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OWNER REVIEW - Osprey Aether 70

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  • Paul Schilke
    OSPREY AETHER 70 BY PAUL SCHILKE OR June 10, 2009   TESTER INFORMATION   NAME: Paul Schilke EMAIL: paulschilke@msn.com AGE: 36 LOCATION: Mogollon Rim, AZ
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 11, 2009
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      OSPREY AETHER 70
      BY PAUL SCHILKE
      OR
      June 10, 2009
       
      TESTER INFORMATION
       
      NAME: Paul Schilke
      EMAIL: paulschilke@...
      AGE: 36
      LOCATION: Mogollon Rim, AZ
      GENDER: m
      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.
       
      PRODUCT INFORMATION
       
      Manufacturer: Osprey
      Year of Manufacture: Purchased in May 2008, review has more info.
      Manufacturer's Website: www.ospreypacks.com
      MSRP: US$259
      Listed Weight: 4lbs 9oz (2.10 kg)
      Measured Weight:
             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
      Size: Medium
      Color: Bluestone
      KEY FABRICS
      • 420D Nylon pack cloth
      • 210D double ripstop Nylon
      • Stretch woven Nylon with Lycra™
      • 500D plain weave Nylon oxford
      Features:
      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
      IsoForm harness
      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
       
      FIELD USE
       
      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.

      I lreaaly ike 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 market.

      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 loaded 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 very 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.  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.
       
      SUMMARY
       
      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. Also, I would have like to have a zippered compartment in the top pocket.
       
      SIGNATURE
       
      Paul Schilke.
      swhiker@...
       
       
       
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2009.  All rights reserved.





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • pamwyant
      Hi Paul, Thanks for your first owner review. It looks like you have a pretty good start, but a pack is a complex item to review (generally not recommended for
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 20, 2009
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        Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your first owner review. It looks like you have a pretty good start, but a pack is a complex item to review (generally not recommended for a first item), so you will have a bit of work to do before this report is ready for publishing on the site. We'll work together to get it done as quickly as possible, but we'll be working in stages.

        So, let's begin with stage one. Since you have used the report writer, you can post the HTML version relatively easily. I'm going to point out a few items for you on this round, and want to see the HTML version on the next round. You'll need to repost the revised report in plain text here, with a link to the HTML version in the owner review test folder. If you haven't done so already, you will need to register at BackpackGearTest.org and log in to post in the `test' folder (you won't be able to see that unless you are logged in), under the subfolder `owner reviews'.
        Please make sure you post here in plain text. Your report has a lot of extra characters that I suspect might be from HTML? Anytime you have weird extra characters showing up, you should go through the report and delete them before posting here. They make it really difficult to properly read the report.

        We have a convention for edits around here that goes something like this:

        EDIT: a required change, generally spelling, grammar, or required information that has been left out.

        Edit: a change that should be made, but you have some leeway in how to do that.

        Comment: a suggestion for improvement that you can make, or merely a comment.

        OSPREY AETHER 70
        BY PAUL SCHILKE
        OR

        ### EDIT: You need to add the word `pack' in the title.


        June 10, 2009
        Â
        TESTER INFORMATION
        Â
        NAME: Paul Schilke
        EMAIL: paulschilke@...
        AGE: 36
        LOCATION: Mogollon Rim, AZ
        GENDER: m
        HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
        WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
        Â
        I have been a serious backpacker since 2002. I enjoy lightweight camping. I
        use several different kinds of stove.

        ### EDIT: …kinds of *stoves*

        PRODUCT INFORMATION
        Â
        Manufacturer: Osprey
        Year of Manufacture: Purchased in May 2008, review has more info.

        ### EDIT: Please remove the words "review has more info". That isn't necessary, and sounds a little confusing as the whole report is the review.

        Manufacturer's Website: www.ospreypacks.com
        MSRP: US$259

        ### Edit: Where did you get the MSRP? I cannot find it on the website. We only provide the MSRP if it is available directly from the manufacturer (via the website or hangtags). We do not allow using MSRP's found on retailer's websites only. Unless it is available on the website or hangtag, you should list `not available' or n/a.
        Listed Weight: 4lbs 9oz (2.10 kg)
        Measured Weight:
        Â Â Â Â Â Â Top Pocket 9oz (255g)

        ### EDIT: need a space in between *9 oz*

        Â Â Â Â Â Â Main Pack 4.75 lbs (2.15 kg)

        ### Edit: Does the main pack weight exclude the top pocket? Although separating the weight of the components can be useful to the reader, the total weight should always be listed first.

        Listed Volume: 4200 cubic inches (70 L)
        Listed Length: In: 30.5x15.5x11.5, Cm: 77.5x39x29

        ### Edit: Please either list your measured size, or state that it is generally consistent (I know it is hard to exactly measure length, width, etc. of a pack). Also, your category should really be "Listed Measurements" or "Listed Size", since it is the depth and width of the pack also.

        KEY FABRICS
        • 420D Nylon pack cloth
        • 210D double ripstop Nylon
        • Stretch woven Nylon with Lycra™
        • 500D plain weave Nylon oxford

        ### Comment: Can you give us an idea of which fabric is used where?

        Features:
        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
        IsoForm harness
        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

        ### Edit: While the list of features is nice, we really like to see a description of them in your own words. I would suggest reading a few pack reports, particularly owner reviews, in order to get an idea of what we like to see. In particular, I'd recommend reading these:
        Osprey Aether 85 by Ray Estrella, Mystery Ranch BDSB by Richard Lyon, Osprey Atmos 35 by Ernie Elkins, and Osprey Atmos 50 by Mark Ferguson. These reports will all give you a good idea on how to expand your product description.

        At this point, I'm going to end stage one. Do be sure to spell check your report, as I noticed a couple of spelling errors in the body of the report, but we'll get to anything like that a little later, as once you expand the product description section you may want to make a few changes within your `field use' section.

        When you've made the edits listed so far, and expanded the product description, please upload the HTML version to the test folder, and repost here with a link, using the title: REPOST: OR Osprey Aether 70 Pack – Paul Schilke.

        If you have any questions, please refer to the BackpackGearTest Survival Guide here:
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=SG&page=1

        Owner Review documentation here:
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=Bylaws&page=30

        Or, general report/review guidelines here:
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/lesson.php?lesson=Bylaws&page=60

        If you can't find the answer to your question there, feel free to post here and I'll be happy to help.

        I look forward to seeing your revised report soon.

        Pam Wyant
        Owner Review Editor
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