Here I give a comparison Osprey Xenith vs Osprey Aether backpacks and come to the conclusion that overall features are better in the Xenith series.
Osprey Xenith series has been updated in 2018 so now it shares more features with the Aether packs than before, but those are still rather different packs.
The Xenith series includes the Xenith 75, Xenith 88, and Xenith 105 packs, while the Aether series includes Aether 60, Aether 70, and Aether 85 packs. So these are the largest backpacks built by Osprey so far. As you realize, there is an overlapping in the sizes, therefore it makes sense making a comparison if you are in search for a pack in the range of 70 – 80 liters.
Osprey Xenith series
Here are the basic features which you have in the Osprey Xenith packs:
- Built in 3 sizes within each of the nominal 75, 88, and 105 sizes. This means you have M, L, and XL sizes for each of these. To see what I mean, for example, the Xenith 75 pack has the sizes of 75, 79, and 83 liters, and those are the M, L, and XL sizes for this model. The same is with the other two models of 88 and 105 liters.
- BioForm hip belt. This means that the belt forms to your body due to the body heat.
- AirScape back panel and suspension system. The meaning is that you have a ridged back panel covered by a very breathable mesh.
- 3 access points to the main compartment, from the top, and from the two sides. You also have access through the bottom compartment.
- Removable lid which transforms into the DayLid day pack. This is a new feature introduced in the 2018 version. This is an incredibly functional daypack which is without a match on the market.
- 9 pockets in total.
- Adjustable torso size with Velcro tab. This allows for a really perfect fit.
- Weight capacity: 70 lb (32 kg).
- ErgoPull design on the hip belt. This implies that you have dual front straps on both sides of the belt and they provide the best hugging of the hip bones.
- External reservoir sleeve.
- There is no rain cover included.
A few more details you can see in this short video by Osprey:
Osprey Aether series
The most important features are as follows:
- Built in 4 sizes within each of the nominal 60 and 70 liters size, and in 3 sizes for the largest 85 liters pack.
- BioForm hip belt. So this is the same as in the Xenith series.
- AG back panel and suspension. Well, I assume you know about it already. If not, this is what they call the anti-gravity design, unique to several series by Osprey.
- 2 access points to the main compartment. The size of 60 liters has the top and side access. The sizes of 70 and 85 liters have the top and front access. All of them also have access through the bottom compartment.
- Removable lid which transforms into the DayLid day pack. So this is the same as in the Xenith series.
- 7 pockets in total.
- Adjustable torso size with Velcro tab.
- Weight capacity: 60 lb (27 kg).
- Dual front StraightJacket compression. This feature is unique to this series of Osprey.
- Attachment points for the Osprey Daylite pack, Note that several Osprey series have such a feature.
- Internal reservoir sleeve.
- No rain cover. Note that the EU version comes with a rain cover, but without the daypack.
More about the Aether packs please see in this video:
Below are the packs from the two series, and the pictures show the suspension which is with many different details:
So which is better?
Here is my summary table, and below I give the reasons for these plus and minus votes:
choose your plan
The harness: There is no much difference here, both series have very similar adjustability options and other details.
The hip belt: I have no doubts here. Both series have the BioForm system in place, which is the best of the best for heavy loads, yet the extra ErgoPull system in the Xenith packs adds a lot to their comfort. This is the best design currently on the market, but note that you have it also in some other brands, without the same name of course.
Ventilation: The AG suspension in the Aether series definitely offers a better airflow from all sides.
The pockets: The Xenith packs have more pockets, but this is not only about the number, they are very functional as well.
Volume/Weight ratio is very close in both series, around 30 liters/kg, which is a great value indeed. So there is no a winner here.
Weight capacity: The Xenith’s declared capacity is bigger so the winner is clear.
The access points: You have one more in the Xenith packs, they have access from both sides and from the top.
The reservoir sleeve: Having an external reservoir sleeve is an advantage, you do not have to mess with the stuff in the main compartment when you refill. So the Xenith is a clear winner.
The price: As of the moment of writing this text, the prices for the Aether AG 70 and the Xenith 75 are almost the same, and these are expensive packs. This may be different when you read this text so please check the links.
What about Osprey Xena vs Osprey Ariel packs?
As you probably know, they build the Xena women-specific packs corresponding to Xenith packs for men, and also Ariel women-specific packs parallel to the Aether men’s packs.
The Xenith-Xena and Aether-Ariel features are generally the same, so Xena packs would also receive a better rating than Ariel packs.
What do you think?
I hope I did not miss anything important in the features and the comparison presented above. So my conclusion is that Xenith-Xena packs are better than Aether-Ariel series. What do you think? Please share your thoughts here.
Thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of comments or questions.