Osprey Ariel Pro 65 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
We loved the design of the Osprey Ariel Pro because of its simplicity. This pack caters toward the long trips into the mountains, where even though less is more, you still have to carry a lot of weight. The main body is used for storage, while the pack has a large lid and many compression straps on the outside. We didn't like the suspension system and hip belt as much as we thought we might have since they were bulky feeling and cumbersome, which did not align with the rest of the pack's design. This pack is best used as a mountaineering pack or for those who want a lighter, simpler pack for backpacking.
Comfort and Suspension
Though it was comfortable overall, the Ariel Pro was not our favorite in this metric among the most recent additions to this review. The pack has a beefy suspension system, which made it seem like the Ariel Pro would be incredibly comfortable. Instead, we found the waist belt to be too wide to rest comfortably on our hips. For those who intend to have a full-frame pack with tons of support, the Ariel Pro is a good choice, but other packs in our test offer similar capacity and simplicity with more comfort.
It is in the suspension system that the Ariel Pro fell a bit short. The hip belt is exceedingly bulky, which detracts from the lightweight feel of the rest of the pack. We also struggled with the exposed aluminum frame, which protruded from the pack body and felt overbuilt. Though the suspension is less complicated than the comfortable, yet sizeable Anti-Gravity system of the Ariel AG and Aura AG models, it still felt overly complicated for a pack that was meant to be stripped down and simplified.
The folks at Osprey worked hard this year to come up with lighter, sleeker designs for their packs while keeping the same level of comfort that is typical of their products. With the Osprey Ariel Pro, they did an incredible job of stripping down weight. This pack weighs 3.82 pounds, which is on the lighter end of the models we tested.
The Ariel Pro did get high praise in the organizational metric because of its design. The pack is made up of a large main compartment, a lid, and two large side pockets contouring the hip belt. This arrangement means that storage and packing are up to you to organize within these few areas. We appreciate this, but some may prefer a pack with more external pockets.
As mentioned above, we loved the combination of features on the Osprey Ariel Pro, for the most part. While the compression straps, lid, and main compartment were all features we liked, we struggled with the side pockets that rest on top of the hip belt. These pockets felt like protruding wings when they were empty, and got in the way of our arms when full. Though it was nice to have extra storage, the placement of these pockets was not ideal.
The pack is also fairly easy to adjust, with a large range on the suspension and an easy-to-use hip belt adjustment system. There are also plenty of compression strap options that make the pack highly adjustable depending on the size of the load.
This model from Osprey comes at a cost. The Ariel Pro is one of the most expensive packs in this review. This pack is a long-term investment; we suggest trying it on and making sure it fits you properly before throwing down for this technical backpack. Since there are very few features, it is also important to make sure you are getting everything you need out of the Ariel Pro before buying it. It is a well-made pack with a solid design and made by a trusted brand, but the Ariel Pro is no bargain option.
In conclusion, we found many aspects of the Ariel Pro that we liked, and a few things that we didn't like. This model is designed to be light, fast, and streamlined, which it is, for the most part. But, it still has the bulk of the traditional Ariel AG and a waist belt that we felt got in the way. The hold-ups we had may be small, so we urge you to check this one out for yourself before buying it, as it is also one of the more expensive models in this review.