We have been asked too many questions about the Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison. Therefore, we decided to write this article and compare the latest revisions of these two backpacking backpack.
This is the most in-depth study that compares the Osprey’s Aura with the Ariel line. All information is up-to-date. Everything you need to know about these backpacking backpacks is in this post! So, you can either read the entire post (strongly recommended – since these packs are far from cheap), or jump to the quick summary section.
To begin with, the Ariel line performs very well as mountaineering backpacks as well as backpacking backpacks. However, we thought the application and design intention of the Ariel line is very limited & specific. On the other hand, we think that the Aura line is more suitable for wider applications (also more comfortable & affordable & Feature-Rich compared to standard Ariel 65 model), unless you are planning an extended trip or hauling heavy loads (Ariel line is the best in this category).
Quick Summary for Osprey Aura vs Ariel
As a short summary of the passage, the Aura AG 65 designed for loads up to 40 lbs and suitable for all day to a week-long trip (if you pack carefully). It is incredibly comfortable & breathable. Surprisingly, it is more feature-rich compared to the Standard Ariel 65 model! On the other hand, above the 40 lbs, the Aura does not maintain the same comfort level. In this case, the Ariel 65 takes the stage. It is a heavy hauler and suitable for extended trips (5 days and more) and can handle 60 lbs with ease. The feature-rich model of Ariel line that beats Aura AG 65, is the Ariel Plus variations (has convertible top lid to daylite daypack).
We have put together the following details for Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison to draw a clear picture. This chart could help you to understand their intention better, please take a look at them before reading further.
|Comparison of #||Aura AG 65||Ariel 65||Ariel Plus 70||Ariel Pro 65|
|Access||Top, Sleeping Bag Compartment||Top, front, sleeping bag compartment||Top, front, sleeping bag compartment||Top|
|Volume (M Size)||65 L||65 L||70 L||65 L|
|Weight (M Size)||4.4 lbs||4.9 lbs||5.8 lbs||3.8 lbs|
|Load Carrying Capability||40 lbs||60 lbs||70 lbs||60 lbs|
|Pockets||Removable floating top lid with dual zippered pockets (2),|
Front stretch mesh pocket (1),
Dual access stretch mesh side/water bottles pockets (2),
Zippered hipbelt pockets (2),
|Fabric reinforced front shove-it pocket (1),|
Dual-access stretchy mesh side/water bottle pockets (2),
Dual zippered hipbelt pockets (2)
|Fabric reinforced front shove-it pocket (1),|
Dual front panel zippered pockets (2),
Large dual-access stretchy mesh side/water bottle pockets (2),
Dual zippered hipbelt pockets (2)
|Removable hipbelt pockets (2);|
One zippered and One with a cinch closure
|Price||Check the latest Rates||Check the latest Rates||Check the latest Rates||Check the latest Rates|
|Trip Length||All-Day to a Week||Up to 1 Week||More than 1 week||All Day + Up to 1 week|
|Men’s Counter Parts||Atmos AG 65||Aether 55/65||Aether Plus 60/70/85/100||Aether Pro 70|
|CampaRest Expert Review||Aura AG 65 Review||Ariel 65 Review||Ariel Plus 70 Review||Ariel Pro 65 Review|
Here, we have our expert review for Osprey Aura AG 65 vs Ariel 65:
|Comparison of #||Aura AG 65||Ariel 65|
|Load Carrying Capacity||6/10||8/10|
|Features & Organization||9/10||8/10|
|Breathability & Ventilation||10/10||8/10|
|Adjustability & Fit||8/10||10/10|
The Ariel 65 is mostly designed for hauling heavy loads for extended trips. So, the Ariel 65 is very suitable for the trips up to a week long, above a week you may need to consider the Plus or Pro variations. On the other hand, the Aura AG 65 is very suitable for all day and up to a week, if you pack very carefully.
From the comfort & breathability & ventilation perspective, the Anti-Gravity Suspension of Aura AG 65 (Suspended mesh from top to the bottom including hipbelt & shoulder straps) does way better job than AirScape Suspension of Ariel 65.
However, from load carrying capability vs comfort stand point, for hauling more than 40 lbs, the Ariel is more comfortable.
Osprey transferred some of highly admired features (extra external storages convertible top lids to daylite daypack and stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment) of Ariel AG 65 (prior generation) to Plus variations. So the standard new Ariel 65 model is poor considering the features. Thus, we found Aura AG 65 more feature-rich than the standard Ariel 65. On the other hand, from the features and organization perspective the Ariel Plus series beat the Aura AG 65.
The accessibility to the main compartment of the Ariel 65 is unquestionably perfect. There are three ways to do that.
- From the Top
- From the Sleeping Bag Compartment
- From the Front via J-Shaped Zipper (the part we like the most)
On the Aura, there are two ways to access to the main compartment. Those are from the top and the sleeping bag compartment.
From the adjustability stand point, the Ariel is the best! It has fit-on-the-fly system on both its hipbelt & shoulder straps. This system provides custom fit for wider range of body size. The Aura has the fit-on-the-fly on its hipbelt only.
From the weater protection stand point, the Ariel has fully weather protection (It has PFC-free DWR Coating and integrated rain cover), and therefore it is more useful for inclement weather.
The most of the backpackers are happy with the light and highly comfortable Aura. Therefore, we prefer Aura AG 65 over Ariel 65, as long as, we are not planning extended trips with a hauling more than 40 lbs. Otherwise, Ariel 65 is very durable and comfortable when carrying plenty of items over long distances.
If you are wondering the details, technical terms (such as Anti-Gravity and AirScape Suspension, fit-on-the-fly system etc), the full list of features, attachments and more, we have explained everything in the following sections of this post! Keep reading!
Short Summary for Aura AG 65:
The Aura AG 65 is a complete backpacking backpack to participate a wide range of activities that performs very well with both heavy (up to 40 lbs) and light loads. It is a multi-purpose backpack, and most of the backpackers found it extremely comfortable. It has completely adjustable hardness that provides great comfort. The Anti-Gravity suspension (the suspended mesh) works very well and keeps your back, hip, and shoulders ventilated.
- A Great Organization Overall.
- Large pockets
- Perfect Ventilation system (AG- Anti Gravity)
- Great carrying comfort.
- Very well Weight balancing
- Very durable material
- Relatively Lighter
- Very versatile
- The Edges of the hipbelts are not so padded. Therefore, rolls a bit inward. This could be uncomfortable for a long trip
- Adjustable harness
- Fit-on-the-fly hipbelt
- Main compartment
- Sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
- Sleeping Bag Compartment
Related Article: In-depth Osprey Aura AG 65 Review
Short Summary for Ariel 65:
The Ariel 65 is a pack specifically designed to participate very long (3+more) trips, winter trips, trips with kids or with very heavy loads (up to 60 lbs). The older generation Ariel AG was using Anti-Gravity (AG) suspension. It has been replaced by the AirScape suspension in the latest version. There are good things and bad things that came with this update. The comfortably load carrying capacity is increased, but the comfort due to ventilation & breathability is degraded. Since this is a heavy hauler, this situation is pretty much normal considering its design intention.
- Strategically placed extremely durable fabric: 420-denier (at the front, top and bottom), elsewhere 210-D.
- Weather Resistant
- Ease of movement on the technical terrain
- Snug & comfortable fit
- Heavy load carrying capability on the rough terrain
- Tear & abrasion resistant material application on the Shove-it pocket
- Sustainable material (PFC-Free DWR & bluedesign)
- Easy access to the main compartment via J-shaped zipper along the front
- 5 pounds- relatively heavy
- Less exterior storage (more is available on Ariel Plus)
- AirScape backpanel offers decent breathability but not as great as the ventilation of past generation Anti-Gravity design.
- Fit-on-the-fly hipbelt & shoulder straps
- Front access to main compartment
- Has no longer convertible top lid to daylite daypack and stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment (transferred to the Plus variations)
- Main compartment
- Sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
- From the top
- From the Front via J-shaped zipper
- From the Sleeping Bag Compartment
The main reasons for picking the Ariel 65 should be the followings:
- Comfortable bulkier suspension for heavy hauling.
- AirScape Suspension for maximum stability for carrying heavy load
- Fit-on-the-fly system on hipbelt & shoulder straps (adjustable & provides custom fit, yet not available on PRO Variation)
- A central access to main compartment through from the top, front & sleeping compartment (Pro version has only top access to main compartment).
Related Article: In-Depth Osprey Ariel 65 Review
Anti-Gravity (Aura) vs AirScape Suspension (Ariel)
Osprey introduced the Anti-Gravity (AG) suspension in January 2015. The first pack that was introduced with this system is the Atmos/Aura AG line. It has been implemented on the Ariel line as well. The Aura AG series still use the same suspension system. However, the Ariel switched to the AirScape Suspension due to its design intention.
Basically, the AG suspension consists of suspended mesh foam reaching from top of the backpanel, all the way down to the hipbelt. Its primary purpose is to provide the excellent carrying comfort, effective load distribution and ventilation. It forms a space between the back of backpack and your back. Therefore, AG system keeps you less sweaty and exhausted. However, when we loaded the Aura AG 65 above 40 lbs, we noticed it is not as comfortable as it used to be. Therefore, Osprey introduced the AirScape suspension for its heavy hauler Ariel line!
The AirScape is more suitable for hauling heavy loads. This is an injection-molded, die-cut foam backpanel. The AirScape Suspension is very breathable and ensures close to body fit. Basically, this lightweight mesh-covered 3D foam sets the standards so high in terms of suspension.
The stability is increased owing to AirScapeTM, the weight of the pack is very close to the body. Although, there is less suspended mesh along the back, it features large cutouts in the foam to increase the breathability. The ventilation and the cushioning still provide a great gear-carrying experience.
So, who is the winner of Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison from Suspension stand point? Well, it depends! You can conclude that the Ariel 65 is less breathable & ventilated than the Aura AG 65 due to the different suspension system being used in their constructions. However, Ariel 65 can haul more loads than the Aura AG 65 with ease.
Load Carrying Capacity for Aura vs Ariel
Although, it has been stated that Aura AG 65 can be loaded up to 50 lbs in the user manual of Osprey’s, we definitely do not recommend hauling loads above 40 lbs with it. The Anti-Gravity suspension cannot handle the loads over 40 lbs. Aura can’t shoulder as much weight as the Ariel. If you insist on this, you will sacrifice the comfort that you get from the Anti-Gravity Suspension. This is why Ariel line switched to the AirScape suspension. The Ariel line (heavy hauler) can handle loads up to 60 lbs. We tried it, and saw no noticeable change in the comfort, ventilation or the load distribution.
Breathability & Ventilation Review for Aura vs Ariel
The suspended mesh backpanel of Aura provides a standout ventilation. As we mentioned before, it is due to the Anti-Gravity suspension system. So, Aura AG 65 is more breathable and very well ventilated compared to the Ariel 65. The reason is the AirScape suspension of Ariel 65 has less suspended mesh at the back.
Even the harness of the Aura AG is very well ventilated and it is the top-pick for the warmer adventures.
Long story short, the winner of Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison from breathability & ventilation stand point is the Aura AG 65.
Adjustability & Fit For Aura vs Ariel
For a backpacker, considering the harness, the fit comes in the first place. Any issue with the fit comes with a really uncomfortable feeling and pain at the end of the day.
Therefore, no matter what type of backpacking you will have (mountaineering, expedition, backpacking backpack, travel, or daypack), the fit & adjustability should be the top priority as much as the ventilation, comfort and organization & features.
In regard to adjustability, the Ariel 65 is way better than the Aura AG 65. The Ariel 65 has fit-on-the-fly hipbelt and shoulder straps. However, only the hipbelt of Aura AG 65 has the fit-on-the-fly. On its shoulder straps, Aura AG 65 has adjustable suspended mesh harness. From top to bottom this suspended mesh wraps the shoulders as well as back and hips for integrated fit. However, it is not as perfect as the fit-on-the-fly!
So, how does the Fit-on-the-Fly system work? Hipbelt and Shoulder straps have a rip-and-stick Velcro design. You can move the padding via this feature to the place where you meet the best support and comfort (extendable hip-belt that can be elongated for customization by basically pulling the lid inside). Long story short, they can accommodate different size very well. It is a great system for fine-tuning the shoulder strap and hipbelt padding and we found it very customizable.
Here is a useful video that shows how the fit-on-the-fly hipbelt works (Atmos is the Men’s counterpart of Aura):
Previously on Ariel (AG 65): The older generation of Ariel was having IsoForm which is a heat moldable hipbelt. How does it work? When you visit an Osprey dealer they were heating up the hipbelt and mold it to your own hip. It can be remold up to 3 times, in case you gain or lose weight. However, the new application fit-on-the-fly system is more robust and fast. The good thing is that you can readjust it depending on the amount of load you are carrying.
Long story short, the winner of Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison from Adjustability & Fit stand point is the Ariel 65. The Aura AG 65 is not bad. However, the Ariel 65 stands out and exceeds expectations.
Comfort Review for Aura vs Ariel
In the interest of brevity, the winner of Osprey Aura vs Ariel comparison in terms of comfort is the Aura AG 65.
The Aura AG 65 is more comfortable than the Ariel 65. The primary reason is that the Anti-Gravity suspension works better than the AirScape.
Honestly, we usually prefer our Aura AG 65 from all day to a week long trips. It is very comfortable (even more comfortable than the Ariel 65) up to 40 lbs load. However, if we plan to haul more than 40 lbs, to maintain the same amount of comfort, we switch to Ariel 65!
Features & Organization Review for Aura vs Ariel
We have prepared the following chart and compared the features of Aura AG 65 with the Ariel 65, side by side.
|Aura AG 65:||Ariel 65:|
|Dual zippered pockets and web attachment points on floating top lid||N/A|
|Front stretch mesh pocket stores (stove-it)||Fabric reinforced front shove-it pocket|
|Dual access stretch mesh side pockets||Dual-access Stretch mesh side water bottle pockets|
|Dual zippered hipbelt pockets||Dual zippered hipbelt pockets|
|Straps & Attachments||Straps & Attachments|
|Dual upper and lower side compression straps||Dual upper/lower side compression straps|
|Removable sleeping pad straps||Removable sleeping pad strap|
|Sternum strap with integrated safety whistle||N/A|
|Dual ice tool loops||Dual ice axe loops with bungee tie-offs|
|Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment||Only on Plus Variation|
|Other Features||Other Features|
|Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir||Internal hydration reservoir sleeve|
|N/A||Main Compartment has large front panel zip access.|
|Removable floating top lid with||Floating top lid with lash points|
|Integrated FlapJacket protects gear when top lid is removed||Only on Plus Variation|
|Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt||Fit-on-the-fly Hipbelt & Shoulder Straps|
|Lower zippered sleeping bag compartment with removable divider||Zippered sleeping bag compartment with removable divider|
|N/A||Dual front panel compression straps with StraightJacket compression|
|N/A||Anchor loops for an optional Osprey Daylite® daypack for short forays|
Feature and organizations were used to be great on the standard Ariel models (AG 70), however, current version is less feature-rich. They transferred the technologies to Ariel Plus line. So, if you are familiar with the older generation Ariel AG 65, do not expect the same features from the Ariel 65. All the features of the latest revision have been listed in the table above.
We would like to mention about the features transferred to the Ariel Plus Line:
- Convertible top lid to Daylite Daypack
- Integrated FlapJacket protects gear when top lid is removed
- Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
From organization stand point; both products have two common accesses point to main compartment. Those are the top and sleeping bag compartment (removable divider). The Ariel, on the other hand, has a third way to access to the main compartment. It has a J-Shaped zipper at the front. So you don’t have to dig all the way to center of the main compartment to access an item there. Instead, you can use this feature!
Check out the following video for Ariel/Aether line (Aether is the Men’s counterpart of Ariel):
Durability Review for Aura vs Ariel
We have been using both products since the beginning of this year. We fully loaded them, camped and left them in bush and rough rocky floor. Yet, there is no sigh of wear or tear.
Aura AG 65 offers following color options:
Ariel AG 65 offers following color options:
Bottom Line for Osprey Aura vs Ariel
Who should choose Aura AG 65: Backpackers planning short and long trips, loading up to 40 lbs, and seeking comfort & breathability & a feature-rich design.
Who should choose Ariel 65: Backpackers packing 5+ days and hauling more than 40 lbs (up to 60 lbs), and seeking fully adjustable 4-season heavy hauler
Our personal preference is to go with the Aura AG 65, we found it versatile / multi-functional backpacking backpack. Just for the longer trips or inclement weather, we use the Ariel 65.
Finally, we would like to recommend checking our Best Backpacking Backpacks review. Basically, you will find price vs performance, weight analysis, comfort, fit/adjustability, and ease of use comparison for the most popular backpacks of the year.
We tried to explain all the details of the Osprey Aura vs Ariel as much as we can. We purchased these products and share our own experience with them. CampArest team is ready to answer any of your questions. Please feel free to get in touch via our “Contact Page”, in case of any question.
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