Arc’teryx Altra 65 Backpack

Comfortable and well designed, you shouldn’t let the oversized appearance of the Arc’teryx Altra scare you off. A world class outdoor backpack if there ever was one, this is the kind of rig you can count on for those longer trips with bigger payloads. Smartly designed and durable as anything else on the market, this is the kind of bag you can trust with your equipment and tools, as well as your hard earned money.

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Backpacking Backpack Review

While there has definitely been a big push for lighter and more compact gear in the outdoor world, sometimes you need a system that can carry a bit – and sometimes a lot more than these ultralights can properly handle. And though you could always lean on some older tech backpacks to get the job done in a pinch, wouldn’t it be nice to have a perfect hybrid of the ultralights with serious payload capability?

That’s where the Arc’teryx Altra 65 comes in.

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Review — First Impressions

The first thing you’ll notice – at least I did – when looking at the Arc’teryx Altra 65 is how big it is, especially if you’re used to dealing with smaller and smaller kits. At only 65L you wouldn’t think it would seem like such a monster, but this bag almost seems like it’s much, much too big to be toting around the woods.

But once you get past the sheer size of the Arc’teryx Altra, you’ll being to notice the features that have gotten this bag so many incredible backpack reviews all over the industry – we’re talking about the blend of high tech fabrics and materials with perfect engineering, the kind of durability and payload you would expect from a bag this size, as well as the super comfortable carry you will enjoy the moment you strap the Arc’teryx Altra to your back.

This is not to say everything is sunshine and roses when you’re talking about the Arc’teryx Altra 65, but when all is said and done there is only one major flaw (that I’ll talk about later in this backpacking gear review) that might pop up from time to time. Here’s our breakdown.

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Video Review

Impressive Construction

The overall look of the bag is something that is going to stop a lot of day trippers and backpackers in their tracks – not only is this an attractive bag in and of itself, but it has clearly been smartly designed to be as functional as possible.

Made out of ripstop nylon fabric and coated with a silicone and poly blend to waterproof it as much as possible, you’re not going to have to worry about the Arc’teryx Altra giving out on your in the middle of a long hike or trip out on the trail somewhere. Combine that with the wear proof components that have been added to high use and contact areas all over the bag as well as durable stitching and manufacturing, and you’ve got something that was clearly built to last.

More than enough space

This is a big bag, don’t get me wrong, but even filled to the brim it doesn’t seem overly heavy or cumbersome. With a 65L capacity you’ll be able to pack up all of your essentials and then some with this bad boy, giving you the access to all of the backpacking gear you would have had to leave behind when using an ultralight. This is easily one of the best backpack solutions for those looking for a bit more room and especially on a multiday trip, as even heavily loaded down the smartly engineered harness, HDPE framesheet and GRIDLOCK system all work together to distribute the load evenly across your body. You won’t feel like you’re toting around a piano on your back, regardless of how long you’ve been out and about.

Pretty lightweight, but you wouldn’t want to take this climbing

While the Arc’teryx Altra is one of those world class pieces of backpacking gear that once you’ve tried make it next to impossible to go back to anything else, it is not without a serious flaw (at least for some people). While most all backpack reviews are glowing in their praise for the Arc’teryx Altra, climbers are not exactly head over heels. The sheer size and bulk of the bag make it hard to look up with a climbing helmet on, the harness doesn’t have the proper tools and slots for threading a rope, and the weight – while evenly distrusted for walking on trials – can get pushed around on an ascent. This is a prime bag for taking to the trails with, but don’t expect to scale many faces unless you have a different haul setup planned ahead of time.

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Photos

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Specs

Material: Invista HT Mini Ripstop (100D nylon, PU coating), 420ACT , Invista HT Plain Weave
Support/Suspension: AC2 system, removable 6061 aluminum tubular stays
Shoulder Straps: GridLock adjustable harness system
Waist-Belt: yes, thermo-molded
Access: top, front
Pockets: 2 top lid zippered, 1 map, 1 hook-and-loop, 1 front kangaroo, 2 hip-belt mesh, 2 stretch mesh
Sleeping Bag Compartment: no
Hydration Compatible: yes
Reservoir Included: no
Detachable Daypack: no
Detachable Lid: yes
Ski Carry: no
Gear Loops: yes, mini daisy chains
Trekking Pole Loops: no
Weight: (reg) 2200 g, (tall) 2300 g
Volume: (reg) 65 72 L, (tall) 68 75 L
Recommended Use: multi-day backpacking, trekking
Manufacturer Warranty: lifetime
MSRP: $449.00


All in all, the Arc’teryx Altra is the kind of bigger bag that backpackers have been dreaming about. Lightweight and super comfortable as well as built for packing large loads over some serious distances, this is the kind of backpack you can rely on. If you’re looking for a truly world class solution and the best outdoor backpack money can buy right now, you would be hard pressed to find a solution better than the Arc’teryx Altra 65.

Written by Stan Tyan