Osprey 70 vs 85

Posted by: KCScout

Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/24/14 10:34 PM

I really like the Osprey backpacks. I like the design, construction, everything especially for what I might ever do which may not ever be that much. My 'excuse' is that my son may some day do Philmont and they need backpacks and it recommends 75L min for internal packs. and I really only want to go internal pack.

Someone recently told me that the 70L would be more than adequate to fit my needs, but for only $20 difference I could have a larger pack but everyone says "Don't get too large of a pack or you will just pack too much in there" But I also hear that food, gear, etc. can take up a large amount of space...

I don't see myself ever being an 'ultra light' backpacker, I don't plan on cutting off tags or straps to save miniscule ozs on my pack. I did however buy an UL tent, Sleeping bag, and pad, as well as water purification system, and other things needed for backpacking, with the last thing being needed is the backpack!! :-)

I checked the Osprey site and they say the 70 is good for 3-7 day trips and the 85 is good for 5-10 day trips. REI's web site shows 2-5 nights needing 60-80L packs and 5+ days needing 80+ size packs. Seems a bit confusing.

Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 07:22 AM

Recommendations are just guesses. The only way to know if a given size is right is to go to the store with all the gear you need for a given trip, plus the food you'll be carrying (or an approximation), plus the largest amount of water you'll carry. Load it into the pack or packs you like, and walk around the store a while. (Call ahead and see when they aren't overly busy; you don't want to be spreading stuff all over the floor when they're crowded.)

As you look at packs, pay as much attention to the suspension as you do to the volume. Get too skimpy a suspension and you'll suffer for it every day, all day. (Another argument for loading it up and walking around for a while.)

I know folks who could travel for a week with a 50L pack; I can make a 60L pack work for that. Nowadays, there are just too many variables to deal with to make a blanket recommendation that's accurate.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 11:58 AM

I can see not becoming an ultra-light backpacker, but it pays to become a light weight backpacker. This is more about what is left home than the weight of the gear you take. This is one of the nuggets of wisdom a person on this forum gave me.

If your son may someday go to Philmont, chances are he will need a pack sized for him. That's an excuse to get another pack later. I read you can rent a pack at Philmont for $18, so if they have a reasonable selection, that is an avenue to save money. It pays to give the kids a big pack so you can keep up with them.

To give you an example of how well leaving things home can work, I cut my pack weight from 43 pounds to about 26 -28 pounds for a 5 day trip. I carry a three person tent for two of us, so that adds an extra 3 pounds or so. I use an external frame pack and inexpensive gear. The only thing that is ultra-light is my plastic spork.

Little things can have a big impact. For instance, for a camp towel, I use a 6 x 6 inch square of yellow camp towel. I carry one for me and one for dishes. Don't bring a whole roll of toilet paper if half or a quarter roll will be enough.

Your extra pair of socks can be a lightweight sock liner for wear around the camp while you wash your others. Be sure to test drying time on your hiking socks. Many socks will "hike dry," so it's not a big deal if they get wet. (SmartWool stays wet indefinitely. Thorlo socks hike dry pretty well.)

There is no reason for a pot bigger than 2 cups with an aluminum foil pot lid. You can use the aluminum foil from the sandwich you eat a couple hours into the trip.

Plan EVERY meal and snack, and keep each day in a separate 1 gallon Ziploc. The goal is to arrive home on empty, or close to it. Even if you run out, you won't starve in a couple days. (People with sugar problems should follow their doctor's advice.) The rule of thumb is 1.5 pounds for every full day, and about 1 pound for half days. I usually have 81 grams of oatmeal for the last day and no snacks if I can make it out by lunch. I leave some food in the car so I have something to eat for lunch.

Repack all freeze dried meals. It saves a surprising amount of bulk and weight.

Use 700 ml plastic bottles (the kind that come with free water) for carrying water. I usually carry 4 bottles, but only fill one or two. The extras are for filling in camp.

Camelbaks are heavy, and if you ever hike in temperatures around 10 degrees, the water freezes in the hose. Many times you won't need to carry more than 700 ml of water, and most of the Camelback will be wasted weight.

One trick to packing the sleeping bag is to put a strong plastic bag in the bottom of the pack and push the sleeping bag into it. This allows the bag to conform to the shape of the pack. It also saves the weight of the compression sack.

In my opinion, you should get a postal scale and a fish scale. Weigh ALL your gear individually, and weigh it together. Include food and whatever water you have to carry. Then go on "gram hunts" and try to eliminate a few grams at a time. You'd be surprised at how quickly they add up to pounds.

Packs tend to be filled with a weight equal to about 0.7 times the number of liters. If you carry a big pack and have room, someone else will try to fill it for you with their extra gear. Using this formula, you should be able to make do with a Osprey Talon 44 for 2 or 3 days. In my opinion, 50 liters is about the biggest you need for the longer trips, unless you are packing winter gear.

Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 07:27 PM

It kind of depends on your gear. If you're camping in cold weather and bring a big down sleeping bag and a big down jacket than a bigger pack might make sense for you.

I backpack here mostly in cool to cold temps and I can squeeze, and I do mean squeeze, 3 nights into an Osprey 44. Since food is the only thing I'd need to stay longer, I'd think a 70 would work good for a week long trip for most anyone in most instances. If you'll be doing longer trips than maybe the 85 is the right choice for you.

The Osprey pack will cinch up pretty nice when it's not jammed full, so if the weight difference is minimal and you'll use it on longer trips, the 85 may be the ticket.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 09:42 PM

Big packs are great for winter and very long trips. If you can, take all of your gear with you when you look at packs and see what fits. I took a fairly small pack to NZ years ago (a North Face Moraine, 4400 ci/72L) on an extended trip and it was fine. My bag was a Cat's Meow which took up a fair amount of space.

The ultimate answer is "it depends." If I was replacing my current pack, I'd buy the big one, but I winter camp, so the extra space would come in handy (my parka packs down to the size of a sleeping bag, so it's like carrying two bags).
Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 10:07 PM

Meanwhile I fit 5 days stuff and food for 2 in my osprey Exos 48, just depends on how compact your gear is.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/25/14 10:08 PM

For what it's worth, the main part of my pack is 40 liters, and even with a 10-day food supply I've never used any of the extension collar. I am a lightweight backpacker but definitely not ultralight.

As mentioned, you should box up your gear and gather the equivalent in weight and bulk of a week's food and a day's water before you head for the store. (Make an appointment with the store and ask for their most experienced fitter.) The pack needs to fit your gear and fit you with your gear inside.

All those recommendations are pure guesswork as they have no way of knowing what you carry. (Nor do we, for that matter.)

Don't expect your pack to fit your son any more than you'd expect your shoes to fit him. Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit.
Posted by: JPete

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/26/14 09:34 PM

Just to reinforce Oregon Mouse: I've thru hiked the AT with 40L and never really felt tight until I got to Maine and needed ten days of food and a warmer jacket, but even then I got it all in.

best, jcp
Posted by: KCScout

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/27/14 05:42 PM

In my case I went to a local Moosejaw with all intentions of getting the Aether 85. It is only 1-2 oz more in weight, but has 15L of more space in it. Speaking of which... how do they figure volume so far as what can I visualize getting into 15L of space in a backpack? I know it isn't 7 2-liter bottles of pop although that would equate to ~15 L

I checked with a number of places and in my case I used something like Philmont as the 'baseline' for what I might need as I would probably never do a bigger backpacking adventure than that... However, I know that they refuel (more food, etc.) every 4 days, and a lot of people actually suggested not going bigger than the Aether 60L!

I think the 2-3 problems I had were
1. Buyers remorse... any time you spend that much money on something you want to make sure you got the right thing.
2. The 85L is only an oz or so more and only about $20 more but seems to offer a ton more space.
3. I probably tend to be like most novices and pack too much

Reality is the person at the store convinced me to go with the 70L for the very fact that he said I should have no problem packing enough for 7 days... If you can squeeze 10 days out of it that would be even better, but I don't plan on going 10 days anywhere where I have to have everything for the entire length of time...

As a side note, from another local high end camping store, I got 'free' (quite nice) an osprey day pack that says it is a 20L pack. Just for being my birthday month. Seems extremely tiny in comparison, but someone said I could always strap a day pack on the back of the Aether 70 if I needed to for 'extra' stuff... my logical thought would be get a pack that is big enough in the first place versus bailing wire/duct taping a solution. I found some boy scout sites with recommendations and a lot of them steered towards the 65L pack although the Philmont web site says they recommend 75L size as a minimum internal pack size.

I have a long ways to go to get experienced with backpacking, but looking forward to it. Part of me still thinks the 85L would be nice with no worries on space, but all of the more experienced people have basically said that it was WAY too big for what I need.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/27/14 11:52 PM

Originally Posted By JPete
Just to reinforce Oregon Mouse: I've thru hiked the AT with 40L and never really felt tight until I got to Maine and needed ten days of food and a warmer jacket, but even then I got it all in.

I don't know how you guys do that. I can't seem to get anywhere near that.
Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/28/14 09:36 AM

Here is my Exos 48 with 5 days food for two and all my gear, including a puffy jacket.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/28/14 11:18 AM

The biggest space taker upper in a novice's pack is the sleeping bag. The reason most experienced backpackers can fit a lot of gear in a small pack is because they buy the nice sleeping bags that compress really well. Even a cheap down bag compresses really well. After that comes clothes, food/kitchen, and shelter. The smaller you make all those, the less room you need.
Posted by: JPete

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/28/14 12:06 PM


Obviously there are a number of posters here who could answer your question, notably Mouse and rockchucker, but since you asked me I'll try to give you a bit of an answer.

The first thing is philosophy: I camp in order to hike. I have friends for whom it's the other way around and they enjoy the outdoors just as much as I do, but in a different way. Their packs tend to be about 16-18 kilos and large (60 to 80 litres).

Along the same line, I'm a lot older, as you know, and continuing to hike is dependent on my getting my pack weight down...way down. And because I love to hike, I do it, even if I have a few moments of discomfort here and there (like wet gloves in an icy rain, or not quite enough clothes on a cold night. I do have pockets and a sleeping bag and my gloves dry quickly).

I use a very light poncho and bivy (but not Cuban) and a NeoAir (which forms the support in my very light pack) as my shelter. My sleeping bag weighs a pound and seems to take very little room stuffed into the bottom of my pack (protected by a trash bag that is usually my ground cover). I also have several wire stakes and enough cord to pitch the poncho in several different ways, using my hiking poles, plus about a dozen or so meters for hanging food.

I do also carry a rain suit, mostly for wind and also to have something to wear at the laundramat. I have extra socks (light wool), a spare pair of drawers, a set of silk long johns, two hats (one for light rain/sun, a fleece one for sleeping). I also have a small piece of artificial toweling that I use more often than I thought I would, and a down vest.

My cooking gear is an old Boy Scout cook kit pot in a very light nylon bag (homemade). In it are my ty spork, a plastic cup that has useful volume marks, a tiny folding ty Esbit stove, an aluminum foil ground cover and an aluminum flashing wind screen. Oh, and a bit of green plastic scrubber and the little nylon bag I use (with stones) to throw my food bag line.

I also have the usual ditty bag. A tiny Swiss Army knife with scissors, tiny, one aaa cell, Maglight, a headlamp, extra batteries, whistle, wrist compass, an extra small Bic,a few first aid items and the like (usually this stuff is in my pockets, the compass on my watchband). In bug season I carry Off and my clothes are treated with both water repellant and Pymethrin.

I carry four or five 500 or 750 ml ex soda bottles for water and I use the drops for purifying.

Another factor: Like Oregon Mouse and others, I can't really eat a whole lot more than half a kg of food in a day. A full day's rations plus tissues and Esbit come to just about that and fit comfortably in a one litre Ziplock. I pack/repack most of my food in plastic bags.

That's about all there is. This is long, hope it helped. Oh, I also have a head net and a sleeping net that I carry when the Canadian air force is out in force.

Best, jcp

OH, PS for Bill. I loaded my pack up to about 7 or 8 kilos and went for a real (lotsa water, rough trail) hike the other day with my trainer. Stayed on my feet all the way. It was only 2.1 km, and it took us most of an hour. Can't tell you how much I enjoyed it.

Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/28/14 12:50 PM

I would ignore what REI says you need for a certain length trip. Or any other estimate for that matter.

I want most of my gear to fit INSIDE my backpack. I carry water bottles and my crocks (use for stream crossings) on the outside, and fishing pole when I take it. I do not carry sleeping pad or tent strapped on the outside. This is because I do mostly off-trail travel and do not want to damage or loose gear. Additionally, strapped on gear can make your pack off-balance, particularly if it swings around. IF you think you will have to strap on gear on the outside of the smaller pack, I would go with the larger, given the little difference in weight or price.

That said, the pack I mostly use is about 60-65 liters. That goes for a 13 day trip, including a bear canister on the inside. Because most the areas I hike require a bear canister I cannot use the 40-liter packs. I have a Bearikade Weekender and have to bring it even for a 2-3 day trip, so the volume requirement is not much different than for a 9 day trip. If I have to carry other peoples gear (taking the kids, etc) I go to an external frame Kelty pack that I have stripped down and modified to weigh about 3.5 pounds.

You should buy the pack, take it home, and inside the house spend some time packing it, trying many different methods and gear locations. Packs with the same volume can pack very differently depending on how the volume is distributed - all one compartment, shape of compartment (more square or more rectangular) several, how many pockets, side of pockets relative to the size of gear you wish to put inside the pockets. Pockets are frustrating to me- never the right size! If it does not work, return the pack and get another.

A larger volume pack is not necessarily bad as long as you are disciplined at not filling it up every time just because it fits!

Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/28/14 09:24 PM

The first thing is philosophy: I camp in order to hike. I have friends for whom it's the other way around and they enjoy the outdoors just as much as I do, but in a different way. Their packs tend to be about 16-18 kilos and large (60 to 80 litres).

That makes sense. I'm kind of in between that. It's my clothes and food that take up a lot of my space, but I don't like being cold and/or wet. I was doubly reminded of the cold part this past winter.

I've gotten used to both, and played in them both a lot, but if I get to have my druthers nowadays I'll take being warm and dry almost every time. Guess I 'm getting soft. blush

As for the food, for some reason I always pack more than I need. Always have. I'm a lot better than I used to be but I could always carry a lot back, so maybe I underestimate what I can squeeze out of what I bring.

Posted by: KCScout

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 10:24 AM

--- Less buyers remorse now and some updated information.

I'm fortunate enough to have an official Boy Scout headquarters / store in my area. I stopped by there yesterday and I could have probably talked gear with one of the guys in there all day... unfortunately we only had about 30 minutes...

I think some of the web sites may be out of date for Philmont because now I got the impression that the kids really don't need more than a 60L pack and potentially even the case with me. So bottom line staying with the 70L pack should be more than sufficient so I don't have to rush out to return it for the larger pack. The one scout leader also helped demonstrate how to make the pack 'bigger' which I now understand when you un-cinch all of the different pieces, etc. then it makes for a lot more space than I realized.

** Here is one of his big recommendations that I think is a good one to try to use ** He mentioned that his son and him would pack and use their backpack for their regular campouts. So typically those are the equivalent of car camping, but it put them in the habit of taking all of the gear that they needed in their backpack so they formed the habit of what to take and how to pack their stuff in the pack. I may have to try doing that as well. Fun way to pack all of my gear for a weekend getaway / campout. Of course typically I just take a duffel bag and fit almost everything I need in there.

One lucky thing for me is that early on I went completely overboard on a sleeping bag and got a Western Mountaineering 20 degree Alpinlite bag that I just checked and weights just a little over 1 lb (21 oz) I have a compression sack with it that I never use, but would for backpacking Its a 6'6" bag (I'm tall) and need space, but amazingly compressible and I really like the quality put into Western Mountaineering. I have picked up a lot of my other gear recently such as a MSR universal stove, water filter, UL tent (Although I have a 3 person UL tent because I plan on getting a lot of use out of it and going back to enjoying my comfort / space. Complete packed weight of the tent is 4 lbs... if I go to a solo or 2 man 'rated' tent I could probably knock that in half easily, but sometimes they are not big enough for length or would be more cramped that I would typically enjoy having, plus my theory is that the UL 3 would be big enough to share with 1 other person 3 max inside if we really like each other on a camping excursion.

Now all I need to do is get out and find where I can go to try out the backpacking and see if I can talk someone in going with me.

---> Speaking of which since the dehydrated food looks like it can get expensive, suggestions on the best place to buy it for cost savings?
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 10:41 AM

If you have an Alpenlite....you won't need more than 60L for sure. I am still dreaming of an Alpenlite...someday. smile

I have been in scouts for a long time...I wouldn't trust anyone in the store for advice on backpacking gear. That's just me.

Oh yes...almost forgot...BPL has a Philmont section. You can ask really pointed questions, and get very detailed answers from people who have gone recently. I was there in 95, so it's been a while.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 12:22 PM

Freeze dried food is outrageously expensive and there are few calories in it. You can do better in a supermarket and have better quality.

While hiking, I find I need 3,000 calories a day, which I pack into 1.5 pounds. I only carry one serving of oatmeal for the last day if I can make it out by noon. I may carry a sandwich to eat in the first hour or two of the trip.

About 3 years ago, I made a website with some recipies. The prices are outdated. Even if you don't like the recipes, it may give you some idea. Try all recipes at home first. There are some recipes for home cooking mixed in.


Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 01:18 PM

I'm not sure I'd use "fortunate" in connection with the BSA stores, unless they've gotten a lot better in recent years. Quality and selection both seemed second-tier to me; price seemed first-tier, though. I found it better to stick with the commercial outlets, including REI.

I've never differentiated much between car camping and backpacking; I use my backpack gear for both, mostly because it's a simple, convenient way to go. I'm never uncomfortable when I backpack, so I'm never uncomfortable when I have the amenities of a campground (like running water, flush toilets, and picnic tables.) I even pack up and carry the full pack on day trips, just for the practice.

You'll love the Alpinlite. I once used it when the temperature fell to zero: I had WM Flash pants and jacket, and down booties, which I wore inside my Alpinlite bag, and stayed toasty warm all night. (I was on a NeoAir All Season pad, and there was a skiff of snow on the ground.)

As far as food, I often use the freeze-dried stuff for convenience; I'd probably use it on a longer trip simply for variety and flavor (yes, it's freeze-dried, but there is some actual flavor in it - especially the Enertia brand.) However, on impromptu overnighters, or quick weekend trips, I often eat a very simple dinner: a cup of Minute Rice, some lemon pepper seasoning (to taste), and a 4-oz. foil packet of tuna, salmon, or chicken (you can adjust quantities to fit your appetite; these work for me.) I boil enough water to rehydrate the rice and seasoning, add the tuna, and top it with some shredded parmesan cheese. A little bland, but tasty enough and pretty simple. I buy the heavier ziplocs like freeze-dried comes in at the local outfitter's, so I can simply add the water to the rice to rehydrate, then eat from the bag. Simplifies cleanup a bunch: just dry out my pot. I wouldn't necessarily want to eat that meal for a week, but it's not hatefully expensive and good enough for a night or two. You could substitute ramen noodles or cous-cous for the rice, I suppose. (I'll have to try that one of these days.)

You can try out backpacking almost anywhere. Just to be able to get out at the last minute, I'll frequently go to the local state park, which has about 10 miles of hiking trails and a car campground. You can camp anywhere if you don't light fires (no smoke to investigate) and you're willing to risk the fine (or the head ranger used to be one of your Boy Scouts), but if you go off season, the car campground is usually deserted. I follow your recommendation about using backpacking gear and technique and simply "simulate" a backpack trip: I hike the trail system all day with my pack, eat lunch on the trail, filter water from the creeks, and end up back at the campground where I cook dinner and sleep. (There's no rule that says you have to use those showers or picnic tables - though you should use the toilets.) I lock the car when I arrive at the park, and don't unlock it until I'm ready to leave; I pretend it's a big rock. It's a good way to practice for a "real" trip.

Sounds like you've got your head on pretty straight; enjoy the trip to Philmont.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 02:50 PM

Check out this site: trailcooking.com
It has lots of recipes for preparing food using supermarket ingredients with little or no cooking. It also has instructions for dehydrating your own food, which I do a lot of.

There is also a "Lite Food Talk" section on this site.

You can buy freeze-dried ingredients in bulk from a number of firms (Packit Gourmet is my favorite, but there are others), which I use for some veggies (home-dehydrated peas stay the consistency of buckshot), some meats and, for longer trips where I want to save weight, fruit.

Be sure to try out any meals (whether home-dried or commercial) at home first! (See above comment about the home-dried peas!)
Posted by: KCScout

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/29/14 03:18 PM

Haven't purchased any gear from BSA... just picked up a book from there on backpacking and written by someone that advocates ultra light but also supposed to take you through everything you need to know from pack to gear, to hiking, etc.

I typically go in store or online to a lot of different places such as backcountry, rei, backwoods, moosejaw, sunny sports, bass pro, cabelas...

The fortunate thing that I was thinking about was that I could talk to someone that actually had experience backpacking Philmont or other high adventure trips. Yeah I can always find my gear elsewhere and usually just go there if my son needs a new advancement patch or something similar.

The bummer is that I'm not sure if I will ever get a chance to go to philmont depending on my son's committment level and when the troop goes next, but there are a couple of Dad's that have still helped out with the troop long after their son's completed their eagle scouts / scouting.

My theory is that I'm going to plan some nature hikes and backwoods camping whether or not he stays in. I did a lot of camping as a kid and it was all with my dad at the lake and outside of any scout activities.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 05/30/14 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By KCScout

The fortunate thing that I was thinking about was that I could talk to someone that actually had experience backpacking Philmont or other high adventure trips. Yeah I can always find my gear elsewhere and usually just go there if my son needs a new advancement patch or something similar.

I probably should have given you a link.
BPL Philmont
BPL Backpacking light with scouts

Check out these two forums. They are filled with people who do it all the time...with scouts.
Posted by: Calico

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 06/13/14 01:45 AM

I find the bigger the bag the more one tends to pack. Smaller bags make you really think about what is needed. ounces=pounds=pain
Posted by: TomD

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 06/15/14 03:30 AM

As I mentioned, I winter camp. I not only carried my pack, I also have towed a sled with most of my stuff in it. I am by myself, so no sharing the load with anyone. It is all a matter of how comfortable you want to be. In my case, the answer is "as comfortable as possible" given my gear. Could I get along with a lot less? Probably. Do I want to? Not really.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 06/15/14 07:15 PM

I more often see too small packs with tons of gear hanging off the outside. No sense getting the smaller pack if all you are going to do is tie stuff on the outside. The larger pack is obviously more versatile. All you have to do is practice some self-discipline for trips where it is over-sized.
Posted by: AdventureMyk

Re: Osprey 70 vs 85 - 06/16/14 01:06 PM

I'm in an odd position in that I camp year round so the larger pack was what I was looking for. After some research and playing at the local shops I settled on the Aether 70 or Xenith 75 series from Osprey as my best bets. There were two reasons: One, my primary gear is set up for kayaking which has lots of space but is not exactly heavy. It just doesn't compress. IE: Takes up lots of space. The second being that I do camp in winter so as the sleeping bag and tent get smaller/lighter (budget allowing) I can put more winter apparel in. That was the plan at any rate.

The day before I went in to spring for it an Aether 85 came up on Craigslist literally 2 miles from my home. It was the '12 model so it has the inside reservoir and lacked the nifty pockets on the waist belt but otherwise is pretty much the same pack. After being told it was dirty from his 5 winter hikes I was still curious. When I got there it looked like it was cleaner than some still sitting in the shops with the tags on it! $100 later I had a nice new pack that was larger than I intended.

Even with the extra size and being a backpacking newbie I knew not to fill it completely. I ended up doing so anyhow as my partners 32 liter pack borrowed from her son barely held her oversized old sleeping bag and clothes. Yep, 85 liters worth of pretty much the entire camp was strapped to my back for a 7.5 mile in and 9.5 mile out pretty much vertical hike. My first backpacking trip... Yeah, gotta start with the rough ones, right?

I can only say that the pack, 50+lbs and all, performed well beyond my expectations! No sore spots, no rubbing, no odd balances, etc. It did everything I asked it to and when I needed to add a few things she couldn't carry it swallowed them with room to spare. As the upgrades come I will still use this pack without hesitation. Yes it's a little heavier than a smaller bag but not likely by much. The compression straps on the outside easily make it smaller when it's not full so it would act like a smaller bag.

Maybe I'm unique in that I'm not counting grams or springing $750 for an item 3 ounces less than the $75 item, but it works for me. The only thing that I keep in mind is I'd much rather have a larger bag and NOT need the space than find myself having to leave things that I would use because I can't carry them in a smaller bag. I've learned the hard way over the years not to rely on others to portage their own items as I inevitably end up as the pack-mule. <sigh>

That said, as soon as the other upgrades are made an Aether 70 is definitely on the buy list if not the 60 for summer use.