Osprey’s Aura AG Pack is Almost Creepily Comfortable
Osprey Aura AG 50-liter $230; ospreypacks.com The Good: Might be the most comfortable pack we’ve ever tested. The Bad: We’re a bit nervous as to how long the mesh back panel will remain intact. The Awkward: Your relationship with this pack might cause a rift between you and your significant other. When I first put this pack on, I thought I was cheating on my husband. It literally feels like someone is wrapping their arms around you, hugging you, and won’t let go unless you physically pull them off. Thus begins a love story with the Aura 50AG. It has all the Osprey basics; a trekking pole stash, tool attachment, outer mesh pockets, etc. But where this pack sets itself apart is with the suspension system. With claims of being designed to carry up to 40 lbs without the hiker feeling the load, Osprey’s new Anti-gravity system seems to be like magic. So, we shoved 30 lbs of water (we recommend filling an empty Costco Laundry detergent container) in the pack to simulate the weight of a 2-3 day backpacking trip and headed to a local peak in the Methow Valley. And, like a good relationship, the Aura AG follows through with its claims. Sure when I picked the pack up it felt like every other time I picked up a 30 lb pack, but the moment that waist belt hugs your curves, magic. The weight is so well dispersed, 30 lbs actually becomes comfortable. That’s not to say it fixes everything, my legs are cramping as I write this, but my shoulders, back, and hips feel great. Not only does the mesh back panel provide unmatched comfort, the ventilation is alarming. At one point I thought, “Shit! The water jug is leaking.” Nope, that was just back sweat against a freeway of cold air. A couple other endearing qualities that add to this pack’s functionality in the backcountry; there’s a flap-jacket lid that covers for a removable top lid so to minimize weight and unused space, an easily adjustable harness as well as a super adjustable hip belt for a ‘fit-on-the-fly’ experience, and dual hip belt pockets (yes, they do fit the iPhone 6 plus, barely.) Osprey’s Aura AG 50 challenges all other packs in the game of fit and comfort. It’s perfect for an over-nighter or multi-day backpacking trip. Need something a bit bigger? The Atmos and Aura AG both come in a 65L. Our only concern with this pack is how long the mesh back panel will hold up under consistent use. We will, of course, follow up at the end of the summer with our findings.