Now that the snow has finally melted from the Ridge of Bell on Aspen Mountain, our thoughts can turn from skiing to hiking in the backcountry.
In planning my first outing of the season I realized it was time to trade in my outdated pack from the last millennium and update to the latest technology. This was a much needed equipment upgrade, considering my old backpack by itself weighed almost as much as my new Osprey Aether 60 (4 lbs. 11 oz) does when it is full of gear.
When searching for a new pack, take plenty of time to do your homework and learn about the different models and what each has to offer. I originally was going to purchase the Osprey Atmos 65, which is even lighter than the Aether. However, after I explained to the helpful salesperson at the Ute Mountaineer that I typically hike with heavy camera gear, he recommended the more sturdy Aether model. Another tip he gave was to purchase the smallest pack necessary, because otherwise human nature kicks in and we tend to fill whatever space we have available, often with unnecessary items. In my case I settled on a size medium Aether 60, where the “60” refers to the approximate liters or volume the pack can hold.
Beyond it’s great weight-to-space ratio, the pack is incredibly comfortable. Be sure to purchase the right sized pack, based on your height and torso. Then make use of the pack’s many micro-adjustments to dial in the amply padded shoulder straps and hip belt.