Searching for the right pack for your backpacking trips can be a daunting task. This is particularly true for women who usually have smaller frames. There are a lot of packs for men, but they are not really designed to fit women. Having the wrong pack can cause women unnecessary soreness and pain in the upper body.
But, not with Osprey Ariel and Osprey Aura packs. These two versions of Osprey packs are specifically designed for women. They are slightly smaller compared to their men’s counterparts, which are Aether and Atmos. Ariel and Aura are ideal packs for ladies with smaller body frames. Additionally, these packs are completely adjustable to make sure that they fit you perfectly.
Ariel and Aura come with a few main differences. And these differences shall help you in your purchasing decision. Depending on how much space you may require and what type of trips you’re planning to take will significantly affect which backpack you should pick.
With that said, check out this in-depth comparison between Osprey Ariel and Aura backpacks, and make the right choice. Read on!
Osprey Ariel vs. Aura Overview
This comparison table serves as a preview of our in-depth discussion between Osprey Ariel vs. Aura. This is an important part if you want to have a quick idea of which one to get. All in all, this comparison table will make your buying process much easier.
|Weight||Dimensions||Compression Straps||Load Range||Suspension||Hydration Capacity||Price||Our Rating||Link to Amazon|
|Osprey Ariel 55||2.5 lbs.|
|84 x 38 x 31 (cm)||7 Compression Straps||35- 60 lbs Load Range||IsoForm5 harness and CM hip belt||55 liters||$-$$||5||Shop now at Amazon|
|Osprey Ariel 65||2.5 lbs.|
|85 x 39 x 32 (cm)||7 Compression Straps||35- 60 lbs Load Range||IsoForm5 harness and CM hip belt||65 liters||$-$$$||5||Shop now at Amazon|
|Osprey Aura 50||4.1 lbs.|
|82 x 36 x 36 (cm)||5 Compression Straps||25 lbs – 50 lbs Load Range||Fit on the Fly hip belt||50 liters||$-$$||4||Shop now at Amazon|
|Osprey Aura 65||4.26 lbs.|
|85 x 38 x 40 (cm)||5 Compression Straps||25 lbs – 50 lbs Load Range||Fit on the Fly hip belt||65 liters||$-$$||4.5||Shop now at Amazon|
Main Differences Between the Osprey Aura and Ariel
Even though both Ariel and Aura came from the same company, they differ in certain aspects in order to fit the different needs of various consumers. Here are some of the main differences between Ariel and Aura:
The suspensions of Ariel and Aura are actually very similar to each other. Both of them are incorporated with Osprey’s anti-gravity technology. It comes with a mesh panel and wireframe that effectively hugs your back from top to bottom. Their main difference when it comes to suspension is their hip belts. Ariel comes with an IsoForm 5 CM hip belt, while Aura has a fit on the fit-on-the-fly hip belt, which we will discuss later.
Two very convenient things about the Osprey Ariel pack is its access zipper on the front and its removable daypack that attaches to the top lid of the pack. Meanwhile, Osprey Aura comes with an additional pocket. However, in terms of easier access, Ariel beats Aura regardless of the latter’s extra pocket.
The Osprey Aura is applicable for a wide range of outdoor trips. This makes Aura more versatile, especially since it can carry both light and heavy loads comfortably. On the other hand, Ariel is more suitable for long and heavy load trips, which include trips with children, alpine expeditions, and thru-hikes.
When it comes to the comfort factor, Osprey Aura is a little bit better than Osprey Ariel. The Aura is about a pound lighter compared to Ariel. And this weight difference is very crucial, especially during strenuous backpacking trips. Additionally, even though they are both incorporated with Osprey’s prominent anti-gravity technology, Ariel has a much bulkier suspension system, which makes it a little less convenient.
In-Depth Comparison – Osprey Ariel vs. Aura
The Osprey Ariel backpacks are designed for people who are fond of extreme adventure trips. The Ariel series is perfect for alpine expeditions and trips that last more than a week. It has a heavy and durable design to help you bring all your gears.
What sets Ariel apart from most backpacks is its top lid and the front access zipper that can be converted into a day pack. Aside from having access to the main compartment from the top, it also comes with zippered access from the front or from either the sides of the backpack. Its top lid can be changed into a day-lite backpack so you can leave your hefty pack at the camping area and do some hiking throughout the day with your smaller backpack.
Anti-Gravity Suspension Technology
Osprey Ariel’s anti-gravity suspension technology has a larger frame and bulkier mesh in order to accommodate much heavier loads. With a wireframe that balances and lightens your pack and a mesh that hugs your entire back, it will feel like the backpack has a few fewer pounds.
The Ariel series also comes with a wide variety of sizes. There’s a 75-liter, 65-liter, and 55-liter that comes in sizes medium, small, and extra-small. Ariel backpacks can carry heavier loads because of these higher capacity options. With a little bit more capacity options than Osprey Aura, you’ll have the right size for your adventures. Osprey Ariel also comes with very similar features, just like Aura, but with a few extras. These include:
- An internal water reservoir sleeve
- Trekking pole loops for convenient stowing if you need your hands
- Removable sleeping pads straps
- A sleeping bag compartment with zippered access located at the bottom
- Top and side access mesh pockets
- Dual ice tool loops that bungee
- Zippered hip belt pockets for small stuff that you may need on the go
- A large mesh stretch pocket placed on the front
- Extra flap jacket for covering the top when you’re using the daypack
- Two additional compression straps located on the front of the bag for extra balance
Similar to Osprey Ariel, Aura is also known as a universal backpack specifically crafted to fit women comfortably. This backpack is also famous for being one of the least straining and most breathable backpacks in the market.
Its best feature is its suspension system. Osprey thought of the anti-gravity technology over a decade ago, and the brand has been improving this technology since. This backpack is renowned for being the most ventilated pack in the market incorporated with a mesh back, which is suspended from the pack with a wireframe. This feature also makes the Aura feel more balanced and lighter.
It has a unique feature called the “Fit-on-the-fly” hip belt, which is only available on the Osprey Aura series. The hip belt is very adjustable, which makes it so easy to fit with anyone with minimal effort. If you want more length on the hip belt, then you just need to pull the extenders out from inside the belt located behind the belt pockets.
Capacity and Weight
With Osprey Aura, you can select between its 65-liter or its 50-liter pack. Both packs are incredibly light for their respective capacity. The 65-liter pack weighs around 4.2 to 4.4 pounds, and the 50-liter pack is around 4 to 4.2 pounds. The weight will depend on the size you’ll get, which are medium, small, and extra-small.
Lastly, the Osprey Aura comes with more useful features that make accessibility and organization more convenient. These features include:
- Detachable sleeping pad straps located on the bottom
- Ice tool loops and detachable top lid for lighter loads
- A zippered sleeping bag compartment integrated on the bottom with a detachable divider.
- Two hip belt pockets for storing small necessities
- Dual access side mesh pockets with side and top entry.
- Stretch mesh pocket placed on the front for holding gear you may need like rain gears
- An internal water reservoir sleeve which can store up to 3-liter water
- Trekking pole loops for easy storing when you need your hands
- A flap jacket for protecting your gear when the top lid is removed
Detailed Product Reviews
The Osprey Ariel 55 is one of the three packs in the Ariel series. The other packs are 65 liters and 75 liters. Even though Ariel 55 is labeled “55”, it comes in three different volumes, which are 49, 52, and 55 liters. Its torso length is adjustable, and you can pick between four different sizes of the harness, which are extra small, small, medium, and large.
Ariel 55 is a top-loading type, which means you have a detachable collar and lid. When its lid is removed, you’ll get an extra built-in flap with buckles to close the pack accordingly.
Meanwhile, its suspension is based on a frame that is incorporated with a LightWire peripheral aluminum alloy structure and central stay. Its hip belt is custom heat molding, which means it will mold naturally based on your body heat for a better fit. Its harness is also moldable and interchangeable.
Additionally, Ariel 55 comes with a separate bottom compartment with a zippered entrance. Its divider between the bottom section and the main compartment is collapsible. This is very helpful if you want to use all the available space as one compartment.
Its pocket system comes with one large stretch mesh pocket on the front, the pockets on the lid, the dual-zippered hip belt pockets, and the dual side stretch mesh pockets. The side stretch mesh pockets come with dual access from the side and from the top. This feature is very useful for accessing a drinking bottle while you’re on the go.
The Osprey Ariel 65 is an ideal backpack if you’re planning to go on a long campaign or hiking trip. Its design comes with custom-sized components as it is available in three different sizes, which include extra small, small, and medium.
Users can pick the harness and hip belt as per the needed size. Ariel 65’s hip belt straps can be easily adjusted by pulling forward. It enables much more leverage for a better fit in order to maintain the bulk of your load on your hips.
The Ariel 65 is much more of a long-haul style backpack and is particularly crafted to hold more weight effectively. It is a perfect choice for hiking trips where you need a multi-functional backpack. Since this is specifically designed for women backpackers, the main highlight of Ariel 65 is the exceptional comfort and fit. With a great overall structure, it can carry heavy loads during extended trips and camping.
It is one of the best camping backpacks due to its outstanding comfort and accessibility. Also, Osprey Ariel 65 comes with an external hydration sleeve in the back panel to prevent pack contents from spilling. It also supports refilling.
Its dual access stretch mesh side pockets will provide you a superior extra-effortless gear organization. Lastly, its two horizontal straight jacket style compression straps enable you to stabilize and compress the load during your trip.
The Osprey Aura 50 comes with an exceptional resistance since it is made of 100D x 630D Dobby nylon. This makes it perfect for week-long camping adventures. Its anti-gravity suspension system combines a well-ventilated, soft ridged back-panel with an ExoForm harness for balanced and comfortable backpacking experience. Additionally, the ExoForm harness is completely customizable and lowers friction, all thanks to its seamless design.
Furthermore, it is integrated with seven external zippered pockets that are spread across the backpack’s surface. They enable you to effectively organize your tools and necessities. These pockets also give you quick access without the risk of losing something.
Aura 50’s internal hydration pocket also allows you to carry up to 3-liter reservoirs. And its FlapJacket integrated cover enables you to cover the backpack’s inside if you’re looking to add more volume.
Osprey Aura 50’s Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows access to your poles without removing your backpack. Its base zip and top-lid entry points ensure that you can easily grab your tools and kit.
Furthermore, this backpack comes with a large sleeping bag base compartment along with an internal driver that lets you store your gear separately. Its integrated and detachable rain cover contained within the lid is also very helpful just in case the weather turns for the worst.
If you want to reduce weight to the last gram, then you can get rid of the lid and still keep your tools protected. All in all, the Osprey Aura 50 comes with great features that are housed in a design that is specifically crafted for women.
The Osprey Aura 65 offers advanced adjustments that streamline the backpack for convenient use. This makes Aura 65 lose the bulky feel that some older models possess while retaining all the design choices that many consumers loved. As a backpack crafted for women, the Aura 65 comes in three different sizes, which are extra-small, small, and medium.
It is also incorporated with an adjustable harness that can be utilized to support the length of your torso. The design is perfect for fitting almost any user. When it comes to weight, the Osprey Aura 65 weighs a little bit more than its predecessors. But for many, the new additions and features are worth the extra weight.
Its new and sleeker design offers all the advantages of older versions but now with new additions. Aura 65 still depends on the anti-gravity suspension system for outstanding ventilation and better comfort. The pack uses lightweight mesh that extends from the back panel to the hip belt, which will provide you unrestricted movements. Its versatile floating top-lid is detachable in order to make the backpack lighter. But at the same time, it comes with an onboard flap jacket to protect your gears.
The unique suspensions system of Aura 65 offers women the comfort they deserve for their body frames. The mesh backing provides great breathability, which makes it comfortable on the hips, shoulders, and back. Additionally, with its newly designed hip belt, Aura 65’s comfortability has significantly improved.
Meanwhile, its mesh shoulder straps let the bag effortlessly sit on a woman’s shoulders while carrying the necessary tools she needs. These new, wider straps are made for additional comfort and crafted to adapt to a woman’s body frame.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Size Myself When Looking for a Pack?
The best method to guarantee that you’ll get the right pack fit is to head to your local Osprey Dealer and have their professionals do the sizing. By doing so, you’ll guarantee the right measurements, and you’ll also be able to try on different pack sizes.
What Makes Osprey Women’s Packs Like Aura and Ariel Unique?
Osprey’s women packs come in torso lengths that best fit women’s body frames. All Osprey women packs come standard with specific hip-belts and harnesses. The women’s hip-belt is canted a little bit upward in order to best cup the hips, while being patterned with a narrower profile.
On the other hand, the harness is narrow at its entry point in the back panel, and tapers are a little bit outward below the collarbone in order to provide more freedom and comfort for the chest area.
Can the Osprey Ariel or Aura Fit As a Carry-On on a Flight?
Unfortunately, not all sizes can fit as a carry-on. In particular, the Osprey Aura 50-liter will surely fit as a carry-on pack on a flight. However, the Ariel 55-liter may not be able to do so because it’s a heftier pack compared to Aura. Regardless, you can try and check the dimensions with your preferred airline to see if you can fit your pack as a carry-on on a flight.
Are These Packs Safe to Check As Luggage On a Flight?
Of course, you can check any size of both Osprey Ariel and Aura, but make sure you are careful with your pack’s buckles and straps. We suggest getting the Osprey Airporter so you can cover your bag during flights and to prevent your pack’s buckles and straps ripping off in airport machinery.
Why Is It Called “Fit-on-the-Fly” Hip Belt?
The fit-on-the-fly hip belt is a feature unique only to the Osprey Aura series. This feature helps so that the hip belt can fit with any body size comfortably. This type of hip belt comes with extenders linked to it, which can be pulled out from the inside of the belt underneath the zipper pockets.
Why Is It Called “IsoForm 5” Hip Belt?
Unlike the fit-on-the-fly hip belt, the IsoForm 5 is an older technology. It’s a detachable hip belt that can be replaced with a standard-sized hip belt. IsoForm 5 hip belts also adapt to the user’s body shape by being heated up in a certain oven at your local Osprey shop and buckled around the waist while they are cool.
Is There a Rain Cover Included In Ariel and Aura Packs?
Rain covers are not included upon purchase. However, you can buy the right rain covers separately by heading to Osprey’s website. You can also find some in your local Osprey dealer.
Are Osprey Ariel and Aura Packs Waterproof?
Both of these packs are not completely waterproof. They are only water-resistant since they are made of Nylon. The contents of your pack should remain dry if it only gets a splash of water. However, your gears might get wet if too much water gets on you while hiking or camping.
If you’re planning to do a lot of rigorous activities that need more heavy-duty gear, then the Osprey Ariel is a better pick. This Osprey backpack is perfect for winter adventures, thru-hiking backpackers, and alpine expeditions since it is specifically crafted to carry heavier loads. With Ariel, you’ll also get an attached daypack and more zippered entrances, which make your long trips more organized.
On the other hand, the Osprey Aura is the ideal backpack for general use because it is much lighter than Osprey Ariel. For the most part, a lighter pack means staying comfortable on long backpacking adventures. Moreover, Aura provides superior breathability, better hip belt, and less bulky suspension. Osprey Aura has most of the same features as Ariel.
Overall, both Osprey Ariel and Osprey Aura are among the best backpacks for women with features that will make your outdoor adventures much better.