Osprey Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpack Review

By Richard Corrigan •  3 min read

This post contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, Alpha and Omega Outdoors may earn from qualifying purchases.

When you’re hiking a long distance, you need a big pack. And make no mistake, the Osprey Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is a big pack. It’s sturdy and versatile, and has room for all your essentials on extended outdoor adventures. 


Stats and Specs

Offering Osprey’s largest backpack capacity, the Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is made to be fully loaded. In addition to its spacious top-loading main compartment (also accessible through a front-panel zipper) this pack has a lot of straps, pockets and attachment points that allow you to arrange and carry your gear in a manner that best suits your needs and preferences. 

In short, you can strap a lot of gear to the outside of this backpack as well as packing it inside. The top lid is fully removable, and can be used separately as a day pack. The hip belt and shoulder straps are easily adjusted to fit any body type and torso length, and the back panel is designed for a stable, close-to-body fit that’s also well-ventilated. 

The Osprey Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is available in two sizes: S/M (83L, 5.9 lb.) and L/XL (85L, 6.2 lb.). It’s made of 210 Denier nylon with a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating. Rain cover is included. 

aether plus 85

Pros of the Osprey Aether Plus 85

  • Very spacious. For backpackers who need to be fully stocked for extended backcountry trips, the Osprey Aether Plus 85 has the capacity to carry all your essentials and then some. Compression straps also do a good job keeping the pack stable when it’s not quite full.
  • Excellent suspension. The suspension of this backpack is designed to help you carry heavy loads with balance and comfort. To that end, it does a great job. The pack also rides close to your back. This creates a lower center of gravity for balance. In addition, the padding is breathable, so you shouldn’t have to deal with hot spots.
  • Versatile storage options. From its front zip-accessible main compartment to its many exterior loops and straps, there are a lot of ways to arrange and reach your gear in this pack. It also has a hydration bladder-compatible inner pocket, and a separate sleeping bag compartment on the bottom.

Cons of the Osprey Aether Plus 85

  • Runs heavy. A 6-pound pack that’s rated to carry up to 70 pounds of gear is overkill for many hikers. If you realistically expect to carry that much gear and supplies, then this backpack is a great choice. If not, it would be better to choose a 65L or 75L pack.
  • Unnecessary day pack option. In theory, being able to remove the top lid of your backpack and use it as a day pack sounds like a novel concept. But in practice, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which that would be useful (except, perhaps, an emergency of some kind). For day-to-day use, it does little more than complicate the design. 

Osprey Aether Plus 85: Final Thoughts

If you’re planning to tackle a long-distance trail like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, the Osprey Aether Plus 85 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is the type of pack that will sustain you for weeks or months at a time. It’s spacious, durable, and surprisingly comfortable considering its size and heft. 

Richard Corrigan

Richard Corrigan has been writing about outdoor adventures, gear and travel for more than 10 years. His work has been featured by USA Today, 10Best.com, Next Luxury, and Gone Outdoors. He lives in Upstate New York, and If he isn't at his writing desk, you can probably find him out in the woods somewhere.

Keep Reading