|Rating:||8.1 / 10|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Versatility||1.5 / 2|
|Weight||1.4 / 2|
|Comfort||1.8 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
Having spent several years lightening my hiking load and searching out smaller and lighter weight packs, the Osprey Ariel Plus 60L Pack represented a challenge. At 2.46 kg it is, for me, a relatively heavy start to my hiking experience. However, this is a feature packed item so it is easy to appreciate the weight trade off.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ariel Plus is the robust strapping – Osprey has actually made it a feature on the black version with pale green and grey straps adding to the stying.
The second thing you’ll notice are the pockets and compartments – more than most people will need. This was another challenge for me during the first few wears of the Ariel Plus and it took me a bit of time to remember where I stored my bits and pieces! I’m used to the Osprey Eja 48L Pack. Having fewer options does make it easier in one sense but the Ariel Plus allows you to organise your kit into ‘themes’ and then it’s just a matter of locating the pocket or compartment you need.
The main body of this pack has a split system which allows you to close off the lower compartment and keep your tent or wet gear separate. I find a separate lower compartment can consume more packing space but its good to know it’s available if you need it. The pack brain can be removed and used as a proper day pack – a great feature for those times you need to carry your valuables and leave the weight behind.
Other storage features include a rear back stretch pocket and super stretchy side pockets for water bottles – there is also an internal bladder pocket if you prefer to use a water bladder.
The biggest difference with the Ariel Plus are the three custom fit systems. The torso length adjustment allows up to 9 cm of adjustment. There’s also a ‘hipbelt wing’ which allows positioning of the hipbelt and hip pockets to the ‘just right’ position. The hip pockets are connected to the hipbelt via a Velcro pad which means very fine adjustments can be achieved. The third fit system is the on the super padded shoulder straps which feature another Velcro pad for super fine adjustment. I tested the XS/S and found there was plenty of adjustment for my 165 cm frame.
The comfort features are topped off with Osprey’s AirScape Suspension which is injection moulded, adjustable and has heaps of padding at the lower back and hips.
And the point of all this adjustment? Well, the Ariel Plus is designed for long days carrying heavy loads from 14-27 kg. I have tested the Ariel Plus with loads below this range as well as at the lower end and I was very comfortable. I did feel ‘encased’ in the pack when compared to my lighter, bare bones packs, and this took a bit of getting used to.
This pack comes in 60, 70 and 85L capacities and XS/S and M/L sizes. The colours include Night Jungle Blue, Carnelian Red and Black (which has the pale green strapping).
At AUD $599 RRP this isn’t a cheap option but it is feature packed and super comfortable and can usually be found one sale.
So is this a pack worth considering? Absolutely! Whatever you’re wanting to carry big waits and be comfortable (as best as possible) in doing so then the Osprey Ariel Plus will provide the comfort and custom fit you’ve been looking for!
Hikers who carry a loads up to 27 kg and want to do so comfortably from day 1 to week 5
AUD $549.99 RRP – check out the sales when its often available for much cheaper
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Osprey Women’s Ariel Plus 60L Pack in Black
Osprey Women’s Ariel Plus 60 Pack in Carnelian Red
Osprey Women’s Ariel Plus 60L Pack in Night Jungle Blue
Gill wearing the Osprey Ariel Plus 60, front view
Osprey Ariel Plus 60 pack with water bottle and bottom access point
Rain cover pocket Osprey Ariel Plus 60
Osprey Women’s Ariel Plus 60L Pack trekking pole holder. This Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment lets you store your trekking poles when not in use
Adjustment of Ariel Plus 60L Pack shoulder adjustment
Osprey Ariel Plus 60 back suspension
Hydration port on Ariel Plus 60. The drinking tube will go either left or right as you prefer
Ariel Plus 60 front pocket opening
Osprey Ariel 60 Plus bottom pocket
Rear stretch pocket
Removable self contained pack on the Osprey Ariel 60 Plus
This review was done with product supplied by the Australian distributor of Osprey Packs