What a difference a pack makes….

sung to that great Dinah Washington tune.

Some of you may recall from a previous post that I’ve been having so much pain in my shoulders–caused from the pack weight.  It didn’t seem to matter what or how much I was carrying, it was all heavy.  Lots and lots and lots of pain in my shoulders and on my clavicle bones.  It had gotten to the point that I was stuffing socks, or hats, or anything soft, under the shoulder straps to make it more bearable.  Mentioning it one night at a shelter, someone suggested that I needed a new pack, that I could be sore, but should never be in pain.

The next day we were taking a zero at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, so we talked with Noel in the backpacking department.  He suggested a couple of different packs and asked that I bring in my old pack with all my stuff and try the news ones out.  Dragonfly and I did that the next day on our way back to the trail.  That morning, I spent an hour with Howard who really helped me learn the ins and outs of fitting a backpack.  In the end I bought a new one:  Osprey Ariel 55.

Here is what the company says about it.


Here is a photo of what it looks like-and yes that is the color that I got, although I would have preferred the green one (but alas only that color was available at the NOC).

The new pack weighs one pound more than the old one, and has three less pockets, but the larger size, and load lifters (which the old one didn’t have, make for a much better fit).  And despite the fact that the pack weighs more, the absence of pain makes up for it.

I’ve had the new backpack for almost a couple of weeks and the pain is GONE.  I still have some soreness (break-in period and all), but I’m a much happier hiker.


About prairiedog2013

Grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but currently lives on Long Island, New York. Was a day-hiker years ago, but is now a thru-hiker. Loves living the thru-hikers life. She has hiked nearly 3,000 miles. Her hikes include the Northville Placid Trail (2011, 2012), the Centennial Trail in South Dakota (2012), the Appalachian Trail (2013), the Fjallraven Classic (2014) and many other trails.
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7 Responses to What a difference a pack makes….

  1. Camille says:

    So glad the pain is gone. Hope the wi-fi situation improves.

  2. O&R says:

    Happy to hear you are more comfortable. Now you can get back to eating the elephant instead of carrying it! Take care

  3. songbirdknits says:

    I have a much smaller osprey day pack, and know how wonderful this company is. So glad you are pain free. Best

  4. Bonnie says:

    Im glad you are no longer in pain, PD!

  5. Five cents worth says:

    I am soo glad you are able to go forward pain free. Happy almost Cinco de Mayo!

  6. Janet says:

    Great news, PD!

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