Osprey Talon 44 Tested

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Price:

£100.00

Weight: 1100 grammes

(M/L)

Features:

Ft-moving lightweight top-loading pack with removable

floating lid with two pockets, two torso adjustable sizes,

zippered lower compartment access, front and side stretch

woven pockets, side compression straps, mesh-covered

perforated hip-belt with zippered stretch mesh pockets,

mesh-covered, perforated harness straps, aluminium head-rail

and fibreglass composite side struts, stretch goo

pockets, dual ice axe loops with bungee tool tie-offs,

sleeping pad straps, exterior hydration

compartment.

Also available in 11, 22

and 33-litre sizes.


What's It For?

New for spring, Osprey says the Talon series - 11, 22, 33 and 44 -

is aimed at the legendary 'fast-moving mountain enthusiast'. That's

longhand for lightweight, but where the Talon packs differ from most

lightweight stuff is that they're also fully featured with lots of

handy pockets, more straps than you can shake a buckle at and

different sizes for different back lengths.

The two larger versions are also adjustable for back length, which

is unusual in a lightweight pack. The Osprey 44 we've been using is

aimed primarily at lightweight weekend and back-packers, but we know

that in testing Osprey sponsored athletes also used it for

lightweight mountaineering.


The Techy Bits

We've come to expect extreme thoroughness from Osprey and the

Talon is no different with features borrowed from previous Osprey

packs like the Atmos and tweaked to work better.

The key stuff with the Talon is the low-profile but vented back

system which uses ridged moulded foam with air channels behind a mesh

covering. The rest of the back system is a development of the one

used on the Atmos.

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The fabric's been carefully specced too. The main body stuff is

light but tough 70d x 100d Cordura siliconised Nylon, while the more

vulnerable, light grey areas like the base use a 210d Shadow Check

reinforcement.

Lots of pockets and thoughtful touches including a hydration

pocket that sits between pack and back system externally to allow

easy access even with the pack loaded up for action.

Finally all the buckles and fasteners - in fetching colour-coded

YKK guise - have been chosen to minimise weight which is nice.

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How It Performs

You'd expect a pack that weighs just 1100 grammes for its 44-litre

capacity to compromise when it comes to carry, but the good news is

that like its Atmos cousins, the Talon has a lovely, stable, back-hugging fit

that makes it feel lighter on than you'd expect from hefting it in

your hands.

That's partly down to the aluminium/fibreglass frame, but also due

to great fit with easily adjustable back length, well-shaped straps

and all the tensioner adjusters you need. In other words the Talon

carries light as well as being light.

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It's intended primarily for lighter loads of course, but wasn't

overwhelmed by a climbing rack and ropes either. We also like the

ridged foam back padding. It's not so much that it ventilates your

back, though perhaps it does a little, but more that it doesn't

absorb moisure which means no wet sponge syndrome in hotter

conditions.

And for a lightweight pack, there's no shortage of features. We

like the hip-belt pockets for easy access to frequently-used staples

for example and the shoulder strap stretch 'goo' pockets which will

take gels, bars or even a small phone with ease and it's nice to see

a manufacturer provided slotted buckles to tidy away excess waist

strap ends.

Big stretch pockets allow fast and easy stowage of surplus

clothing as well. The external hydration pocket has pros and cons.

Yes, it's easy to remove an empty bladder, but with a full pack it

can be a struggle to get a re-filled one back in place, though at

least you don't have to open the pack and rearrange the contents to

do it.

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The 44-litre capacity is ideal for lightweight backpacking if the

rest of your kit is light and compact enough and external sleeping

mat straps give you outside stowage options too. The smaller capacity

Talons, would, we think, be more suitable for day-walking,

over-nighting and, in the case of the smallest 11-litre version,

biking and running as well.

We were a little concerned that the light grey reinforcing fabric

and buckles would discolour quickly in the UK, but so far they've

been fine and Osprey UK says the fabrics have been carefully chosen

and tested.

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Our only real downer is that somewhere along the line, the

toughened base picked up a small nick in the fabric. We're not sure

where or how, but we're assuming that it was something very sharp

that the pack was dragged over inadvertently. Osprey says that in all

their testing, including mountaineering use, they've not had a

similar issue, so we suspect we were just unlucky and we have no

reason to think that any other pack would have fared better.


Verdict

The Talon carries brilliantly for a lightweight sac and has

all the features you'd expect from a heavier pack with loads of

stowage options and adjustability. We love the body-hugging back

system for its comfort, support and non-absorbency and were surprised

at the loads it could cope with.

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All the details are thought through. Even the zipper direction on

the belt pockets has been changed from the Atmos to allow more

logical closure and security.

Our only reservation was the small nick that appeared in the base

area, but we suspect we were just unlucky with that one.


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Light, body-hugging back system gives great carry, lots of

stowage options and adjustability

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Small tear in base area.

Performance
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Value
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