User Review: Osprey Aether 70
Design: Top-Loading Internal Frame
Size: 70 Litres
Number of Pockets: 4 plus the Main
Max. Load Carried: @55-60 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2" (21" Torso-36" Waist-go for the Large!)
This pack is a great compromise between being reasonably light, but still having the frame and padding needed to carry mid-weight loads with comfort and stability (35-45lbs). My experience with some of the vaunted ultralight packs is that they are only good when you are able to keep your load ultralight. That's all good until you need to carry more stuff. I don't mind carrying an extra pound if it carries the rest of the load better.
This pack hauled gear up to high-camps in the Andes with good stability. I appreciated not feeling tipsy when scrambling over house-sized ledges and through car-sized boulders, even when tired at altitude.
The stretchy side-pockets hold big water bottles, fuel, and poles with security and ease. The back pocket will take a large bladed folding shovel. There is mesh welded into it for airing out socks, gloves, etc. when on the go.
I won't comment too much on the fit, because everyone is built different. For me the fit is perfect. Try one on and see if you like it.
One nice little detail, the pack sits up well on its own most of the time. It doesn't fall over constantly when you're packing/unpacking.
My only real complaint was that the stretch-woven material on the side-pockets seems to be a bit less durable than old-school mesh pockets. When you have them stuffed with bottles and grind them on the rocks, they'll start to show wear a bit. It's not major, but I'll eventually goop some seamgrip over the abrasions if they get bad.
I hold the same kind of opinion for my Aether that I do for Granite Gear. Light packs that can still haul realistic weights, and a great fit. Oh, and the Lid-Fannypack option is actually comfortable and practical for a change.