Osprey Atmos vs Aether - 2021 Edition (Comparison & Reviews)

by Julien Heron
Last Updated: February 15, 2021
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Are you planning a big backpacking trip and need a new pack? Known for making high-quality hiking backpacks, Osprey offers a full line of backpacks for serious hikers. Because Osprey backpacks get incredibly technical, it can be challenging to know which pack to buy.

The packs are often designed for the types of hiking you plan to do, whether it’s a weekender or long mountaineering trek. That’s where we can help. We’ll compare Osprey Atmos vs. Aether to help you decide which Osprey backpack is right for you.

Deciding Between an Osprey Atmos vs. Aether Backpack

Osprey makes high-quality backpacks and luggage to outfit your next adventure. And all of Osprey’s products come with a lifetime guarantee. Two of their best technical hiking backpacks are the Osprey Atmos and Osprey Aether.

Comparing the Osprey Atmos vs. Aether is sort of like comparing oranges to bigger oranges. Both packs have similar functionality and features, but the Atmos is a better all-round pack vs. the Aether that’s more geared toward longer treks. The trip you are planning will heavily influence which pack is right for you.

Osprey Atmos AG 65

Vertical Limit movie poster on white background
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Large

Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than...
Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit
Front stretch mesh pocket for quick storage of rain gear or extra...
view at amazon
Pros
  • The Anti-Gravity suspension has a continuous back panel for comfort and ventilation.
  • All the different pockets and compartments keep you organized on the trail.
  • A removable floating lid can be removed and replaced with a flap jacket to reduce weight.
  • Several adjustable straps and panels ensure a customizable fit.
Cons
  • The zippers can bind up, requiring two hands.
  • The backpack isn’t the lightest.

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 hiking backpack is perfect for weekend or week-long hiking trips. The Osprey Atmos is a men’s hiking backpack that comes in a weight capacity of 65 L. The load range is about 30-50 lbs for the Atmos AG 65.

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 is a very technical hiking pack with loads of features to accommodate different backpacking needs. The Atmos has several specialized pockets and compartments to store water hydration, a sleeping bag, hiking poles, and other small hiking tools. The Atmos also boasts of Anti-Gravity suspension, which feels like you are carrying less weight.

For hikers looking for an efficient backpack for trips lasting under a week, then the Osprey Atmos is a solid choice.

Osprey Aether AG 60

Vertical Limit movie poster on white background
Osprey Aether AG 60 Men's Backpacking Backpack

Removable top-lid converts to DayLid daypack
Top to bottom suspended mesh wraps shoulders, back and hips for a...
Front stretch mesh pocket and zippered hipbelt pockets for quick...
view at amazon
Pros
  • The removable lid converts into a fantastic daypack.
  • Well made and incredibly durable.
  • The Anti-Gravity suspension system makes the pack very lightweight.
  • Straps and padding don’t cut into the body under heavy loads.
Cons
  • Too big to be considered carry-on luggage on an airplane.
  • The pack does not include a rainfly.

The Osprey Aether AG 60 hiking backpack can accommodate heavier loads for backpacking, thru-hikes, and mountaineering expeditions for week-long or month-long trips. The Osprey Aether is a men’s hiking backpack that has a weight capacity of 60 L. The load range is around 35-60 lbs for a more massive load than the Osprey Atmos.

Like the Osprey Atmos, the Osprey Aether utilizes the Anti-Gravity suspension to relieve the weight load. The Aether also includes a water filtration compartment, a removable lid, and several technical pockets and compartments for poles, picks, tools, a sleeping bag, and pad.

Designed for heavy loads and long miles on the trail, the Osprey Aether is an ideal pack for extended backpacking trips and expeditions.

Osprey Atmos vs. Aether Backpack Standard Features

The Osprey Atmos and Aether have several similar standard features. We’ll examine each of these features and select a winner for which pack does it best in Osprey Atmos vs. Aether.

Load Capacity

Load Capacity is the amount of gear each backpack can carry in terms of volume and weight. As a general rule, a loaded backpack should not weigh more than 20% of your body weight. For a person who weighs 150 lbs, your ideal pack weight is 30lbs. And Backpacker.com sites that every 1% of your body weight in your pack will slow you down six seconds per mile.

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 L has a maximum load of 50 lbs. In comparison, the Osprey Aether AG 60 L has a maximum load of 60 lbs. And the Aether pack weighs an additional half-pound more than the Atmos pack.

While the Aether product line offers more volume sizes and weight capacity, the Atmos AG 65 L still provides adequate space and maximum load weight for an adult man. So then it becomes a question of pack purpose.

The Atmos 65 L Wins for Being a Lighter Pack For More Volume

For an all-round hiking pack, the Osprey Atmos 65 is the better option because it has a similar load weight and volume to the Aether 60 L while being a half-pound lighter in pack weight.

Anti-Gravity Suspension

The Anti-Gravity suspension is a proprietary Osprey technology that wraps seamlessly around the body for customizable comfort where you don’t feel like you’re carrying a full load. The Anti-Gravity suspension uses a lightweight 3-D suspended mesh back panel for maximum ventilation.

The Anti-Gravity suspension system consists of a frame, stays, load lifters, harness, hipbelts, and the back panels to transfer the gear's weight from the person to the structure. The suspension system gives the hiker a natural range of motion while balancing and dispersing the pack’s load.

Both Packs Win for Competitive Edge Over Other Brands

Both the Osprey Atmos and Aether utilize the same Anti-Gravity suspension system. This system gives both packs a competitive edge over other technical packs brands even when the Osprey packs are a bit heavier than their competitors.

Feeling like you’re carrying a lighter load is always desirable, even when it’s a just a weekender trip. While both packs benefit from the system, this is a significant advantage for the Aether AG 60 L pack that’s made for really long expeditions and mountaineering.

Organizational Compartments and Pockets

Osprey backpacks are known for their many pockets and organizational compartments for various hiking tools and supplies. These compartments and pockets make for easy access to gear, water, and food while on the trail.

When comparing the compartments and pockets of the Osprey Atmos vs. Aether, both packs share a majority of the same organizational features:

  • Internal water hydration sleeve
  • Large stretch-mesh, front-panel pocket
  • Two zippered front pockets
  • Zippered hipbelt pockets
  • Ice tool loops
  • Side stretch-mesh pockets
  • Sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment

The Aether AG 60 L Wins for Roomier Compartments and Pockets

The Aether also includes additional main compartment access. While these are very similar, the Osprey Aether backpack wins out because it gives hiker’s more capacity to store items in each of these pockets and compartments. The Aether’s zippers are also easier to manipulate on the trail vs. the Atmos.

Straps and Padding

Straps and padding are essential when assessing a technical hiking backpack. If straps and pads are uncomfortable, it can make for a miserable trip. And not all body shapes are alike. Having customizable and adjustable straps and padding allow the hiker to form-fit the pack for maximum comfort.

Compression straps are essential for hiking packs to keep everything in place and to allow you to fit more into your bag. The more straps you have, the more you’ll reduce the bulk of your pack and keep the contents balanced.

When it comes to straps and padding on the Osprey Atmos vs. Aether backpack, they share a similar design. Both backpacks have:

  • The Anti-Gravity mesh padding for optimal ventilation
  • Lower inside out compression straps
  • Dual upper side compression straps
  • Adjustable hipbelt harness for optimal fit
  • Sternum strap with integrated safety whistle

The Aether AG 60 L Wins for Better Compression

The Aether backpack also has dual front compression straps with straightjacket compression. This offers a little more compression than the Atmos backpack. If you’re planning to take longer hiking trips, then you’ll want the Aether backpack for more compression.

Removable Floating Top Lid

Removable floating top lids on a technical backpack allow hikers to lighten their pack if they don’t need all the storage space. This allows more versatility for backpack usage, making it easier to carry for a shorter hiking trip.

Both the Atmos AG 65 L and Aether AG 60 L have a removable floating top lid with a fixed flap jacket to protect your gear. How Osprey Atmos vs. Aether differ is in the design of the top lid.

The Atmos top lid has dual zipper compartments for easy access and storage. And the top lid has web attachment points for quickly removing and reattaching the top lid. This makes the Atmos very versatile for short weekend hikes or to accommodate a week-long trek.

The Aether top lid converts into a lightweight daypack. This allows a hiker to ditch the larger pack at camp and use the daypack to explore without the bulk of the full-size backpack. The daypack also has web attachment points for effortless removal and attachment.

The Aether AG 60 L Wins for a Superior Daypack

While having a removable lid on both packs is very desirable, the Aether wins for the daypack design. Being able to leave your big pack and camp but still have storage for exploration is a superior feature. This also makes the Aether more versatile for shorter trips because you don’t need to take the bulk of the daypack.

Osprey Atmos vs. Aether Backpack Stand Out Features

While the Osprey Atmos 65 L and Aether 60 L are very similar, the Aether 60 L has a few more features to assist hikers on longer journeys:

  • Dual front compression straps with straightjacket compression: These compression straps cinch the backpack for extra compression for better load balance and to allow more gear.
  • Removable lid daypack: This is especially helpful when you can drop the bigger pack at camp and use the daypack for mini excursions. By removing the daypack, you can also take the pack on shorter trips.
  • Additional Volume Capacities: The Aether backpack series also includes a 70 L and 85 L volume capacity if you need a bigger pack than the 60. The Atmos 65 L is the biggest in its series.

The Osprey Atmos and Osprey Aether Backpacks Are Superior Quality

While we’ve compared the Osprey Atmos vs. Aether backpacks, we need to acknowledge that both packs are durable, well-designed, technical packs. And you’ll probably gravitate more toward one of the packs based on the type of hiking you enjoy doing.

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 L is a Great All-Round Backpack

While the Osprey Atmos AG 65 L has a smaller load capacity and has fewer features than the Aether AG 60 L, you should buy the Atmos if:

  • Your hiking trips don’t go longer than a week.
  • You don’t pack more than 50 lbs when you go on longer hikes.
  • You want a lighter backpack with the Anti-Gravity suspension.

The Atmos AG is actually a better all-around backpack for most backpacking adventures. And because the Atmos AG 65 L holds about the same as Aether AG 60 L and 70 L, there isn’t much difference.

Is the Osprey Atmos the right pack for you? Get a great deal on the Osprey Atmos.

The Osprey Aether AG 60 L is Your New Favorite for Long Adventures

The Aether won out in most categories because it’s intended for longer trips and requires more features to accommodate longer expeditions. You should definitely buy the Osprey Aether backpack if:

  • You are planning to go on hiking trips that last longer than a week.
  • You need more volume and load weight for your gear.
  • You plan to live out of your pack for an extended period, such as backpacking through Europe.
  • You need roomier compartments for bulkier gear.
  • You want a removable daypack for shorter excursions.

The Aether AG backpack is a fantastic pack for long expeditions, mountaineering, or adventures that require a heavier load. The Aether AG is similarly priced to the Atmos, so getting an Aether AG 60 L could be a solid choice that allows the versatility of shorter and longer trips.

Ready for a long adventure? Take an Aether AG to hike in well-ventilated comfort.

Julien Heron
I’m passionate about all things outdoors, bridging the gap between generations and sharing my passion for hiking and camping. My goal is to spread the endless benefits of being outside, always striving for better performance, new challenges, and ways to explore responsibly.
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