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Which Osprey pack?
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kim kido
(prioritymail) - F
Which Osprey pack? on 10/19/2010 12:50:01 MDT Print View

Background story:

Bought Osprey Stratos 40L couple years ago. Broke. Sent to Osprey via warranty program. They said it can't be fixed and offered replacement. They offered Talon 44L or Exos 46L but I wanted more capacity. After lots of thinking ended up paying a bit more for Aura 65L (actually 62L in size small). Love everything about this pack except two things - 1) it doesn't fit; internal frame has "wings" at the bottom near the hip belt that make it too wide for my body; arms rub against frame w/ every step, and 2) the pockets on the hipbelt aren't very useful on the size small because they are obstructed by the internal frame's "wings". Have decided to send back. Trying to decide what to do next. In Hawaii, no one sells packs like this so I have to guess.

Pack use - multi-day trips, travel; like my gear to be as multi-functional as possible

Me - 5'1"; torso length 16.5"; hip circ 30"; probably never carry more than 50 lb.

I have a few options -

1. Ask Osprey for a refund. I can then choose from a larger selection of packs on REI or elsewhere. Also, I am going to NZ soon where there are tons of backpacking stores so I could theoretically try/buy one there. Although I don't really want to spend my time in NZ shopping.

2. Exos 58L. It's actually 55L in size small. I've read there are durability issues and it's on the small side. Probably less likely to be hassled in airport for carrying this bag on than 65L+ bag. Super lightweight.

3. Ariel 65L, size s (62L). This bag is heavy (per L) compared to the Aura 65L and didn't get as good reviews as the Aura or previous iterations of the Ariel. 75L is slightly more efficient as one would expect but still not as efficient as the Aura or Exos.

4. Xenon 70L, size xs (64L). This bag is even heavier (per L) than the 65L Ariel.

It looks like the Ariel and Xenon both don't have the "wings" that the Aura has, but that the Exos does.


Anyone know if the Aura and Exos use the same internal frame?

Anyone out there my size and/or tried any of these packs and feel like sharing their experience?

Recommendation for an alternative to the Aura 65L - or any other recommendations regarding packs in general?

Thank you.

Edited by prioritymail on 10/19/2010 13:02:17 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Which Osprey pack? on 10/19/2010 13:18:02 MDT Print View

I'm a retailer & packfitter, and spend a lot of time fitting these packs and many others.

The Exos and Aura frames are different, but they are similar in the design issue you had trouble with. Both have that radius down low. I have had a few women fit an Exos better than an Aura, but not often. The shoulder straps have much less curve, & I don't think your concerns would be fixed.

The Ariel is a great pack, industry-leading seller... because it fits a ton of people really well. There's only a ~1oz weight difference between volumes. A small would probably fit you quite well w/fit dialed in. The custom hipbelt molding isn't necessary for a good fit, just helps reduce "break in" time. The Ariel frame is distinctly different than the other two we've mentioned, and I think it'll work for you. No point going to the Xenon frame (or the XS, if you're @16.5" torso) unless you're planning for some monster loads.

Other more widely available models that you might try for comparison would be the Golite Wm's Quest in medium (same as normal small), Gregory Jade 60 small, or Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian Ki. Might also try a Deuter, such as the ACT Zero 55+10SL... pretty light for its size.

I suspect that a properly-fitted Ariel 65 would make you pretty happy. If you might even push that 50# max, the Ariel would likely carry it best out of the packs above... but it all comes down to fit. Since you already have the line open w/Osprey, I'd go for the Ariel and take it from there. FWIW, if it fits I'm pretty sure you could cut into it and remove nearly a pound of extra weight... if you're comfortable taking razor, needle & thread to the new pack.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
+1 for Ariel on 10/19/2010 13:25:16 MDT Print View

My wife has a small Ariel and absolutely loves it, we looked at the Aura but she found the Ariel much more comfortable so decided to take the weight gain.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fit on 10/19/2010 13:29:40 MDT Print View

theres no way to answer that question short of trying on the packs with real world weights

the only way for you to know is to do into a store and try them all out, find friends the same length as you with different packs, or play the russian roulette online ordering game and hope you can keep returning packs if they dont work out

kim kido
(prioritymail) - F
Thank you for the replies on 10/19/2010 14:51:24 MDT Print View

Thank you all for your feedback and insight.

I forgot the "2" earlier - 16.25" torso length, so quarter inch shorter than previously stated.

Brad, it looks like the Ariel has thinner shoulder straps than the Aura and Exos. Is this ever an issue for people?

The weight of the Ariel 65L is about 5% of my body weight, although a little lighter than the Stratos 40 I started with.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Thank you for the replies on 10/19/2010 15:00:10 MDT Print View

Looks can be deceiving? Ariel straps are more substantial than the others by a decent margin; I think most people tend to find them a little more comfortable, if anything.

The other packs I mentioned... GG, Deuter, Golite all weigh 3.5 pounds or less...

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
small frame packs for women on 10/19/2010 15:34:22 MDT Print View

my girlfriend is tiny--5' , ~100lbs, 16.5" torso, and the only framed pack that worked was a 40 liter golite lite speed in the small size. The pack fits her well b/c of the narrow harness straps and bendable aluminum stays. Unfortunately, they downgraded the golite litespeed this year, so its now smaller than 40 liters. However, I still would take a look at golite packs, since IMO their small sizes are proportionally fitted for smaller petite women. I know they have lightweight 50+liter framed packs for women*

edit* The GoLite Quest that Jeff refers to below sounds like a good bet. Also check out the Golite Odyssey if you need mega capacity.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 10/19/2010 16:14:05 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
Golite Quest on 10/19/2010 15:59:04 MDT Print View

Perhaps the Golite Quest would fit the bill? I own the Women's medium. I believe it is around 62L. Probably a little less in reality because the back pocket becomes difficult to fill once the main pack is stuffed. I also have a short torso @ 16.5" (I'm a small guy). Also, you can find great deals on it. I got mine a few months ago for around $75 on sale.

Edited by Catalyst on 10/19/2010 16:02:52 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: +1 for Ariel on 10/19/2010 17:05:18 MDT Print View

My wife also has the Ariel, and loves it. She has the 55 liter model from a few years ago -- looks like the current model adds one of those (useless) sleeping bag zippers across the bottom. Oh well.

If you think you might carry 50 pounds, this is the pack that can handle it.

Another Osprey choice would be the Kestrel series. I have a Kestrel 32 that I use for a "heavy" day pack (cameras and the like), and it fits and carries well. It has a more traditional frame design, so no little wings. The larger Kestrels have the traditional top-loading design with a lid pocket.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Osprey on 10/19/2010 17:22:10 MDT Print View

What about the new Hornet? I am about your size and it fits me well. Won't be for sale until spring I think, but maybe one of the larger folks who received one could pass it on to you

Tyler Barcelli

Locale: Southeast
Deuter on 10/19/2010 17:37:09 MDT Print View

I would definitely take a look at at the Dueter packs. They already are able to be adjusted to fit almost anyone thanks to their unique system, and the SL versions are women specific. I love my ACT Lite (men's) because I have a pretty small torso for a guy. I would recommend researching about the SL system at their website because it sounds like they really took the time to research what characteristics women need in a pack.