So after dealing with cheap store brand backpacks, we decided to head to REI so I could see what these Osprey packs were all about. After being fitted and trying on several I ended up buying the Women’s Osprey Ariel 65 AG. While it is a large pack, especially for overnight hikes, I tend to tote around camera gear as well as hiking gear so I needed the extra room. Of course, the problem with such large packs is the need to feel like you must stuff it full of unnecessary gear.
I used it for the first time on a short hike with my husband’s troop (took them on a hike for PT) just so I could test it out before taking it on much longer hikes when we headed to the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Despite the fact that it was larger and weighed more than the Cabela’s pack I originally had, it was considerably more comfortable and overall just fit better.
For my first hike I only had about 20 pounds in it, however, for my hike to Black Elk Peak in the Black Hills it was loaded down with about 50 pounds of hiking and camera gear.
The first thing I noticed was I no longer felt the weight on my shoulders and instead the weight was dispersed to my hips.
For my hike and testing purposes, I decided to keep the detachable daypack lid on the pack instead of removing to shave off extra weight. We hiked for a total of 7 hours to an elevation of 7,242. I would classify the hike as a moderate to difficult hike.
Before I get into what I liked and didn’t like, let’s talk about the features of the Osprey Ariel 65 AG pack.
Features of the Osprey Ariel 65 AG
Convertible Top Lid Day Pack
External Hydration Reservoir Sleeve
Dual Front Compression Straps
Internal Compression Strap
Large Stretch Front Mesh Panel Pocket
Zippered Hip Belt Pockets
Dual Ice Tool Loops With Bungee Tie Off’s
Dual Upper Side Compression Straps
Dual Side Stretch Mesh Pockets
Zippered Sleeping Bag Compartment With Removable Divider
Removable Sleeping Pad Straps
Trekking Pole Attachments
Anti-Gravity Suspension & Backpanel for a Comfortable Fit
3 Pack Access Points
Adjustable sternum strap with safety whistle
Heat-moldable hip belt and harness that are interchangeable to provide a custom fit
Fabric – Main: 210d nylon dobby; Accent: 210d high tenacity nylon shadow box; Bottom: 500d nylon packcloth
Weight: 4.954 lbs
Load Range: 35-60 pounds
What I Liked About the Osprey Ariel 65 AG
Moldable Hip Belt – I love how the hip belt hugs the hips and the way it is formed.
Adjustable – The pack is pretty much completely adjustable from the hip belts to the shoulder harness. It allows you to come as close to a customize fit as you can get.
Sleeping Bag Compartment – I love the fact that it has its own separate sleeping bag compartment that will allow you to access your sleeping bag without digging through the rest of your gear. Comes in really handy if you want to cowboy camp along a trail.
Internal Hydration Sleeve – I have always used a hydration bladder as I just feel it is easier to car and access, so having a hydration sleeve was important for me, even if I decided not to use it and instead use a water bottle.
Pockets Galore – It has 7 exterior pockets to help you stay organized. I know this is more of a personal preference, but I like to place stuff that I need quick access to (like snacks, my poop digger, and rain gear) on the outside of my pack for easy access. It is nice not having to open up your entire pack.
Pack Access Points – There are three different access points to access your pack; top, bottom, and side. This is another feature I like due to the fact that it allows for easy access to items in the pack without taking everything out of the pack.
Back Ventilation – One thing that AG styles are known for is the back mesh that allows airflow and help your back stay dry.
Things I Didn’t Like
Removable Day Pack – At first I thought this was a great idea, but it just adds extra weight and bulk. I did use it for my hike on the Sunday Gulch Trail in the Black Hills and found it to be uncomfortable even though I only had a 1L water bottle and a couple of snacks. It also doesn’t stay very secure to the pack. I had to keep tightening the straps during my hike to Black Elk Peak.
Hip Pocket Locations – While I love the idea of hip pockets and I know most packs place the hip pockets in the same location, I found that it was hard to access them.
Top Flap Cover – This is the flap that is used if you do not have your day pack lid attached. While it does do its purpose
I love the pack. It will come in great for longer backpacking trips where resupply will scarce. It felt great on, even loaded down with 50 pounds! My back never felt wet due to sweat (one thing I love about the AG style is that ventilation on the back) and I definitely couldn’t tell I was carrying 50 pounds on my back!
Stayed tuned…I will be posting a video review soon!
Do you have this pack or have questions? Comment below and I will answer them!