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Osprey Aether AG 60 Review

An extremely comfortable and feature-rich design that handles heavy loads, while only being marginally heavier than average.
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Price:  $290 List | $290.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Packed full of features, great pockets, comfortable and solid ergonomic design
Cons:  Slightly on the heavier side, not the best for super heavy loads
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 16, 2017
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 8
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Adjustability - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Osprey Aether AG 60 takes the cake as one of the most feature-rich contenders. If there is one pack that has it all, this is it. This competitor is just barely heavier than average. It has a supportive frame and is on the more comfortable side of packs included in our review. The Aether AG 60 also sports nicely padded and ergonomically designed shoulder straps, as well as a respectable suspension, helping to offset its 5+ pound weight. While there were packs that could handle mega heavy loads better, the Aether AG 60 held its own up to 50 pounds — something with which many lighter options struggle.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $290.00 at REI
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$270.00 at REI
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$250 List$549.00 at REI
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$200.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Packed full of features, great pockets, comfortable and solid ergonomic designShoulder straps are very comfortable, many awesome pockets, excellent ventilation, extra adjustable hip beltLighter weight, comfortable to carry for long periods of time, tons of useful pockets, good hip belt adjustabilitySpectacular suspension, comfortable padding, ergonomic shoulder strap design, extremely weather resistantGreat value, solid features, ergonomic shoulder straps and back-panel, versatile
Cons Slightly on the heavier side, not the best for super heavy loadsNot as supportive for loads over 45 pounds, snow gets trapped in back panelCompression straps not effective if pack isn't full, external lid pocket isn't easy to search throughExpensive, heavier, few convenience featuresJust okay suspension and support, tall folks with 35+ pound packs won't find it as comfortable
Bottom Line An extremely comfortable and feature-rich design that handles heavy loads, while only being marginally heavier than average.This pack offers awesome comfort and above-average suspension for most backpacking loads.A sweet pack with lots of well-designed features and user-friendly pockets at a below-average weight.A fantastic all-around pack with an awesome suspension and top-notch weather resistance.This light and versatile pack doesn't give up much in the way of features.
Rating Categories Osprey Aether AG 60 Osprey Atmos 65 AG The North Face Banchee 65 Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 Osprey Volt 60
Suspension And Comfort (45%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Weight (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
Features And Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Adjustability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
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10
Specs Osprey Aether AG 60 Osprey Atmos 65 AG The North Face... Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 Osprey Volt 60
Measured Weight (pounds) 5.13 lbs 4.54 lbs 3.63 lbs 5.00 lbs 3.88 lbs
Volume (liters) 60 L 65 L 65 L 63 L 60 L
Access Top + side access zipper + sleeping bag compartment Top + sleeping bag compartment Top + sleeping bag compartment Top + side access zipper Top + sleeping bag compartment
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials Main body: 210D Nylon Dobby Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 500D Nylon Main body: 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby, Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 420HD Nylon 210D nylon ripstop Weatherproof N400r-AC squared fabric in areas exposed and a mix of N420p-HT and tN630p-HT plain weave Nylon over the rest of the pack Main body: 210D Nylon Double Diamond Ripstop, Accent: 600D Packcloth, Bottom: 600D Packcloth
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This pack has tons of features, pockets, and a stowable day-pack built into the lid. While not the lightest model, it still offers a comfortable waist belt and padded shoulder straps, as well as a suspension system that is more robust than most. The Aether AG 60 is a pack that excels at luxury overnights as well as week-plus long adventures that require 50-pound loads.

Performance Comparison


From the chart below, you can see that the Aether AG 60 finds itself in the top tier of this backpacking pack review.

The shoulder straps of the Aether are well articulated  nicely padded  and feature a pleasant face fabric. These features are more comfortable than average  and the pack is soft enough to wear shirtless or with only a tank top.
The shoulder straps of the Aether are well articulated, nicely padded, and feature a pleasant face fabric. These features are more comfortable than average, and the pack is soft enough to wear shirtless or with only a tank top.

Suspension and Comfort


This pack brings the comfort to bear big loads. The AG denotes Osprey's anti-gravity suspension system that looks sort of like a trampoline on the back of the pack. Unlike most other models that use this design, the Aether AG 60 not only suspends its back panel but a portion of the hip belt as well. The result of this design impressed us. Despite a fair bit of initial skepticism, our review team agreed it was effective at spreading the weight out evenly across our body, helping to eliminate hot spots. This is a similar design to the Osprey Atmos AG 65, but the back panel doesn't quite have the same separation from the pack, which makes the Atmos AG 65 a little more breathable and cushier feeling when carrying lighter loads, while the Aether AG 60 felt more supportive with loads exceeding 40 pounds.

Overall, the Aether AG 60 has above average shoulder straps that are ergonomically designed and plain feel nice. The face fabric Osprey uses is also comfortable and felt pleasant against our skin.

Unlike the Atmos the "AG" or anti-gravity suspended suspension isn't built into the waist-belt (see photo below for additional perspective). While this isn't as cushy a feel  it is more supportive and better for heavier loads. Overall  we felt the Aether offered above average support and comfort and could handle heavier laden loads than the similarly designed Atmos AG 65.
Unlike the Atmos the "AG" or anti-gravity suspended suspension isn't built into the waist-belt (see photo below for additional perspective). While this isn't as cushy a feel, it is more supportive and better for heavier loads. Overall, we felt the Aether offered above average support and comfort and could handle heavier laden loads than the similarly designed Atmos AG 65.

The other difference between the Atmos AG 65's waist belt and the Aether AG 60 is the AG portion is only in the center of the back panel, unlike the Atmos AG 65, where it makes contact against the wearer's skin. The advantage to the Atmos is its cushier feel; it also offers better ventilation, though we found that the Aether AG 60 was more supportive overall. Anytime we were carrying more than around 40 pounds; our review team quickly favored the Aether AG 60. Other top scorers in this metric include the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, Osprey Atmos 65 AG, and Gregory Baltoro 65.

The Aether AG 60 has a decent suspension system. We found the frame was slightly more robust and supportive than the Osprey Atmos 65, Gregory Paragon 68, or The North Face Banchee. Our testing team found little difference in the comfort of these models with loads below around 35 pounds; however, once we climbed above that, the Aether AG 60 started to stand further apart regarding its ability to handle the load comfortably.

The Aether's suspension gets an upgrade with Osprey's AG suspension. The AG stands for "anti-gravity" and is basically a trampoline or "suspended suspension"; the advantage is it does a great job of distributing the load even over the entire surface of the pack  helping to reduce uncomfortable pressure points and hot spots. Though the Aether's design isn't as dramatic as the Atmos AG 65; the Atmos is a little cushier  but the Aether is more supportive and will handle slightly heavier loads better.
The Aether's suspension gets an upgrade with Osprey's AG suspension. The AG stands for "anti-gravity" and is basically a trampoline or "suspended suspension"; the advantage is it does a great job of distributing the load even over the entire surface of the pack, helping to reduce uncomfortable pressure points and hot spots. Though the Aether's design isn't as dramatic as the Atmos AG 65; the Atmos is a little cushier, but the Aether is more supportive and will handle slightly heavier loads better.

This pack maxes out at about 50 pounds. If you plan on regularly taking more massive hauls, we'd recommend the Osprey Xenith 75, Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, or the Gregory Baltoro 65.

Weight


The Aether AG 60 weighs in at 5 lbs 2 oz, which is just slightly heavier than average among other competitors in our review. While it's far away from being heavy, it's certainly not light. Compared to other models we tested, the Aether has a more robust suspension than most. It's certainly packed full of features, but a lot of the other packs in its weight range, like the Osprey Xenith 75, Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, or the Gregory Baltoro 65, are all similar in weight (all 5 lbs to 5 lbs 3 oz), but will carry monster loads better. The Aether remains a comfortable pack that brings a lot to the table, allowing it to make up for tipping the scales.

The sleeping bag compartment feauted on the Aether. Like most packs the sleeping bag features a removable divider that can make the pack easier to load but doesn't allow for as precise organization.
The sleeping bag compartment feauted on the Aether. Like most packs the sleeping bag features a removable divider that can make the pack easier to load but doesn't allow for as precise organization.

Features and Ease of Use


The Aether AG 60 is easily one of the most feature-rich packs we tested. Overall, we think the features are well-designed and help any user have a more enjoyable time in the backcountry.

Like many packs  the lid of the Aether is removable. What sets it apart is that it turns into a functional daypack that is solid enough that you can use for shorter hikes or around town. If you leave the lid behind to save weight  the draft collar of the Aether features a little bit of extra material; Osprey calls their "Flapjacket"  which can be pulled over the opening in the draft collar to serve as a lightweight lid - keeping the contents of the pack dry.
Like many packs, the lid of the Aether is removable. What sets it apart is that it turns into a functional daypack that is solid enough that you can use for shorter hikes or around town. If you leave the lid behind to save weight, the draft collar of the Aether features a little bit of extra material; Osprey calls their "Flapjacket", which can be pulled over the opening in the draft collar to serve as a lightweight lid - keeping the contents of the pack dry.

We like the lid of the Aether AG 60, which sports two separate zippered pockets on the top of the pack. Most notable is the third zipper that features a stow-away summit backpack. This separate pack is attached and tucks away in the lid. When you want to go for a day hike or a summit push, this simple pack can hold a layer, a water bottle, and a few snacks. This included day pack is a cool perk. You can also opt to ditch the true lid, save some weight and use the separate flap that will cover the opening of the primary pack.

One of our absolute favorite features of this pack is its back stretchy beavertail style pocket. This pocket is made of a stretchy mesh and is a great place to dry things out or store oddly shaped items like flip-flops  a fry pan  or a fuel bottle. This pocket is a sweet place to store items you want to be easily accessible  like a waterproof jacket  gloves  or a wind breaker.
One of our absolute favorite features of this pack is its back stretchy beavertail style pocket. This pocket is made of a stretchy mesh and is a great place to dry things out or store oddly shaped items like flip-flops, a fry pan, or a fuel bottle. This pocket is a sweet place to store items you want to be easily accessible, like a waterproof jacket, gloves, or a wind breaker.

We love the features of this pack, but it also seems to be a test balloon that is meant to push the limits of bells-and-whistles. One of our review staff's favorite features was the stretchy back beavertail style pocket, which was a great place to stash items that you wanted to keep close by (like a rain jacket) or things we wanted to dry out (socks, damp base layers, etc.). It's also the perfect place for oddly shaped items you wouldn't necessarily want in the body of the pack, like a fuel bottle or flip-flops.

The Aether features large zippered pockets on either side of the waist-belt. Our reviewers found the pocket was a convenient place to store snacks  sunblock  lip balm  or a camera. This model's design was among the easiest to open and close while on the go. It's worth noting that we found them to be secure  never opening on their own - they are pretty deep  which means it is more difficult for items to fall out of unexpectedly.
The Aether features large zippered pockets on either side of the waist-belt. Our reviewers found the pocket was a convenient place to store snacks, sunblock, lip balm, or a camera. This model's design was among the easiest to open and close while on the go. It's worth noting that we found them to be secure, never opening on their own - they are pretty deep, which means it is more difficult for items to fall out of unexpectedly.

The zippered hip belt pockets are among the better designs in our review. They are slightly larger than usual and are one of the easiest to open and close while hiking. The Aether AG 60 features a side access zipper, a sleeping bag compartment, and compression straps on the back and sides of the pack. We like the dual directional stretchy water bottle pockets so your bottle could be carried vertically in a traditional fashion or diagonally facing forward, so it's easy to grab on the move. We also appreciate that the straps over the sleeping bag compartment are long enough to buckle over most closed cell foam sleeping pads. Top scorers in this category, along with the Aether AG 60, include the Osprey Atmos 65 AG, REI Traverse 70, Osprey Xenith 75, and The North Face Banchee 65.

The Aether features two straps at the bottom of the pack above the sleeping bag compartment for a sleeping pad or other oblong-shaped items. We particularly liked how long the Aether's straps are and found they were able to fit around nearly any sleeping pad (something that can't be said about the majority of backpacking packs). So while this feature is a pretty small feature  it remains nice to have.
The Aether features two straps at the bottom of the pack above the sleeping bag compartment for a sleeping pad or other oblong-shaped items. We particularly liked how long the Aether's straps are and found they were able to fit around nearly any sleeping pad (something that can't be said about the majority of backpacking packs). So while this feature is a pretty small feature, it remains nice to have.

Adjustability and Fit


This pack offers around 4 inches of vertical height adjustment, using a design where the shoulder straps are attached to a velcro flap that can be slid up or down on the inside of the back panel. Several other pack manufacturers have copied this simple design and for a good reason; it's easy to fine-tune, and it's simple, lightweight and reliable. We have never felt the pack's shoulder straps slip or slide out of place at any time, which earns the Aether AG 60 high marks. Other high scorers for this metric include the Osprey Volt 60 and Deuter Aircontact 65+10.

The Aether features roughly four inches of vertical adjustment to help fine-tune the fit of the pack to its wearer. This vertical adjustment is achieved by sliding a Velcro covered flap (that the shoulder straps are attached to) up or down in a gap behind the back panel. While basic  in hundreds of days of use  we found this design was secure and we never experienced this flap slipping.
The Aether features roughly four inches of vertical adjustment to help fine-tune the fit of the pack to its wearer. This vertical adjustment is achieved by sliding a Velcro covered flap (that the shoulder straps are attached to) up or down in a gap behind the back panel. While basic, in hundreds of days of use, we found this design was secure and we never experienced this flap slipping.

Best Applications


The Aether AG 60 is a solid backpacking pack or occasional mountaineering option. This contender will even work for multi-day ski touring trips. Most folks will find it performs well for both short weekend trips as well as longer hauls over a week. The Aether AG 60 has a stout enough suspension that it can handle most any reasonable load you would fit into its 60-liter capacity. It will work well for people who like to enjoy a few more creature comforts while traveling in the backcountry.

Value


At $290, the Aether AG 60 is a slightly pricier pack. It does serve up a lot of extra features for its cost, as well as solid suspension and above-average overall comfort. It is a little more expensive than the Osprey Atmos, but far, far less than our Editors' Choice winner, the Arc'teryx Bora 63 at $550. It's a durable workhorse that will stand up to years of backcountry or travel adventures.

Another small but unique (to Osprey packs) feature is the two mesh water bottle pockets found on either side of the pack (which have two openings). One opening is on the top for carrying a water bottle (vertically) or other oddly shaped items (like tent poles)  but also a second opening facing towards the front of the pack. This opening points the water bottle diagonally forward making it far easier to retrieve and stow while wearing the pack and without any help.
Another small but unique (to Osprey packs) feature is the two mesh water bottle pockets found on either side of the pack (which have two openings). One opening is on the top for carrying a water bottle (vertically) or other oddly shaped items (like tent poles), but also a second opening facing towards the front of the pack. This opening points the water bottle diagonally forward making it far easier to retrieve and stow while wearing the pack and without any help.

Conclusion


The Aether AG 60 is a full-featured pack that has everything most backpackers would want with just a minor weight penalty. Another plus is that the Aether AG 60 also has the suspension to back it up. While it's not what we'd call the best heavy-load hauler, it performed above average, and sports some of the most comfortable shoulder straps, waist belt, and back panel in our review.


Ian Nicholson