Are you planning on going on an extensive hike and are looking for quality backpacking gear? A sturdy, reliable backpack is one of the most important components of your gear. It should comfortably house all of the essential backpack items you will need to carry when hitting the trails. This article reviews the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack.
Volume capacity is very important when selecting backpacking gear that is suitable for a multi-day hike. You must be able to fit all of the necessary multi-day items in your pack. The Osprey Ariel 65 has a 62-65 liter capacity, depending on torso size. The extra small/small holds 62 liters while the medium/large holds the full 65 liters. It provides the perfect amount of room to comfortably house your essential items plus multi-day backpacking gear (tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove, etc.). The frame of the bag works hand in hand with the volume to create a great heavy duty capacity bag. You can carry lots of volume and weight comfortably with the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack.
When embarking on a long, multi-day hike, it is important to minimize the amount of weight you are carrying on your back. This will make for a nicer, more comfortable hiking experience. The Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack weighs in between 4.84 -4.89 pounds, depending on torso size. This is on the heavier side, which adds that much more weight to the load you are carrying. There are lots of ultralight backpack options out there. However, although this backpack falls short in the weight category, it makes up for it with durability. Despite the slightly heavier weight, I still prefer this backpack to lighter options because I know it is built to last. It can comfortably sustain loads of up to 60 pounds.
The frame of your backpack is like the skeleton of your body. Manufacturers design the frame to support and distribute the weight that you place in your backpack. The Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack has an internal frame. The integrated design of the frame leads to greater stability. This is very useful when hiking through rugged and uneven trails. Furthermore, the frame is separated from your back with a combination of foam and mesh. This type of back panel is specially designed to promote airflow and allow ventilation. It also wicks water to prevent a sweaty back. This makes for a more comfortable hiking experience. Also, the lumbar area is made up of thick foam padding and mesh. This is the area where you carry the most weight in your pack. It has the perfect balance of being relatively lightweight while providing comfortable support.
You should consider three main factors when assessing the design of a backpack: pockets, accessibility, and comfort. Look for backpacking gear that is comfortable to wear and promotes organization of your items.
Some people like a streamlined hiking backpack with minimal pockets and straps. I, however, love a good pack with lots of pockets. The more pockets the better! One of the reasons I like the design of the Osprey Ariel 65 is because of its multiple pockets.
Two Hip Belt Pockets
I love hip belt pockets because they are very accessible and convenient. You can place your keys, phone, camera, headphones, sunscreen, lip balm, and snacks in these pockets. This is also a good place for your mask and hand sanitizer.
Bottom Separate Compartment
Place your sleeping bag and sleeping pad in the lower compartment. Alternatively, if you are using the pack as a travel backpack, you can place shoes or dirty clothes in the separate bottom pocket. Also, you can remove the barrier sleeve if you prefer to have one large inner compartment.
Well designed backpacking gear should have a stash pocket on the front of the bag. The stash pocket on the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack can hold a large volume and is lined with mesh on the sides. I like this design because the mesh provides ventilation. It is the ideal place to stick items that can continue to air dry while in your bag (quick dry towel, flip flops, etc.). I also like to load it up with snacks, a paper map, layers of clothing, and an extra pair of socks.
Hydration Bladder Pocket
A stretchy pocket inside this pack holds up to a 3 liter hydration bladder. You can snake the tubing through the rear of the backpack and secure it to either shoulder strap. I personally prefer water bottles over hydration bladders. If you are like me, you can use this pocket to pack small items you will only need in case of an emergency (filter straw, signal mirror, etc.).
Two Side Pockets
This backpack has two very deep side pockets. You can use these pockets to carry your water bottles, or even a propane tank for your portable stove!
Top Lid Pocket
The top lid adds a good amount of height and volume to the bag. It actually contains two pockets. One holds a waterproof rain cover that is included when you purchase the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack. I like to stick my rain coat in this pocket as well. The second pocket on the lid is very large. Use it to store your first aid kit, headlamp, snacks, and any other items you’ll want within reach.
Main Front Pocket
The main front pocket on the Osprey Ariel 65 is nice and large. This is one of my favorite design elements of this pack. Backpacking gear should find a happy balance between volume capacity and organization. What I love about this pack is that the front pocket opens fully (not a “J” shaped zipper) to access the contents in the middle of the pack. This brings us to our next feature: accessibility.
Set yourself up so you can access your items quickly and easily. I love backpacking gear that promotes organization. The Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack is designed to help you stay organized. One of my favorite features of this pack is the large front pocket. Even though this is a top loading pack, the front pocket allows you to access the middle of your hiking backpack. This saves you a lot of time and frustration. Instead of having to remove and dig through the entire contents of your bag from the top, you can easily access the core section to get what you need.
There are also lots of loops and straps on this pack, which makes the storage of items easy and accessible. For example, use the straps at the bottom of the pack to secure your tent. You can also use the loops on the shoulder straps to keep your bear spray, knife, or sunglasses within easy reach. String your hiking poles through the loops that sit under the main pocket. Use some of the other straps for compression, to cinch the bag tightly. The chest strap even has an integrated whistle, so you can easily signal for help in an emergency. Because of these straps, loops, and useful pockets, the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack scores high on my list in the accessibility department.
Whether you are using this backpack for a short hike or a multi-day one, comfort is an important factor to consider when choosing backpacking gear. There are two main features that determine the overall comfort of a hiking backpack: padding and fit.
The Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack has all the right padding in all the right places! As a result, it is an incredibly comfortable heavy duty hiking backpack. The material of the padding is a combination of thick foam and mesh. This serves two purposes: comfort and breathability. Additionally, the location of the padding is well thought out. Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of the pack between the shoulders and the lumbar area. The majority of the weight should sit low, by the hips. The thick padding on the shoulder straps, hip belt, and lumbar area promotes comfort.
Even if you have the most comfortable, most durable, and well designed backpack, it all means nothing if the fit is not correct. Take the time to learn how to fit your backpack correctly. First, determine the correct size you need based on your torso length. After that, the Osprey Ariel 65 women’s backpack has three points of adjustment. You can custom fit the pack to your body by adjusting the torso length, hip straps, and shoulder straps. These modifications distribute the weight evenly and make it easier for you to carry your backpack.
The Osprey Ariel 65 is considered a heavy duty capacity, high end women’s backpack. This is definitely not the cheapest backpack. However, I am generally okay with spending a little extra money on very high quality products. This backpack is incredibly durable, comfortable, and will serve you well for several years and miles down the road.
Hiking backpacks of this size and caliber are best used for multi-day hikes. The large volume capacity of the Osprey Ariel 65, combined with incredible comfort and durability, makes this the perfect addition to your backpacking gear. Alternatively, you can also use this backpack as a convenient travel bag. However, be aware that the XS/S frame measures 29.5 inches in height. You can remove the top lid to cut it down to 22 inches. This just makes the airline sizing cutoff for acceptable carry on bags. Depending on the airline and staff, you may be able to carry this bag on your flight without the top lid.
If you are still in search of the perfect multi-day hiking backpack for women, you can also check out my review of the Osprey Aura AG 50.
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products that I personally own and love! All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that help me earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!