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Trimming my Aether 70--Get a new bag or cut it up?
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Christopher Kuzak
Trimming my Aether 70--Get a new bag or cut it up? on 04/21/2011 00:47:25 MDT Print View

Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I've been stewing over an issue for a while and would like to know what people think. I use an Aether 70, which I find extremely comfortable and like a lot. It carries heavier 35 pound loads comfortably when I have to bring extra stuff (I typically run in the 25-30 pound range). I can also fit my bear canister (a Bearikade Weekender) in it without any trouble. It is heavy though, almost 5 pounds.

I believe I can get its weight down by at least a pound or more by cutting some extra stuff off of it. For example, I can remove the fabric barrier that creates a sleeping bag compartment (which I don't use) on the inside of the pack. I can also trim some straps down, cut away some foam, and get rid of a few useless buckles and clips. Doing this I estimate would drop the pack somewhere into the 3-4 pound range.

On the other hand, I can just exchange (it is in very good condition since I just purchased it last year) the pack at REI for a lighter pack. I've tried other options though and the Aether seems to fit me just right.

Anyone have any thoughts on my conundrum?

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
REI= Return Every Item on 04/21/2011 01:05:52 MDT Print View

If you could get a brand new pack of your choice why not.
I'd considering lightening your load a by 5 or 10 and checking out the GoLite Pinnacle at 2 lbs 1 oz and 72 liters or the REI Flash 65 which is 3 lbs 2 oz but probably more comfortable if your set on carrying 30+ pounds.
Both packs would leave you with something like $80 to spend on something else too!

gavin wenyon
keep it on 04/21/2011 03:26:16 MDT Print View

Keep the Aether and buy an affordable lightweight pack. Then at least you'll have both if the occasion requires, you can never have too much gear.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Trimming my Aether 70--Get a new bag or cut it up? on 04/21/2011 05:16:05 MDT Print View

I would try to find a lighter pack that was as comfortable, 5 pounds is a lot and so is four. I found Osprey to be pretty good, better than a REI Flash, but now I love my Aarn. After I decided the Aarn was the pack for me I cut off what I did not want to save a few ounces. I would also try to reduce your base a bit more.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
dont return it on 04/21/2011 08:11:32 MDT Print View

It blows me away how people abuse REI return policy You like the pack except that it weighs five pounds Unless the pack has gained weight since you got it then REI provided the product that you asked for and it worked as expected. If you are non longer happy with this product you should SELL it and buy different or modify it or what ever. Sorry to give an opinion that you most likely dont want to hear.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Keep It on 04/21/2011 08:25:10 MDT Print View

I'm another for keeping it.

I got a Deuter 65+10 last summer, before I was thinking "light." I didn't feel right about returning it to REI, as I like the pack and there's nothing wrong with it "except" the weight. But, it does handle heavy loads well and is actually very comfortable - so it's going to be the pack for the longer, heavier trips. I picked up a lightly used GL Jam2 for a decent price - so now I have a nice lighter pack and a pack that'll carry it all, including the sink if I ever want to haul that again (or carry extra gear for my girlfriend, etc).

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Rei on 04/21/2011 08:27:04 MDT Print View

I really don't see that as an abuse of the policy. The policy is "100% Satisfaction Guaranteed", not "100% Satisfaction Guaranteed if something breaks or otherwise fails and is the fault of the manufacturer". REI enjoys huge margins that people willingly pay for the opportunity to be a finicky girl about gear. It's the whole business model.

Mike S
(MikeyLXT) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: dont return it on 04/21/2011 08:48:38 MDT Print View

I too say don't return it. In my opinion that is abusing the system. You like the pack but just changed your mind and don't want it anymore.

I own an Aether and like it. I don't have the money to get a lighter pack but ti suites my needs for now. Plus with a family on the way ill need to be carrying more gear anyway.

When I can upgrade to a lighter pack for summer excursions I will. However ill keep my Aether for winter/family trips.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Maybe I was wrong on 04/21/2011 09:15:23 MDT Print View

You know I went Rei's site and looked at the warrenty statement and watched the video and thought ya know maybe its right and it is ok to use their gear for years and then return it when its worn or you just want something else so its like free gear all the time as long as I can find something I want to replace it with or just get my money back cause it should last forever and make me so happy with it that I never change my mind. Im gonna see if I can find a mail order bride company with the same policy.

Christopher Kuzak
Thanks on 04/21/2011 09:32:50 MDT Print View

Thank you guys for the input.

Didn't mean to get into the REI return policy issue. If it makes anyone feel better, I discussed my problem with an REI sales clerk who actually encouraged me to try another bag. So, in this case, I don't feel too guilty about returning it (again, I stress, the bag is in almost new condition), though as indicated by my original post, it's the option I sort of like least.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 04/24/2011 00:55:28 MDT Print View

+1 for keeping it. It's nice having a load-hauler for when the occasion calls. Mine served me well one some short winter trips where I wanted to bring a lot of extra luxuries. My Argon 70 came in handy on a paddling trip where I carried the bulk of the gear while my partner carried the canoe on portages.

Edited by BabyMatty on 04/24/2011 00:56:03 MDT.

paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
fit on 04/27/2011 09:30:32 MDT Print View

If you really like the way the pack fits, that is worth a lot, to me, anyway.

I shopped for a pack a long time, and bought that exact pack in 2007, because it fit great, and boy scout packing sometimes demands a big pack. I knew the weight wasn't light, but the fit was fantastic. No regrets, I trimmed out what weight I could, like you cut off straps, no lid, etc. Weighs right around 4#, and I love it.

Would I use it for a thru hike, no way. But fit is important, and I had problems finding one that was as good, along with a lot lighter.

Good luck.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
Did you return it? on 06/18/2011 22:47:12 MDT Print View

I was just re-reading this fiery return policy debate and wondered what decision was actually made. Did you return the pack like the REI staffer suggested or did you guilt yourself into holding on to it?

Christopher Kuzak
Exchanged it on 06/19/2011 00:56:09 MDT Print View


In the end, I exchanged the Aether for an Exos 58. The guys at REI were pretty cool about my dilemma and had no problem with the exchange. I tried on a bunch of other packs, but the weight, setup, and fit of the Exos was right for me. I also realized that if I needed to haul more gear, I could just use my old Kelty. It's still in pretty decent shape and is only a few ounces heavier than the Aether I returned.

I was not fully utilizing a lot of the space the Aether offered on typical trips. It was just bigger than I needed so I was carrying around an extra 2+ pounds for nothing. Loved the bag, but as I invested (continue to invest) in better and lighter gear, my need for something that size and weight diminished.