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Osprey Aether 70 Review: Is This the Most Versatile Backpack?

Osprey Aether 70 Review

Whenever I’ve been in doubt about which backpack to buy next, I turn to Osprey. They consistently make fantastic backpacks for pretty much every style of travel, but Osprey really shines when it comes to their trekking packs.

The Osprey Aether AG 70 is a shining example of this. This pack is the cornerstone of versatility meets trekking functionality. That’s why the Osprey Aether is one of my favorite lines⁠—and the recently updated version is worth digging into.

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Osprey Aether 70

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Osprey Aether 70


The Aether 70 is a super versatile bag. It's built for backcountry excursions and alpine hikes, but it also works well for city travels. It's comfortable, durable, and has tons of storage pockets!

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In this Osprey Aether 70 review, I’m going to run through why this trekking and hiking backpack is so good at doing so many things, but also where I feel it falls short. This is one of the best backpacks out there for most travelers, but not all.

That’s why I’m going to take an in-depth look at the features of the bag, as well as the pros and cons. I’ll also give some suggestions on how to make the Osprey Aether perform at 110%.

So without further ado, let’s jump into this Osprey Aether 70 review.

Osprey Aether 70 Review: Quick Answers

  • The Osprey Aether is built for backcountry excursions and alpine hikes. It’s highly technical, with built-in specs like anti-gravity harnessing and custom fit.
  • That being said, the Aether 70 is a super versatile bag. If you want to do a little city travel plus a few side treks, this bag is an excellent choice for you. 
  • The anti-gravity suspension with the peripheral frame is no marketing ploy⁠—it really works. The Aether 70 is incredibly comfortable! Even heavy loads are no match for this thing. The adjustable torso length is a nice addition too, but it can be a little clunky if you don’t know what you’re doing. 
  • There are compression straps on the interior and exterior of the Osprey Aether 70, as well as very comfortable shoulder straps, sternum straps, and hip straps. There are even straps for your trekking poles!
  • Tough and resistant to tearing and ripping.
  • Plenty of storage and pockets. 
  • The Aether 70 comes with a lifetime guarantee. Osprey will fix your bag for free forever, and ever, and ever.  

Osprey Aether 70 Pros

  • Incredible Adjustability: As this is a trekking backpack, a good fit is vital. The Osprey Aether 70 has fully adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt, and you can also adjust where the pack sits on your back. Better yet, you can even change the torso length fit⁠—a lot of other backpacks don’t offer this, and it’s crucial for carrying heavy loads.
  • Outstanding Carrying Comfort: Thanks to the anti-gravity suspension system and peripheral frame, the Osprey Aether supports your back, shoulders, neck, and hips by evenly distributing the weight of the pack across your whole body.  
  • Integrated Daypack: A good trekking backpack should come with a removable daypack option so you don’t have to lug around heavy loads or pounds of gear on a light day of hiking. In the Osprey Aether 70, the small daypack is hidden away in the top lid. It even comes with its own hydration sleeve, so you can be sure you’ll have space to carry extra water on those super sweaty hikes. 
  • Hydration Sleeves and Accessible Water Bottle Pockets: Staying hydrated is vital when you’re hiking, so you want a backpack that makes it easy. It can be a little difficult to reach for your water bottle in the front pocket with other Ospreys, but the Osprey Aether has solved this problem. The water bottle pockets are super easy to reach while you’re on the go.
  • Carries Heavy Loads Well: If you’re going on a long hike, your pack inevitably gets laden with pounds of stuff. But the Osprey Aether’s design features make it easy to support a heavy pack. 
  • Lifetime Guarantee: Like all Osprey products, the Aether comes with a lifetime guarantee. If your bag breaks, they’ll fix it free of charge. 

Osprey Aether 70 Cons

  • It’s Heavy: Compared to other modern bags, the Aether is a little on the heavy side, with the weight for the smallest bag starting at 5 pounds. It’s hefty even before you’ve filled it with 70 liters worth of gear. 
  • The Daypack is Uncomfortable for Hiking: The removable daypack doesn’t have a good waist belt, so it shifts around on your back when you’re crossing particularly rough terrain. A more comfortable pack would be ideal.
  • The Torso Design is Clunky: The torso length adjuster is a bit clunky if you’re not experienced with such systems. It’s no big deal⁠—you might just want to head into an Osprey store to get fitted properly. 
  • It Doesn’t Come With a Rain Cover: For such a well-designed bag, this seems like an obvious miss. A lot of backpacks have a rain cover included these days, so it’s a little disappointing that you have to buy one separately. 
  • It’s Expensive: You’ll be looking at $300+ for one of these packs. 

Who is the Osprey Aether For? 

  • Serious Hikers: This bag has everything necessary for alpine and rough terrain trekkers who are fanatical about backpacking. There’s nowhere you can’t take this bag.
  • Long-Term Trekkers: The Osprey Aether is good for anyone going on treks between a week and a month. It’ll carry all the supplies you need!
  • Long-Term Travelers: People who are planning on doing some hiking along with urban-centered adventuring can use this versatile backpack.

Who Isn’t the Osprey Aether For?

  • City Travelers: This pack’s design is too focused on outdoor activities (like hiking) for you. If you’re traveling in city environment, you’d be better suited with something like the Peak Design Travel Backpack or the Tortuga Outbreaker.
  • Women: This backpack is designed for men. If you’re a woman and want something similar, go for the Osprey Ariel . It has all the same features but is specially made for a woman’s frame.
  • One-Bag Travelers: You’ll have to check this bag. If you’re looking for a carry-on backpack, take a look at the Osprey Farpoint 40L or something smaller.  
Osprey Backpack Mountain Hikers

Osprey: Who Are They?

If you’re a backpacking enthusiast like me, you probably already know about Osprey. That’s because they, quite possibly, make the best backpacks in the world! After all, they’ve been making them for more than 40 years. 

Osprey is based in Cortez, Colorado, so they’re surrounded by what motivates them—wide, open space. Their mission is to help everyone experience the natural world with ease, so they make outstanding backpacks and travel solutions to help people do just that. 

From urban commuter bags to full mountaineering backpack rigs, and all the accessories you could ever dream about, Osprey are geniuses when it comes to knowing what works for packs. And they take their products seriously—every single product that Osprey makes comes with a lifetime guarantee. Their customer support is terrific. 

Osprey Aether 70 Features 

The Osprey Aether is loaded with just the right number of features to help you experience your backpacking trip in the best possible way.

Dimensions & Specifications 

When it comes to picking out a size for yourself, please keep one thing in mind: your size is not determined solely by your height, as many imagine. Instead, it’s a combination of factors, mostly revolving around the height of your torso.

Therefore, it’s crucial to get yourself measured properly, or read through Osprey’s sizing guidelines very carefully. This will ensure you get the perfect fit (right down to its weight) for your shiny new bag! 

SmallMediumLargeExtra Large
Size31.5″H X 15.75″W X 13.39″D33.46″H X 15.75″W X 13.39″D35.43″H X 15.75″W X 13.39″D37.4″H X 15.75″W X 13.39″D
Weight5.16lbs5.21lbs5.27lbs5.32lbs
Capacity67L70L73L76L

Custom Fit (8/10)

What good is a backpack if it doesn’t fit perfectly? You can be sure you’ll get the perfect fit with the Aether’s super customizable harness and hip belt system. It’s one of the pack’s best features.

If you want to get the pack to fit even better, you’ve even got the option to go into an Osprey store where they’ll heat mold the pack’s hip belt to the shape of your frame. For free!

Anti-Gravity Suspension System, Harness and Back Panel (9/10) 

Osprey Aether Anti-Gravity Suspension System, Harness and Back Panel

Osprey recently updated the Aether to include its signature anti-gravity suspension system. The system is no marketing ploy—it’s designed to actually add a heap of carrying comfort to the harness, back panel, and overall frame. It takes off some of the weight from your shoulders and helps to distribute it evenly across your body.

Better yet, the Osprey Aether AG 70 is padded with breathable mesh for ventilation, so you’ll keep cool on the go. Even the shoulder straps have a mesh material to keep you sweat-free. Ventilation is key!

Adjustable Hip Belt With Pockets (8/10)

What’s better than a hyper-adjustable hip belt? A hip belt that comes with zippable pockets! You’ll always have a place to keep your phone, snacks, and other small items at hand while you tackle that hard terrain.  It’s one of my favorite features for this bag.

Straps, Straps, and More Straps (9/10)

The Osprey Aether comes with a bunch of compression straps—the best things ever for a hiking backpack. There is a set of internal straps and two sets of compression straps along the external sides and front of the pack.

Compression straps are particularly important features for an internal frame backpack if you’re doing lots of hiking with heavy loads. They help to keep your gear compact and in-place, and they bring the pack’s center of gravity as close to your body as possible, maximizing comfort.

Hiking with trekking poles? There are straps for that too. Osprey has literally thought of it all.

Convertible Top Lid Backpack (10/10) 

One of my favorite features of the new version of the Osprey Aether is the daypack stored in the top lid of the main compartment.

The older versions of this bag had something akin to an integrated removable fanny pack. The practicality of such a thing was always lost on me. Not to mention, fanny packs send out a 1980s aerobics instructor vibe. 

A removable daypack in the lid is a way better idea—it’s perfect for day hikes or hitting up urban centers, and it adds very little extra weight. 

The best bit is that when you don’t need it, you can just slip it back into the top lid. It takes away the bulkiness of the daypacks on other Osprey lines that zip onto the front panel of the main compartment. 

The daypack even comes with its own hydration reservoir sleeve, so you don’t have to sacrifice room for water. It also has a decent pair of shoulder straps, a top zippered pocket, and dual access to the main compartment. 

Sleeping Bag Compartment (6/10)

As is common with hiking backpacks, the Osprey Aether has a secondary access point at the bottom of the pack for a sleeping bag compartment.

If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you can remove the compartment divider to turn the pack into one big space. I like to keep things separate, as I usually have a thin sleeping bag with me, but it’s good to have the option (especially if you need to carry something bigger inside the pack like a tripod or other gear). 

If you remove the divider, the zip creates a secondary access point to the main compartment of the pack. It’s always good to have a bottom access point to grab things that are sitting at the base of the pack. 

Sleeping Pad Straps (8/10)

The Osprey Aether is made for sleeping outside, so it naturally it’s designed with sleeping pad straps. They’re a good place to store an extra rain jacket too. If you don’t want them, you can remove them. 

Trekking Pole Stowage (7/10)

The Osprey Aether comes with external straps to attach your trekking poles. They’re detachable, so if you don’t have any poles, you can get rid of them… or find something else to put where a trekking pole should be. Be creative. 

Integrated Flap Jacket Cover For Lidless Use (7/10)

A lot of trekking packs just have a top lid, but it’s good to look out for a backpack with a top lid and drawstring closure. You better believe the Osprey Aether offers this. This closure system doesn’t just add an extra layer of pack security, it also allows you to widen the mouth of the bag so you can squeeze in more stuff at the top beneath the lid. 

Internal Hydration Reservoir Sleeve (8/10)

Water is a hassle to transport, especially when you’re hiking. It’s heavy and usually requires bulky containers. Hydration reservoirs solve this problem by flat packing water so you can slide your hydration straight into your backpack. 

The Osprey Aether comes with a hydration reservoir sleeve in the main compartment, as well as in the small removable daypack. 

Unfortunately, the hydration reservoir itself is sold separately. I definitely recommend getting one before your trip, though. 

Stretch Front Panel Pocket (9/10)

The front panel pocket on the main compartment is a great place to store valuable objects you’ll need to access at a whim. I usually store my waterproof jacket plus a charging cable and battery pack here, or any other small gear I might need. 

Side Stretch Mesh Pockets (7/10)

A mesh pocket is a great place to store your water bottle for easy access. While many Osprey packs I’ve used in the past were designed in a way that made it difficult to reach the pocket while wearing the pack, the Osprey Aether has solved this problem! Since the pack is nice and flat, it’s easy to reach and access what you need back there. 

Dual Ice Tool Loops (6/10)

If you’re doing some mountaineering in the snow, you’ll probably want some ice tools. The Aether comes with a few external loops to hang your ice picks or other gear from. 

What’s it Made Of? 

Osprey Aether packs are made of some of the best synthetic materials on the market, including lots of high-tech nylon. The main section is made of 210D Nylon Dobby. The accent is 210D High Tenacity Nylon Shadow Box, and the bottom section is made from 500D Nylon packcloth. 

All these nylon materials are highly water-resistant. While that’s not the same as waterproof, Osprey does an outstanding job of keeping water out of your bag. If you want full waterproofing, invest in a rain cover. 

There’s also a lot of mesh throughout the bag for ventilation. Basically, everything is made with your comfort in mind.

Style & Aesthetics: How Does it Look?

This is one of the most attractively designed Osprey trekking packs. 

It comes in three different colors: outback orange, Adirondack green, and Neptune blue. They’re all understated colors, and that means that each one is a timeless design.

I particularly like the orange. It looks terrific against the ochre earth tones of the desert, just FYI. 

Comfort: Is it Easy to Wear?

The Osprey Aether is one of the comfiest packs on the trekking backpack market. I’m not sure if it’s the most comfortable, but it does a good job. 

The addition of the zero-gravity suspension system has really improved the wearability and weight of this backpack.

The mesh backing on the hip belt isn’t the best in the world, but its ventilation keeps you reasonably cool and not too sweaty in most situations (especially where most of the bag is made with nylon). We’re all about that ventilation.

The main drawback? At 5+ pounds, it’s definitely a heavier weight for a trekking backpack these days, especially if you want to carry a heavy load. That’s five pounds that could be replaced with the gear you really need.

However, if you make good use of the compression straps and get your pack professionally fitted, the weight of the bag shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Don’t let a few pounds throw you off.

Organization: How Does it Stack Up?

This Osprey Aether has a good amount of storage without going overboard. It’s no Peak Design bag, but that’s a good thing. Trekking backpacks that do too much on the organizational front are likely to add too much extra weight, both physically and mentally. 

This one has just the right number of pockets, and the hip belt pocket situation is particularly exciting. So many access points!

It’s also really useful that you can choose between having one huge main compartment or two sections: one to carry your sleeping bag, and one for the rest of your stuff. It’s a big reason why this backpack is so versatile.

For all these excellent organization options, I believe that there’s one item Osprey missed. I very much wish the Aether has two long zippered pockets flanking the large front mesh pockets. The Atmos 65 includes this pocket feature, and it’s incredibly useful for sequestering certain bits of gear or travel luggage.

Durability: Will the Osprey Aether Last?

Osprey makes high-quality packs with outstanding materials. If you take one look at the stitching, you’ll see the Aether is built to last. 

Osprey guarantees that you’ll carry this bag for many years to come with their lifetime warranty. Even if your bag does break or wear out, you will always be able to get it fixed for zero cost (other than shipping). Their customer support is fantastic.

I doubt you’ll have many issues because the backpack is so damn tough, no matter how many pounds of weight you carry. However, there is one section in the design that’s more prone to wear and tear: the meshed front pockets. Each pocket tends to snag on twigs and branches. This doesn’t bother me too much, though.

Overall, it’s a robust and sturdy backpack that can handle even the roughest terrain. And when it can’t, that’s where Osprey’s support steps in.

Price: How Much Does the Osprey Aether Cost?

The Aether 70L clocks in at $310. 

It goes without saying that the Aether line is certainly not cheap. Usually, Osprey is fairly mid-range, but this one is on the expensive side. On the other hand, that price is roughly in line with backpacks from other trekking brands of comparable quality.

Again, you have to remember this bag will last you a lifetime, so $300+ will be a drop in the ocean in the long run. If you invest in a crappy backpack instead, you’ll probably just have to buy another one next year.

Warranty: What Kind of Warranty Does Osprey Offer?

Osprey comes with a lifetime warranty. In pretty much every situation where your bag has suffered reasonable wear and tear that affects the functionality of the backpack, Osprey will fix your bag for free even if you bought it 40 years ago. 

All you have to do is pay the outbound shipping costs to get it fixed back at their HQ in Colorado. This can be a little expensive—postal services charge by weight, and a bag with a weight of 6 pounds isn’t going to be cheap. But their customer support will assist you wherever possible.

Shipping: Does Osprey Ship Internationally?

Osprey does ship to Canada. Does that even count, though? Anywhere else and you’ll have to go pick up an Osprey in your local backpacking store. Osprey is a major brand, and the Aether is a popular line, so pretty much every good backpacking store will carry it. 

Alternatively, you can order one from a third-party online retailer, but I wouldn’t recommend that. 

If you get it in a proper store, you can get the assistant to fit your backpack correctly. That’s not so easily done with an online store. 

Osprey Aether Accessories

Osprey makes a ton of different accessories, and I’d be keeping you here all day if I went through them all in this review. So I’ve just chosen a few accessories that work particularly well with the Osprey Aether 70 AG without adding too many extra pounds. 

Daylite Day Pack

The Aether comes with an integrated daypack, but if you want an extra daypack, the Daylite is a fantastic addition to the Osprey Aether. 

It’s a 13L daypack with a good amount of internal and external storage, comfortable mesh shoulder straps, and back panel with ventilation. There’s also a hydration sleeve (it doubles as a tablet sleeve too).

 The best part? The Daylite can be attached directly to the Aether, so there’s no awkwardly trying to carry a backpack at the front of your body while balancing one on your back. 

By combining the Aether and the Daylite, you’ll have three bags in one.

The Daylite packs come in a ton of different colors. You shouldn’t have a tough time matching your Aether and the Daylite’s colors if that kind of thing matters to you.

The Daylite is $75.

Hydration Reservoir 

While the backpack comes with a hydration reservoir sleeve, it doesn’t come with the hydration reservoir itself. 

I highly recommend you purchase one of the Osprey brand ones so you can be sure it’ll fit in the sleeve provided.

If you’re going to get the Daylite pack as well as the Osprey Aether, I’d actually recommend getting two reservoirs. You can store one in the main pack and the other in the daypack, doubling down on your hydration. Just remember that’ll be some extra weight.

They come in a range of sizes, from 1.5L to 3L. A safe bet for most people is the 2L. It should hold enough H2O to get you through a fairly strenuous day hike with a little extra water… just in case. 

It’s $40. 

Ultralight Packing Cubes 

Packing Cubes are the best. Pick some up and keep your gear extra organized! Rooting around in your backpack for hours is so 2008. 

Osprey makes a bunch of different packing cubes in varied shapes and sizes, but I recommend just keeping things easy for yourself and picking up an Ultralight Packing Cube set. 

You’ll get three cubes —a small, medium, and large zippable packing cube. If you have a lot of clothes, grab a second large cube too. Their weight is next to nothing.

I keep my clothes in the larger ones, bulkier objects in the medium size, and my toiletries in the small one.  

The sets are only $38, so it’s a bit of a steal.

Ultralight Stretch Stuff Sacks

If you have some oddly shaped gear, a removable stretch stuff pack is a useful add-on and they won’t add any extra pounds to your gear. They’ll come in handy if you take camping gear along the road. Tent pegs and tools are not a good shape for the rigidity of packing cubes.

The flexible stuff sacks are much better. They come in a bunch of sizes, but I think the 3L is a good size for most people.

The 3L sacks are $11. 

Rain Cover 

Unfortunately, the Osprey Aether isn’t waterproof. If you’re going to be trekking through torrential rain or coming across some snow and ice on your trip, you’ll need a rain cover to make sure your stuff stays dry.

Imagine pulling out some wet socks after a long hike across a snowy mountain. Ugh. 

Again, get an Osprey branded cover so you can be sure it’ll fit on your backpack (and any other Osprey packs you might own). It comes in an unassuming gray color and you should be able to shove it in any pocket (or in the lid). Make it easy to access.

The price depends on what size you go for, medium, large, or extra-large. Looking at the 70L Aether, you’d want the large size. 

They’re $50. 

Osprey Aether 70 Review Summary: Final Thoughts

We’ve taken an in-depth look into the ins and outs of this pack in this Osprey Aether 70 Review.

Overall, this backpack is a great choice if you’re an avid trekker, or if you’re an urban-based traveler but want to do some day hikes or a short overnight trip while you’re at it. 

While it is a little heavy, the harness and hip belt system support the weight well, and as the backpack is super adjustable to fit to your unique body shape, the Osprey Aether proves to be one of the comfiest trekking backpacks on the market.

It’s already highly functional on its own, but if you want to up the ante, invest in some packing cubes, a hydration sleeve, a rain cover, and especially the extra Daylite daypack (or find another packable daypack that suits your needs). You’ll be set for a lifetime of adventures in pretty much any conditions the world can throw at you.

It’s also super durable, so it’ll serve you well even in the most unforgiving terrain. The only thing you might see wear out are the mesh pockets at the front, but these don’t affect the overall functionality of the backpack. If they do, contact Osprey’s customer support and they’ll help you fix that up for free.

Now that you’ve finished this Osprey Aether review, what’s stopping you from taking that trip?