Posted by: davepidgeon | September 10, 2009

Osprey Aether 70: A pack for the weekend warrior

The Osprey Aether 70 and the Black Diamond poles are prepped for hiking.

The Osprey Aether 70 and the Black Diamond poles are prepped for hiking.

I faced a critical choice back in 2007. After working for years at a chain outfitter, I wanted to purchase a Gregory pack for long weekend trips as a going away present to myself. The target had honed in on a Palisade, a beautiful and popular choice among backpackers that I coveted nearly every day I worked at the store.

And then, one week before my last day of work, a sales rep from some company named Osprey came in and offered one killer deal for one of their long-distance packs, the Aether 70. We didn’t have any Aether 70s in our store, and I really wanted that Palisade from Gregory. I tried an Aether 70 on with skepticism. Couldn’t be better than the Gregory, which had garnered positive reviews in many gear magazines.

Something funny happened. The Aether 70 won over my affection. Fit comfortably on my frame, even better than any Gregory I’d ever tried on. That’s not to knock Gregory, but their shoulder straps just didn’t feel comfortable on me. And the deal rep offered was a can’t-miss.

And so, I became the owner of a forest green Osprey Aether 70, and I’ve never looked back.

The Aether 70 is not a perfect pack, but it comes close. Here are the features:

  • More than 4,000 cubic inches, which makes it great for long weekends.
  • Capable of a custom fit at most Osprey dealers, which means the sales people can shape the hip belts to fit you more comfortably than your pajamas.
  • Four-way stretch front pocket goes deep, meaning plenty of room and easy access for additional layers and rain gear.
  • The Airscape backpanel provides excellent breathability. I’ve taken this pack out in the middle of a  New Hampshire snow storm, a sultry July weekend in Pennsylvania and a rainy stretch of days on the Appalachian Trail, and while my back still gets sweaty as it naturally would with an internal frame pack, I don’t sense the Aether turns my spine into Niagara Falls. That means more sweat can evaporate, helping to prevent chill from settling in.
  • While the Gregory Palisade beats the Aether 70 with more cubic inches of pack space, it also weighs about a pound more than the Osprey pack. The Palisade seems better to me for weeklong trips, while the Aether is a fine choice for three-day long weekends on the trail.

By the way, bonus points to the Pointer who knows what “aether” means. If you have the answer, post it in the comments section.

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Responses

  1. he was the son of Erebus thought to rule the sky.

    It is a wonderful pack, and I wish I had one….


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