We are going to take a closer look at Osprey’s Aether and Ariel series of backpacks. These multi day backpacks are designed to carry heavy loads and carry them comfortably. The Aether and the women’s Ariel have a shared feature set. Talk a little bit about what makes them different from on another, but we are going to concentrate on, really, where they overlap.
Got an Aether 70 here so 70 liter pack, over 4000 cubic inches. This is the Ariel 65. So you are actually just under 3900 cubic inches, a little smaller than that in some of the smaller sizes. When I say that, as with many Osprey packs, you have got sized versions to ensure that you have got a customizable fit and we will look a little closer at some of the other features that make sure that that fit is perfect for you.
We are going to turn the Aether around and take a close look at the suspension system. Basically the foundation for what makes this pack carry so well. You have got a aluminum alloy light wire frame that runs the perimeter of the pack. Inside here there is actually a single aluminum stay as well and an HDPE frame sheet. These elements together give this the support, the rigidity, the stability to carry those heavy loads.
Surprisingly light weight, however. Again, you have just got that perimeter rod rather than a heavy aluminum frame, so staying well under five pounds on a pack like this which is pretty impressive for the capacity and load hauling capability.
Nicely padded cushioned shoulder straps here on the harness. There is adjustability on that harness up and down to accommodate varying torso lengths. In addition to that, you can choose from sizes, separate sizes of this pack which, again, helps dial things in, but you have got a little bit of that customization regardless of which size you go with.
The hip belt also can be swapped out for the appropriate size to fit you, ensuring that the foam wrap here on the hip belt comes the whole way around, gives you that comfort, gives you the support that you need for the pack to perform in the manner that it needs to.
Here on the portion that actually comes into contact with your back, you have got a little bit of separation there with this mesh panel over top and then ventilated channels underneath. So nice foam padding as well. But that channeling allows air to flow and helps keep you cool. You are going to be carrying heavy loads. Heat will build up. But that allows a little bit of air to circulate.
An adjustable sternum strap here on the front, load lifter straps above the harness, certainly adjustability on the hip belt and also here at the sides. Again, to really dial things in.
Do want to grab the Ariel here for just a moment. On the women’s pack, again, as we mentioned, you really do have a shared feature set from what we were seeing on the Aether. Differences here being sizing on the whole. So both in terms of torso length, available sizing and customization on the hip belt, those are going to vary from the men’s beyond the smaller side. The placement of the shoulder straps. It is actually narrower. Again, meant to accommodate the average female in comparison to what you are getting from the Aether. Different contouring on the shoulder straps on that harness. Different contouring on the hip belt as well. Hopefully insuring that the female backpacker is getting the it that she needs.
Turning the Aether back around we are going to look at some of its organizational features, again, the backpacker in mind with everything Osprey is doing on this pack. It is a fairly traditional top loading pack in that you have got the lid. It folds back. You have got a zipper here on the back of the lid. It gets you into pretty sizable storage within the pack. And obviously the lid itself helps to secure the pack back. This also is removable, can be used as a really minimalist hip pack or summit pack once you have gotten where you are going. Could be removed entirely if you were just looking to shed weight, because you do have draw string closure here on the top of the pack back.
There is also a height adjustability to that lid. So if you need to blow out this top of the pack bag to get every last little bit of gear and layers of clothing in there that you need to, that lid will still protect the top of the pack bag.
So you can get into the top, obviously. I am going to undo some of the compression straps. You can also get into the interior of the pack though this zipper. So you don’t necessarily have to take the lid off to quickly put hands on items inside the pack. Also another lower storage compartment kind of designed with a sleeping bag in mind, good fit there. Pretty roomy sleeping bag compartment. There is some streamlined sleeping bag compartments out there that don’t always seem to accommodate every sleeping bag out there and the Aether has got some spaciousness there and a good opening to get inside. Bit stretch pocket here on the face of the pack so you can stuff discarded layers or other gear items in there and quickly put hands on it. I had removed those compression straps there in the front so just to bring those back around for a moment. You can certainly lash gear beneath them, but also maybe their biggest role is to cinch down the contents so re-gardless of how much or how little you have got in the pack you can really stabilize that load and make sure that everything stays in place.
A couple of other organizational features here, you can see these straps on the bottom, again, provides a different type of compression. But you can also run a sleeping pad, tent poles, other items of gear there and lash them securely in place.
You have got trekking pole or ice axe loops, tool attachments here higher on the pack bag. There are two stretch pockets on the side. Got a water bottle in one. I have got a sleeping pad in the other. And, again, compression straps that you can run over top of each of those to secure them in place.
If I wanted quicker, easier, access to this water bottle, I can actually take these compression straps and run them underneath the pocket so it will cinch down the main pack bag, but it will allow easy access to that water bottle or whatever gear I have got in that stretch pocket.
Sizable zippered hip belt pockets on either side of the pack and I am going to turn this around again to show you kind of an interesting feature on the Aether. It is the external hydration pocket. I don’t have right now a hydration system in this pack. But there is room for it back here. There is a hanger to hold it in place. And what that does is it frees up all the space inside the pack for other things. In other packs here you have got that lined sleeve, once you put a sizable hydration system inside it, you start to eat away at that available capacity inside the pack. Love that feature. Also makes it quick and easy to get it in place, pull it out, fill it, clean it, a really smart feature there on the back panel of the Aethers and the Ariels.
So, again, if you are looking for a multi day pack that carries a lot of weight and carriers it comfortably, provides you with a custom fit and has the organizational and access features that enable you to quickly put hands on whatever gear you need, definitely give the Osprey Aether and the Ariel a close look.
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