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