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Aether 85 or Mars 85

11:04 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

I am looking to make a large pack purchase and have narrowed it down to 2(REI Mars 85 & The Osprey Aether 85-09 model.)

I do go heavy once in a while and I have noticed the 09 Aether 85 on the cheap @ $216 out the door which seems like a good deal and won't break the bank. I have tried both packs. The fit & feel of both packs for me seem quite good with 45lb+ loads(I put my own gear in both)and now I am stuck on which would be a better choice for 4 season long distance(10 mile a day) use. I am not tryin to shell out for another pack anytime soon. Any suggestions? Thanks.

7:58 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
72 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

If it fits the best of the two i would go with the Osprey,REI packs have improved but i feel they are still a step or two behind the Ospreys.ymmv

8:30 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

Thanks Skimanjohn. I have heard quite alot of positives about Osprey packs. I am leaning that way. Not sure if I can get the belt molded being that I was told the REI here does not have the capabilities. Never the less I will probably go with the Aether. I am actually now considering shelling out the extra $ and getting the new model. I like the front loading option. That was 1 of the biggest selling points for me on the Mars.

3:17 a.m. on January 14, 2010 (EST)
202 reviewer rep
52 forum posts

I would get the Osprey. I have an Aether 60 and it is by far my favorite pack. It's the most comfortable pack I have ever used. I put 25 pounds in it and I forget I have a pack on. The fit is just superb. Even when it's loaded down with close to 40 pounds of heavy crap it carries the load so well and is still comfortable. I can tell I have a pack on at that point but it feels like I'm cruising. Hell, on a recent trip to the Sangres with my girlfriend and my buddy I had my pack loaded down with about 35 pounds of junk and I carried it no problem up the rugged trail and I even took my GF's pack (Osprey Aura 50) and slung it over my shoulder which was an additional 15 pounds or so, and I had absolutely no problems after 3 miles and probably 2,000 feet of elevation gain. (It was my GF's first trip at altitude. We're flat-landers from Kansas.) It is an extremely well made and comfortable pack. I would imagine the same would hold true with the Aether 85. Also, another thing with Osprey I love is their "Any Pack. Any Era" guarantee. If there is ever problem with your pack at all they'll fix or replace it, no questions asked and it's not BS like most companies guarantees. I've heard great things about their customer service.

As far as the custom molding, it's not a huge deal. I have two different hip belts for my pack, one molded and one not molded, and honestly there isn't really that big of a difference between the two. I'm not going to say it doesn't help because I think it does but it's like buying an extra blanket for your memory foam mattress. Do you need it? No. Does it help though? Sure... It's just another small tweak you can do with an already amazingly comfortable pack.

April 16, 2014
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