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.
Osprey Aether AG 60 Review
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
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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.
The Aether AG 60 finds itself in the top tier of this backpacking pack review.
Suspension and Comfort
This pack brings 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.
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.
The Aether AG 60 has a decent suspension system. We found the frame was slightly more robust and supportive than some similar models featuring a trampoline suspension. 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.
This pack maxes out at about 50 pounds. If you plan on regularly taking more than that, we'd recommend considering a model known for its load-hauling capabilities.
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 few of the other packs in its weight range 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 some similarly featured models, but overall this is a great pack with a good value.
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