Osprey Aether 60 Backpack Review

The updated Osprey Aether 60 is an ultra-comfortable backpack that blends great features and ample storage for multi-day backpacking adventures.

I’ve hiked with an older Osprey Aether model, the 70L, over the past 10 years. And I’ve loved its fantastic storage, comfort and durability – it’s one of my favorite packs for multi-night adventures on the trail.

This summer, I’ve been testing the updated Aether on overnights in North Georgia. While I still love my older Aether 70, I’m thoroughly impressed by the updates on the new Osprey Aether 60. With the new pack, I downsized from a 70L to 60L, which packs almost the same gear volume in a more streamlined profile. It’s a fantastic upgrade to the older Aether line – and an equally fantastic choice for hikers purchasing their first Osprey Aether.

Osprey Aether 60 Review

Our Osprey Aether 60 Backpack Review

The Osprey Aether 60 support system design is fairly incredible: strapped on, the backpack’s cargo weight just melts away, thanks to its weight distribution and padding systems. After a hike, unstrapping the Aether is a huge surprise: I’m always shocked at how heavy the pack was, having forgotten about the weight on the trail.

Osprey Aether 60 support system design provides exceptional on-trail comfort

The Aether 60 storage capacity is 60 liters, which is more than enough room for my gear, food and water on multi-day backpacking trips. And it’s got plentiful pockets to stash gear and keep everything organized. The Aether features a number of pockets to keep gear close at hand, with a quick-access, stretchy back panel, side pockets, and dual zippered hip belt pockets.

The Osprey Aether 60 features two hip belt pockets for stowing snacks and small gear within reach

The two hip belt pockets are an upgrade from my older Aether model. While I wasn’t sure I would use them, I’ve loved packing my mobile phone, snacks, and small gear in them for fast access. The Aether 60 also features multiple lash points and trekking pole holders to provide external storage, and I’ve found the combination of side pockets and compression straps perfect for storing my Gitzo camera tripod.

Another awesome update from my older Aether pack: the pack’s main compartment isn’t only accessible from the top-loading opening. The updated Aether also offers main compartment access from a zippered flap that runs the pack’s length. The new zippered access is really convenient for accessing gear deep in the pack, avoiding the dreaded need to unload everything to access gear at the pack’s bottom.

Osprey also updated the pack’s hydration reservoir storage on the Aether 60

Osprey also updated the pack’s hydration reservoir storage on the new Aether, moving the hydration pocket to the outside of the pack. My older Aether model stored my hydration reservoir inside the pack – but the new model keeps my Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir conveniently located for refills without having to open the pack. The hydration pocket’s new location also keeps spills or leaks away from my clothes and gear in the main cargo area.

As with many Osprey packs, the Aether incorporates a system of mesh and molded pleats to help increase the pack’s breathability – a feature I really appreciate in Georgia’s warm-weather climate. The new Aether upgrades the pack’s Airscape design, adding more open area and channeled mesh for more breathability. Comparing the two, the new Aether noticeably increases airflow on my back.

The Osprey Aether 60 incorporates a mesh and molded pleast system to increase the pack’s breathability

Osprey Aether 60: Fit and Comfort

I love the way the Aether 60 fits, and even on high-mileage hikes, it’s an ultra-comfortable pack. The Aether’s lightweight metal frame transfers cargo weight to the hip belt, where densely padded foam absorbs shock. And though the Aether’s hip belt is custom-moldable for a custom fit, the Aether 60 is a fantastic fit right off the shelf. The pack’s strap system is easily adjustable on-trail, helping me keep the pack balanced, comfortable and centered.

I love the way the Osprey Aether 60 fits, and even on high-mileage hikes, it’s an ultra-comfortable pack

The Aether’s fit is very comfortable, even when it’s fully packed with heavy loads of 30+ pounds. The backpack stays comfortably contoured to my body and stays stable even when I’m scrambling over trees and rock. And the Aether’s thickly padded shoulder straps and hip belt stay comfortable on long hiking days under the pack’s weight. Compared to my (already ultra-comfortable) older Aether, the new Aether 60 features wider, thicker-padded shoulder straps and waist straps for even more comfort.

Osprey Aether 60: Additional Features

The Aether also features a top zippered pocket, which I use to store my first aid kit and other small gear within easy reach. And a sewn-in key clip helps prevent the (unthinkable) loss of my keys on the trail. The top pocket is also detachable for use as a waist pack, a feature I haven’t used, since I always carry an ultralight day pack for hikes away from base camp.

The Osprey Aether 60 features a top zippered pocket, which I use to store my first aid kit and other small gear

The Osprey Aether 60 is available in three sizes, sized by torso length. The Aether 60 weighs just over 4.5 pounds, so it’s not an ultralight pack – but it does pack many useful design features that aren’t found in most ultralight backpacks. And it’s available in three colors: red, blue, and my favorite, Bonsai Green.

The Osprey Aether 60 also features:

  • a bottom-access sleeping bag compartment that snugly fits my 20-degree synthetic bag in a compression sack
  • easy-to-cinch compression straps on the bag’s exterior to keep the pack’s contents compacted and balanced
  • zippers that glide smoothly, don’t snag, and feature large, easy-grip pulls

In my ten years on the trail with my older Aether, I’ve had zero issues with my Osprey Aether pack. So while I’ve never have needed it, I love that Osprey backs their packs with an awesome lifetime warranty.

Osprey Aether 60 Review: Bottom Line

The Osprey Aether 60 pack balances size, weight, features and convenience, and my 10-year success with my older Aether 70L is a testament to the quality and durability of the pack. The newer Aether models feature significant improvements and a more compact, streamlined design that have left me thoroughly impressed.

So Where Can I Get One?

 

While we were provided with a sample Osprey Aether 60 to test, all opinions above are our own, and based on our own, trail-tested experience.

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.

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