Osprey Ariel 55 Backpack Review

This pack is designed for women and features a customizable fit system that adjusts to your body shape and size. It also has a ventilated back panel to keep you cool and comfortable on the trail. In this review, I’ll share my experience with the Ariel 55 after taking it on a short overnight trip. I’ll cover the good, the bad, and everything in between to help you decide if this pack is right for you.


Osprey Ariel 55 Backpack
Capacity: 55 liters
Weight: Varies depending on size (M/L: 4.8 lbs, XS/S: 4.77 lbs)
Material: Durable, PFC-free DWR-treated fabric (blusign®-approved)
Backpack Frame: AirScape™ ventilated back panel with LightWire frame

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Fit and Comfort

The Osprey Ariel 55 is all about getting a perfect fit. No matter your body type, this pack can be adjusted to feel comfortable. The back length can be changed to match your torso, and the shoulder straps and hip belt can be adjusted too. This means the weight of your pack will be carried on your strong leg muscles, not your shoulders. This keeps you comfortable for longer hikes.

Another key to comfort is the ventilated back panel. This panel has a mesh design that allows air to flow between your back and the pack. This helps keep you cool and dry, even when you’re working up a sweat on a tough climb.

Features and Functionality

The Osprey Ariel 55 isn’t just about comfort. It’s packed with features designed to make your backpacking adventures smooth and efficient. Let’s delve into the functionalities that keep your gear organized and readily accessible, ensuring a stress-free trek.

Easy Access and Organized Compartments

Osprey understands the importance of staying organized on the trail. The Ariel 55 boasts multiple access points and compartments to keep your gear neatly stowed and close at hand.

  • Large front panel access: A large zippered panel on the front of the pack allows you to access the main compartment easily. This is perfect for grabbing larger items you might need throughout the day without having to unpack everything.
  • Floating top lid with lash points: For quick access to essentials like snacks, maps, or sunscreen, a floating top lid sits conveniently at the top of the pack. The lash points on the lid provide additional space to secure items like a headlamp or wet jacket.
  • Fabric-reinforced front shove-it pocket: Keep sweaty clothes or wet gear separate from the rest of your belongings with this dedicated pocket. The fabric reinforcement ensures durability for storing heavier or bulkier items you need quick access to.

Hydration on the Go

Staying hydrated is vital on long hikes. The Ariel 55 features an internal hydration reservoir sleeve (reservoir not included). This makes it easy to integrate a hydration system into your pack. This allows you to stay conveniently hydrated without having to stop and fumble with water bottles.

Secure Storage for Smaller Essentials

The Ariel 55 goes beyond the main compartments. It offers additional storage options for smaller essentials you want to keep close at hand.

  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets: These pockets are perfect for storing water bottles or frequently used items like bug spray or sunscreen. The dual access points allow you to grab your gear from either side of the pack, even while wearing it.
  • Hipbelt pockets: Two zippered pockets on the hip belt provide convenient storage for essentials like phones, GPS devices, or energy bars. This keeps them readily accessible without having to take off your pack.

We’ll explore more features of the Osprey Ariel 55 in the next section. We’ll also focus on how they help you manage your load and carry your gear comfortably.

First Impressions and Performance

I recently took the Osprey Ariel 55 on a short overnight backpacking trip. It was a good chance to get a feel for the pack. Overall, I was impressed!

The adjustable fit system was fantastic. I was able to customize the pack to fit my torso and shoulders perfectly. This made a big difference in comfort, especially after a long day of hiking. The ventilated back panel also helped keep me cool and dry.

Even though it was just a short trip, I could tell this pack was built to last. The materials seem very durable. I also liked the easy-to-use pockets on the hip belt. I wasn’t a huge fan of the water bottle pockets, though. They were a little difficult to reach while wearing the pack. I’ll have to see how the pack performs on a longer hike to get a better idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

What I like about this backpack

  • Adjustable Fit System: The pack offers a customizable torso length, Fit-on-the-Fly™ shoulder straps, and hipbelt for a perfect fit on various body shapes and sizes.
  • Comfort and Ventilation: The ventilated AirScape™ back panel allows for air circulation, keeping your back cool and dry during hikes.
  • Durability: The pack is built with high-quality, PFC-free DWR-treated fabric for long-lasting use.
  • Weather Protection: A detachable raincover with PFC-free DWR treatment is included to shield your gear from heavy rain.
  • Easy Access and Organization:
    • Large front panel zipper for easy access to the main compartment.
    • Floating top lid with lash points for frequently needed items.
    • Fabric-reinforced front shove-it pocket for dirty clothes or wet gear.
    • Dual-access stretch mesh side pockets for water bottles or other essentials.
  • Secure Carry and Compression:
    • Strategically placed compression straps stabilize the load and prevent shifting.
    • Hipbelt pockets offer convenient storage for essentials like phones or snacks.
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment: A dedicated compartment with a divider keeps your sleeping bag separate for easy access.
  • Hydration Compatibility: An internal hydration reservoir sleeve allows for a hands-free hydration system (reservoir not included).
  • Optional Daypack Attachment: Osprey Daylite® daypack can be attached for short explorations without needing the entire backpack.

What I don’t like about this backpack

  • Weight: The pack itself might be heavier compared to some other options.
  • Water Bottle Pockets: The side mesh pockets for water bottles may be difficult to access while wearing the pack.
  • Limited Additional Pockets: Some users might find the number of zippered pockets on the pack to be limited.
  • Color Options: The color options might not be exactly as they appear online (user experience may vary).


The Osprey Ariel 55 offers a comfortable and feature-rich design for women backpackers. The adjustable fit system, ventilation, and durable materials make it a great choice for multi-day adventures. However, the weight of the pack and difficulty of accessing the water bottle pockets while wearing it might be downsides for some users.