Osprey Ariel 75

The Osprey Ariel 75 backpack for Women is designed to haul an impressive amount of gear for those longer, more harrowing backpacking trips.  Its female-friendly hipbelt and harness system allows for maximized comfort when applied to the natural curves of a female hiker.  The dual peripheral aluminum rods are a key component to Osprey’s Airscape suspension system and lend balance to the equation by helping to transfer some of the weight closer to the body.  With comfort being the main objective, Osprey installed an Isofoam hipbelt that is able to be custom molded to the hiker’s particular shape, and also designed the nubbed foam back panel with grip mesh coverings to provide extreme breathability.  The Ariel is equipped with a separate sleeping bag compartment, which expedites the packing and unpacking process.  Osprey knows that with every great expedition comes side tracks, and so has made it so that the top compartment of the pack can be removed and utililized as its own fanny pack  for the trekker.

Field Report

I first began using my Ariel 75 pack in the Ozark Mountain region of Northwest Arkansas, while training for an expedition to Patagonia.  I immediately noticed the personable style of Osprey (the smooth design plus the ultra-comfortable support system).  By merely looking at the pack, one might think it highly improbable to fit 9 days worth of gear in the main compartment; however once I utilized the many straps and found every nook and cranny within the bag, I found that I had even more room than I needed for my trip to Patagonia.

The main thing I sought in the beginning with my Ariel was a good weight distribution method.  I found this as soon as I strapped myself in using the IsoFoam hipbelt, which provided me with enough padding and support to withstand several days before my hips inevitably got sore and helped me get most of the pack’s weight to land safely on my tailbone.  The dual aluminum rods truly do pull the weight of the pack closer to your body, making the load a lot more flexible in terms of quick and easy movement on the trail.  I always feel that when you hike you should feel as though that pack is an extension of you, this thought is backed up by the Ariel 75 experience.

As I hiked through some of the most arresting landscapes on Earth in Patagonia, I did not want to take my eyes off the view for a moment.  The easily adjustable hipbelt and shoulder straps made it so that I could constantly keep good tabs on my comfort while still traipsing through that majestic place.  A big plus in terms of convenience with this pack is the extra entryway into the sleeping bag compartment.  When stopping for the night to set up camp, I was never forced to dig into any part of my pack for my essentials.  I simply lifted my sleeping bag out of its designated space, along with my sleeping bag liner and then zipped that section back up before taking my tent from the main opening.  Talk about simple.  Another good spot to stow items that might be needed rather quickly, is the outside stretch pocket.  This pocket can hold more articles than one would think and is very easy to get in and out of on the fly.  The zippered lid had just enough room for my on-the-go basic items and after half a day I had a system down as to where I would store certain things within that space.

The many adjustable straps found on the outside of the Ariel give a number of different solutions to any fastening need.  After seeing all of the half-hidden loops that encircle the stretch pocket, I made sure to bring enough karabiners to ensure the safety of my gear as I either trekked or traveled both in North and South America.  The straps toward the bottom of the pack can be used for either your water shoes, or your sleeping pad (depending on how full your pack is).  The straps broad range of uses made it so that I had almost double the space for my gear during the Patagonia expedition.

I do feel comforted by the side stretch water bottle pockets in that I know for a fact my bottle is not going anywhere.  However, I have found it rather difficult to extract my bottle on a number of occasions, either from the top or the side opening.  If I were to change anything, it would be to loosen up the openings just a tad so that I can maneuver my way to my water on breaks without a struggle.

Overall, I really like the Osprey Ariel 75 backpack.  It is comfortable, has plenty of room for a weeks worth of gear, comes with everything that you will need on the trail and is tough and durable.  The Osprey Aerial is easy to clean, showed little signs of wear, even after months of tough use and continued to be one of the most comfortable packs I have ever used.

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