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ProView – Osprey Women’s Ariel 55

Carrying a heavy pack has never been more comfortable. Osprey Ariel 55 has the right padding at the right place makes carrying a 55 L pack not as miserable as it should be. Even when you have to carry 2 sets of everything for you and your two dogs backpacking in your local mountain. 

Osprey Women's Ariel 55

Product Description: Ideal for anyone in need of a pack with a fine-tuned fit, the Aether/Ariel Series fits a variety of body shapes and sizes. A Custom Fit-on-the-Fly™ Hipbelt, Shoulder Straps and adjustable torso length offers a fine-tuned fit and an injection-molded backpanel delivers breathable, close-to-body performance. Made with bluesign®-approved nylon and PFC-free DWR. Raincover included.

Offer price: MSRP: $260.00

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Durability
    (5)
  • Eco-Friendly
    (4)

Summary

The Osprey Ariel 55 will never win in the ultralight category but what’s lacking in that area is covered by how comfortable the pack is. It’s a good entry-level backpack when you are still trying to figure out your gear, or a backpack that you will grab when you don’t want to worry about running out of space, OR if you have more than one dog and they refuse to carry their own sleeping gear.

Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Pockets everywhere
  • Side pocket for water bottle
  • Massive shoulder padding 
  • Easy Torso and shoulder fit with their Custom Fit on the fly technology
  • Very breathable back panel 

Cons

  • Tall
  • Not that suitable for climbing for shorter people when fully loaded
  • Lean, can be tricky to pack wider gear 
  • Lots of straps 

After going ultralight for the last couple of years, the idea of carrying a heavy pack terrifies me. But when I’m going to have my two dogs backpacking with me, there is no chance of going ultralight anyway. With one of them being a 12 years old australian shepherd who still thinks she’s a puppy and the other one is a hard charger with sensitive paws, I was committed to bring anything that will make them comfortable. Luckily, the pack is big enough to carry 2 sets of everything. 

So when a local mountain, San Gorgonio wilderness, opened the backside — which had been closed almost half a year due to wildfire (it was opened for maybe a year after being closed for a couple of years due to Lake fire in 2015), we snagged an overnight permit and head to the trails. It turned out to be a pretty cold weekend and it even snowed for a brief moment. 

Fit/Comfort 

Comfort is the biggest feature of this pack. The massive padding on the shoulder and waist creates no pressure point and it spreads the weight so it’s pretty balanced as well. The back panel mesh and padding create a solid airflow and I didn’t feel that my back got too sweaty or damp.

Look/Style

It just happened that two of my friends are also using Osprey packs with different models. It is nice to see them next to each other as comparison. As you can see, Ariel 55 is a lean and tall model even compare to Aura with a 65 lt capacity

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Features 

I’ve been using ½ liter nalgene bottles more and more lately since they are easy to stow and fit well in pack pockets and this one was no exception. It was nice to see that the side pocket had an opening that was at an angle. It was really handy for a non-flexible person like me!  I think with a loaded pack, it would be hard to fit a 1 liter bottle on the side pocket. So a 1/2 liter bottle was perfect and I was able to squeeze in my gloves and dog’s bowl above it. It was easy to get it in and out, although I did notice that one of them fell down when I had the pack on the ground.

The main compartment is spacious, and it has a reservoir sleeve (but it doesn’t come with the reservoir bag). There’s also a divider between the main compartment and the sleeping bag compartment with holes on each side. I used this opening to slide my tent poles and a sleeping pad all the way to the bottom. 

Weight/Packability 

One of the features of this backpack is the front panel access. While it is nice to have the option, I had a hard time trying to pack it from the front opening . It is much easier to pack it from the top opening as usual and keep the zipper closed. It was also hard to unpack from the mid section zipper when the pack is really full due to the lean and long shape of the pack . 

With 55 liter capacity, I was able to fit two sleeping bags, two sleeping pads, a stove, tent , MSR gravity water filter, a variety of jackets, and food and treats for both humans and dogs. It was a bit of a Tetris game considering the shape but even then, there is still plenty of space left. 

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Function/Performance 

It’s definitely not the lightest pack out there but it’s the kind of pack that gives you comfort. If you are thinking of using this for climbing, it might not be the best choice. I’m about 5’3” and the top of the pack is pretty high and my head constantly bumped into it when I look up to the sky. I can only imagine a helmet will make my head bump to the pack even more. 

Durability/Construction 

The material feels solid and I wasn’t afraid to be rough with them without having to worry that it would tear. The buckles are a bit sticky to loosen up, I ended up having to unbuckle it first. 

Friendliness to the Earth

Osprey has been committed to building gear that lasts a lifetime with their All Mighty Guarantee. This means they will repair your packs for any reason from any era. 

This backpack also is rocking PFC-free DWR and a high-quality bluesign®- approved Nylon

The Final Word

The Osprey Ariel 55 will never win in the ultralight category but what’s lacking in that area is covered by how comfortable the pack is. It’s a good entry-level backpack when you are still trying to figure out your gear, or a backpack that you will grab when you don’t want to worry about running out of space, OR if you have more than one dog and they refuse to carry their own sleeping gear. 

Shop Osprey Women’s Ariel 55 on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Rini Sugianto
Trip Report Author ::

Rini has a day job as an Animation Supervisor, which means more motivation to spend any of her spare time outside whether it is climbing, ultra trail running, or skiing in the mountains. Rini has been writing trip reports and articles for the Outdoor Project since 2016 covering the trips all over from the Sierra Nevada to the French and Swiss Alps.  Connect with her on Instagram @rinisugianto 

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