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. (…)
I’ve been overnight backpacking for about 25 years, and last July was the first time I’d been four days on the trail without experiencing shoulder and neck pain caused by my pack. I was also carrying more weight than ever before. I’m convinced it was no coincidence I was wearing my new Osprey Aura 50. What makes the Osprey Aura better than my previous packs? For starters, the ability to custom fit the pack through its adjustable harness and ‘fit-on-the-fly’ hip belt.
We thought the simplest way to do a best of gear review was to ask each member of our staff what gear they appreciated the most over the past year. So here it is, nothing to please advertisers or make curmudgeons wince, just the best stuff we beat up out there.
Osprey Daylite Pack
For day trips of any sort—peak bagging, cycling, touring, whatever—this pack fits me perfectly. It sits high enough to stay clear of my camera belt and easily carries water, a rain jacket, a warm layer, lunch and the other electronics and gizmos I need and use.
Osprey Poco Premium Child Carrier
Tote your little one and all your gear with this fully featured, innovative kid carrier.
· A fully adjustable torso and hip belt accommodates parents of differing heights.
· Junior rides in comfort with padded shoulder straps, out-of-the-way buckles, and foot stirrups.
· A built-in sunshade deploys quickly when needed and stows completely in a zippered pouch.
· Stay hydrated without putting your pack by using the rear compartment with your favorite reservoir
· An included diaper changing pad, detachable daypack, spacious pockets, and a machine-washable drool pad make this pack a new parent’s dream!
Something I noticed was how strategically placed the straps were. It was easy to tighten or loosen the bag if I had it on my back, and the straps were just where I needed them. It felt like they (the all-knowing pack designers) had thought of all the areas that I would want to tighten or loosen, and then put a strap there for me.
All in all an excellent choice for a multi-day backpacking pack. My one comment would be to be certain to get fitted by a professional before buying the pack. The size of the bag is very important for the correct fit. By taking the time to get fitted before buying a pack, you’ll be that much more happy in the long run (or out on the trail, whichever comes first).
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