Osprey has a big reputation for comfort – even with bags that can carry heavy loads. You’re pretty much guaranteed when it comes to a comfortable fit with practically any Osprey bag you plan on buying.
And there are a lot of those. This company makes specialised bags for all sorts of occasions and travelling types, from first time backpacking to smart digital nomad packs.
They do hiking backpacks particularly well, one of which is the heavyweight Osprey Aether AG 70.
Built for being outdoors, and for long periods of time, this pack does capacity, comfort and technical versatility very well. It’s rife with features that make it one of the best choices out there for a hiking backpack.
If this sounds interesting to you, that’s great – because we’re about to go in on just how good it is…
Ultimate Osprey Aether AG 70 Review
Quick Answers – The Osprey Aether AG 70 backpack IS for you if…
- You want to go trekking – This bag has a ton of features that means that it lends itself very well to trekking – of all sorts. From alpine hiking to tea trekking, there’s plenty of room in this versatile backpack for everything you might need along the way.
- You’re all about that comfort – Osprey’s classic comfort has not been overlooked for the Aether AG 70. This backpack has been designed to be comfortable, with a well-designed suspension system, mesh back, and the all-important Anti-Gravity system.
- You’re planning on long-term travel – Because it’s a large backpack with a good capacity, you can travel over a pretty long period of time with this backpack. It’s ideal if you want to pack stuff for a year-long trip and stash it under seats on buses and trains whilst going over international borders.
- You don’t exactly travel light – If you’re not the sort of person who likes to travel with only a few outfits or personal belongings, or you want to carry some other kit, there’s a lot of room for a lot of weight going on here.
- You’re a fan of organisation – The Osprey Aether AG 70 has a load of different pockets and compartments so you can easily organise your stuff. Think dividers, elastic mesh pouches, even little hip-belt pockets, and a lot more.
Quick Answers – The Osprey Aether AG 70 backpack is NOT for you if…
- You’re on a tight budget – Whilst it does offer a high level of durability, this backpack is definitely an investment and is not really on the affordable side. The Aether series, in particular, is more pricey than other Osprey ranges (like the Farpoint 40).
- You’re a digital nomad – Though it’s good for world travellers, it’s not really good for world travellers with laptops. If you’re hopping around cities and cafes to get your deadlines done as you see the world, you need to read our Nomatic Travel Pack review or our Tortuga Outbreaker review for something bigger.
- You like going on short trips – If you want to hop on weekend breaks and short trips when you get some time off, this 70 litre monster is going to be a bit of an overkill. Go smaller with the Minaal 2.0 or read our Osprey Talon 33 review.
- You want something carry-on size – Similarly, this backpack most definitely is not carry-on size. If you can’t stand the hassle and expense of checking bags in and waiting at baggage carousels, then check out our Tortuga Setout review.
- You’re female – The Aether range is designed for males. However, there is a ‘sister’ range that offers practically the same features: the Osprey Ariel. It’s built with a female frame in mind so if you are female, you might want to opt for something more tailor-made than this.
Different Osprey Backpacks
Well established in the backpacking game for ages, Osprey definitely has a lot on offer. It’s definitely not just backpacking either. From backcountry adventuring and kayak trips to trekking in far-flung destinations and daypacks to augment your suitcase, there’s a lot Osprey does.
If you’re already thinking that maybe the Aether AG 70 won’t be the backpack for you, we understand. Osprey gives you a ton of choice when it comes to different backpacks for different types of traveller – and most of them in male and female versions for the perfect fit, too.
So here is just a taster of what other Osprey backpacks are available at the moment…
Whilst the Aether is a little pricey, the Atmos (and its female version the Aura) provide similar features for less of a chunk out of your budget. The Atmos and Aura are basically the go-to bags for backpacking and are made extra comfy with the AG (Anti-Gravity) system.
If the Atmos and Aura are the brother-sister of backpacking, then the Xenith and Xena tag team are for backpacking and then some. The Xena boasts a big 85 litre capacity whilst the Xenith allows up to 105 litres! Basically, these bags are for people who want to carry a whole lot of stuff.
Ultralight is a bit of a thing right now, and we get it: why have a bag that weighs a ton before you’ve even put anything in it? Enter Osprey’s Levity and Lumina range. These backpacking bags are what they call “superultralight” and both weigh in at under 2lbs (in all sizes). Wow.
The his and hers tag team of Rook and Renn is a relatively new addition to the Osprey family. They’re designed to make overnight travel and hiking comfortable, and come complete with integrated raincover, sleeping bag compartment, and other decent features for a technical pack.
One of the best things about this range of backpacks are the sizes its available in: 44, 33 and 22 litres. This means that, at most, you won’t be carrying loads, and at the least, you’ll have an amazing little daypack. These versatile packs are great for a range of outdoorsy activities.
The Kestrel and Kyte are 48 and 46 litre capacity respectively and are new additions to the Osprey team. These are functional, to-the-point backpacks for those who like to travel light, or just need something simple for a weekend in the countryside or a short term backpacking.
Whilst many of Osprey’s backpacks are quite outdoorsy, the Farpoint and Fairview series is the company’s simple solution for the laptop-wielding digital nomad. Carry-on is not a problem with the 40 litre version, but larger options (55/70L) are perfect for nomads travelling long-term.
Osprey Aether AG 70 Features
Osprey is known for its quality, which is why they’re practically the mainstream leader when it comes to backpacks. They’ve been doing it for a while now to be fair, so they’ve had time to get their formula for comfort, durability and versatility down to a T.
And to strike the perfect balance between these ideals, like pretty much all of Osprey’s backpacks the Aether AG 70 is brimming with features. The myriad features of their backpacks makes Osprey what it is, so let’s see what the Aether’s packing that makes it so good…
No, it’s not that sort of Anti-Gravity – but it’s close. This feature is what gives the Aether it’s ‘AG’ moniker and isn’t necessarily one thing, but a load of different bits and bobs working as a system for ultimate comfort. This bag is made to be versatile, and Osprey want to make anything from mountaineering to plain ol’ backpacking a possibility.
So the Anti-Gravity technology is made up of a holy trinity: the back panel, which is suspended and runs from the lumbar to the upper torso; the harness system; the hip-belt. It all comes down to one thing, which is not having all the weight directly on your back and shoulders, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
- Pro – This means you can carry heavy weights without being too painful
- Con – Fitting the bag can be quite technical and you need to know how to do this to make the AG system work properly
StraightJacket compression system
You can an Osprey bag a mile off, not just from their distinctive shape, but from what most bags – including the Aether AG 70 – have: the StraightJacket compression system.
Rather than having regular compression straps that don’t do a lot except look as though they cut a bag in half, the StraightJacket system compresses the bag as a whole (yes, like a straightjacket) making sure your stuff is tight and secure.
- Pro – You can pack your bag full without splitting seams
- Con – Things can still look quite bulky on the front of the bag
Internal compression straps
For extra slimlining capabilities, there are internal compression straps going on here. You’ll find at the top of the bag; where the StraightJacket compressions system sorts things out horizontally, the internal straps allow you to compress your stuff in a vertical way, just allowing for that extra bit of smooth sailing when it comes to cutting down bulk.
- Pro – You can pack more stuff more effectively
- Con – You know what? We could do with more of these to keep things even more secure
Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
Inside the Aether AG 70, there’s space for you to slot in your very own hydration reservoir. This neat little space fits in a three litre bladder, which is great if you’re hiking and need to keep hydrated on the move. It slips pretty easily into the bag itself and means that you won’t have to worry about lugging around a load of bottles.
- Pro – Means you can streamline your hiking equipment
- Con – It doesn’t actually come with a hydration reservoir, which is kind of disappointing
Top lid entrance
Though backpacks that open like suitcases with clamshell or U-zip openings are pretty popular at the moment, Osprey’s bags often stick to the classic top-loading formula.
Not only are all the extra zips involved with clamshell openings surprisingly heavy, but it also means that you can keep your packing simple and focus on your travels and hiking. After all: it’s a backpack, not a suitcase, and packing it like one makes sense.
- Pro – Simple and unfussy way to pack a bag
- Con – You kind of need to be pretty organised to make this efficient
Zippered top lid pocket
On top of the Aether AG 70 you’ll find another pocket. This is a zippered compartment located on the top lid itself, which is perfect for stashing small items – a map, or a book, say. Since it’s on the very top of the bag, it’s a good place to pack little things that you might need easy access to, like medication or train tickets, for instance.
- Pro – Always nice to have an extra compartment to keep things safe
- Con – It’s hard to access whilst actually wearing the bag, or if it’s packed full
Integrated FlapJacket cover for lidless use
You can actually remove the top lid of this bag. This means you can remove unnecessary bulk and make it lighter. But what then? Don’t worry: there’s a FlapJacket cover that rolls out over the top and still keeps everything safe. Using the Aether in this way makes for a much more streamlined bag.
- Pro – More ways to use a bag is always a plus for us
- Con – The flap doesn’t offer as much protection as the actual lid
So once you’ve removed the top lid, what then? Do you have to pack it into the bag? Do you leave it at home? Well actually, the top lid converts Transformer-style into what Osprey have dubbed the DayLid-Daypack.
This is great value for money since this is a pretty functional little bag itself, perfect if you’ve pitched up your tent and you want to go for a wander. What a bonus!
And Osprey being the company they are, this is less of a gimmick, more a bag in itself with its own features…
Dual access to main compartment
Like a load of Osprey’s bags, they’ve thought this little bag through and there’s access through the top and side of the bag if you want to quickly stash things away. Put your map away, grab a snack. Simple.
The commitment to comfort is still evidenced in the DayLid daypack’s harness. The shoulder straps are Airmesh, the same that’s used on the main bag, and it means the straps themselves are still at least a bit breathable.
With multiple positions (three), the sternum strap can fit to different body sizes, making sure this neat little daypack is nice and secure – and comfortable – when you’re out walking or peak bagging or whatever you’re up to.
Small zippered front pocket
At the front of the bag at the bottom, there’s a zippered front pocket that runs the width of the bag. It’s easy to open and means you can keep yourself organised.
External hydration water reservoir sleeve
Making the DayLid perfectly poised for hiking, there’s a specialised space to fit your water reservoir. You can keep hydrated even with your small daypack that you’ve just taken off your main backpack!
Holds about 10 litres
It’s small, but it’s not a tiny rucksack. This is enough to stash some extra layers, a map, a torch, some snacks – everything you might need for a swift hike.
- Pro – Feels like a bag in itself; would give high marks if sold separately
- Con – If you already own a daypack, this is kind of just extra bulk
J-zip front panel access
Though this bag is top-loading, there is an additional way to access all your stuff. There’s a zipper on the front so you can get to your gear without having to pull everything out. And if you’re really good at packing you’ll be able to place useful things you might need at a moment’s notice at exactly the right place for that pocket.
- Pro – Nice to have an extra way to get to your stuff without too much stressing
- Con – Can be quite fiddly to open up (you have to undo the compression straps to start with)
Sleeping bag compartment
You’ll find a very useful, zippered sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the Aether AG 70. This means there’s enough room for you to cram in your sleeping bag. And to be honest, if you’re not using it for a sleeping bag, this is a good spot to shove some shoes, spare clothes or other equipment.
- Pro – Extra compartments adding organisation: always handy
- Con – You need to make sure your sleeping bag will fit in here
Between the sleeping bag compartment and the main compartment of the bag itself is a divider. It’s removable. So if you don’t feel like using that pocket, you can take the divider out and make the main compartment bigger.
- Pro – Yet another way to use this backpack
- Con – Another specialised interior pocket would have been more useful than this feature
Outer stretch woven pocket
On the outside of the Aether 70 you’ll find the stretch pocket. This is a great place for putting things that you don’t want contaminating the rest of your gear, like wet clothing, dirty socks, or if you’re organised you’ll use this section for something actually useful: flip-flops, gloves, map, phrasebook, things like that.
- Pro – The meshy stretch fabric of the pocket makes things easy to get to
- Con – Things won’t be protected from the elements
Expandable water bottle holsters
On each side of the bag, you’ll find two stretch pockets designed for water bottles. These are made out of elastic and will keep your hydration vessels in place as you hike around. Great side pockets to carry your water bottles.
- Pro – Just means you can carry more water with you if you’re heading to the wilderness
- Con – Can be hard to stash a bottle in these pockets if the bag’s packed full
ISOForm hip belt
The hip belt on the Osprey Aether 70 is designed for comfort. Specifically, it’s referred to as ISOForm, Osprey’s very own technology that basically moulds to your body, making for the most comfortable fit possible.
The hip belt, of course, is part of that Anti-Gravity system, so it’s pretty crucial to how this bag performs with heavy loads.
- Pro – It really makes carrying a big bulk much more easy than without
- Con – You have to know how to fit it properly as it can feel pretty stiff on the hips
Twin zippered hip belt pockets
The zip pockets on the hip belt might be a standard feature for Osprey, but we like that they’re included.
These are surprisingly sizeable (around 7” in length and 4” in height) meaning they’re less gimmicky, and less of an afterthought, than you may be thinking they are.
- Pro – Great for having access to things quickly
- Con – Supposed to be easy but they’re hard to close with one hand
Adjustable torso length for custom fit
The harness on the Aether AG 70 can be moved up or down. That means that this backpack can be made to fit your body size, thus providing the most comfort possible when you’re wearing the bag.
You may need to experiment to find the most comfortable position, but it’s worth doing some research on how to make this bag work for you.
- Pro – Part of the supreme comfort of this backpack
- Con – It’s quite fiddly and you’ll need to know what you’re doing
Twin ice axe loops
A feature that shows that this backpack is ready for adventure at any time is this: the twin ice axe loops. This is a pretty technical pack designed for hiking and travelling, but features like this show just where it can be used – mountaineering and backcountry exploration spring to mind.
The multiple loops sit on the front of the bag with a bungee cord to keep them in place, so they’ll be nice and secure and won’t bother you.
- Pro – Adds extra functionality and versatility to the bag
- Con – If you don’t need to use them they could easily go to waste
The shoulder straps, or harness, of the Aether 70 is one of the stars that make it the super comfortable backpack it is. The shoulder straps themselves are wide, with their Airmesh technology making sure there’s some breathability going on, and moreover, they’re nicely padded, so they’ll won’t dig in too much and make the bag feel like a perfect fit.
- Pro – The shoulder straps really are super comfy
- Con – It won’t be a comfortable fit unless you get the right size bag for you
Breathable mesh back
The back panel of the Osprey Aether AG 70 is suspended from your back itself, meaning there’s room to breathe between you and the backpack. Not having a heavy load directly on your back is not only good for keeping away the sweaty back but having the lumbar and upper torso support really helps distribute any load you may be carrying.
- Pro – Less sweaty and more comfortable than other solutions
- Con – If you get sweaty, you’ll still get sweaty
LightWire aluminium frame
A concept dating back to the backpacks of old, this Osprey backpack features a frame that keeps everything sturdy. The internal frame means that there’s structure to the bag, but it’s kept as light as possible with the company’s “LightWire” aluminium solution.
- Pro – Much better to have the structure than not
- Con – It adds yet more weight to this already heavy bag (over 5 pounds)
Adjustable sternum strap
To keep everything nice and secure on your body, there’s a sternum strap that can be moved up and down for the perfect fit for your body type. This simple feature helps take weight from your shoulders and balances it for extra comfort.
- Pro – You definitely notice a difference when this is in use; much more comfy
- Con – It could be a lot better thought out and more substantial; it’s quite thin
The Osprey Aether 70 might not be 100% waterproof, there’s enough water resistance going on here that means if you get caught in a quick downpour you shouldn’t have to worry about your stuff too much. It’s semi-waterproof, which is better than not waterproof at all.
- Pro – Your things will stay dry in a bit of light rain
- Con – If it’s not 100% waterproof, why is there no raincover included?
There is some durability going on here. We’re about to get technical: there’s 201D nylon dobby material as well as 201D high tenacity Nylon Shadow Box, with the bottom of the pack constructed out of 500D Nylon Packcloth. Needless to say, this is pretty durable pack is able to take multiple scuffs and scrapes.
- Pro – Won’t be breaking on you anytime soon
- Con – It adds extra weight to the backpack
Female fit version available
The Aether is a male-fit backpack, but if you’re digging the features so far and you’re female, never fear! There is a version of this backpack out there for you. It’s called the Ariel. The equivalent in the range is the Ariel AG 65. It’s got all the same features but has been designed with a female frame in mind.
- Pro – Great to have availability of custom fits for different body types
- Con – 65? What happened to the other 5 litres?
Comes in four sizes
Though the Aether AG 70 is already a pretty customizable backpack when it comes to different body types, there are also four different sizes you can choose from to ensure that you get the best fit for you. Those sizes are small, medium, large and extra large.
- Pro – Can make this already comfortable backpack even more comfortable
- Con – It’s mainly about height, not about shoulder, chest or neck width
Comes in different colours
We love things being available in different colours, so it’s pretty cool that you’re able to choose different colours (not just black) here too. Those colours are the awesomely named Neptune Blue, Adirondack Green, and Outback Orange.
- Pro – Always nice to have a little bit of personality going on
- Con – We wish there were more colours since it’s a super popular pack
All Mighty Guarantee
Osprey have really bumped up the guarantee game with what they’re calling their “All Mighty Guarantee”. We have to admit, it’s a pretty awesome guarantee – and it applies to the Aether AG 70, too.
What does it mean? Any fault or breakage, Osprey will repair or replace your bag for you. Amazing. This is definitely Osprey putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to their bag’s durability.
- Pro – Definitely better than having to fork out money for a new bag
- Con – It won’t cover you if you damage the bag yourself, so take care of it
Final Thoughts on the Osprey Aether AG 70
This backpack may not be Osprey’s cheapest. But then again, does that matter? It’s not like the relatively affordable Atmos, which is good for a first-time traveller out to see the world. This is a technical pack designed with outdoors adventure in mind.
Naturally, it’s comfy. That’s Osprey all over. The comfortable fit, the Anti-Gravity system, the shoulder straps, all of it means you can be carrying a pretty heavy load without worrying if it’s going to get overly painful.
This is perfect for a hiking backpack. You’re going to be carrying the Aether 70 pretty much all the time, so having anything less than comfortable would be basically unacceptable. For real.
It might not have the carry-on capabilities that smaller packs have, it may not look all urban and cool, it might not hold your tablet, but this is a pack that does its job well. It isn’t about being small, fashionable, or perfect for digital nomads.
Keen hikers, the peak baggers out there, backcountry adventurers and those who love landscapes over laptops, the Aether AG 70 is the pack for you.
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