Osprey Aether 70 Review – The Long Term Travel Backpack

The Osprey Aether 70 is a backpack that I personally used for 3 months traveling throughout Europe. Normally, on vintage backpacks we only review vintage style backpacks. However, I want to review this design of the Aether 70 because I have a lot of experience with it.
Let me explain why the Aether 70 is an excellent choice for any type of long term travel.

Osprey Aether 70 Review - Full Size

Osprey Aether 70 Review

My Experience Using This Travel Backpack

This past fall in September of 2015 I backpacked around Europe with Aether 70. I started off in Italy and then into France. And then I started the Camino De Santiago which is a pilgrimage across northern Spain. This was the meat and potatoes of my trip using the Aether 70. I used it staying in hostels throughout different countries and walking long distances throughout the cities. The Camino De Santiago alone was 500 miles (880 km). So I got a very good grasp of how quality this backpack is.

Osprey Aether 70 Review - Me on the Camino De Santiago

Where to purchase it?

I purchased this Osprey design at REI for close to $250. Currently on Amazon, you can get it for as low as $202. But you should be able to get it at pretty much any big sporting goods store you can find. Osprey is one of the leaders if not the very best of travel backpacks on the market.  Two hundred might seem like a lot of money for a backpack, but when you factor in the amount of features that are included on the Aether 70 it is actually pretty cheap.

What did I like about using the Osprey Aether 70?

Space, Space, and More Space

The first thing that really stuck out at me was the amount of space that this design provides. I used it for 2 months out of the 3 months I was in Europe, and carried a TON of items! Sleeping bag, padding for camping, 5 days worth of clothes, extra pair of shoes, and for a while I even had some whey protein.

It has one huge main compartment on the front of the backpack that can be accessed two different ways. From the open section on the top that has a draw string or from the front side of the backpack with a double zipper. It’s nice not just having one pocket that you can access the same area from. Because most of the time you will have the head cover snapped in over top the drawstring section. You will be using the front zipper section to access the large main compartment the most as it is easily the most accessible.

The next biggest sections are either the top head cover or the front pocket that is in front of the main compartment. The front pocket doesn’t have a zipper but rather a strap that you can snap into the top drawstring section. The head cover which covers the top draw string section is about the same size, but gives you another option to carry a wide assortment of items.

On the backside you have another tight section that you can fit items such as shirt or maybe a blanket. It is a tight fit, but you should be able to at least get an item or two in there.

Osprey Aether 70 Review- Backside

The two hip pockets are EXTREMELY convenient. I was able to carry my Iphone 6, all of my change, my wallet, charger, and passport in these pockets comfortably. It was nice to not have to open up all of the larger compartments for these items or stick them in my pocket.

Osprey Aether 70 Review - Side Pockets

The last place you can store items are the side pockets.  I love the fact that you can fit a full size water bottle in them easily.

Space was the biggest convenience brought to me by the Osprey Aether 70.

Osprey Aether 70 Review - Inside

Straps

Arguably the biggest feature of the Aether 70 are the amount of straps that allow you to do different things. I probably didn’t use the backpack in the most optimal way to be completely honest. Every section allows you to tighten or loosen that aspect of the backpack to make it fit perfectly. You can easily tighten the hip section, the shoulder straps, the head section in order to distribute the weight closer or farther back, and tighten the actual items in the pack to make it overall more narrow.




If you aren’t sure how to do this part, then check out the youtube video at the bottom. “ReviewOutdoorGear” does an excellent job explaining how to make the Aether 70 fit perfectly.

Durability

This is the only true travel backpack I have owned. But it was extremely durable. I don’t know how many times I had been walking for 15 miles and took off my pack and just threw it on the ground. But I never believed that the pack was going to fall apart one time. I walked through rain plenty of times and nothing inside ever got wet. It’s definitely the type of pack that is a one time purchase and you will be able to use it for ten years down the line.

Weight distribution

This goes back to the straps section. If you are able to configure all of the straps perfectly and make everything comfortable, you can get the weight distribution just right. This is a tougher task than you would imagine though.

What I didn’t like about the Osprey Aether 70

Not being comfortable all the time

This by no means is a knock on the overall design. It is more likely that I either got the wrong fitting or that I wasn’t using it totally correctly. But if I was walking for a long period of time with it on, the hip straps would slowly sink lower and lower. About every half of a mile I would have to pull them back up to even with my hip bone. This was after making it as tight as possible.

For some of the Camino De Santiago I would walk without the hip straps on at all! This isn’t how the backpack is designed. And so it was very uncomfortable. My advice is to make sure you watch the Youtube video I have placed at the bottom of this post and to make sure everything is fit perfectly. Then it will work amazing.

Plane Rides

Hopefully when you are traveling you aren’t going to be boarding to many planes with this design. If you are planning on carrying it on the plane you might have some issues. First, they might make you check the bag because it is a very large. Second, there is a good chance that you are going to smack someone in the face walking down the aisle.

Your best bet is to take the pack off and snap the hip belt sides together. Then tighten it as much as possible. When you are walking down the aisle carry it in front of you. This ensures that the hip pockets aren’t going to flap everywhere and you can control it better when the backpack is in front of you.

Osprey Aether 70 Review Final Verdict

I think I made it pretty clear that as long as you get the correct instruction before you buy the backpack it is an excellent choice for long term travel. Make sure you don’t just purchase the backpack and assume like you will be able to figure everything out like I did. Because even if there is one little thing off, it could cause some uncomfortable weight distribution issues that could trickle down to physical issues while you are walking.

If you are interested in buying this pack or want to grab more information about the product features then check it out through this link to Amazon. Or I highly recommend that you check out the video below.

If you are interested in another pack that is similar to the Osprey Aether 70, you might want to check out the Gregory Baltoro Mountain Backpack.  It is an excellent alternative to the Aether 70 according to some other reviews.

Another good place to look at other people’s opinions on the Osprey Aether 70 is on trailspace.com. Here are some alternative reviews to Amazon.


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