I felt like a kid in a candy store after receiving the new Osprey Aether Plus 100 backpack at the office. Despite seeing multiple Osprey packs on the trails, I'd never had the chance to put one through its paces both on and off the trails. The following is a review of the pack after putting it through its paces on a range of outdoor adventures.
Comfort and Fit
Nothing is more infuriating than a backpack that does not fit your body type, yet the Osprey Aether Plus 100 is filled with features that ensure the pack is properly fitted to bodies of all shapes and sizes.
The hip belt and shoulder straps are easy to adjust and provide a comfortable fit. It feels like it's snuggling my back like a little turtle.
During the hottest parts of the day, I was especially grateful for the Airscape back panel, which supplied adequate air for my sweaty back.
- The top lid can be taken off to make the bag into a DayLid daypack.
- It comes with a rain cover made of PFC-free DWR and materials that have been approved by the Bluesign Institute.
- A trekking pole attachment that can be taken with you when you're going on a trip.
- This top lid has a floating look with lash points on the outside corners.
- A built-in FlapJacket cover that can be used without a lid.
- Two zippered pockets on the front panel make it easy to get to your things quickly and keep them safe.
- There is a big zip on the front of the bag to get to the main compartment.
- There is a front shove-it pocket with a fabric reinforcement.
- May be very large or heavy for some people.
- Can be a bit pricier.
Weight and Carry
We're all aware that as load capabilities grow, weight distribution can have an effect on overall carry comfort. Although I can't comment to the carry at the 27kg maximum load indicated by Osprey, at 16kg, the Fit-On-The-Fly hip belt definitely helped in transferring the weight away from my shoulders and towards my lumbar region when properly fitted.
During my hike, I realised that the mesh-covered foam on the lumbar and hip belt provided soft padding that was both nice and supportive for my back and hips.
My straps and shoulders were slightly fatigued after longer excursions with heavier loads, but there were no discomfort areas or friction on any of the touch surfaces I came into contact with along the path, which was a tremendous advantage.
With rising load capabilities, we all know that weight distribution can affect the overall comfort of carrying a load on one's back. The heaviest load I carried on my back was approximately 16kg. I can't speak to the carry at the 27kg maximum load recommended by Osprey. That being said, at 16kg, the Fit-On-The-Fly hip belt definitely assisted in redistributing the weight away from my shoulders. In addition, into my lumbar region when it was properly fastened.
During my walk, I realised that the mesh-covered foam on the lumbar and hip belts provided soft padding that was both comfortable and supportive. Also, my traps and shoulders were slightly fatigued after longer hikes where I was carrying a heavier load. That being said, there were no discomfort areas or friction on any of the touch surfaces I came into contact with.
Despite the fact that I've used the Aether Plus 100 in a variety of situations, from challenging terrain to overnight excursions and even airport flights, I've yet to see any substantial surface damage to the pack.
Nothing seems to be able to leave a mark on the bag after walking difficult terrain.
Osprey has gone to great lengths to use a high tenacity nylon that is Bluesign Institute certified. Also, it has shown to be fairly durable on all of my journeys thus far. Furthermore, the included rain cover is made of PFC-free DWR. In addition, it ensures that you are prepared for any weather event.
Is it possible for you to travel without a hydration bladder? With dual access stretch mesh bottle pockets, you can easily reach your hydration stations while on the go. Also, you can access the side pockets on either side of your body. However, while I liked the idea in theory and found it really easy to fetch my drinks. I could still wear my backpack. That being said, I found it difficult to feed my bottles back through the bottom access hole when carrying a heavy pack.
Furthermore, the pack's capacity can be switched from a day pack to a night pack by removing the top lid. Thus, it can functions as the pack's “brain,” is an intriguing feature. A truly little backpack, not a bum bag or a sling, as many multi-day packs are.
The bag is also useful for any short side trips throughout your hike. I utilized this when I hiked up Mount Barney to keep my camera and other essentials. Your shoulders will be grateful at the end of your voyage.
Osprey has built a reputation for producing high-quality packs since its inception. Thus, the Osprey Aether Plus 100 is no exception. My pack collection has expanded over the years. So, I can confidently say that this is my best thus far in terms of overall build, design, and performance.
I'm sure every hiker wants to be assured that they'll get their money's worth before burning a hole in their wallet to support it. Based on my personal experience with the pack, I don't see how you could go wrong with buying this as your go-to multi-day hiking pack for years to come.