LMorrisonposted an image about Arc'teryx Altra 50 Backpack - Men's - 2867-3233cu in on September 27, 2015
A very stuffed Altra 50.
A very stuffed Altra 50.
I think this bag has gotten a raw deal in reviews. Could the suspension be better? Sure. Is it designed to carry a heavy load for miles down a trail? Not really. It's built to be a light weight pack. There's a niche for this and its not for people who want to shlep a heavy load or for those requiring a plush suspension. For what it is and what it's designed to do, I think it does the job very well. The Altra 50 just supported my month long trip to Peru and, at the end of it all, I was left with very little to complain about.
I packed "relatively" light and only really utilized the bottom two thirds or so of the bag. The top portion was taken up by a f-stop internal camera unit (size: small pro) loaded with my DSLR, lenses, and a complete GoPro system with active gimbal mount. Even had room for a few souvenirs. I kept the weight under fifty pounds (initially just under forty pounds but weight increased as the trip progressed). When loaded down with extra water and the bulk of my souvenirs, I could tell the hipbelt was sagging a bit. That transferred more weight to my shoulders but it wasn't uncomfortable torture by any means. The straps and hipbelt are comfortable but thin enough to wrap around the pack and create a profile small enough to fit sideways in the overhead of larger aircraft (IF you haven't put much in the kangaroo pocket on the front). It won't fit in the smaller regional jets.
I found the 50 to be very liveable. I would have liked the full access front zip like the 65 but the side zips made it easy to gain access to stuff at the bottom of the pack. The zippers on the top lid open from the top, so you don't have things falling out when you open them up. I really like having zippered wing pockets rather than elastic water bottle holders. You can easily access the pockets while wearing the pack. I could still stuff a water bottle inside but they're great for quick access items that would otherwise fall out or be exposed; beanie, snacks, even a light fleece pullover. The kangaroo pocket on the front was perfectly sized for a shell jacket, pair of trekking poles, and a small tripod. Access is easy from the top or the front zip. The pack was not treated gingerly and held up well. No rips, tears, abrasions, or split seams to report. I never once worried about durability. I didn't use the water reservoir pocket but it's nicely configured with access from outside the bag.
If you pack for fast and light, this is a nice bag. If you're a heavy packer, you will want a more supportive suspension. Would I buy it again? Definitely. Here it is, a little filthy from dirt in the desert of Southern Peru but still going strong!
By the way, the photo shown of the back of the pack in the description above is the back of an Altra 65. The suspension on the 50 is more simplistic. No shoulder strap adjustment and no pivoting hipbelt.
Picked these up for a slip-on to make airport security checkpoints a little easier. Once I reached my destination, they were the first shoes I reached for every day. VERY comfortable, well made, and the fit is true to size. I don't think these look wide on my feet, as commented, but everyone is different. I've had several people ask about them (Gargoyle color). Color depicted is spot on. Planning on picking up the brown ones too. Very much recommended.
I have an older Polartec version of this jacket and it's been one of my absolute favorites. The Gamma AR has been comfortable and warm from the Cascades (with adequate layering) to hanging out in downtown Seattle or Portland. Sheds light rain, cuts the wind, and breaths well during more active pursuits. No complaints whatsoever.
I just picked up the new version with Fortius 3.0 and wrote a review that wasn't entirely fair. So, I'm rewriting it a bit. This new jacket is almost identical in design to the old one. The fabric is stretchy, hangs a little lower in the front than the old style (which is nice), lightweight, good pocket placement, nice range of motion, and that great Arcteryx style. When the temperature falls much below 30 degrees, the new Fortius face fabric expects you to be active to provide real warmth as a standalone shell. The original jacket, with Polartec, immediately felt warmer. This is still a great jacket. After hiking or climbing with it, it makes a great mid layer under a shell. So far, I like the Polartec version a little better but I would still buy this one again. Oh, I haven't had any issues loosing things out of my pockets. Arcteryxs brilliant designers put zippers on mine to keep them closed. I know! Innovative, yeah? New Fortius 3.0 AND zippers on the pockets! 5'8, 170 pounds, size medium, fits perfectly with enough room to layer underneath.