Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Ariel Pro 65 Review

Price:  $375 List | $280.99 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, good design, effective compression
Cons:  Expensive, uncomfortable and bulky hip belt
Bottom line:  The Ariel Pro is Osprey's women's specific mountaineering pack, designed to be light, sleek, and able to carry large loads.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight (pounds) (medium):  3.82 lb
Volumes Available (liters):  65
Sizes Available:  XS,S,M
Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

The Ariel Pro 65 is an exciting new addition to the Osprey fleet of women's specific backpacks. This pack is a godsend for those who liked the Osprey Ariel AG or the Osprey Aura AG but always felt that these models were too heavy or overbuilt. The Ariel Pro is streamlined, with fewer pockets, zippers, and straps. We loved how light and simple this pack was but had a few hold-ups on the suspension, which felt a bit bulky for the pack, and overall comfort.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson

Last Updated:
Tuesday
May 15, 2018

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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.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


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 suspension system that is large and heavy, 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 and preferred the more stripped down Gregory Octal 55, even when carrying the same size load. For those who are set on having a full-frame pack with tons of support, the Ariel Pro is a good choice. But, if you are willing to skip a bit on the overall bulk and padding on your pack, we found both the Octal and the Eja to be as comfortable, or more, than the Ariel Pro.

Saddling up with the Ariel Pro.
Saddling up with the Ariel Pro.

Weight


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 a full pound and a half lighter than the Ariel AG. This puts the Ariel Pro on par with the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60 and The North Face Banchee 65. These packs are comparable in weight as well as comfort, especially the Ozonic which was one of the more comfortable light packs we tested.

The Ariel Pro can be stripped down to a sleek  alpine climbing pack.
The Ariel Pro can be stripped down to a sleek, alpine climbing pack.

Suspension


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 body of the pack and felt overbuilt. Though the suspension is simpler than the comfortable, yet bulky 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.

This is the Ariel Pro with all of its removable components in place.
This is the Ariel Pro with all of its removable components in place.

Ease of Use


The Ariel Pro did get high praise in the ease of use 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 means that storage and packing are up to you to organize inside the pack itself. We appreciate this, but some may prefer a pack with plenty of external pockets, like the REI Co-op Traverse, for organizational purposes. 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 which make the pack highly adjustable depending on the size of the load. For a similar pack regarding simplicity, we also liked the Gregory Octal 55 and the Osprey Eja 58. Both of these packs are slightly smaller and lighter, and but share the Ariel Pros focus on simplicity.

The Ariel Pro is sleek and very comfortable  making it one of our favorite packs in terms of comfort and simplicity.
The Ariel Pro is sleek and very comfortable, making it one of our favorite packs in terms of comfort and simplicity.

Features


As mentioned above, we loved the combination of features on the Osprey Ariel Pro, for the most part. While the compression straps, lid, and simple main compartment were all features we liked, we struggled with the large side pockets that rest on top of the hip belt. These pockets felt like bulky 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. We preferred the mesh outer pockets on the Octal 55 because they were out of the way and were able to carry about the same amount of gear. For a pack with a similar design and feature set, check out the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic, which is also a mountaineering pack designed for light alpine missions.

The lid is removable and large enough to fill with all of your important personal items.
The lid is removable and large enough to fill with all of your important personal items.

Best Applications


This pack is best used as a mountaineering pack or for those who want a lighter, simpler pack for backpacking. It is lightweight, compressible, and made of durable material — all of which are features that make the Ariel Pro a useful addition to any trip into the mountains. Similar to the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 60, the Ariel Pro is a pack made to carry heavy loads in all types of conditions, with no extra frills.

We loved the removable hip belt pockets on the Ariel Pro. At first  they seemed bulky and strange  but one we realized they were easy to remove  we appreciated the design.
We loved the removable hip belt pockets on the Ariel Pro. At first, they seemed bulky and strange, but one we realized they were easy to remove, we appreciated the design.

Value


Sold for $375 online, this brand-new model from Osprey comes at a cost. This is the second-most expensive pack in this review, following behind the very pricy Arc'teryx Bora AR. 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.

Adjusting the waist belt of the Ariel Pro is intuitive and easy.
Adjusting the waist belt of the Ariel Pro is intuitive and easy.

Conclusion


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.
Jane Jackson

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Most recent review: May 15, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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