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Osprey Talon 44 Pack | Review

Osprey Talon 44 Tested

 

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



Light, body-hugging back system gives great carry, lots of
stowage options and adjustability

Small tear in base area.

 

Performance
Value

 

 

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