Dimensions: 90 x 36 x 35cm
When you first pick up this Osprey pack the complexity and number of straps can be off-putting, but they’re all there for good reason, so stick with it. The Aether 70 (women’s version Ariel 65) is a lightweight, medium (weight) load carrier with a recommended carry capacity of around 23kg. In use we had no complaints with the comfort level, but if you’re going to be carrying seriously heavy loads you might be better off looking elsewhere.
The back system on the Osprey feels insubstantial for a pack of this size but this is where hands-on design plus top quality components and construction work together to produce a stable rucksack that transfers weight efficiently on the hip belt, which you can get custom-moulded for precise fit. We didn’t get the hip belt on our test pack tweaked, but it still performed spot-on.
The lid of the Aether is detachable and doubles up as a bum bag – a great feature if you’re planning day hikes out of a wild camp site or need to take off the pack for scrambling or climbing a summit. You don’t get any side pockets on this pack but you do get two enormous elasticated wand pockets and a big stretchy back pouch, which we reckon are just as (if not more) useful out on the hill than zipped side pockets.
And back to the array of straps. These are perfect for load compression, stability and lashing stuff to the outside of the pack, plus you get axe holders and a loop for climbing gear should you need it. The main compartment can be accessed from the top and via a back zipped entry.
In a line: excellent combination of low weight, comfort and practicality for all but the heaviest loads.