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.
The Aether is one of the lighter packs we tested but doesn’t give up much in the way of waist belt and shoulder strap comfort. It is nearly the top scorer for its suspension. It has great features like a stretchy back “Kangaroo” pocket, slick easy-to-grab water bottle pockets, Osprey’s famous sraight jacket™ compression straps and well designed articulated shoulder straps.
We like the shape and articulation of the shoulder straps and the foam that Osprey uses. The waist belt is comfortable and supportive without being too bulky. While many frameless or minimalist frame packs maybe lighter, the Aether 60 is one of the lighter fully featured packs on the market and was on the lighter side of our review. It is hardly an “ultra light” pack but you can save anywhere from a few pounds to a few ounces without giving up much in the way of comfort by going with this pack. We thought the compression system on the Aether 60 was pretty cool. (…)