In a great case of all the gear and no idea, I bought myself an Osprey Aether 70L backpack with future dreams of week-long hikes in the wilderness.

My legs weren’t ready for this.

My legs aside, many of you would have come across the American company Osprey. They manufacture a whole range of bags and offer a lifetime guarantee. If they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it.

To me, that was too hard to ignore.

Design, Comfort & Durability (Rating: 85%)

I have three backpacks and this is my first large(ish) pack, the others being smaller day/overnight packs. A great feature of the Aether is the ability to use the top part as a small day pack, so if you want to head out from base camp and explore some side routes you don’t have to lug the whole pack with you – the pack weighs in at 2.2kg (wire frame) complete.

It had pockets where I wanted them and then some, the base has a zip so you can get your sleeping bag or anything bulky/heavy in at the bottom with a separator inside the bag so you don’t spill the pack’s contents while trying to get to your tent or whatever you stow in there.

To be honest, it came with more things than I can currently use, such as Ice Pick loops and walking pole loops. I’m just not a walking pole kind of person yet, one day, but not for a while. I wouldn’t mind trying the ice pick loops though. The Aether also has an extra walking pole loop on the shoulder straps for those that would like their pole close by.

So far I’ve taken the Aether on three overnight hikes, all in the Blue Mountains National Park. The material is strong and not fazed by a bit of bush bashing if that’s your thing. It’s easy to clean if you have a muddy walk or a dusty trail.

My main reason for getting a large(ish) pack was to convince my wife to come with on some overnight hikes, my compromise was offering to carry nearly all food/equipment/water so she could just have a small 30L pack for clothing and sleeping bag. She’s is a cold sleeper so the extra space was needed for the bulkier cold rated gear.

Osprey Aether 70L Backpack review

Functionality & Ease of Use (Rating: 80%)

While I love the idea of having a daypack as part of my larger pack, I did have a bit of trouble working out which bits to unclip and clip in to create the daypack. It could just be that I’m not good with puzzles. After a few tries it really wasn’t that difficult, though.

I love the waist belt pockets, great for stowing a point and shoot camera, compass, chocolate or whatever you’d like to have close at hand and within reach while walking. There’s space for a 2-3L water bladder, held in close to the back so when it’s empty the weight distribution of the pack isn’t altered and it’s in an outer pocket so if you need to refill it you won’t need to open your pack. I hate having to do that.

The Aether has all the usual adjustments found on packs, waist straps, shoulder straps (back height and top straps) making it quite easy to set correctly and adjust if needed. My hips did suffer a bit from the waist straps, this was probably due to sizing, and I’m in between their Medium and Large sizing for the Aether, I went with the smaller option.

There’s a central and lower strap system so you can carry a sleeping matt, or two in my case on the outside of the pack so you can get the important stuff inside. I really liked the front pocket, if you haven’t loaded up the straps, it functions well as somewhere to stow a couple of maps and a book within easy reach when you need them on the trail.

What I Like

  • A lifetime guarantee – that’s your lifetime, not some strange concept of ‘product life’ that other manufacturers use. Fix or replacement, I’d be happy with either.
  • Functionality – so many bits and the ability to convert the top into a day pack.
  • The ability to carry most of my wife’s gear.

What I Don’t Like

  • The ability to carry most of my wife’s gear.
  • A little fiddly converting top to daypack at first.
  • Weight – could be a bit lighter but at the price point I shouldn’t complain.

Get One

Osprey Aether Backpacks are available online from Wild Earth in a range of sizes and colours, starting from AUD$240.50.

Disclaimer: The above Wild Earth link is an affiliate link, meaning I get a small percentage of any profit made via the link (and you don’t pay a cent extra). None of this has any influence on the opinions presented in my review.

Have you tried the Osprey Aether 70L Backpack? Got any other Osprey backpacks? Got any questions or comments? Let us know by commenting below.