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Osprey Aether Plus 85

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Osprey Aether Plus 85 expedition pack (70l+)

For a large pack, it carries well, has lots of functional details, and a modest weight.


  • Adjustable on-the-fly sizing
  • Large capacity for week+ trips and bulky 3-4 season gear
  • Absorbs clunky bear canisters
  • Top pocket converts to light day pack
  • Includes raincover
  • Sizable hipbelt and side pockets


  • A bit heavy at 6lbs
  • Zippers on hipbelt pockets are hard to fully open/close with one hand

After several decades of use on many backpack and climbing trips, it was time to replace my reliable and old-school Dana Terraplane pack. I sought something similar in size (~5000 cubic inches), lighter in weight, durable, and with contemporary features (e.g., pocket for water reservoir, hipbelt pockets, removable daypack).

I have smaller and lighter packs for shorter trips in reliably good weather (summer). This pack is intended for longer trips and in seasons where bulkier gear for colder conditions is needed. Also, absorbing a BearVault was a must.

The 85L Osprey Aether Plus met my criteria.

In the Aether Plus line the fit can be adjusted and then tweaked on the fly in various ways. Like a good pair of shoes, fit is everything. If it doesn't fit, it won't do the job comfortably. This system worked well for my 5'9" frame. I set the torso length, shoulder strap position and length, and hipbelt length per the instructions and no further tweaks have been needed in the field.

Strategic top and paired zippered front pockets allow considerable organization, which I value, although I haven't needed the large zipper access to the main compartment. Compression straps are well placed and effective. The hipbelt pockets are good sized, but I found their curved shape made the zippers hard to fully open and close with just one hand.

The water reservoir pocket is inside the bag, which hampers reservoir access when the pack is loaded. My approach has simply been to fill the reservoir with the water I'll need for day and then load the pack. I tend to know how much I'll drink and don't need to dig the reservoir out for a refill during the day.

The lid can easily be removed and reattached, and when removed it innovatively converts into a daypack. Its shoulder straps are not padded, but it carries comfortably. It weighs about a pound. I find it useful to pack along on short summer backpack trips when having a light daypack would be handy.

The included raincover is placed out of the way in a small zippered exterior compartment on the bottom of the pack; easily accessible.




During its first season of use on a 62-mile week-long trip in late September in Glacier NP the pack carried comfortably, from the beginning when loads were bulkiest and heaviest, to the end. No issues encountered. It is a significant improvement over my old Terraplane in terms of comfort, weight, and features.

Source: bought via a "pro deal"

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The Aether Plus 85 replaced the Osprey Aether 85.


Price MSRP: $380.00
Current Retail: $440.00
Historic Range: $273.89-$440.00
Load Range 40-70 lbs
Volume 5,065 cu in / 83 L 5,187 cu in / 85 L
Dimensions 31.89 x 16.14 x 15.75 in 33.86 x 16.14 x 15.75 in
Weight 5.965 lbs 6.229 lbs
Main Fabric bluesign-approved 210D high-tenacity nylon, PFC-free DWR
Accent Fabric bluesign-approved 210D high-tenacity nylon honeycomb contrast, PFC-free DWR
Bottom Fabric bluesign-approved 210D high-tenacity nylon, PFC-free DWR
Product Details from Osprey »

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