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Osprey Aether Pro 70 Review

An extremely robust suspension and simple design give this model an excellent pack weight to maximum load ratio.
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Price:  $375 List | $374.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, handles heavy loads, comfortable shoulder straps, several features are removable
Cons:  Expensive, poor gear accessibility, not many features
Manufacturer:   Osprey Packs
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 4, 2018
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 16
  • Suspension and Comfort - 45% 8
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Features and Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Osprey Aether Pro 70 is a lightweight pack that offers excellent comfort and suspension. With only one zipper and exceptionally sturdy fabrics, this simple model has weight and durability in mind. Though it has minimalist features, it doesn't sacrifice anything when it comes to its ability to carry heavier loads. This pack boasts a robust suspension and has dramatically-shaped shoulder straps and top-tier foam; both were incredibly comfortable and supportive. The features it does include are the important ones, and many of them are removable to reduce pack weight even more.


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Price $374.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, handles heavy loads, comfortable shoulder straps, several features are removableLight-weight, comfortable with heavy loads, perfect pocket combinationLight-weight, comfortable, supportive, functional feature setAwesome pockets, excellent ventilation, general comfortPacked full of features, great pockets, comfortable and solid ergonomic design
Cons Expensive, poor gear accessibility, not many featuresTiny buckles hard to operate with glovesNo lid, back-panel lacks ventilationNot supportive for loads over 40 poundsSlightly on the heavier side, not the best for super heavy loads
Bottom Line An extremely robust suspension and simple design give this model an excellent pack weight to maximum load ratio.The Blaze 60 is a super-lightweight load hauler, that is both comfortable and full of awesome features.The ULA Catalyst blends excellent carrying comfort with arguably the best-executed set of features, all in a light-weight package.The Atmos 65 AG has earned its spot as a cult classic in the backpacking world due to having a great breathable suspension and other great user friendly features.An extremely comfortable and feature-rich design that handles heavy loads, while only being marginally heavier than average.
Rating Categories Osprey Aether Pro 70 Granite Gear Blaze 60 Catalyst Osprey Atmos 65 AG Osprey Aether AG 60
Suspension And Comfort (45%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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5
10
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4
Features And Ease Of Use (20%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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9
Adjustability (15%)
10
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6
10
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8
10
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5
10
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8
10
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8
Specs Osprey Aether Pro 70 Granite Gear Blaze... Catalyst Osprey Atmos 65 AG Osprey Aether AG 60
Measured Weight (pounds) 3.96 lbs 3 lbs 3 lbs 4.54 lbs 5.13 lbs
Volume (liters) 70 L 60 L 75 L 65 L 60 L
Access Top Top Top Top + sleeping bag compartment Top + side access zipper + sleeping bag compartment
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials NanoFly 210D Nylon X 200D UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) 100D robic nylon w/ DWR coating 400 Robic fabric Main body: 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby
Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 420HD Nylon
Main body: 210D Nylon Dobby
Accent: 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom: 500D Nylon
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes No No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This pack is best for someone who doesn't want to carry around any extra weight but also requires support and comfort. It is geared a little more towards mountaineering but remains exceptionally suitable for backpacking, so long as the user knows that they are buying this pack for its functionality and low weight and not for an abundance of bells and whistles.

Performance Comparison


The Osprey Aether Pro 70 earns its score below on the strength of its suspension and comfort.

The Aether Pro is a light pack that can still handle a bunch of weight super comfortably. It's perfect for those that want to shed a few pounds but still need a robust enough suspension to handle heavier loads.
The Aether Pro is a light pack that can still handle a bunch of weight super comfortably. It's perfect for those that want to shed a few pounds but still need a robust enough suspension to handle heavier loads.

Suspension and Comfort


Despite being a sub-four-pound pack, this model doesn't cut any corners when it comes to comfort. The Aether Pro 70's shoulder straps are one of the more dramatically shaped with one of the best and most ergonomic designs we tested. Our team felt that it paid off when it came to keeping us comfortable.

The foam is a little stiffer than average, and it moves with you over uneven terrain. It's more supportive with heavier loads. You can purchase cushier feeling models like the Osprey Atmos 65, which features trampoline-style suspension but in our experience, it bottoms out with loads above 40 pounds.

While many of the pack designs are minimal  the suspension and the attention to detail is not. In the photo  you can see how ergonomically-shaped this model's shoulder straps are  which were one of our testers favorite.
While many of the pack designs are minimal, the suspension and the attention to detail is not. In the photo, you can see how ergonomically-shaped this model's shoulder straps are, which were one of our testers favorite.

The suspension of the Aether Pro 70 is stout and built to support loads up to 60 pounds. We have found that when a pack offers a stripped down or no-frills design, it generally means the suspension is minimal. This tendency is not present in the Aether Pro 70.

It has a robust suspension in line with the highest performing backpacks in our fleet. If heavier loads greater than 45 lbs are in your future, this model would be at the top of our list.

At a hair under four pounds  this pack is lighter than average - and is far lighter than most models that can handle similar loads. While this pack has fairly minimal features  if you want to strip even more weight  many of those features are removable (like its compression straps  hip-belt pockets  ice axe loops and more).
At a hair under four pounds, this pack is lighter than average - and is far lighter than most models that can handle similar loads. While this pack has fairly minimal features, if you want to strip even more weight, many of those features are removable (like its compression straps, hip-belt pockets, ice axe loops and more).

Weight


Despite using one of the burlier suspensions and ample padding, this pack remains relatively lightweight.

At 3.94 pounds, this is the lightest of the models that we would consider a load hauler. It's the lightest of all the packs with a similarly sturdy suspension.

Another example of how this pack is "stripable" or how many of the Aether Pro's features are designed to be removable. In the photo  we show how easily one of its twin large hip-belt pockets comes off.
Another example of how this pack is "stripable" or how many of the Aether Pro's features are designed to be removable. In the photo, we show how easily one of its twin large hip-belt pockets comes off.

It's even lighter than several of the all-around moderately-heavy load-hauling packs like the Osprey Atmos 65. While this pack is already one of the lighter models in our review, several of its features can be removed to further reduce weight, including the side compression straps, the lid, the waist-belt pockets, both ice tool loops, and the lower accessory or sleeping pad straps.

Having a pack with as burly as suspension as this one but without any of the extra weight (or features) makes it the perfect option for deep pushes into the Backcountry.
Having a pack with as burly as suspension as this one but without any of the extra weight (or features) makes it the perfect option for deep pushes into the Backcountry.

Features and Ease of Use


For what is a reasonably simple pack, we have a lot of positive things to say about the well-thought-out feature set.

Osprey did an excellent job with the Aether Pro 70, managing to include all of the essential features that the majority of backcountry travelers want. They've also added a few extras and made nearly all of them removable, which to some extent, means people can pick and choose what they want.

Of all the features that can be left behind to save weight comes from leaving the lid. During day hikes  summit pushes  or those trips where every gram matters  Osprey has a built-in flap (which they call FlapJacket) that covers the pack's primary opening (to protect it from the elements or from accidentally falling out).
Of all the features that can be left behind to save weight comes from leaving the lid. During day hikes, summit pushes, or those trips where every gram matters, Osprey has a built-in flap (which they call FlapJacket) that covers the pack's primary opening (to protect it from the elements or from accidentally falling out).

The lid can be left behind to save weight. This model sports a built-in flap that stands in as the primary top cover when you leave the main lid at home. The top zippered lid pocket was okay; items didn't fall out of it, but it wasn't nearly as easy to search through as other models.

The Aether Pro features two large (removable) hip-belt pockets. One is geared to fit a 1-liter Nalgene sized water bottle (seen in this photo) and the other is a zippered.
The Aether Pro features two large (removable) hip-belt pockets. One is geared to fit a 1-liter Nalgene sized water bottle (seen in this photo) and the other is a zippered.

One of the most notable features of this pack are the two spacious, removable pockets that sit loosely on top of the waist belt. These "wing" pockets seem a little over the top at first. However, our initially skeptical testers ended up loving them. They fit almost any small or medium-sized item you would want to keep handy, including a 1-liter Nalgene bottle. Best of all, if you don't like these pockets, you can remove one or both of them. These dual pockets are not identical; one has a zippered closure, and one has a cinch, which adds to their versatility.

The Aether Pro has two built-in straps (also removable) that provide an excellent place to strap a sleeping pad or other funky shaped item.
The Aether Pro has two built-in straps (also removable) that provide an excellent place to strap a sleeping pad or other funky shaped item.

The side compression straps cinch the pack down adequately when using it as a day or summit pack. Compared to other models in our fleet, the Aether Pro 70 doesn't have the same strapping convenience, but it still has several options, including straight-jacket compression. This system has two compression straps that go all the way around the back of the pack. They are excellent at compressing the pack itself and make for a convenient place to attach oddly-shaped items. Our review team appreciated this model's removable sleeping pad straps, which fit most average-sized closed cell foams pads.

The Aether Pro has no side or panel access zippers. Instead  the only way to pack items in or retrieve your gear is through the primary entrance at the top of the pack. Those looking at this type of pack are very likely the ones willing to sacrifice ease of access for weight.
The Aether Pro has no side or panel access zippers. Instead, the only way to pack items in or retrieve your gear is through the primary entrance at the top of the pack. Those looking at this type of pack are very likely the ones willing to sacrifice ease of access for weight.

The only feature that we didn't end up using regularly was the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment. It was a touch overthought and overbuilt. Fortunately, this isn't a significant drawback, as you can tuck your poles under your shoulder strap or attach them to the pack in any number of ways.

The shoulder straps on this pack are sewn into a floating Velcro panel that can be positioned up or down depending providing around four inches of vertical adjustment. This simple system is super effective and we never experienced this design flipping unexpectedly.
The shoulder straps on this pack are sewn into a floating Velcro panel that can be positioned up or down depending providing around four inches of vertical adjustment. This simple system is super effective and we never experienced this design flipping unexpectedly.

Adjustability and Fit


Like most of Osprey's backpacking line, the Aether Pro 70 has four inches of vertical adjustment and is available in three frame sizes: small, medium, and large.

Adjusting the pack is as easy as it gets. The shoulder straps stitch into a floating Velcro panel that can be adjusted up or down, depending on the user's height. This simple but effective system allows the pack to fine-tune to its user. After using this system for over a hundred days, we can say we never felt it unexpectedly slip or slide out of adjustment.

The pack's overall design is slightly geared towards mountaineering; like any good mountaineering pack  it sports two simple but effective ice axe attachments - as seen in this photo.
The pack's overall design is slightly geared towards mountaineering; like any good mountaineering pack, it sports two simple but effective ice axe attachments - as seen in this photo.

At $375 this pack is certainly on the spendier side but we think its tech fabrics and materials that go into making it so supportive and durable while still weighing less than 4-pounds make it worth the price.
At $375 this pack is certainly on the spendier side but we think its tech fabrics and materials that go into making it so supportive and durable while still weighing less than 4-pounds make it worth the price.

Value


This pack isn't cheap. However, it offers great value. It's simple but built with purpose. Osprey did not cut any corners when it comes to performance. For the right user group, this is an exceptional pack with few downsides.

Conclusion


The Osprey Aether Pro 70 is geared for mountaineering or adventurous backcountry travelers. It is perfect for folks who want a lighter option but aren't willing to give up comfort or suspension. It has the right amount of features; most of which are removable, which further reduces weight. While this pack isn't for everyone, it's an excellent option for those burdened with heavier loads on extended adventures where ounces count.

Simply put this model is perfect for mountaineering or adventurous backcountry travelers and folks who want a lighter option but aren't willing to give up any comfort or suspension.
Simply put this model is perfect for mountaineering or adventurous backcountry travelers and folks who want a lighter option but aren't willing to give up any comfort or suspension.


Ian Nicholson