Owner Review - Osprey Aether 70
- OSPREY AETHER 70
BY PAUL SCHILKE
June 01, 2000
NAME: Paul Schilke
LOCATION: Mogollon Rim, AZ
HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
I have been a serious backpacker since 2002. I enjoy lightweight camping. I use several different kinds of stove. Nowadays I prefer using water filters to chemical treatments. I have camped under a tarp, but have spent several sleep-deprived nights buzz-bombed by rodents. I hike and camp in the deserts and the mountains. Although I have spent up to 7 months backpacking, these days I only get to go hiking for a few days. I have very limited use of my left arm.
Year of Manufacture: Purchased in May 2008, review has more info.
Manufacturer's Website: www.ospreypacks.com
Listed Weight: 4lbs 9oz (2.10 kg)
Top Pocket 9oz (255g)
Main Pack 4.75 lbs (2.15 kg)
Listed Volume: 4200 cubic inches (70 L)
Listed Length: In: 30.5x15.5x11.5, Cm: 77.5x39x29
420D Nylon pack cloth
210D double ripstop Nylon
Stretch woven Nylon with Lycra
500D plain weave Nylon oxford
Hydration Pocket with left and right ports and elastic hose routers on the harness straps
Dual Entry Side Stretch Pockets (water bottle pockets x2)
Stretch Front Pocket
Sleeping Pad Straps
Sleeping Bag Compartment
Top lid with tie points which doubles as a lumbar pack when used with the removable hipbelt
IsoForm CM heat-moldable hipbelt with Ergo Pull design
Sternum strap with safety whistle
Airscape suspension with nubbed ventilated foam backpanel
Internal Framesheet with two aluminum stays
Ice Ax Loops, Ski Loops
Internal Compression Strap.
Straight Jacket Compression System
According to the Osprey website, the maximum comfortable carrying capacity ranges between 50 and 65 lb (22.7 and 29.5 kg). The website provides excellent information
regarding the pack including a downloadable 2 page manual with illustrations of 17 features and uses. However, it was the salesperson at the retailer who helped me to
choose and subsequently adjust this pack to my specific needs such as compensating for the difference between my left and right arms.
I purchased this pack to carry more than my usual target weight of 30 lbs (14kg). Since my wife usually carries our baby in a baby pack when we hike together, I have
to carry much of her gear in my pack. Now I'm carrying two sleeping bags in addition to the three person tent plus most of the food and cooking supplies.
I have used this pack on three different backpack adventures throughout Northern Arizona. The Aether 70 has performed well on these trips. The first was a 3 day trip
down to the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Campground near the Phantom Ranch. On that trip I carried a load of about 40 lbs (18 kg). The second was a 4 day trip into
Sedona's Secret Mountain Wilderness with a load weighing over 50 lbs (22.7 kg). The final trip was a 3 day hike into the Blue Range Primitive Area with a total pack
weight of 50 lbs (22.7 kg). On the last trip, I covered about 25 miles (40km) with significant changes in elevation of several thousand of feet.
I like most of the features of this pack and was surprised to discover some of them as I was writing this article, inspecting the pack and reading the manual and
website. The surprising features were the sternum strap whistle, the ski loops and the extra clip points for the compression system. The extra clip points facilitate
the reduction of excess space in the bag's main compartment when smaller loads are carried. The whistle, though easy to use, is not the loudest safety whistle on the
I like the hydration pocket which successfully holds my three liter Camelback reservoir. There are exit points for the drink tube to the left and the right. The exit
ports are below the top point of the aluminum stay rod and the spindrift collar. I usually stuff the hydration reservoir into the pack after I've stuffed the first
sleeping bag in. After I load in the Camelback, I use my foot to squeeze in the second sleeping bag while grabbing the spindrift collat. I worry a little that the
reservoir might pop or the pack's seams might give way, but neither has happened so far. I really like the closure on the spindrift collar. It is easy to close the
spindrift collar using one just hand and my teeth. The spindrift closure is also very easy to uncinch with one hand.
The top loop of the stay rod pushes away from the wearer's back into the pack. This marginally reduces packing space which might have been available if the top
opening was completely circular. It has taken some getting used to as I squeeze the last items in because I am used to circular, open mouth pack bags without stay
interference. However, I am please with the stay's performance, as it provides rigidity throughout the pack, while balancing the load onto the hipbelt and my back.
There are dual water bottle pockets above the hipbelt on the main pack bag located on the left and right side of the pack. These pockets are made of Lycra Spandex
material. There is a top entry point for major items such as water bottles and there is a smaller entry point facing the user where a granola bar, smaller camera or
similar sized item can be stashed and retrieved. The pockets are a tight fit compared to the mesh weave pockets with bungee closure on other packs I have used. It is
difficult for me to slip my water bottle into the pocket, using just one hand, when the pack is stuffed full. Perhaps a little more material could be used in the
main body of this pocket or maybe it works just fine for the two-handed user. The front stretch pocket is made of the same Lycra material. It is also a little snug.
The straps of the straight jacket compression system cross the front pocket to compress the whole pack. I've used them to attach additional items to the pack.
The sleeping pad straps were tight when used with a ridge rest deluxe and create lasting creases / strap lines in the pad. I also found the sternum straps to be a
little tight. An email to the manufacturer revealed that an extender is available from their 800 number for $5.
This is the first pack I have used with a separate sleeping bag compartment separator. The separator, a fabric shelf, is anchored with a solid seam on the front side
of the pack and two strapped anchor points. It is easy for me to stuff my sleeping bag into the compartment which has helped me to keep the uncompressed sleeping bag
manageable. I can then cinch down the straps a little to keep the pack extra tight. The straps are easy to re-thread even with the sleeping bag in place. I have
used the pack with and without using the sleeping bag compartment separator. Near the end of the last trip, I didn't use it at all.
The top pocket has performed admirably and is easy to use and attach to the main pack bag. The top pocket can be used together with the removable hipbelt as a fanny pack. However, I didn't buy this
pack to use the top pocket as a fanny pack, so I've not tried that feature. The hipbelt and harness are both made of Iso Form material which seems pretty nice. The
salesperson (from a major retailer) did not use an oven to customize the hipbelt to my hips, which is an item of advertisement for the Osprey packs in general. He
said that hipbelt would adjust naturally over time. I have not necessary noticed it conforming to my body anymore than any other pack, but the hipbelt fits nicely.
The airscape suspension is the most ventilated suspension I've ever used. It provided good ventilation at temperatures of 80F (26C) and above. The suspension, stays
and aluminum frame sheet provided excellent stabilization, load control and comfort. The compression system worked well. I have used the compression straps to secure
my tent and an extra sleeping pad to my pack and was happy with load control and stability.
This pack proved to me that I could carry a packload greater than 30 lbs (14kg) on a regular basis. Either the documentation which came with the pack failed to point
out all of the features or I did not read it very well. The online documentation was certainly more thorough than the documation which came with the pack. This is my
favorite pack and it successfully replaces a pack which is still in good condition.
THINGS I LIKE
I really appreciate the airscape suspension system and the overall fit, feel and function of the pack.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
The convenience a removable top pocket which converts into a lumbar pack is not worth the extra ounce of airscape suspension, webbing and plastic loops provided for
that function. I would have like to have a zippered compartment in the top pocket.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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