OSPREY AETHER 45 BACKPACK
BY DAVID BRADISH
February 28, 2007
Huntington Beach California USA
6' 2" (1.88 m)
170 lb (77.10 kg)
I started hiking in my teens in Arizona and New Mexico, primarily focusing on winter hiking. Since 1991 I have hiked a lot with my brother-in-law Ray mostly in California's Sierra Nevada range, and the southern mountains. In winter I bring as much gear as necessary to be safe and comfortable. For 3-season hiking I try to follow the principles of ultra light.
Web site: www.ospreypacks.com
Product: Aether 45
Year manufactured: 2005
Weight listed: 2 lb/0.91 kg
Actual weight 2 lb 7 oz/1.11 kg
Volume: 2740 cu in/45 L
Warranty: from company web site "Our lifetime warranty covers defects in materials and craftsmanship for the lifetime of the backpack."
The Osprey Aether 45 is a very simple pack. It consists of a single great sack that loads from the top. It closes just like a dry sack does by rolling the edge down, then attaching the ends together with a Duraflex Rock Lockster buckle. A white nylon strap also connects to a Rock Lockster and goes over the top of the bag in the opposite direction of the roll-top closure. Right by this is a matching white nylon grab loop.
The pack body is made from 210 denier double ripstop nylon.
On the back of the pack a white cord zig zags between the pack and a piece of doubled nylon with the Osprey name and bird logo. The cord goes through a metal grommet and a finger pull lock.
At the bottom in the middle of the pack is a white nylon tool loop. On each side of the pack is a slanted pocket made of netting material. They have elastic at the top. Just above the pockets is a compression strap that has another Rock Lockster fastener on it. The bottom of the pack is made of heavy duty 420 denier "chainlink" nylon fabric.
The Aether does not have a normal suspension with stays. Instead it has a frame sheet made of some heavy foam type material covered by mesh. The foam piece can be taken out to use as a sit pad but I do not do this as it is a pain to get back in. Connected to the top of it are the shoulder straps. They are black nylon covered foam and are contoured. At the top are load lifter straps that adjust with a buckle. In the middle of the shoulder straps is a sternum strap with a built in whistle. On the right side of the sternum strap is a clip for a hydration tube. At the bottom of the shoulder straps is the adjustable strap that ties into the hip belt.
The hip belt is made of thin nylon and mesh covered foam. It attaches with a Stealth fastener and has a v type strap that tightens by pulling towards the middle. A stretchy mesh pocket is on each side of the hip belt.
It does not have a hydration pocket inside of the pack but a bladder can slide between the frame sheet and the pack. I use it this way a lot, like in this picture.
I have used the Aether on many hikes in California. I have had it in the Sierra Nevada about five times and more than I know in the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains along with the desert sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. I had it for a climb of 14000' /4270 m White Mountain, and many lower peaks. The hottest that I remember was near 100 F/38 C by Palm Springs and the coldest about 25 F/-4 C on a climb of San Gorgonio.
I bought the Aether 45 in 2005 because I was trying to switch to an ultralight backpacking style. My old packs weighed too much and I just did not need the room in them any more. I really like the Aether. It holds all I need for a 4 day hike with no problem. I even fit a bear canister in it on a cache setting trip near White Mountain, but it was pretty uncomfortable to do that. When we hike Ray takes the canister and I take other small heavy type common gear like the satellite phone.
The pockets are very hard to get into while I am hiking. When I bring bottles it is easier to ask someone to put them back for me. I can just barely get them out without dislocating my arm. I wish they worked better. I use the cord on the back all the time. It is a good place to put wet rain gear or a tent body. Some times I will put my tent poles in the pocket and through the strap on the side.
The closure took a little getting used to, as did not having any separate areas in the main pack. But now I like it. I put my sleeping bag in the bottom followed by my tent body and pad then the smaller stuff and food on top.
I think the most I have carried in it was about 26 lb/11.8 kg for a 60 mile/ km hike in the Sierra Nevada. Usually I am more in the 12 - 17 lb/5-8 kg range. I use it as a day pack on long day hikes that I need to carry a lot of water because the hip belt is better than on my regular day-pack.
I saw that this year they are replacing this pack with a new one called the Talon 44. I plan to keep using this one for a few more years. There has been no appreciable wear to the pack. Nothing has ripped, and all seams are still in good shape. The foam is still good. It has not turned crunchy like some foam does as it gets old and hard. According to Ray's hiking log I have more than 300 miles/483 km with this pack.
Pockets are hard to get into.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Read more reviews of Osprey gear
Read more gear reviews by David Bradish