The ultimate amphibious hunting companion
While Argo is trying to expand its reach to the recreational rider, when most of us think of Argo it is hunting vehicles that come to mind. Argo has many machines that would serve a hunter well, but the Outfitter 8×8 that is the unquestioned king of this amphibious family tree.
Argo’s new LX Series is rich with creature comforts and other niceties designed to appeal to the recreational segment. The Outfitter 8×8, on the other hand, is built to be rugged and serve as a hunting companion that will take you just about wherever you want to go.
It’s not an Argo if it can’t float and the Outfitter 8×8 is no exception. No matter how deep the water, an Argo will willingly carry you across, with its eight tires action as a propulsion system. Speed on the water is limited just a few miles per hour in calm conditions, but speed isn’t really the point. If you need to cross a body of water, you don’t have to go searching for a bridge or a way around; you just cross it.
We wouldn’t recommend trying to cross any fast-moving bodies of water with a stock Argo, as its slow speed may not be able to keep up with the current. However, if you add an optional outboard motor you will open up more possibilities.
Outfitter 8×8 Features
Compared to the other members of Argo’s Wilderness Series, the Outfitter 8×8 is built to be more robust. It features a three-inch tubular steel frame, imposing front brush guard and removable steel hood rack. All this bumps up the weight of the machine to 1,825 pounds. That’s 625 pounds more than the Scout 8×8 and 355 pounds more than the HuntMaster.
A 4,500-pound WARN winch come standard and is equipped with a 30-foot tow strap, snatch block, mounting plates and winch guard. Dual front LED headlights and dual floodlights brighten up the trail ahead, while a dual bilge pump will help you out if you take on water or heavy rain.
Speaking to its hunting intentions, a four-gun Sure Grip gun rack is found in the rear of the Outfitter 8×8. There is also room for multiple passengers in the back, though Argo suggests only a driver and single passenger for use on water. A pair of high back seats up front accommodates a driver and passenger.
Like all Argos, the driver of the Outfitter sits on the right side, where you will find a handlebar and a wide array of switches and gauges. The passenger benefits from a T-shaped grab bar, which is much better than the passenger handholds in the rest of the Argo lineup. For those cold morning hunts, heated handgrips come standard for driver and passenger.
Hardly a speed demon, the Outfitter 8×8 can reach speeds of about 17 mph on land. It is capable of towing an impressive 2,000 pounds and offers a load capacity of 1,275 pounds on land and 775 pounds on water.
Driving an Argo is unlike ATV or UTV we’ve ever been in. Climbing into the machine itself is a bit of a chore, though Argo has made this with a rear dual entry step. It also feels strange to get behind the bars on the right side. Our overseas readers will likely be less bothered by this North American inconvenience.
What really sets the Argo apart from any other ATV or UTV is its steering. Instead of turning the wheels right or left, yanking on the handlebar just causes the wheels on one side to slow down – much like a tank. This allows the Outfitter to spin in circle, so you may never have to worry about a three-point turn. While great in tight spaces, turning an Argo at speed is a strange sensation and can be quite jarring at first. Being able to turn on a time is fun, but you will want to warn your passengers beforehand to hang on tight.
Also worth mentioning is that Argos don’t have shock absorbers to help cushion the ride. Like an old balloon-tire three-wheel ATV, the Outfitter 8×8 relies solely on its low tire pressure to absorb trail chop. The result is a ride we wouldn’t exactly call smooth – especially when you are riding along a path strewn with rocks and roots. Put it this way – your passenger won’t want to be sipping from a cup of coffee on the way to hunt camp.
Not knowing the specific limitations of the Outfitter during our test ride, we took it out with a driver and three passengers for a spin across a pond. Due to the excess weight, we were sitting pretty low in the water and couldn’t quite make it up the bank when we hit it at a slight angle. We backed up and the Outfitter began to loll left and right, taking on water each time. The rear passengers decided to bail, which caused even more water to enter the machine. Eventually all that was left was your faithful writer, who waited to get winched out by another Argo.
Though the front end was submerged almost to the handlebar and the body filled almost entirely with water, it never stopped running or floating. Once the Argo was pulled to dry land, we yanked out the drain plug and ran the dual bilge pumps for maybe 20 minutes to get rid of the water. After that, it was good to ride again. Impressive.
Undeterred even after our misadventure, we took the Outfitter back out into the lake and did a little fishing. No fish were interested in our line, but the machine had no trouble crossing the lake and climbing back out again up a steep, wet bank.
If you are a hunter or outdoorsman who needs a machine that can go where no ATV, UTV or pickup truck dares tread, the Argo Outfitter 8×8 is an interesting, if expensive, option. Argo’s hunting flagship has a retail price of $34,995, which is a serious investment. If that is too much for your wallet, you can pick up an Argo HuntMaster 8×8 for $27,795, a Scout 8×8 for $22,195 or a Scout 6×6 for $17,895.
For more information, visit ArgoXTV.com.