The Arc'teryx Altra 62 is widely considered one of the best women's hiking backpacks. Though slightly smaller than the men's version, it does not sacrifice any of the useful features, with great adjustability and a convenient design. It's large enough for the long trek, yet light enough to take out for just the weekend. It also comes in 33-, 48- and 72-liter capacities.
Moves with you. One of the main features of the Arc'teryx Altra 62 is its swiveling hip belt. It utilizes a disc, located where the removable hip belt is attached, to allow the pack to disperse the weight more evenly to your hips. While many enjoy this feature, even more complain of the noise it produces. One reviewer at ColoradoHikersGuide.com says, "… the hipbelt disc can start squeaking after a few times outside." This may be more annoying than it's worth for some people, but user opinions are mixed
The Altra 62 is a top-loading pack with seven exterior compartments and a U-shaped zipper to the main compartment. A customer on Mountain Equipment Co-op was pleasantly surprised by how convenient the bag was to load, saying, "This pack is like a suitcase with the zipper than goes all around when you lay it down!"
Narrow design. The Arc'teryx Altra 62 has specially designed shoulder straps to suit a narrow frame. A particular feature that makes this pack comfortable is its precise adjustability; it uses the peg-in-hole style GridLock shoulder straps in order to fine-tune the fit. A few customers have complained about the small size of the packs water bladder. At two liters, you can find a larger one on many cheaper packs.
Leaky and squeaky. While the U-shaped zipper featured on the Arc'teryx Altra 62 may be a luxury, many feel it is not necessary. Also the zipper itself has been known to leak. A review on Backpacker.com said, "Our only gripe: That U zipper should be waterproof; it leaked when the fabric didn't." The removable hip belt has also been known to cause problems, too. A review on Mountain Equipment Co-op says, "Sometimes, because the hip belt is on a swivel, it tends to squeak, and falls off (if not kept greased and put properly in place)." However, she continues to say, the lumbar pivot is more than worth the inconvenience.
Mostly positive. There are mixed reviews regarding the quality of customer service received from Arc'teryx. Many customers of the Altra and other Arc'teryx are more than satisfied with their prompt and polite responses. A few customers however have had issues with their gear and were unsatisfied with the customer service. The Arc'teryx Altra 62 comes with a lifetime warranty.
Review Credibility: Good Although this review is brief, ColoradoHikersGuide.com gives a thorough rundown of the Altra's positive features, with a focus on why it's a great choice for women. The overview includes pros and cons.
Review: Arc'teryx Altra Backpack for Women, "Kimberly", Jan. 15, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Backpacker.com selected the Arc'teryx Altra as its Editor's Choice for 2010. They don't specify which model of the Altra they are reviewing, rather presenting the Altra line as a whole, which is still reliable as the only difference between the various models of the Altra is storage size. An accompanying video review by contributing editor John Harlin praises the pack's ability to load like a suitcase. Their only complaint was that the U-shaped zipper leaks. Overall this is a very positive review.
Review: Editor's Choice 2010: Arc'teryx Altra, Editors at Backpacker.com, Not dated
3. Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Review Credibility: Fair Mountain Equipment Co-op provides a space for customers to offer up their opinions and experiences with the Arc'teryx Altra 62 hiking backpack. The backpack receives an overall rating of 5 stars out of 5, with 100 percent of respondents saying they would recommend this product to a friend. There are only a handful of reviews.
Review: Arc'teryx Arc'teryx Altra 62 Backpack (Women's), Contributors to Mountain Equipment Co-op, As of March 2013