Comfort. This is the number one thing I keep in mind when choosing a pack. If my pack is uncomfortable to wear, the shoulder straps rub me the wrong way, or the hip-belt doesn’t have good support; that pretty much means that I’m going to have an unpleasant hike.
This pack is so comfortable. The hip-belt is easy to tighten and it can be adjusted so the padded part is longer or shorter. The hip-belt offers lots of support, so the weight stays off my shoulders. There are several different places where the pack can be adjusted. Although the pack comes in several different sizes, the torso is still adjustable to allow a perfect fit.
Durability. If I’m going to be spending my money on a pack, it better last me a long time. I carried my Osprey pack from Georgia to Maine, and it still has plenty of life left in it.
I was NOT easy on this pack either. I tossed it on the ground pretty much every time I took it off. There were parts of the trail up North where I had to sit down and slide because it was so steep. When I did that, the bottom of the pack would drag against the rock. There were even times that I kicked it out of frustration. The fabric never ripped, snagged, or even appeared as if it was getting too worn.
Bottom line: this pack can take a beating.
Uh, looks… OK, granted, having a pretty pack might not be the most important thing to consider. However, there are benefits to the sleek design. This pack is compact, not bulky. It doesn’t stick out away from my body and throw me off balance or snag on branches. There were definitely times that myself and other hikers had to cram into a vehicle. At times like that, this pack didn’t take up more than its share of space.
On a side note, this pack is really cute. It’s not the first thing to consider, but after all other standards are met, it is OK to go ahead and pick a pretty pack. I liked carrying the Eggplant Purple pack because it is really difficult to feel feminine on the trail when I smell bad and I’m surrounded by dirty, hairy men. Looking like a girl definitely helped me stay sane when I was lacking in female companions.
Downside? The only problem I had with this pack was that the front zipper on broke on me. It wasn’t a defect for my particular pack; I heard several other Osprey users voice the same issue. However, I saw lots of hikers have way worse problems with their own packs. A broken zipper is definitely minor compared to a pack that causes back pain, rips a hole in the fabric, or has the internal frame snap.
I would buy this pack again in a heartbeat.
You can get this pack from REI here: Osprey Aura 65.