Thru hiking & Backpacking adventures: photos, videos, gear reviews, trail maps, GPX files, and more!

Osprey Aether 85L Backpack Review

The Osprey Aether 85 is a huge backpack, offering between 5000 and 5400 cubic inches of storage space, depending on the size you ordered. These packs come in small, medium, and large. I went with the medium, rated at 5200 cu. Osprey say this weighs 5 pound, 1 ounce, but my pack weighs in at 4lb 15.5 oz. The hip belt also comes in different sizes, mine was a medium. I have a 32 inch waist and with the medium belt I could tighten the straps all the way to the point that both straps were touching each other, so I ended up buying a small. Even with the small, I can tighten them quite a bit. So if you have a big gut, don’t worry, this backpack will fit you.

Here’s a front and back picture of my Osprey Aether 85. Ignore the case strapped to the shoulder harness in the 2nd picture, that’s for my digital camera. I like having easy access to mine when needed.

osprey aether 85l men's backpack
osprey aether 5200 cu backpack

magnets on osprey backpacks and hydration bladdersThis backpack doesn’t have a whole lot of pockets. There are none inside the backpack, and one zippered pocket on the very top section of the bag. There’s a water bottle pouch on each side of the pack and on the very back there’s a flapped section that’s good for storing sandals. The bottom compartment stores your sleeping bag, and there are straps on the bottom section to secure your sleeping pad on the outside of the pack. The entire interior of the bag is wide open otherwise, which can be a pain keeping lots of small items. To combat this issue, I have 3 dry sacks of different sizes and colors that I store things in.This pack is also hydration bladder compatible. There’s a pouch inside the pack along your back that fits a bladder, and a small hole near the top of the bag on both sides to rout the tube through. On the sternum strap, there’s also a magnet. If you buy an Osprey Hydration Bladder, the bite valve has a magnet that is meant to be used with this pack.

With some cheaper backpacks, you are constantly adjusting your straps because they will not stay in place. The straps on this bag stay in place pretty well… they don’t move out of position a whole lot over time. And above all, this backpack is comfortable to wear. It really hugs the contour of your back, making it easier to carry more weight. I’ve carried 60 pounds in it comfortably… well, as comfortable as 60 pounds can be anyways.

Wearing my Osprey Aether 85 on my hike through Pigeon River Sate Forest, MI

Wearing my Osprey Aether 85 on my hike through Pigeon River Sate Forest, MI



  • Lots of space
  • Comfortable
  • Durable/well made


  • Not enough storage compartments


I give this backpack a 4.5 out of 5. If you want a pack that you can wear and not have problems with your back, hips, or shoulders hurting, this pack is for you. This pack has yet to let me down.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *