User Review: Osprey Aether 60
Price Paid: $199
I own a 2005 model and I have to agree with Traveler in the first review. The previous models weigh less than the 2006 model and do the same thing if not more. As far as I can tell, there's no need for a heavier form fitting hip belt. I broke mine in on the Kalalau Trail in Kauai with 30 lbs and never got a sore spot. It's quick and easy to transfer weight, too.
I bought the pack with the intention to go lighter. Out of all the packs of similar size and weight, none are as solid and compressible. I've never had more than 30 lbs in it, but I've read reviews that it starts to sag around 40 lbs. A 3.5 lb pack made of 210-denier, that can hold everything you need for an extended trip, inside the pack (considering you use a tarp or very small tent), is real nice. The large mesh pouch is great for wet items and the compression straps help to hold them down. The side pouches will hold a water bottle horizontally or vertically. Again, real nice. The built-in whistle on the sternum strap is a nice touch, also. In fact, I think that's the only bells and whistles (pardon the pun)this pack has.
The older model has very little extras. It's a great pack for someone who's not ready to go ultra-light, yet or ever. Believe me, I'm sure the form-fitted hip belt on the new one feels great, but it's removable and I can't see it being as solid and stable as the sewn-in model.
I'll have this pack for a very long time.