User Review: Osprey Aether 70
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
I really love this pack, certainly compared to when I did most of my backpacking with external frame packs years ago! But just a couple of minor gripes which prevent me giving it a fully enthusiastic five stars, you may think them trivial in which case, fine; if I could give 4.5 stars I would.
Firstly, it's really incredibly comfortable to wear, and the ventilation seems fine, but then that's based on UK conditions so maybe in hotter climes others may differ, but up to 8 days backpacking in Scotland, carrying everything including food (but excepting the odd drink in the pub) and it felt as good to put on at the end as at the beginning. (We started with eight days food so we could take it easily and that includes the dog's food so fairly well loaded)
The moulded hip belt fits fine but occasionally it's easy to get one of the various straps caught in the buckle which then snaps loose, a nuisance, not a problem, but the pack does come festooned with a vast number of straps! If I have a gripe with the carrying system it would be that the (very strongly S shaped) shoulder straps can be a bit narrow on the collarbones, if you're particularly broad chested check it out carefully - and the sternum strap isn't generous for length unlike almost every other strap on the pack.
But the overall impression is of a very comfortable, well designed, well made, robust pack. making load carrying simple.
Packing is standard top loader although stuff from the top can slip down into the bottom compartment unless carefully packed from the start since the gaps round the edge of the divider are a little large. The front pocket strap is a bit odd in that in attaches a couple of inches below the top of the pocket, which therefore gets pulled out of shape when the strap is done up - odd but not really a problem. More problematic is that the upper compression strap does up across the front pocket and can make access into everything except the top few inches of the front pocket a bit awkward at times if the compression strap is cinched tight but I hardly ever use the front pocket for rapid access so it's not a problem for me.
Purely as a matter of personal preference I think I preferred the mesh side pockets on the previous version because it makes it easier to see what's where in them but that said the knitted work fine so again a niggle not a problem.
All his probably sounds like carping about minor points, but put simply, if I had to buy this capacity pack again, would I buy another Aether 70? Yes, it's that simple.