This backpack served me well. 2012 Osprey Aether 70

As a traveler, I tend to do hella shopping at REI. They are my favorite store, but I go there often for a reason. These guys take care of customers and they take care of employees. More on that at another time. For now, I wanted to touch on one of the brands they stock of which I am a big fan. That would be Osprey.

I bought my Midnight Blue Osprey Aether 70 backpack in 2012 for my first trip to Central America. Well, my first time as a civilian, anyway. In any case, a backpack to a guy can be a very personal, dare I say intimate, and very necessary travel accessory. You can’t just let someone else pick it out for you and give it to you as a gift. It’s the same thing as a camera bag for photographers or purses for some women. So yeah… Quite personal.

Bus station, Guayaquil, Ecuador

You saw plenty of my adventures with that pack on my back or by my side. It’s taken the abuse of hard travel, too. About 4 years ago, it fell off the top of a shuttle van doing 80 down a El Salvadoran highway. Later on, airport security, I can’t recall where, cut the waist straps off of it. I assume it got caught on a conveyor belt or something. And just before this past New Year’s, it got soaked in shrimp juice in the cargo hold of a bus in Ecuador.

Old backpack, Bogota, Colombia

Osprey has an Almighty Guarantee that says they’ll repair or replace your bag. I asked about it when I got back stateside last month. They scanned my membership card, checked my account, tracked my purchase receipt, and told me to go pick out a bag, as my Midnight Blue Osprey Aether 70 was beyond repair. Yeah, I picked out a new bag real quick. THEN dude, told me I get a $5.87 credit back to my card. I was all excited to get a new bag. UNTIL the guy also told me I had to hand over my original backpack.

New Osprey Aether 70 AG

I handed it to him. He grabbed hold to take it, but I didn’t let go. He tried to pull again. I still didn’t let go. The understanding cashier must have experienced this before. He saw my anxiety and gave me a moment, before explaining that the exchange required him to take the old backpack. I understood. I did. Letting go was still hard, but I eventually opened my fingers and released the pack. It didn’t occur to me to get pics. I didn’t think to even ask if it was going to a good home. But much like my recent post about the transient nature of travel friends, it still sucks saying good-bye.

So now I have a brand new Adirondack Green Osprey Aether 70. I still chose to go with this style of backpack. It suits me and they have made some upgrades. Some of which I am still getting used to. The top lid actually detaches like the old one, but instead of converting to a fanny pack, the new one has straps and becomes a day pack backpack. I’m going to have to spend some more time with it on my back before I can say whether the new Anti-Gravity tech feels better on my back than the former Airscape design. I can, however say that the new waist-strap is much more stiffer and is supposed to better provide a custom mold to you once you get it on and spend some time with it. All in all, I really like the pack. I have a good feel for it and I expect some great adventures with it.