by Jay Ham | 2005-08-12 03:00:00-06
Osprey’s Aether 60 has long been regarded as a standard in lightweight pack lines. In our tests of previous versions, we found the hip belt limits the upper carrying capacity of this pack. Osprey announced some significant improvements to the Aether series at this Outdoor Retailer; most notably an innovative redesign of their hip belt and suspension.
Heat moldable foam in not new to the outdoor industry. It’s best use has been where a perfect fit improves performance, such as in ski and telemark boots. Osprey has pioneered heat moldable harnesses in their backpacks, and the Osprey Aether series uses a lighter version of their BioForm CM foam used in their heavier packs over the past year. Dealers who carry the Osprey line will be equipped with a specially designed oven to heat the belt for approximately 10 minutes. The hiker wears the hip belt while it's warm, and the belt conforms perfectly to the wearer's shape.
The backpanel has also been improved with better ventilation. Osprey uses a nubbed foam covered in mesh to improve air flow across the entire back.
The cost of this innovation is increased weight. The new Aether 60 adds an additional 6.4 ounces over their previous version. The fit seemed improved over older versions, even without heat molding the hip belt, which may compensate for the increased weight.
The other features the Aether 60 is known for remain the same or similiar. It will still carry ice axes, snow shoes, snowboards, skis, and accept their line of accessory pockets.
"Osprey Aether 60 Backpack (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2005)," by Jay Ham. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/osprey_aether_60_orsm05.html, 2005-08-12 03:00:00-06.