The Osprey Aether 85 strikes an excellent balance between lightweight design and load-bearing performance. Ideal for multi-day backpacking trips, the Aether 85 offers over 5000 cubic inches of storage capacity and comfortably carries up to 60 pounds!
Ample space for week long backpacking trips or expeditions, the Osprey Aether 85 is a great option that offers customizable fit with an innovative suspension system. Let’s take a look at some of its features.
I am going to turn the pack around and take a look at that suspension system, at what makes the Aether so special. So we are using Osprey’s Airscape Suspension System with Isoform CM components. That CM stands for custom molding. So these parts actually have a foam in them that kind of breaks in over time—just like your favorite leather pair of hiking boots—and forms to custom fit your body. So you have got really neat parts in play on the suspension system. We have got nice spacer mesh foam here. So you have got really breathable materials, really soft, but well padded and supported system there. The Airscape back panel is very well ventilated and breathable with that mesh there. And you have got some ridged foam paneling in play as well.
We do have an aluminum frame around the exterior and a nice frame sheet there, as well, to give it some extra structure and stability so it can handle those heavier loads. So really nice features here all the way down in the nice padded lumbar section, very comfortable suspension system all around.
And the neat part about that Isoform system is that you can actually completely remove the harness or completely remove the hip belt and get different sizes. You really can get a custom fit with this suspension system. So excellent features in play on the Isoform CM suspension.
I am going to turn the pack back around and take a look at how we access the contents of the Aether 85. So the Aether has actually got three different access points. You have got your traditional hood or top loading access point. We have got a front J shaped zipper, which offers a really neat access point in the front, kind of like a luggage style. And we have got a bottom sleeping bag compartment.
So the top is very simple. It is just a hood loading or top loading design with a nice big spin drift collar. So you have got easy access to ample storage on the top and that very large spin drift collar that comes up. So if you want to overstuff the bag, you can do so, but you can access all your contents very nice and easily there.
That J shaped zipper that I mentioned in the front is a pretty neat system. You have got a—like I said—a luggage style zipper that expands throughout the front of the backpack. So if you open that up, it comes all the way down to the front here and curves around the top and you can easily get into the pack and reach down and get some items that may not be sitting on top and that you may want to get to at the middle portion or the bottom of the backpack. So a really neat J shaped zipper there. It zips up nicely and has a nice protective guard there for, you know, abrasion resistance and just overall zipper protection.
Down at the bottom we have got that nice sleeping bag compartment. So you have got these two straps here you can detach. And the zipper just comes up and around and you have got nice easy access to a sleeping bag spot.
Now there is a separated panel here so you have got kind of just a nylon panel in there, but you can detach that, remove the sleeping or the straps in there and create one large opening as opposed to two separated spots. But if you just want to stow your sleeping bag down there, it is a perfect place to do so.
Some of the other features we have going on with the Aether, let’s talk about the pockets we have got in play here. So on the front you have got a nice stretchy, kind of shove it pocket. I have just got a jacket in there right now, a nice raincoat. But it is a great place to store some extra layers if you need to, wet clothes if you tend to get wet or anything that you want to get to in a hurry. Really nice breathable mesh there, so any wet items will dry quickly, but very stretchy so you can really store plenty of things inside there.
We have got side pockets. So stretch side pockets on either side with inside out compression. Right here I have got my trekking poles with that inside out compression routed over top. It really helps to cinch in the gear and lash it down very nicely. So a good system on the sides here. On this side I have got it a little more streamlined so I have got the compression strap routed underneath and my water bottle there. So it is a nice, simple, stretchy design.
The nice part about these pockets, too, is if you choose to use water bottles, there are two openings so you have got a separate opening down here. You can actually have that water bottle angled in such a way that it will be really easy to access it when you are on the go and when you are moving. You can just reach back, grab the bottle, take it out, take a drink. It is very simple to use that pocket as opposed to this top one. So nice system with that water bottle pocket.
On the hood we do have a large pocket. So on the backside of the hood we have got a sizable pocket. I have got a filter up there. I have got a book and some other items, really easy to throw things in there, you know, keep them at hand close for when you need them. And another nice part about the hood is that it detaches completely from the pack and acts as a separate daypack. So on the bottom here you have got this grey panel. You can actually pull these straps out and there is a kind of winged section there. So you can use this as a lumbar pack if you choose to. So really nice addition and benefit, you know, added versatility to the Aether 85. So I really like that aspect of the pack. It adds a lot of value to the system.
We do have a hydration pocket on the back of the pack. So right here we have got a nice H20 logo. And there is a clip above that so if you detach that clip, there is a nice sleeve here for a hydration bladder. It doesn't come with the pack, but you can purchase it separately and there is a nice little hang tab there, as well, so your hydration doesn’t slide to the bottom of the backpack. So a nice place to put a hydration bladder and you can route it through one of the harness straps there.
We do have some hip belt pockets. So on either side of the hip belt we just have a nice zippered pocket, very abrasion and weather resistant. While not being fully waterproof, they do offer some protection so you can stow items in there like a cell phone, granola bars, a head lamp if you choose to, nice easy access pockets for on the go use.
Some of the other features with the bag include some tool loops with bungee tie offs. So we have got tool loops on the front here and the bungees to tie them off so you can use ice axes, mountaineering axes, whatever kind of tools, trekking poles you want to use. You can even do an avalanche shovel if you chose to use that. But really nice system on the front there for multiple types of tools.
We have got nice straight jacket compression here so you can compress this load very easily with those straps across the front. And a nice feature about these straps, too, is they will actually extend, so when you are using a smaller load or a smaller capacity, you can extend these straps all the way around to these kind of curious little clips on the side here. So you have got two clips at the top, one at the top and one at the bottom and you can extend those front straps all the way around to really cinch down the load and make it nice and compressed. So a nice benefit there.
At the bottom we do have these detachable sleeping pad straps so you can clip them down if you have a sleeping pad. You can easily attach it to the outside. You can use them as some extra compression for your sleeping bag compartment or, if you don’t need them, you can totally remove them, do away with them, leave them at home, a nice benefit there as well.
And there you have it. It is the Osprey Aether 85, a great, high capacity pack for those week long expeditions or backpacking adventures where you need to haul a lot of gear.