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Backpacks

Gear Guide 2009: Osprey Argon 85 Review

Strap on the comfortable Osprey Argon 85 pack for those long treks with heavy loads.

Expedition Master

This back-hugging load monster accompanied one editor to the summit of Mt. McKinley. He came back after 17 days calling it “a superb expedition hauler, very stable when cramponing along the ridgetop, and comfortable enough for day-long carries.”

The curved backpanel, well-tailored shoulder harness, and thermo-moldable hipbelt distributed weight so well they made 60-pound loads painless. The deep packbag had more than enough capacity for our bulkiest items, like frozen tents and gallon gas cans. Generous side and front compression straps make it easy to lash on bulky snowshoes, and the stretch bottle pocket on the right has a side port so you can snag energy bars without dislocating your shoulder.

The lack of hipbelt pockets is annoying, but at least the gear loops hold accessory pouches in good position. Our only quibble? The zippered bottle pocket on the left side is awkward to reach and close. $379; 5,300 cu. in.; 6 lbs. 8 oz. Ospreypacks.com

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