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Review: Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack – 2017.

Review: Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack – 2017.
Upper Mustang, Nepal. A great testing ground for the new Talon 6.
I’m a big fan of Osprey products. I’ve used their packs extensively for a long time; The Atmos 35 has been my go-to travel pack for everything in the last six or seven years.
And with good reason; the build quality, comfort, and durability, are as good as it gets.
So when I received the latest version of the Talon 6 Lumbar Pack to test during my recent trip to Nepal I was pretty excited.

Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack.

I’ve been using an older Talon 8 for running, hiking, and mountainbiking, for a good few years now and it’s been faultless. I did feel that it was sometimes a bit too voluminous so the smaller 6 litre version should be more user friendly. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Visually the two packs are very similar, it’s in the finer details where changes have been made. 

The old Talon 8 (top) and the new Talon 6 (bottom).

Size wise the new Talon 6 looks very similar to the old Talon 8. The designers clearly feel that the basic footprint is about right, and I agree with them. It looks like the volume has been lost in depth rather than height and width which means that it’s actually a little bit more stable when loaded. The Talon 8 was/is very stable when cinched up correctly, so it’s a subtle yet welcome change nonetheless. Good stability with a large waistpack is a necessity.

Talking of stability the webbing straps have been upgraded too. The waist strap has gone from 19mm to 25mm and the hip-belt stabilisers from 8mm to 12mm. Again it’s one of those subtle changes but another one that has improved an already excellent product. The pack sits beautifully on the hips and wraps around the waist giving it a really secure feel. It’s so comfortable that you can almost forget that it’s there.

The waist straps are now 25mm.

The hip belt stabilisers have increased from 8mm to 12mm.

The main compartment harbours the bulk of the available space (obviously) and will comfortably take a lightweight waterproof jacket, trousers, and mid-layer. It’s shown here with an Alpkit Gravitas Jacket, Parallax Pants, and Laika Top for comparison purposes.
There is an additional smaller pocket at the front for mobile phones, wallet etc, and has the standard handy key clip in there too.

Your standard key clip.

 The two zipped hips pockets are also remarkably spacious (as were the old ones) and you will easily get 10 gels or bars in each one, more if you need them. That should be plenty to fuel a 6 hour run or ride.

Bars and gels aplenty in the hip-pockets.

The bottle holsters work exactly as they should. An obvious statement perhaps but it’s not always the case with other packs out there. Osprey supply the pack with two tapered 600ml bottles that slip in really easily, no shoving and squirrelling about trying to re-seat them, it’s a smart touch. I’ve also used it with standard 750ml bottles too and didn’t have much trouble with those either. The little bungy that secures the bottles has always been a great touch, it can be looped over the spout of the bottle to keep it firmly in place even on the most rugged of singletrack descents. “StraightJacket” compression straps slung across the face of the pack between the bottle holsters really allow the user to cinch things up nice and tight.

The front stash bungy has now been dropped for a cleaner look. It was largely a superfluous feature anyway given the generous volume and wasn’t something that I utilised with any regularity. I certainly didn’t miss it. In fact I prefer it without the bungy, I can now easily hang a map through the “StraightJacket compression” straps without having to wrestle past it.

Whilst they were at it Osprey have also improved the Airscape back panel to increase air flow, not that there was anything wrong with the old one. It’s another improvement that you don’t really notice until you’ve used it a few times and realise that it is better.

New v Old.
The new Airscape configuration.

The funky reflective detailing will keep you visible to traffic for those times that you spend on the road.

The build quality and water-resistant fabrics are of the highest order and even with the webbing upgrades it is 40 gms lighter, coming in at about 320gms as opposed to 360gms.

I thought it might be hard to improve what I have long considered a near perfect product but all in all I’d say that Osprey have got it absolutely spot on as usual. Stable, superb adjustability and comfort, great volume, and the highest quality materials. This is pack that will provide you with trouble free service for many years.
Intelligent, well considered improvements have made one of the best waist packs on the market even better.
It retails at £60. A lot of money for a relatively small product but you are getting a lot of product for your money. And most importantly you are getting value for your money.
It’s a massive thumbs-up from me.

Full details of the new Talon 6 here.

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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.

Marching up one of those steeper-than-it-looks climbs on The Long Mynd in Shropshire.

About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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