Arc’teryx Altra 65 ReviewJuly 11, 2016
- Easy torso adjustment
- Very durable
- Unrivaled comfort
- Very expensive
- No external bottle pockets
The Arc’teryx Altra 65 is an incredibly comfortable backpack that is also very durable. It has lots of great features including numerous points of adjustment to dial in the perfect fit. But all of those buckles and burly durable fabrics cause the bag to tip the scales to the heavier side and as usual Arc’teryx spared no expense, making it the most expensive bag in this test.
This bag is the most comfortable pack this tester has ever worn. The two dimensional shoulder strap adjustment allows the user to quickly tune the Altra to their body’s unique shape. This toggle also allows the user to get the waist belt appropriately positioned with a high degree of accuracy. On the first day of use our tester walked seven miles with 35 pounds, only to find himself collecting firewood at the end of the day, forgetting that the bag was still on. It’s that comfortable!
The frame of this bag consists of a thin rigid piece of plastic that runs across the entire back. There’s a bit of flexibility, but it holds heavy loads extremely well. This plate also serves the double purpose of protecting your back against the corner of the pan you hastily jammed in while packing up camp on the last day. There is a huge zippered pocket along the body’s leading edge that will fit any hydration bladder and can also serve as a secret journal stash.
The waistbelt and torso offer excellent swivel, which increases the range of terrain you can comfortably tackle with the Altra. The four horizontal and four vertical straps allow you to secure down any load you can get in there. These straps offer buckles where other packs might just have a toggle, making complete packing or unpacking of the bag fast.
The beefy buckles of the Altra, in particular the large and reinforced waist buckle, really inspires confidence. Where the straps meet the body of the bag there is reinforced stitching, and despite a few glissades, tough off-trail scrambling, and general use and abuse, we couldn’t get anything to loosen up.
The Altra takes a clear preference towards hydration bladder users, with no clear external water bottle sleeve or pocket. There’s also no waist pouch, but our testers enjoyed the Altra’s double pocketed brain, which make intuitive organizational sense. The Altra has a row of minimalist gear loops running up either side, which could handle trekking poles or a thin ice tool. The sturdiness of the horizontal straps even tempted our tester to throw a pair of skis on the bag, which it held.