User Review: Osprey Aether 70
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $180
Wonderful craftsmanship with a great carry.
- Great ride
- Swallows gear
- Highly adjustable
- Excellent workmanship and materials
- Lack of organization
All in all the Osprey Aether 70 is my all-time favorite "big boy" pack.
If you follow gear you know that Osprey is considered top-of-the-line, as much for their rock-solid, lifetime guarantee as their superior products. The Aether is my fourth Osprey pack and I don't see myself ever switching brands.
I'll bypass all the specs which can be found easily enough but will just mention a few of my personal thoughts. A big plus for me are the numerous compression straps and the flexibility of use they provide. A common misstep is over packing just to "top off the pack" but with the strategically placed straps, on both the sides and at the top of the main compartment, you can pack down the load without having to fill it up.
I'm also a big fan of how it carries. I try to keep my loads as light as possible but have carried 50 lbs with no sway with the weight falling where it's supposed to. The materials used just scream quality and despite a couple of years of frequent use show no real sign of wear. While you can swap out the hip belts if you want I prefer the minimal padding.
(Side note: Osprey has a feature in which they will 'mold" the hip belt to your body contour via a heating system found in many of the stores where Osprey's are sold. I've been told, by an Osprey rep. in fact, that it is not necessary and more of a gimmick than anything. The standard hip belt will take shape on it's own after a couple of trips. I found this to be the case.)
One drawback to the model I have, which has been changed for 2013, is the lack of hip pockets. If keeping a bar, camera or phone close by is of importance, consider the newer model. Also, while the stuffit pocket is great, and the vast main compartment just swallows gear, I would like to see one more zippered pocket on the top lid. There's just one now and I would prefer not having to hunt for smaller pieces I might need. That said, the top lid does come off to make a very useful hip pack for day hikes out of base camp.
And other great element of Osprey is their customer service. I've stepped on and broken buckles in the past and all it takes is sending them a photo of the broken piece and a description of where it's located and they will immediately send you free replacements. That kind of thing really matters to me.
So if you're looking for a killer pack that handles both an overnight and week long+ excursions, you really can't do much better than the Aether 70. I HIGHLY recommend this pack.