Having never used an Osprey backpack before I looked forward to seeing if they lived up to the high expectations the Osprey brand carries with it. My previous pack the Vango Nanga served me well. How would the Osprey Aether 70 compare?
My first impression of the Osprey Aether backpack was that the build quality looked very impressive. Throughout the Aether pack you can tell a lot of thought went into the pack’s ability to be tailored to the person using it. The Aether 70 is the second largest pack in the Aether range. Aimed towards multi-day backpacking the Aether 70 pack is full of features. The Aether 70 boasts an ergonomic design with generous padded shoulder and waist straps.
The Aether 70 uses Osprey’s Anti-gravity technology. An updated back panel system allows airflow and decreases pressure on the lumbar region of the back. Anybody who treks over multiple days understands the cumulative strains a full backpack has on the body’s frame, anything which improves comfort and ergonomics, such as the AG system is helpful for those longer treks.
- 2.33kg weight
- Size: 33.5’’ x 15’’ x13’’ ( 85 x 38x34cm )
- AG Anti-gravity suspension hip belt
- Two ice axe loops
- Side kit loops and straps
- Large sleeping bag compartment with divider.
- J-zipper access to main storage
- Stretch mesh dual access side pockets
- Stretch mesh front pocket.
As my fellow blogger Ed mentioned in the Atmos 65 review the firm fitting hip belt is immediately noticeable. It feels like it clamps around the contours of the hip. The hipbelt can be custom moulded for a better anatomical fit using a specialist “oven” in retail stores. Even without this, the belt will mould to your hip shape after a few trips. The hipbelt can also be removed from the main pack and attached to the lumbar pack for added support.
The harness is dual density foam with mesh which allows airflow and helps wick moisture awayfrom your body. It was clear that Osprey used as much breathable material in the design as possible, but you’re still going to sweat. The Aether uses a supension frame which holds the load away from your back. Combined with the “clamping” hipbelt this ensures good weight transfer to the hips, keeping the pack from dragging too much on the shoulders.The materials used on the pack are 210-denier double ripstop nylon and 500-denier weave. I’ve had no issue with either and found the fabric tough yet easy to clean with a damp cloth.
Osprey’s Anti-gravity system incorporates the hip belt itself has an oversized latch, which eases use. Each side of the hip belt has a generous, deep pocket with looped toggles that are ideal for items you need to grab such as trail mix, gloves or a camera. I really liked like this feature, which I’d only ever used on a smaller day sack. The IsoForm hip belt and harness are designed for individual fitting that adapts as you change the Aether to suit your needs. Another interesting feature is the removable lid, which transforms into lumbar pack, which I use for carrying smaller items once I’ve reached camp.
I actually found it quite easy to release the removable lid and attach it to the belt loops on my hip. The removable hood on the Aether also has a large green rain cover which is stored in its own pocket on the hood. The main hood has three pockets in total, one meshed pocket is located under the hood, which is ideal for items such as a wallet, or to secure keys on the fob provided.
As mentioned previously there is a rain cover pocket, which is just below the main hood pocket. The hood itself also has elasticated sides, which enables a better fit to the main body of the backpack when securing the load down. As the hood is removable Osprey have included a secondary hood with concealed buckles. The ability to swap the lid for a simple one means the pack can be simplify and it a great way to reduce weight.
A grab/storage handle is located to the rear of the main compartment and eases lifting the pack from the ground. The main compartment has a distinctive red strap that compresses the load to reduce bulk within the main compartment. The main front of the Aether has two upper and two lower compression straps. The upper straps draw the load inwards and the lower straps draw the load upwards.
The Aether 70 has a meshed front pouch, which has its own compression strap. I really liked the front pouch and found it ideal for storing grab items such as waterproofs. A back panel sleeve allows for storage of up to a 3 litre hydration pack with slots on both sides for your drinking tube. The main storage area can also be accessed via a two-way frontal zip that allows you to grab kit form the main compartment without having to open the hood.
On each side of the Aether pack towards the bottom are double mesh pockets, which are ideal for stowing items, such water bottles or hats and gloves. The general thinking towards two openings on each side is that it can allow for both small and larger items, I thought this idea was well thought out. These two stowaway pockets are within easy reach while wearing the pack.
Zips, toggles and latches
I really liked the oversized aluminium zips, they pull easy and all have large reinforced pull loops that ease the use.
Just like the zips the latches are also oversized and make for easy use.
The Aether 70 weighs in at 4lbs 13 oz making it neither ultra lightweight or heavy. Given its extensive feature set the pack’s weight seems reasonable. Given that this pack has such a good suspension and weight displacement I found carrying loads up 16 kg to be very comfortable.
The main hood has two pockets, one stores the rain cover, the other is ideal for items such as maps, gloves a head torch. Each zip is oversized and is easy to use.
Having never used an Osprey rucksack before I was surprised by its versitifity for custom fiiting. The Aether 70 is jam packed with features and is ideal for carrying heavy loads with comfort. One of the most important issues for me is how the pack carries: Is it comfortable? Does it nip?, Does it transfer the load? The Aether handles well in all of these considerations. The build quality is exceptional throughout. A lot of time and thought has gone into the design of the Aether 70.
If you’re looking for a feature rich pack and don’t mind spending a little extra in terms of weight and price – the Aether 70 comes highly recommended.
The Aether AG 70 is available direct from Osprey Europe