Differences between Osprey's Aether and Gregory's Baltoro:
- Daypack: This is probably the most glaring difference of all. Removable hydration sleeve of Baltoro transforms into a pretty rudimentary daypack. Whereas the convertible top lid daypack of Aether AG transforms into a legit one.
- The difference is pretty MIND BLOWING actually! Check them out and see yourself:
- As you see, Aether AG daypack is fully equipped: A legit hipbelt, sternum strap, thick and padded harness, hydration sleeve, an exterior pocket, etc. Baltoro lacks all of this!
- Pockets: Technically speaking, Baltoro comes with more exterior pockets (9 vs 7). But the only function of its extra 2 pockets is accessing side mesh water bottle holders at each side on the go. In other words, they enable horizontal installment.
- Aether AG side mesh water bottle holders already enable this without having to adding two additional holders, so I'd look at these packs as they have the same amount of pockets.
- More importantly, the hipbelt pockets of Aether AG are much better than those of Baltoro. So, to me, Aether AG is the winner here.
- Raincover: Baltoro offers an integrated raincover, whereas you'd have to get this COMPATIBLE one separately for Aether AG.
- Hydration Sleeve: Aether AG offers an external hydration sleeve whereas the Baltoro offers an internal one.
#Sidenote: All these differences apply when comparing the women's counterparts as well: Gregory Deva vs Osprey Ariel.
In short, think of Baltoro as a solid alternative to the Aether AG...
...but with aforementioned drawbacks.
Unless you come across a Baltoro on sale for at least, say, 50 USD cheaper than the corresponding Aether AG, then the sacrifices mostly wouldn't worth the price decrease in my opinion.
Last words: These packs are far from being cheap. I'd recommend you to check out REI's Used Backpacks section before buying either one of them.
As some of you already know, I've been publishing about Osprey backpacks for the last 2.5 years now (find full post list at the bottom).
Recently I started to notice some confusion around Osprey Aether vs Gregory Baltoro, so I thought that a post centered around both of them would be helpful for most of you.
Let me start with getting this out of the way: These packs offer niche intended uses.
This is why when someone asks me the best 70+ L backpack in the market, I always ask them whether they're sure they need that much of volume or not.
Because without exception, I always doubt it.
- These packs would probably be a good match if you'll be hauling heavy loads over a long period of time (for at least, say, 3 full days).
- Because both both packs are fully featured, offer larger volumes and stiff (and heavier) suspension systems that specifically handle heavier loads.
- In addition to extended heavy hauling trips, if you'll either be hiking during the winter, with your kids and/or pets, or with lots of items for any reason; then these packs would probably be an even better match for you.
- These packs would probably be overkill either if:
- Your equipment will weigh less than, say, 40 lbs (18 kg),
- You'll mostly be backpacking for less than 3 days,
- You typically tend to pack few and/or light items.
If you think these aren't for you, then I'd recommend you to stop reading this post and instead check out my Best Osprey Hiking Backpacks post to find out the most suitable backpack for your own needs and desires.
Otherwise, not only you'll waste your money on the features that you won't need or use (such as convertible daypacks, additional accesses to main compartment, etc), but you'll also have to haul an unnecessarily large backpack.
If, however, you do think that these packs would be a good match for you, then read on.
First thing you should know is that my top recommendation for the situation I laid out above would mostly be Osprey's Xenith Series. They would suit incredibly well for this purpose.
However, as I also explained in my Osprey Xenith vs Aether post, Aether AG and Baltoro aren't substantially worse by any means. They're both solid alternatives and will fill the bill without a hitch.
The second thing you should know is that Aether AG and Baltoro are more alike than they're not.
They both offer:
- 3 accesses to the main compartment (In addition to top and bottom accesses offered by all 8 packs; the third access the Aether AG 60 offers is from the side, whereas it's from the front for all the other 7 models),
- A convertible top-lid daypack,
- Top-notch comfort.
And hence they're frequently compared to one another.
If you're either:
- A younger backpacker who is still growing,
- Or shorter than, say, 5'4",
- Or taller than, say, 6'3"...
...then I'd spare you from reading the rest of this article and recommend you the Aether AG my eyes closed.
Because it offers a much lengthier harness adjustment than Baltoro.
Otherwise you're risking the pack fitting you poorly - which is pretty much the only non-negotiable factor when getting a new backpack.
If you've been reading some reviews online, let me start with telling you to disregard any comment put forward before 2018.
Because both packs (especially Baltoro) got revised back then and some serious issues got fixed (such as the Baltoro 95 PRO not having a hydration port).
Although Gregory is also popular for its mostly helpful customer service and warranty, to my experience and knowledge, they still aren't as good as Osprey.
Osprey is standing at a whole another level here, and will probably back you up more than any other company possibly can in the near future - including Gregory.
You probably won't even need to contact the warranty because of the incredible durability of Osprey packs.
But still, it's good to know that you're covered just in case something goes south.
This way you can stop worrying about your backpack and just enjoy your time outdoors. Honestly they've never let me down.
A word on Aether AG 70 PRO
I guess I wouldn't recommend Aether AG 70 PRO to 95% of you, because it lacks a lot of features and is more focused on keeping the comfort as high as possible while decreasing the weight as much as possible.
The only scenario I can think of where this pack would be more suitable would be alpine climbs with remote basecamps, or ambitious thru-hikes where the only trail is the one you make. Osprey themselves also put this pack at this place (source at rei.com).
Here's a good video review:
But the volume might start coming short for trips longer than, say, 4-5 nights.
As for Baltoro, unless you come across a Baltoro on sale for at least, say, 50 USD cheaper than the corresponding Aether AG, then I don't think the sacrifices you make would worth it.