I have an Osprey Argon for long expeditions and this backpack for a short tracking. Aether significantly lighter and more compact than the Argon - and they are the same for comfort under a load up to 50 pounds. The fabric looks thin, but very strong and backpack like new after a few trips. Get wet under long rain - you need rain cover for many days trip.
I used this on a 10 night trip in the cascades and numerous trips closer to home. Lots of room, and very comfortable. The brain is detachable, which is great for day hikes. It even has the Leave No Trace principles printed on the inside of the pack. Great all around pack!
"Great design, comfy fit, can't beat a lifetime warranty!"
I haven't taken it on the trails yet but I did load it up for a weekend car camp trip. As I was packing, I would think, "okay I'm done and it's full." Then I would remember one thing after another that I hadn't packed yet. Even though it seemed the bag was full, it still kept going with room. No shoving, everything still just 'fit'. It was so much easier throughout the weekend than a typical suitcase or duffel bag. Just from the short walking around with it loaded, it seems it will do very well on a trail. Plus, Osprey has lifetime warranties. The shipping was expected to take about a week, but instead it took two. I'm not sure why. It got to my state within the expected time frame, but from the main city to my rural location, it took a week in itself, when it's usually only a day on other stuff I've ordered. But I got it and I'm happy.
"Outstanding pack. Top and front access who could ask for more and with Osprey more is what you get."
Awesome pack. Top and front main compartment access is a must for my upcoming 10 day track at Philmont. Ospreys legendary quality and well thought out design and construction plus light weight make it the best out there.
I wore this pack on my first multi-night backpacking trip. We went out for 6 nights and needed to bring everything with us. Having never packed a pack before, I learned what I could online. That said, I'm not a great packer. Still, the Aether 85 easily handled everything I provided it. I found the top pack very handy for the items I needed during the day like a map, snacks, etc. The lumbar pockets were also great for a quick snack grab. My sleeping bag fit nicely in the bottom zipper as well. The ability to access my gear from the front of the pack rather than just the top was another handy feature. I debated about getting the Xenith, but the subtle differences didn't seem to justify the additional $50. So I went with the Aether and I'm glad I did.
I've only used this pack for handful of wonderful weekends so far but I have to say I love it. Compared to my old ALPS pack it carries the load like a dream. I've literally tossed extra gear in it for a 10 mile hike just to see how it would handle and have been impressed every time. It cinches down nice for trips just too long for day pack and has the staying power for much more. My end goal for a pack this size was and is winter camping which is rapidly approaching fruition here in West Virginia, that will be the true test
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