Osprey Aether 70/Ariel 65

This backpacking rucksack, which comes in men’s and women’s styles, hits a completely different user to other ‘sacks in its class as it can be used for a wide variety of loads and still maintain a great performance. Firstly, check the weight. At 2070g it’s very light for a 70 litre ‘sack. But of further interest is the unique compression system that allows the front to be compressed to make it very stable even when half full. Good, too, are the stretch pockets and stretch wand pockets. Side compression straps with quick-release buckles are also provided and a pair of trekking poles are rock-solid when stowed on the side of this ‘sack. The lid can be raised to allow extra capacity, or it can be removed and turned into a waistpack. Air flow is good around the back, thanks to the tiny raised pyramids of the Airscape foam back panel. You can even have the hipbelt moulded to your body. But do you need a lid that converts to a waistpack? Would you prefer a floating lid design that had a baffle to ensure water did not creep into the main compartment? There are no side pockets either, and other ‘sacks are definitely better for heavy loads and durability.


Capacity: 70 litres (men’s Aether); 65 Litres (women’s Ariel)
Materials: 210d double ripstop, 210d Oxford nylon, 500d Kodra 2-way stretch woven nylon with Lycra, 500d stretch power mesh
Features: Airscape raised foam back panel; Isoform hipbelt; Straightjacket compression system; lid converts to waistbelt; twin main compartments with top and base entry; stretch front and side pockets; side compression/ski/accessory security strap; hydration system-compatible
Weight: 2070kg
Made in Vietnam
Stores in UK: England 45; Wales 4; Scotland 15; Ireland 4

Verdict: Buy it if you want one ‘sack for day walks and light to medium loads when trekking hut-to-hut or backpacking over shorter trips this is ideal.