Monday, 30 January 2012

Osprey Talon 44 Review (2011 version)



The Talon series of multi-use packs from Osprey vary in size from a 4 litre waist pack to the 44 litre rucksack being reviewed. They are lightweight in design but with quite a range of features. Osprey produce the Talon 44 in two sizes, a small/medium which weighs 0.99kg and a medium/large coming in at 1.11kg. The pack under review is the medium/large. 


 



First Impressions

The first thing to notice about the pack is that considering the set of features it has it feels very light. When I put the pack on for the first time prior to purchase the fit felt good. I had a friend with me at the time who checked the straps for fit and all seemed good. Rucksacks are like shoes, some will fit well, some wont. If a pack is to be carried for some time with a reasonable weight then checking the fit before purchase becomes more of a priority. A poor fitting rucksack will very quickly spoil your walk and potentially lead to longer lasting problems.


Construction

The material the majority of the pack is constructed from, 70D x 100D Nylon Shadow Check, seems fairly strong, but possibly not as abrasion resistant as heavier gauge nylon. Only time will tell. All the straps on the pack are narrower than most with small quick release buckles.

 

 70D x 100D Nylon


The buckles have had some weight reduction applied to them. They fasten and release quite positively and appear to be strong enough for the job. I've seen an online customer review mention one of the buckles breaking on their pack, but this could be a one off and the circumstances under which their buckle broke are not clear.


160D X 330D Nylon


Where the chances of abrasion are higher, such as the bottom of the pack, or where more strength is needed, Osprey have opted for 160D X 330D Nylon Shadow Box material. This nylon feels a lot stronger and possibly more able to resist abrasion.


Features


The pack is quite slim so could possibly make a good pack for climbers, although the fairly wide waist belt would have to be considered as it may interfere with a climbing harness. The removable top cover has an external pocket which is of a reasonable internal volume but with quite a small zippered access. In the pocket there is a small Velcro sealed nylon bag useful for a phone, wallet etc, plus a key clip. On the underside of the top cover is a small mesh pocket

Small mesh pocket under top cover.


The Shoulder straps on the Talon have vents cut into them which help to reduce weight and allow some airflow underneath aiding in the reduction of perspiration. In practise they work very well. Even though a little on the thin side, reasonable sized loads for a long days walking don't cause any problems with the shoulders.


Vented Shoulder strap.


Infact I found that I forgot I had the pack on a lot of the time. A lot of reviews mention the pockets on the shoulder straps, which they suggest are for satnavs etc. I'm not so sure, they seem a bit tight for something like that to fit into with no closure to secure the contents. The manual suggests using them for energy gels which seems reasonable. Personally, I use one to keep the bite valve of my hydration pack clean.


Back system.


The back system on the Talon 44 is Osprey's Airscape system. It's design is quite different from their Aether range as the Talo 44 seems to offer a better airflow. It has a chimney up through the centre of the ribs and I find my back to be less sweaty than when using the Aether. I do suffer quite badly with a wet back when walking and this is a vast improvement over previous packs I've owned.

 
Airscape back system.


The waist belt on the Talon 44, like the shoulder straps, is of the cut out Biostretch variety. This makes the waist belt a little flimsey, but weight saving is the name of the game. With normal loads, 5-10kilos, there are no issues with the waist belt. It works perfectly fine. Anything above that I'm not too sure about.



Waist Belt Venting.

The waist belt also has two very useful pockets for stowing small items such as snacks, lip balm etc. The toggles are the usual glove friendly Osprey loop type making them quite easy to access.
 

Waist belt pockets close-up.

The buckle system on the Talon is very wasy to use. It's Osprey's own Ergopull system which means that the straps are pulled forward to take up the slack, for me a more natural operation.



Waist belt pockets.

Having used the pack quite few times it has plenty of room for winter walks, maybe a little too much for summer. I have had no issues with fit and find I generally forget that I have it on. Highly recommended!