Thursday, August 2, 2012

Osprey Ariel Backpack

Need a super comfortable, super light, women specific backpack?  You have to check out Osprey's newly updated Ariel series.  They come in three different sizes, a 55, 65, and 75 Liter.  I think the 65 liter is just the right size--not too big, not too small.  This pack is highly customizable, coming in several sizes and with a moldable hip belt that you can have heat molded to fit your body.  The pack compresses nicely, so if you need it for a smaller load, you can just cinch it down and still keep a good balance.

There is a good bit of ventilation on this pack, really great for keeping cool on hot days.  The integrated hydration system works great and I love how Osprey's water bladders have a handle which makes it easier to fill.  The side pockets fit Nalgene bottles for that extra water supply.

The lid comes off and turns into a lumbar pack for day trips.  I personally am not a fan of lumbar (fanny) packs, but you don't have to carry it that way, you can sling it as a cross body and wear it in the back.  It's nice to have this option if you are backpacking and want to stay put for a couple of days but still enjoy some hiking or exploring the area.  Trekking poles stow right on the outside of the pack as well as lots of loops and straps for extra gear.

Access is easy, you can get into the main body from the top or the front.  There's a sleeping bag compartment and overall good organization.  It's a great color and will help you remain visible through the woods, which I think is good for safety.  As a nitpick, I would have liked to have seen a pocket on the hip belt and a rain cover (though sometimes you get better coverage by lining your pack with a garbage compactor bag), but other than that I think this pack is well thought out, comfortable, and fits the bill. Osprey has an iron clad "All Mighty Guarantee" to back up their gear, adding even more value.  Find it HERE.