User Review: Osprey Argon 85
Design: Top Loading Internal Frame
Size: Large 85+ liters
Number of Pockets: 8
Max. Load Carried: 50 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2"
Price Paid: $350
Purchased this pack online at the recommendation of a friend on the quality and comfort of Osprey packs. Put about 20 miles with 45-50 lbs in the pack. Terrain was high alpine, over snow, some tricky traverses, and some flat trail walking. Pack was very comfortable once I snugged down the straps from the belt to the aluminum exterior rods on the suspension system.
Initially I had some issues that were very much my fault as I did not get the pack custom fitted and left the straps undone. They need to be snugged down so that the rods are opened wide.
I am 6'2" and 220 lbs and purchased the large pack which I am on the cusp of the belt size with. I could use an XL belt, but that is no problem as they are very easy to swap and the large belt is plenty comfy, just a bigger gap than they recommend.
The shoulder harness is very easily adjusted and I did so after one day on the trail. The shoulder harness fit me fine. The waist belt appears stiff, but really conforms and I had no more pressure points after properly snugging down the side straps. The front buckle tightens with a brilliant little cross setup, allowing the belt to take a tapered shape to wrap on your hipbones. I did not get it custom molded, it was plenty comfy though.
Functionally, this thing is nutty!! The sleeping bag compartment is good volume, but just for a bag really, and that is all you need. The interior top load compartment is huge, and you can keep stuffing your junk in there. No problem with 4 days worth of gear and I could easily put more in there. I had a lot of clothing and food, not an ultralight guy.
There are two front pockets that really make the pack a joy to use, especially when you are constantly changing clothes for snow (rain) or footwear for stream crossings. The stretch pocket is terrific for wet gear and sandals and the internal front pocket holds a jacket, pants, fleece, gloves etc for easy trail changes. You can also access the main compartment from the front, which helped me a couple times when I needed gloves and my sock liners.
The ice ax loops and tie downs are tremendous and there are ski loops as well. All the compressions straps unclick and are useful as tiedowns for gear. I carried tent poles in the stretch side pocket and used the side zip pocket for sunscreen and other quick access stuff. The lid is pretty large and has a really tricked out compression system.
I lent it to a friend for a dayhike on the trail and he said it made a great fanny pack, I had a daypack with me. The fanny pack has the same buckle as the pack itself, so you have a spare just in case. All the buckles and zippers are high quality though, but it's nice to know you have an extra of the most critical piece.
I would not suggest keeping an inflatable pad on the lower supplied straps. I gouged mine badly when setting the pack down on rocks, keep it up high under the lid or strapped to the lid itself. A closed cell would be fine there. I did not use the internal bladder sack, but the tube ports are great and I just set my MSR bladder right on top and fed the hose through the port and clipped it to my shoulder strap.
It is pretty obvious this is a really well thought out backpack and a joy to use. I did not get mine custom fitted, but would suggest doing so to have the internal stays fitted to your back, this will help to keep the pack from sliding down as you hike.
I may have to sell mine and get an XL, but that is on me as I bought it online and measured myself and did not try on the different sizes with weight in them. I will definitely be talking to Osprey about the pack sizing and getting the stays bent to my back. I love this pack and can't wait to get out on the trail again with it.
Oh yeah, the sternum strap whistle produces the same pitch as a marmot squeak and is useful for harassing your trail partners or letting animals know you are around.