The Osprey Aether is renowned for its molded fit and sleek, simple design. It is perfect for longer hikes and can also be converted to a daypack. Although many will argue there are better packs out there, for this price it is hard to compete with the Aether. It comes in 60-, 70- and 85-liter sizes.
Simply comfortable. Osprey custom-molds their hip belts to match the wearer. One reviewer on TrekAndRun.com explains they did this, "... to soften it up, and then asked me to put it on and wear it for 10 minutes whilst it cooled to the shape of my own waist." This is what makes the Osprey Aether, as well as other Osprey packs, so comfortable. The bag comes in multiple sizes, including 60, 70, and 85 liters, but 60 liters should be enough for some extended trips so long as you pack well.
Even when carrying heavy loads, the bag properly disperses the weight, owners say. Blogger Philip Sneyd says, "it hardly feels like it is there at all, until you bend over and have to lift yourself up again." A number of owners say it holds more than it looks like it will, and you have to be careful to resist the tendency to over pack.
Short on pockets. Many users of the Osprey Aether feel that the pack's four external pockets are not enough. Competing bags have as many as eight or more. Depending on your needs this should be taken into consideration. For most, though, the pack has plenty of room to store supplies for extended trips. For shorter trips the bag can be converted into a lumbar pack.
Tough enough. The Osprey Aether is made from durable fabrics for lightweight, rip-resistant performance. "It is pretty bulletproof for what I have put it through -- snow, ice, dirt, etc. and no issues," Sneyd says after taking the pack for a few mountain climbs. Another customer who reviewed the pack on Amazon.com notes there were some minor durability issues. His first day out he wore through some of the outer fabric of the pouch; however, it still functions properly. For the most part this bag has been known to last for several years.
Best of the best. The Osprey Aether is covered by Osprey's lifetime warranty, and according to many customers it is a particularly good one. One reviewer at NWHikers.net notes that a strap had torn from his pack after around four years of use. He contacted the company expecting a replacement strap. However, Osprey sent him a brand new pack of an updated model. "So if you have an Osprey and your pack fails (even after years of use), they've got you covered."
Review Credibility: Excellent Ian Nicholson, editor at OutdoorGearLab.com, reviewed the Osprey Aether 60 alongside various other packs over a 5-month period. This was a hands-on review of the pack and was very thorough. He rated the pack a 3.8 out of 5 stars, based on its pros, cons, comfort, ease of use and many other factors. The Aether received his Best Buy award for the pack with the best value.
Review: Osprey Aether 60 Review, Ian Nicholson, Jan. 17, 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Trailspace.com offers a place for its customers to give their opinions of the Osprey Aether 70 based on their own experiences with the bag. Out of more than 20 reviews, the pack receives an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The reviews are mostly positive, with only minor complaints from customers.
Review: Osprey Aether 70, Contributors to Trailspace.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good TrekAndRun.com tests and reviews the Osprey Aether 70 on a two-month journey through India. This was a much more extensive test than most reviews found on this pack. Overall the reviewer was very satisfied with the pack. He notes that it showed the wear and tear of his two-month adventure; he thinks it should have held up better.
Review: Osprey Aether 70 Litre Pack, Editors of TrekAndRun.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Good Raymond Estrella documents his experience using the Osprey Aether 85. This is an informative review detailing the ups and downs of his excursion; however, it is a bit dated, and some issues have been resolved in more recent models.
Review: Osprey Aether 85 Backpack, Raymond Estrella, Dec. 24, 2008
Review Credibility: Good Although Amazon.com contains only a handful of customer reviews of the Osprey Aether hiking backpack, all of the customers were very satisfied and gave the pack an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Review: Osprey Aether 60 Backpack, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
6. A Journey from Obesity to Mount Everest
Review Credibility: Good Philip Sneyd uses his website to document his life-changing journey from obesity back to good health. On this website he reviews the Osprey Aether 85. Sneyd takes the pack on a hike up the Vivian Creek Trail loaded with 62 pounds of gear. Overall the review is very positive, and the author was satisfied with the pack's performance.
Review: Backpack- Osprey Aether 85- Real Life Review, Philip Sneyd, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair NWHikers.net provides a forum for enthusiasts to discuss experiences of all sorts dealing with hiking and adventuring. One of the forums discusses the high quality of customer service received from Osprey, although it was not for the Aether 85.
Review: Gear Talk: Osprey Customer Service, Contributors to NWHikers.net, As of March 2013