Osprey Argon 85 Backpack

The Osprey Argon 85 backpack is the elite backpack in Osprey’s deluxe, custom fit line of backpacks. The Osprey Argon 85 is an internal frame backpack, which incorporates Osprey’s ReCurve system, for strength and comfort. According to Osprey, the Argon 85 provides classic features and volume for the serious backpacker and combines such features as the innovative ReCurve Suspension, an Air-Scape back panel and Bio-Form A/X components. The Argon 85 also comes with the ultralight 40d Sil Nylon Aqua Source, which can be removed and utilized independently. This pack is a top loading pack, but also has vertical zip access to the main compartment for ease of use. The Argon 85 comes with a water bottle pocket on one side, a zippered easy access side pocket on the other and compatible laser cut attachment slots. As tested the Osprey Argon backpack was a men’s size large and a color Kelp. The Osprey Argon 85 also has the following features:

Additional Features:

  • AquaSource ReCurve in the pack
  • AquaSource Recurve on your back
  • Argon / Xenon Airscape backpanel
  • Convertible top pocket / lumbar pack
  • Fabric Side Pocket
  • Front panel zipper
  • Front zippered pocket
  • Pack-to-body interface
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment
  • Stretch Woven Front Pocket


Field Report

Upon receiving the Osprey Argon 85 backpack, I took it to the local outdoor retailer to have the hip belt molded to individually fit me. Since I did not obtain the backpack from this retailer, I was advised that they would need to charge me $20.00 to mold the hip belt. I then removed the hip belt began the process which takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Upon completing the process and inspecting the hip belt, I could not really notice a difference in the fit or look of the belt.

I then began utilizing the Osprey Argon 85 backpack while backpacking and hiking in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The first few trips utilizing the Osprey Argon 85 backpack were multi-day trips, while guiding along the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. During these trips, I packed the backpack with the normal items needed on such a trip and found the Argon 85 to swallow all my items and provide me with plenty of room to spare. The large top access opening allowed easy access to the main compartment, while the zippered bottom access provided access to the sleeping bag compartment. The Argon 85 also provides side access to the main compartment, which makes packing and unpacking even easier.

The lid comes with two zippered pockets that provide ample storage along with the ability to organize numerous smaller articles. Instead of providing the standard two mesh water bottle pockets, the Osprey provides one on the right side and a zippered pocket on the left side. I really liked this feature, as I normally only carry one water bottle and this zippered pocket allowed me to store items that I could access on the go. I was a little disappointed that the Argon 85 did not come with a hip belt pocket to provide even more storage and easy access to items.

While using the Argon 85, I found the pack to be very comfortable and really liked how the frame of the pack is curved. This seemed to provide extra comfort and also seemed to assist in airflow between my back and the backpack. As I tend to get very warm on my back, while carrying a load, I found this airflow to assist in my comfort level and add to the packs overall performance.

While utilizing the Osprey Argon 85 backpack on the Iceland Expedition, I stuffed the pack with all my gear and food for 9 days, thus forcing the pack to carry 60 pounds. I found that the Argon 85 comfortably carried this amount of weight and continued to be comfortable and durable, even in the unpredictable and ever changing Iceland weather. I continued to be impressed with the Argon’s features, but the packs real test proved to be the elements.

The ever changing Iceland terrain exposed the Argon 85 to rain, snow, stream, ice, volcanic mud, volcanic sand, rock and even hot water. At times the pack became very dirty due to me sitting on the pack during breaks, as I often do during tough conditions. I have never exposed a backpack to volcanic mud, sand and steam in the past, but found the pack, while dirty continued to prove durable and tough. At other times, the backpack was exposed to wind, rain, snow and cold glacier water and continued to not only provide shelter and security for my gear, but continued to be comfortable and durable.

During the Patagonia Expedition, I utilized the Osprey Argon 85 backpack in a variety of elements and weather conditions. Fully loaded for the expedition, the backpack weighed in at 54 pounds, but did not feel heavy on my person. As I trekked through the lower elevations and then proceeded to climb the passes of the Paine Massif, the Argon 85 continually proved to be both comfortable and durable. The zippered pocket on the left side allowed me to access gloves, a beanie hat or a bandana on the fly and the pocket on the right side allowed me to access my 1 liter water bottle. The large mesh pocket on the front on the backpack allowed me to store my rain gear, which made it easy to access in the unpredictable Patagonian weather.

The padded hip belt and shoulder straps make this backpack very comfortable, even when ascending steep grades with heavy loads. The load lifters, shoulder straps and hip straps, allow for total adjustment, even on the fly. As everyone who has carried a heavy pack for long distances will tell you, the ability to adjust your pack while moving is a just a part of climbing or trekking and the Osprey Argon backpack makes this easy.

The two pockets in the lid provided me with ample opportunity to organize smaller articles and keep them handy enough to access quickly. The sleeping bag compartment and both top, bottom and side entry into the main compartment, allowed me to access various items inside the pack, without unloading numerous other items. The numerous straps and tool accessories allowed me to store gear and equipment easily on the outside of the pack. I continued to find that placing the Osprey rain cover on the pack to be quick and easy and found the backpack to dry quickly and repel the rain and snow very well if exposed to the elements.

The Osprey Argon 85 proved to be tough and very durable and showed little signs of wear even after being used for months in a variety of weather conditions and terrain. The material on the Osprey Argon is both tough and durable and repels dirt and debris very well. I was surprised that while the Argon 85 had some scruffs and scratches, but overall held up extremely well, despite being carried for hundreds of miles on three different continents.

Cleaning the Osprey Argon proved easy and relatively quick. When the backpack became mildly dirty, I was able to use a clean cloth brush and warm water to clean the mud and debris off the pack. When the backpack needed more of a cleaning, I simply washed the backpack with a soft scrub brush in my shower with warm water and a mild soap. This proved to be very effective and upon washing simply hung to dry. I then stored the Osprey in my garage with the remainder of my outdoor gear.

The Osprey Argon 85 backpack is an excellent choice for those wanting a tough, durable, multi-functional and comfortable backpack. The Argon 85 is large enough to accommodate enough gear for a week or more and yet combines all the options of lighter daypacks or alpine packs. The Osprey Argon 85 backpack is an excellent choice for any serious backpacker, trekker or mountaineer, who needs a large backpack, which fits, feels and handles like a small pack.

Gear Details

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