Gear Review: Osprey Ariel 65L

Osprey Ariel 65L Backpack


Images from Osprey


The Osprey Ariel 65L pack is for the adventure ladies taking on alpine terrain and carrying heavy loads. In addition, the pack is adaptable- with a removable top lid and sleeping pad straps and AddOns (sold separately).

MSRP: $289.95


  • Weight: 4 lbs 15 oz (for size medium)
  • Frame Material: HDPE framesheet/metal alloy peripheral frame
  • Materials: Ripstop nylon/nylon oxford

Circumstances of Review:

I used the Osprey Ariel 65 for 1500 miles of my thru-hike before switching to the lighter Osprey Exos 58. At the start of my thru-hike I carried 35-40 lbs which was honestly heavy AF. That being said, the Osprey Ariel 65 made carrying my heavy pack manageable and comfortable. I was sad to part with it for the lighter Exos 58 and can’t wait to use it on future climbing and mountaineering trips.



Weight Distribution: For 1500 miles of the Appalachian Trail I loved my Osprey Ariel 65L pack. And on average, my pack weight was around 30-35 lbs. I was amazed at the Ariel’s ability to distribute weight and how comfortable it was carrying heavy loads. Further, the pack’s compression system has 3 horizontal straps and 1 internal strap allows you to properly distribute the weight of the packs contents.

Adjustable Hip belt: This may be my favorite part of the Ariel. The hip belt is interchangeable and can be custom molded. In comparison, the molded hip belt made my pack feel way more comfortable than the original hip belt.

Storage: The Osprey Ariel has over 6 main storage compartments and features a J-zipper panel across the front of the backpack for all the gear that’s stuffed inside your pack. This is huge when carrying everything on your back. The J-zipper panel allows you to access the gear towards the bottom of your pack. So say goodbye to tearing your entire pack apart looking for that one item you need. Additionally, the hip belt pockets were large enough to storage an iPhone6 and GoPro in one pocket and snacks in the other, making these items more accessible than if stored in the brain.

Removable Top Lid: The image below features the removable top lid or what I call the brain of the pack. When in town, I put all of my important goodies and valuables in the brain, taking it with me and leaving my backpack at the hostel or outside of restaurant.


Image from REI


Weight: Overall, the backpack is heavy for a long-distance backpacking trip at 4 lbs 15 oz. In conclusion, I really liked the Ariel’s additional features and the storage compartments but ultimately I didn’t need all of the extras that added weight.


The External Hydration Sleeve: I didn’t like the Ariel’s external hydration sleeve at all. Overall, it was difficult to fit the reservoir into the hydration sleeve and the position (right on my back) made for warm water. As a result, I stored my reservoir in the backpack’s brain and not in the external hydration sleeve.

Poor Ventilation: I found this pack to be a sweaty mess once it got hot on the AT.The Ariel is designed with Air Flow but I think the fabric absorbed more sweat than it wicked away. In comparison, the Osprey Exos 58 back allowed for better air flow and ventilation, keeping me cool.


This pack is designed for heavy loads and mountaineering. I was trying to carry less than 30 lbs. After 1500 miles with the Osprey Ariel 65, I switched to the lighter Osprey Exos 58. For the mountaineers-the Ariel’s side gear straps, ice axe tool loops and cord loop attachment are great for alpine terrain. I’m looking forward to using this pack in future trips. Although the Osprey Ariel 65 didn’t fit my needs on the AT, I still use and love this pack for other trips and purposes. Moreover, I genuinely think its a great pack and highly recommend it for trips with heavy loads and technical gear because of how well the pack distributes weight.

Shop the Osprey Ariel 65 Here

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