I was extraordinarily lucky to borrow one of these beauties from a friend for my first ever extended backpacking trip. I was going to go get fitted and grab a pack of my own, but she had just gotten one and insisted I try it out instead. I had already spent a ton of money on the trip and wasn’t thrilled about the idea of spending more, so I took her up on the offer.
I later got fitted and found out that hers was actually a bit large for me. She has a size small, and I’m a tiny midget who just finally ordered an extra-small version for myself. The fact that the pack was a bit too large and still worked as well as it did is only further testament to its awesomeness!
Osprey is the first company to produce backpacks with their patented Anti-Gravity™ technology. The men’s counterpart to the Aura is called the Atmos. Be advised, however, that both these packs are also available without the anti-gravity feature. You must specify which you would like. The technology does not disappoint. I am barely five feet tall, and I carried a pack that was 35-40 pounds for a week-long trek. While it was taller than me for sure, I can attest to the fact that the comfortable, adjustable mesh harness alleviated much of the weight. It felt about half as heavy as a regular pack with the same poundage.
The harness allows adjustment of torso length and contours to the body. Because the suspension physically holds the main pack apart from the mesh component a few centimeters away from your body, it provides advanced ventilation and freedom of movement. I had no issues with shoulder pain or pressure, as the Fit-On-The-Fly™ suspended mesh hipbelt is also extendable for a custom fit and provides firm support to distribute weight properly. My arms, hands and fingers never got tingly or fell asleep.
Aside from the Anti-Gravity™ technology, which is groundbreaking and I believe will change the game when it comes to high-capacity backpacks, the Aura 65 has many other noteworthy features. The floating top lid is removable to minimize your pack’s size, but adds a great deal of storage space if needed. If you do remove the lid, no need to fear – there’s a FlapJacket™ that covers the top of your pack snugly regardless to keep everything safe and sound. The external sleeping pad straps are also removable if not needed.
There are a ton of compression straps to help distribute weight properly, and they can double as external carry straps for tools and supplies. Not only are there tool loops with bungee tie-offs, there’s also a trekking pole attachment on the side for easy access if you need to stow them suddenly or temporarily. Then there are the pockets. So many pockets! In addition to the dual compartments inside the main body of the pack, which also include internal compression straps, you’ve got two compartments in the top lid, two hipbelt pockets, two side and one large middle mesh pocket, and then two zippered front pockets. Whew! The zippered front pockets are only available on this model, and I found them highly useful for stowing certain personal items away from the rest of my gear (*cough*poop trowel*cough*). I love having separate compartments for things, so this pack is definitely my jam.
The only drawback – and one which quite frankly confuses me, considering all the thought put into this pack – is that the floating top lid does not convert into a daypack. Most other Osprey packs do have a convertible lid, so I’m baffled as to why they would neglect to include that feature on a backpack that’s so obviously meant for long treks. I was pretty disappointed by this, as I didn’t realize the fact prior to my trip and neglected to bring a separate daypack. It would be nice not to have to double up on weight with the lid and an extra pack.
Overall, though, I would give the Osprey Aura 65 Anti-Gravity™ pack a resounding A! I can’t believe that I didn’t even have the correct size and still got such a great experience out of using it. I can’t wait to start using one of my very own! If they add the feature of a convertible daypack lid, this will literally be the perfect pack.