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Osprey packs are known for their comfort and durability, and the company hasn’t stopped improving on even their best features over the years. The Osprey Ariel 65L was a comfortable pack, especially for petites, when our friend Gemma bought hers back in 2011.
The Osprey Ariel 65 has since been updated to the Osprey Ariel AG 65, with even more great features that we’ve noted in this review.
Read more about the latest upgrades and the new Anti-Gravity Suspension below.
Osprey Ariel AG 65L Quick Review
Price Range- $$$$$
Why I Chose the Osprey Ariel 65L
I first went traveling in 2007 with an ill-fitting backpack, no blog and not nearly enough money. I’ve had the bug ever since, but after that first trip, I knew that I couldn’t continue without the perfect backpack.
I had one main factor in mind when choosing my backpack and that was fit.
At 5’1” I’m vertically challenged, so finding a bag is more difficult. I found that the Osprey Ariel 65 was the only bag that fit me properly, including other Osprey models.
- Check for prices of the Osprey Ariel on Amazon.
Pros and Cons
Osprey doesn’t just make bags that fit, but it takes comfort a step further. The waist strap is made from special foam that can be heated up and molded to your body.
I also like how practical the bag is. The compression straps help me shrink it down when it’s not full (which is most of the time), making it easier to carry.
I suppose the only downside is the price. I definitely couldn’t pass it up, as it’s the only bag I could find that fit well. However, if I was a bit taller, I might consider buying something less expensive.
The Updated Osprey Ariel AG 65L
The following includes some improvements that have been made over the last few years, that Gemma’s 2011 version didn’t yet have.
Most notably, the Ariel AG 65 has Osprey’s Anti-Gravity (AG) Technology. According to the Osprey experts, the AG technology uses a Lightwire tension frame with a full mesh backpanel to transfer the load off your shoulders with the help of the fully adjustable harness.
- The Anti Gravity Suspension makes the overall weight slightly heavier but with an increased level of comfort you can feel.
- Lightweight suspended-mesh panel extends from the upper torso through the lumbar area to wrap your back in breathable comfort
- IsoForm5 harness and CM hipbelt provide outstanding fit and comfort for heavy loads and long miles; they are interchangeable to provide a custom fit
- Removable top-lid converts to DayLid daypack (U.S. and Canada stock only)
- Lower Inside-Out compression straps
- Additional main compartment access
- Integrated FlapJacket cover for lidless use
- Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
- Large front J-zip access to main compartment
XS: 59L, 14-17 inch torso length, 24-28 inch waist/hips
S: 62L, 16-19 inch torso length, 27-31 inch waist/hips
M: 65L, 18-21 inch torso length, 30-34 inch waist/hips
L: 68L, 20-22 inch torso length, 33-37 inch waist/hips
Backpack Testing Period
When I first got my Osprey Ariel 65, I embarked on a two-week tour of the UK visiting friends and family. Then, I spent 6 1/2 weeks travelling Nepal and India with it, followed by Cambodia and Thailand. Finally, I did a fair amount of travelling through South America with it.
The lack of wear and tear is astounding.
Fit and Comfort
I’ve already talked a little about the fit for me and it’s perfect. But its adjustable back means it’s also good for my 6′ boyfriend.
The size is adjusted by sliding the back up or down and sticking it to a Velcro panel. This is great as it means you can get it to just the right spot, rather than the closest loop.
It also has a ventilation panel on the back, good for those days when you think it’s a great idea to hike 4km in the midday sun.
I haven’t tried to carry on this pack, but I doubt it would pass regulations. I don’t really mind though, as I just carry a small canvas day bag which I can easily pack in my big bag when not needed and fill with my travel-on treats when it is.
Editor’s note: The newer Ariel AG 65 comes equipped with a removable top lid that converts to a daypack, making the need to pack an extra day bag obsolete.
I would love a smaller backpack as I haven’t managed to fill it and it would also encourage me to pack more sensibly. But, this bag was the best fit overall… and there’s nothing worse than a backpack that rubs and pulls on your shoulders.
- Check out the Osprey Ariel in the smaller 55L size.
I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to small people. The comfort and durability of the Osprey Ariel 65 is unparalleled, and I’m glad to call it my home.
About the Author: Connect with Gemma on the blog, Same Same But Different.