more upright), and loosing them will allow for more hipbelt movement. See the image below for an illustration of the location of the straps:

Bora 95 Load Transfer Adjustment

Bora Shoulder Straps

The next adjustment to make is on your shoulder straps. Your shoulder straps are sized to fit your torso when you purchase your pack. The top of the yoke of your pack should be about level with the top of your clavicle (collarbone). Tighten your shoulder straps by pulling down on the tabs until your straps are about 2 inches under your armpit. Don’t tighten them so much that you run out of tab length. Look at the diagram below, and the load lift straps should be at an angle of 40-60 degrees.

Bora Shoulder Strap AdjustmentOnce your shoulder straps are snug, you need to fine tune the load lifters. These straps perform the task of ‘lifting’ your straps from your shoulders, keeping the pack’s weight directly off of your back and on your hips. Look at the image below to see the range of angles:

Bora Load Lifters Adjustment

Fine tuning the adjustments of your Arcteryx Bora 95 backpack will allow you to hike in more comfort. Use this guide to prepare you backpack for an extended expedition.


8 thoughts on “Arcteryx Bora 95 Backpack Fitting Guide

  1. Thank you! I have enjoyed my Arc’Teryx Bora 95 on many extended backcountry trips, but will benefit greatly from the fine instructions you provide in this article. I am a huge fan of Arc’Teryx gear, but have always wondered why they fail to find time to help enthusiasts like me get the most from my investment. I just returned from 6.5 weeks in the backcountry (4 weeks alone in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness and 2 1/2 weeks retracing Lewis & Clark’s route solo thru Clearwater Nat’l Forest) and your instructions for fitting my Bora 95 made a noticeable difference. Thank you.

    • The Arc’Teryx Bora 95 is my favorite expedition backpack, I am sad they decided to discontinue the Bora line. But I have found that the Altra and Naos are on the same level (quality, comfort, durability) as the Bora. 4 weeks in the Bitterroot wilderness, I am jealous! I’m glad this article helped you to fit the pack.

  2. Thanks for the fitting guide! I’m not entirely getting the flare angle set up (picture wise). It seems for males you just have to adjust the straps to where the belt angles a little? Can you elaborate on that please?


    • No problem, for guys you probably won’t have to make much of an adjustment unless you have pronounced hips. It is easiest to do this with the pack on, but not loaded out with too much weight. Tighten up the belt and then flare each side so it rests on your hips at an angle rather than digging in to your side. Making a slight adjustment is usually enough for your hips to do the rest. Best of luck and happy trails!

  3. Thanks for the fitting guide! Quick question regarding the hip belt flare and adjusting it. Do you just angle the straps slightly to do this?


    • Yeah, it’s a pretty simple procedure. Your hips will do most of the adjusting, all it takes is a slight angle adjustment via the straps. Hope that helps!

  4. Hi,

    I have the Bora 80. I believe I followed your instructions but for some reason with a full heavy load I still have pains from the belt digging into my hips. I actually went a whole three month trip through Greece without using the belt at all. Is this due to my having simply too much weight in the pack or from not being used to it? Don’t understand.

  5. This guide is insanely helpful as I purchased a USMC ILBE which was designed by Arc’Teryx based off the Bora line of packs. They don’t come with any guides on how to fit them but all that information is availavailable on a secure DoD website. Having your site as a guide will definitely help!

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