Light Weight Lower straps don’t hold their spot
Adjustable torso few strap attachments
Removable day pack
Front and top loading
I recently upgraded from my old but trusty external frame Kelty Tioga to the Osprey Aether(Ariel for women) 85 because external frames are difficult to fit into luggage compartments while traveling. However, this pack has impressed me in more than how I can stow it.
First off, Osprey is wonderful about listening to what people say should be improved. My friend that I am traveling with has the generation before mine, and there are some substantial upgrades including a belt for the removable day pack, a better strap system, and a front load opening.
The OA85 surprised me, mainly because I have never used internal frames for any long trips, but also because of how simple the features seem when integrated with this pack. The adjustable torso is a very nice feature, especially when you share packs with friends a lot. It is simple and easy, and makes all the difference in the world for carrying your load.
The front and top load system of this pack is wonderful. Not having to pull everything out, especially in the rainy spring of the Alps, was a feature that I really appreciated. It was not in earlier models, but makes a huge difference in keeping a pack organized. It also makes it easier to see what you are looking for.
This pack is great for compressing your load. It has several buckles on the front that can also attach to the side in order to compress even small loads close to your back.
The main problem I found right off, is that you might want to consider getting the belt off the argon(or the xenon if you are a lady), which I have heard many other people do. While the belt that comes with it is nice for light treks, it is not very substantial and doesn’t hold its lower adjustment very well. It does form to your body well, but does not have a whole lot of padding.
An unfortunate thing that happened, is that a broke the holding strap. It just came off in my hand when I was trying to put it back on my back. Granted the pack has been pretty stressed on this trip since it is carrying 50lbs, but a lot of the straps have been stressed and are fraying. Unless you are traveling for 3 months with lots of camera gear, some hiking, some city surfing, I suggest a maximum of 35lbs.
Other things are mainly parts that I would like to see improved and miss from my Kelty. Another set of side pockets would be nice for things that you need to access regularly while you are hiking. I was surprised by the lack of things available to tie sleeping bags, pads, and tents to on the outside.
Overall the Pack has a lot of great features and can fit just about anyone. I have been very impressed with the simplicity and light weight of this pack.
For more information check out: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/mens/aether_series