The Osprey Aether 60 is our Best Buy winner in the backpack category. It is one of the highest rated packs, one of the lightest, and also one of the least expensive. Only the Gregory Baltoro 65 and Arcteryx Altra 65 scored higher. The Altra is a better pack for heavier loads but it is also $145 more expensive. The Baltoro 65 is also more comfortable with bigger loads but heavier. For lighter loads of 35 pounds or less it is hard to tell much difference in comfort between the Altra, Baltoro and Aether. So if you like to go fast and light like we do, then the Aether is certainly the best value in backpacks.
At Winter Market, Osprey debuted its new Ozone Series of lightweight travel rollers with three models — an 18-inch, 36-liter (MSRP $199); 22-inch, 46-liter(MSRP $229); 28-inch, 80-liter (MSRP $249) — which weigh four to five pounds, compared to the typical 8 to 10 pounds, Martins said. “We’re using a lot of the same lightweight and durable materials that we use in our packs,” he said. That includes 210-denier nylon fabrics and aluminum frames.
Travelers aren’t only packing lighter, but also smaller,so they can avoid airline bag fees and bring everything as carry-ons, vendors said. To help ensure carry-on compliance,both Briggs & Riley and Osprey are introducing additional smaller versions of some of their more popular travel packs and luggage. Osprey adds the Farpoint 40 (MSRP $149) to its travel pack line.
Q: Help! I need a pack for my photo gear
I’m a photographer and cinematographer, and I’m looking for a backpack that can double as a photo bag for hiking, skiing, and mountain climbing. I’ve found that Lowepro bags are too small. What do you recommend?
A: I’ve put a lot of miles on Osprey’s Aether 70 ($279). It’s a bit larger than the Altra, and excellent suspension, with a hip belt that can be custom-molded in some retailers. It comes with sleeping bag compartment, room top pocket, and plenty of tie-down points and gear loops. It doesn’t have quite the build quality as the Arc’Teryx, but it’s a great pack for the money.
Osprey Packs, Inc., has added two new bike sales reps to its team.
Jacob Jacques will take over the Michigan and Northern Ohio regions and Michael Lax will cover Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Osprey created a separate sales team to service the IBD channel in the summer of 2010 as part of the brand’s growth strategy for the newly introduced bike, commute and Hydraulics hydration collections.
Erik Hamerschlag, product manager at Osprey, said his company spends a lot of time looking at color, because it’s an important business decision. “It’s not a scientific thing and it’s not pure art either,” Hamerschlag said. “There are business concerns about risky/fun colors versus safe/salable colors and open questions about what particular users are looking for.”
At first glance, the Shuttle is a standard cargo hauler—a wraparound zipper opens wide and the lid folds all the way back, providing entry into the big main compartment. Our tester easily packed away an ice axe, helmet, trekking poles, boots, and other bulky gear for a volcano climb. But the Shuttle also has a surprising number of organizing pockets that are so streamlined our tester almost missed them. In addition to a boot compartment, a long vertical pocket runs along the side (good for maps), and small quick-grab pockets lie on front and top, while the interior has zippered mesh stashes for small items like a headlamp and water purifier.