User Review: Osprey Aether 70
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Very comfortable over adverse terrain with a heavy load. Packs gear enough for two people for a weekend without flinching. Compression straps keep all loads secure and tight to the center of the pack. I have and will recommend this pack, especially for weekend to week hikes.
- Tons of space
- Loads easily, gear accessible
- Rock abraded through the sidewall.
- Difficult to secure a non-critical strap (bladder retainer) when fully packed.
My previous pack was a Kelty Redwing 3100, which is 3 things: ruggedly built, not meant for long hikes, not well suspended. Bear that in mind with this review of the Aether.
Fit: Excellent. I'm 5'10", 173 lbs. with an athletic build, 18.5" torso, 39" chest. The Medium fits my frame nicely, though I do have to keep the sternum strap fairly loose. I adjusted the suspension attachment mid-hike with a fully loaded (~48 lbs.) bag and my Osprey Hydraulics 3L in place, also full. It was a little difficult to break the shoulder straps loose, but loosening compression straps helped. When unloaded the suspension is a cinch to change.
Comfort: I hiked the Hermit Trail of the Grand Canyon with this (maiden voyage, in fact) and stayed surprisingly cool. The pack rests nearly fully on my hips, but the hipbelt fits well enough that the weight isn't felt. I'd like a hip load-lifter, but it's not necessary. Should load lifters are easy to adjust while on the move, and are effective.
Capacity: My old pack (3100) was burst-at-the-seams full for an overnight. The Osprey hauls our tent, food, clothes and sleeping goods effortlessly. It holds enough that my wife's bag is nearly empty.
Organization and Accessibility: Once everything's loaded, cinching the pack down with the multitude of compression straps (like 9 of them) keeps the gear both immobile and tight to the frame. I'm an internal packer, and can't stand anything on the outside of my bag. The toploading and J-zipper front flap allow everything to be grabbed very quickly. More importantly, the hipbelt and accessible meshy pockets on the side allow the hiker to grab and stow snacks or trail trash without help.
Ride: Again, excellent. The suspension distributes weight very well and remains compact over a variety of loads.
Features: External bladder access is a dream, as is the hipbelt. I didn't find the trekking pole stowage as useful as it seems, but I admittedly didn't use that feature much.
Construction and Durability: This is where it lost a half star. Somewhere along the trail I scraped the side of the bag on a rock, which abraded through the side of the bag. Luckily it's still under warranty (....which lasts forever!) and they're fixing the issue. In the future I'll be more careful with the bag, but as I said earlier my Redwing is very durable and has been used to haul rocks. The Osprey is not thin-walled or under-built by any means. All strap attachments are robust, multi-stitched, etc.
Conditions: Down and up the Grand Canyon for 3 days and the pack was awesome. I've got about 30 miles on the bag, and can't be more impressed with the usability and comfort. I don't like bags that move or shift when I spring nimbly from rock to rock, and this feel like a cool koala hugging you from behind.