A few days before we go to Sweden, we load our backpack to check if we got everything and if it fits in the backpack. My backpack is a little bit too tight for our 18-day backpacking trip in Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet.During our previous hikes I used a Haglöfs Matrix 60, but this time, it’s too small. And it’s not possible to attach gear on the outside. Because we got a few days of bushwhacking. We took a look at our local outdoor shop the Kariboe, for a bigger backpack. They got the Osprey Aether 60 in stock. He fits me perfect, and Osprey had convinced me already very positive during our hikes in Scotland. Mattias lends me a smaller Osprey backpack to test it in the mountains. But the strange thing is that the volume of the backpack should be the same. But we are sure that the Osprey Aether 60 is bigger than the Haglöfs. We ask if we can try it at home with our own gear. This was no problem. Once we are back home we test the backpack, and it seems not only bigger, it is bigger! I can put a lot of extra gear in it. First, I thought to order the 70-litre version when we were at the shop. But I’m happy that I tested the 60L version first because it’s big enough to fit everything in it. And they couldn’t deliver the 70L version in such a short time because three days later we start our backpacking trip in Sweden. But the 60L version is just perfect!
Once we are hiking I notice that the backpack wears very comfortably 25 kg. The frame, back panel, and waist belt are also a lot sturdier than the Haglöfs backpack. The Haglöfs backpack had a maximum limit of 20 kg.The back panel ‘Airscape’ is ventilated before I had regularly a wet back. But now this problem is solved for the most situations. As usually like most of the trekking backpacks the back panel is adjustable to the length of the back. The backpack is available in medium and large. Behind the back panel, there is a space provided to put in a water bag. So the water bag is outside of the main compartment. There is a little buckle provided to fasten the water bag, but I personally found it easier to use the large buckle as you can see on the picture. This method is especially useful when you use a platypus. The shoulder straps are provided with a system ‘Stow-on-the-Go’to store your walking poles, without having to take off the backpack. The feature I have not used since I almost always use my walking sticks. The sternum strap is also equipped with an emergency whistle.
The hip belt is moulded from different foam layers ‘ IsoForm CM ™ ‘ for a better fit. This is available in the sizes (S, M, L and XL) so that these can be tailored specifically to your hip. The hip belt can also be completely disconnected. This can be useful for transporting the backpack in the plane. The hip belt is also provided with a side pocket on each side. These are really big, they stock a lot of small items. I missed these pockets on my Haglöfs backpack.
The backpack is divided into three compartments, a top compartment, a middle compartment and underneath there is a compartment for the sleeping bag. But we never use these sleeping bag compartments, because we always put our sleeping bags in a waterproof compression bag of Exped. So that we can compress it and store it waterproof in our backpack. It’s also possible to open the sleeping bag compartment, so you got one bigger main compartment. The main compartment is accessible via the top. There are a compression strap and a rope to compress your gear before you close the top lid. The main compartment is also accessible at the front via a J-zip zipper opening. The front of the backpack is also equipped with a large stretch pocket with buckle closure, and two horizontal compression straps with buckle. These have a dual function, sometimes I attached the tent to the backpack with those straps. And you can compress the contents of the backpack for more stability. On each side of the backpack, there are also two compression straps, one with a buckle and one with a simple locking mechanism. There is also a stretch pocket on each side. The lower compartment has also two compression straps, I have replaced these straps with longer ones. There are also two ice axe loops. At the bottom there is also an integrated rain cover, it’s possible to detach it from the backpack if you are sure that you don’t need it.
The top compartment is divided into two parts, one is larger than the other. The smallest has a small clasp to attach keys or etc. We attach our Spot device with the clasp. So we can reach it very quickly and so we could not lose it. It is also possible to remove the top compartment of the backpack. There is a large buckle, so you can use the top compartment as a waist bag. I find it very useful when we do a small walk in the evening. And we use it as hand luggage bag when we take a plane. Only the buckle might be a little bit smaller, I think it is unnecessarily large.
Also useful for those who use a camera bag like me. The shoulder straps are equipped with sturdy loops. Where you can easily attach a camera bag with a carbine. I use the Nite Ize S-biner.
- wears comfortable 25kg
- ventilated back panel
- the side pockets at the hip belt
- useful compression straps
- the backpack is hugely spacious for a 60-litre version
- the water bag fits outside the main compartment
- the top compartment can be used as a waist bag
- quite heavy, maybe they can remove a few options ( 2.27 kg for the medium version )
- the compression straps at the sleeping bag compartment are too short
Since I used the backpack during our 18-day backpacking trip in Sweden, it’s my favourite backpack! This backpack carries much more comfortable a heavier load than my previous backpack the Haglöfs Matrix 60. And he is more spacious and has a better-ventilated back panel. In the North, this is perhaps less important but if you are planning to travel in the South this can be very useful. So I am certainly convinced of this backpack. I would recommend it, but first, you need to test it in a shop. It needs to fit correctly.