The Top 5 Expedition Backpacks – Quality And Comfort Are Essential

When it comes to expedition backpacking, it is essential to utilize a high quality backpack. If your backpack is made from inferior products and falls apart on the trail, you won’t have an enjoyable experience, and you might even put your health at risk. Expedition backpacks are at the top of the price range, but don’t be deterred by that fact. These backpacks on this list are made of high quality materials and with superior craftsmanship. You can rest assured that they will not fail you while on the trail.

Below is a list of our top 5 expedition backpacks that we have tested on the trail. They are all superb examples of comfort and durability on the trail.

#5 Osprey Xenith 105 ~ $400

[amazon_link id=”B00B1VBRX6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Packs Xenith 105[/amazon_link]When you need to load up for your expedition, the Osprey Xenith 105 is a great choice. With a massive 6400+ cubic inches of interior volume, the Xenith 105 will hold everything you need for more than a week on the trail. This pack is comfortable, durable, and did we mention it holds everything? Click the following link to pick yours up today!

[amazon_link id=”B00B1VBRX6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Xenith 105[/amazon_link]

#4 Gregory Whitney 95 ~ $390

[amazon_link id=”B001BBPZ84″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Whitney 95 Backpack (Trinidad Blue,Small)[/amazon_link]Gregory makes awesome backpacks. Two of their largest packs made our top 5 list, and for good reason. They are some of the most comfortable backpacks on the market, and their durability is second to none. The Gregory Whitney 95 backpack is an excellent choice for expedition trekking. With a capacity range of 5300-6300 cubic inches, you will be able to carry most of what you will need for an extended expedition. Comfort and durability once again is exemplified in this option. To buy your Whitney, click the following link right now!

[amazon_link id=”B001BBOEXQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Whitney 95[/amazon_link]

#3 Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 ~ $350

[amazon_link id=”B00HNKMPSK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 Backpack Black Large[/amazon_link]The Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 is another huge expedition pack choice that ‘hauls all’ of the gear you can possibly pack and carry. Come up with your own meaning for BMG – we think it should mean ‘Big Mountain Gear,’ since you will be able to plan hiking, mountaineering, climbing and long distance trips with this bag. With a capacity range of 5800-7000 cubic inches, the Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 has more than enough space to fit all of your climbing, guiding, winter, summer, etc. backpacking gear. Get your BMG today by clicking the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B00HNKMPSK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear BMG 105[/amazon_link]

#2 Arcteryx Naos 85 ~ $700

[amazon_link id=”B002UXZ8W0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Naos 85 Backpack Blackbird Tall[/amazon_link]Coming in at #2 is the Arcteryx Naos 85, a monster of a backpack that has the internal carrying capacity of 5000-5370 cubic inches. What really sets the Naos apart from the other bags on this list is the fact that it is truly an all weather backpack, featuring an impermeable heavy duty fabric as well as fully sealed seams and waterproof zippers. Expedition backpacking usually exposes you to the worst kinds of weather, and this backpack will keep all of your gear bone dry. With the all-weather designation, the Arcteryx Naos also boasts fantastic comfort on the trail. If you plan on wet weather, you can’t go wrong with the Arcteryx Naos 85. Click the following link today to pick yours up!

[amazon_link id=”B002UXZ8W0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Naos 85[/amazon_link]

#1 Gregory Denali Pro 105 ~ $550

[amazon_link id=”B00J07XSDA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Denali Pro 105 Mountaineering Pack (Chili Red,Small)[/amazon_link]As stated in the Gregory Whitney 95 section above, some of the most comfortable packs on the market are made by Gregory. This is their flagship expedition pack, and is absolutely enormous. With a capacity range of 6100-7000 cubic inches, it rivals the BMG and Argon above. The Gregory Denali Pro 105 backpack is so massive that you have to be careful not to over pack it, or you could encounter some pain on the trail. Because of its comfort and fit, the Denali Pro is our top rated expedition backpack on the list today. Click the following link to get your Denali Pro today!

[amazon_link id=”B00J07XSDA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Denali Pro 105[/amazon_link]

The Bottom Line

This was a close competition between all five packs, and when the results came back, a lot of us were surprised at the rankings. As you can see, there is a pretty good representation of the major backpack companies out there on this list. You would be well suited to go with any of the options on this list for sure. The previous edition to this article had the Arcteryx Bora 95 as the top rated backpack, but since it is next to impossible to find this backpack on the market today (we think it has been discontinued), we decided to update our ranking system. The number 5 backpack has also been updated, from the Osprey Argon 110 (a fantastic backpack) to last year’s Osprey Xenith 105. Thanks to John from the comment below for suggesting we look into this pack, and in fact, a few of us had already taken it on the trail, and since the Argon 110 is becoming more difficult to pick up, we decided to update this position as well.

We obviously left some great expedition packs off, and that was out of no disrespect for the companies or brands. We only had 5 to work with, and these 5 packs made the cut. Do you agree with our assessment of expedition packs? Tell us what you think by responding in the comments section below. Give us your own top 5 expedition packs if you like. We like to see what other backpackers think about the available gear. As always, thanks for reading and happy trails!

Click the following link to view our Top 5 Expedition Backpacks for 2016.

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Arcteryx Bora 95 Hip Belt Assembly

This is a brief explanation of the instructions on how to assemble the hip belt that comes with your Arcteryx Bora 95 backpack. Below, we will walk through the 4 steps that are included on the illustration from the Arcteryx website, which you can download from this link – How To Assemble Arcteryx Bora Hipbelt. It is not a difficult process, but there is no explanation that accompanies the guide. Since there are no words describing what goes on, I have walked through the assembly process enough to add a few helpful comments below. Let’s get started.

Step 1

The first step to assembling the hip belt is to fold down the lower back support as shown in the image below. There is Velcro that attaches this pad to the backpack, so you just pull it down and it will reveal a Velcro attachment platform.

Arcteryx Bora - How To Assemble Hipbelt Step 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

With the Velcro attachment revealed, line the hip belt up against the 2 dark Velcro straps and press firmly. Velcro on the back and front of the hip belt will attach the back to the pack.

Arcteryx Bora 95 How To Assemble Hipbelt Step 2

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Lift the bottom flap up that you pulled down in step 1 and press firmly to attach it to the Velcro.

Arcteryx Bora 95 How To Assemble Hipbelt Step 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

Filter the straps through the plastic guides and tighten against your pack. These straps are the Load Transfer adjustment straps, and govern the tightness that your backpack transfers the weight to your hips.

Arcteryx Bora 95 How To Assemble Hipbelt Step 4

 

 

 

 

 

To dis-assemble, reverse the steps in sequence, and viol la! Hopefully this helps. If you don’t have your Arcteryx Bora 95 Pack yet, click the link to purchase one.

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Arcteryx Bora 95 Packing Guide

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arc'teryx Bora 80 Backpack - 4390-5000cu in Deep Blue, Tall[/amazon_link]If you are planning a backpacking trip to try out your Arcteryx Bora 95 backpack, it is important that you pack your gear properly. Make sure that you have assembled your hip belt properly, and that you have made all the adjustments to properly fit the pack to the contours of your body. Once you are sure that you have the right fit, you will need to pack your gear in a way that makes your hike comfortable. Below, we will discuss what you need to think about when packing your Bora 95 for an extended backpacking trip.

How long will you be on the trail?

Will you be hiking for a few days, 4-5 days, or more than 1 week? This is the first step in packing your backpack. You need to know exactly how long you will be away from home. This will help you to gather the essential gear that you will need while on the trail. The Arteryx Bora 95 is built to allow you to carry a ton of gear, for hiking trips of extended lengths of time. You can always carry less gear for shorter trips, but it is nice knowing that this bag is ready for an extended expedition.

What items will you be bringing?

Once you have an estimated time on the trail, you can begin to gather all the different gear you will need for that length of time. Think about the food you will bring and how to prepare it. Think about water filtration and storage. Think about clothing, camping accessories, sleeping gear, and a tent. All of this gear takes up space and adds weight to your overall pack. Ounces add up, so make sure you are not bringing along non-essential items.

Steps for Packing Your Arcteryx Bora 95 Pack

I like to start packing by laying out all the gear I will be bringing along on the floor in categories. I also like to have a scale handy to make sure I am not bringing heavy junk that I won’t be using. Compress your sleeping bag and stow it away first in the bottom of your pack (in the sleeping bag compartment). Once that is out of the way, you will need to group things together by weight and bulk. Depending on the type of hike you will be on, follow the image below to load your gear into the internal compartment:

Arcteryx Bora 95 Packing GuideIf you will mostly be hiking on flats or gradual climbs, load your heaviest items (like your cook stove or tent components) following the middle picture. If you will be going up and down on sharper inclines and declines, load your heaviest items lower against your back. Fill in the areas around these heavy items will clothing, accessories, and other light items.

Packing the right gear in the correct layout will mean that your backpacking trip will be the most comfortable and enjoyable experience possible. If you don’t have your Arcteryx Bora 95 Pack yet, click the link to purchase one. Happy trails!

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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.

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Arcteryx Bora 95 Expedition Backpack

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arc'teryx Bora 80 Backpack - 4390-5000cu in Deep Blue, Tall[/amazon_link]When it comes to expedition backpacking, Arcteryx really comes through with high-quality and sturdy products. Their backpacks are rugged and durable enough to handle rough terrain for many years. The Arcteryx Bora 95 is no exception. This is a beast of a backpack designed to haul mega loads for extended expeditions on the the trail. Let’s look at some of the features of this backpack below.

The Arcteryx Bora 95 backpack has 5,200-6,000 cubic inches of interior cargo space (depending on the model) and is made with waterproof urethane coated fabric and water tight zippers to help keep all of your gear dry. The materials used include:

  • 210D Invista HT Ripstorm – Lining
  • 420D Invista HT Ripstorm – Body
  • 630D Invista HT Superpack nylon reinforcement
  • Thermoformed HDPE framesheet 6061 aluminum stays

There are multiple methods for accessing your packed gear. The top closure allows for easily stuffing in extra gear. A full length side zipper allows full access to all of your pack’s contents without having to remove and re-pack everything. Accessing the gear closest to the bottom of the pack is easy with the bottom access zipper.

There are also exterior pockets to help organize additional gear. Two lid pockets, one front pocket, and two side pockets allow you to add gear to the outside of your main compartment for easy access. There is an internal sleeping bag compartment that easily holds your bag separate from the rest of your gear. As with just about every backpack on the market, the Arcteryx Bora also includes a hydration bladder pouch for easy storage and compartmentalization of your H20.

Other features of the Bora include:

  • Two ice axe loops
  • Two external daisy chains
  • Key clip
  • Two external water bottle pockets
  • Hydration system hose clip
  • Six external compression straps

There are a couple of cool features included on the Bora that you might not find with other backpack brands. The first is something they call the ‘occipital cavity.’ This molded-in cavity allows your head to have full range of motion, and is a welcome and comfortable feature included by Arcteryx in this pack. Another feature of the Bora is that the top lid is removable, includes an integral waist belt, and can double as a waist pack, which is perfect for day hikes once you have established your base camp.

There are 3 different torso sizes of the Bora 95, with a short, regular, and tall option. There are also 2 different color options. The image at the top is the deep blue option, and the Bora 95 also comes in black.

To have the most comfortable backpacking experience possible, make sure you purchase a backpack that fits your torso. Click here for the torso sizing chart for the Arcteryx Bora.

Here is a breakdown of the capacity and weight of each model:

  • Short – 5248 cubic inches – 7 pounds
  • Regular – 5614 cubic inches – 7.5 pounds
  • Tall – 6041 cubic inches – 7.7 pounds

When looking at these weights above, the Arcteryx Bora 95 might not be the lightest-weight backpack on the market, but it is also not a minimalist backpack by any stretch. For the internal capacity, this backpack actually stacks up very well against the competition with regards to weight. The Arcteryx Bora 80, which has basically all the same features as the 95, is a step down in size and weight (and price as well), with the regular size weighing 6.5 pounds and having a capacity of 5248 cubic inches.

The Arcteryx Bora 95 expedition backpack gets high customer reviews. Many relate how durable and rugged the pack is, while others are impressed with the capacity that the Bora delivers. If you are looking for one of the best quality expedition series backpacks available on the market, look no further than the Arcteryx Bora 95. Click the link to purchase the:

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Bora 80 Pack[/amazon_link]

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