My original backpack, a Kelty, disappeared years ago when I loaned it to someone. It was an external frame, and I had owned it for over 20 years, but the guy I loaned it to was not responsible. After that, I've had my Millet "60+10" backpack for about seven years now. I bought it in a rush when I was suddenly about to go backpacking again for the first time in years, up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It has been a pretty good pack with a lot of good and useful features, but it never was totally comfortable on me. I always felt as if it was leaning back too far, and the sleeping bag compartment was too small - although I was not compressing my sleeping bag properly, too. So I decided that it was time for a new pack, and after a lot of reading, I settled on an Osprey Aether 85. My buddy Hawkeye has one and swears by it, and when I tried his on before a trip a couple of years ago - fitted to his body and loaded with gear - it felt more comfortable than mine did.
I got a great deal at REI a few weeks ago. I had a 20% discount on any one item, a $48 merchandise rebate from my purchases last year - membership has its privileges - and a $50 Christmas REI gift card. So the pack only cost me about half price.Laurel Forks trip a couple of weeks ago for its maiden voyage, and really liked it! For one thing, I could get my sleeping bag in the separate sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the pack.
starting weight of my pack and its basic gear, I sure hope not! But it is there if I need it for a longer trip or for bulky cold weather clothing, and if I don't need it, I can cinch the pack down with compression strips. The thing that looks a bit like a diaper is the removable panel that separates off the sleeping bag compartment.
This pack has so many great features! You can tell that a lot of really smart people designed it. I cannot wait for my next trip with it, and hopefully for many more. Based on my one trip so far with the Aether, only one night long, it is going to be pretty comfortable - if carrying 40+ pounds on one's back can be considered comfortable!