Chris Townsend reviews a new Osprey day pack with excellent technical features.
Osprey has updated its long-standing Talon and Tempest day packs for this year and has added some more technical versions which have the prefix Pro. Since last autumn I’ve been trying the Talon Pro 30. This has a zip-round top and plenty of pockets. The fabric is a tough light Robic nylon with heavy duty reinforcements on the base and on the front where an ice axe would be carried. The zips are water-resistant ones, which is good to see in a pack like this as it means a pack cover isn’t needed the moment there’s any rain, as it is with similar packs with unprotected top zips. There’s a helmet holder on the front.
The Talon Pro has an internal frame and a perforated framesheet covered with mesh, a system called Airscape that’s designed to reduce sweat on the back while maintaining a close fit. The back is adjustable and comes in two lengths. The frame is curved and slightly flexible so it adjusts to your shape. The wide hipbelt and the shoulder straps are lined with a soft non-slip material.
The Talon Pro is comfortable to carry and very stable. I’ve used it ski touring and it really clings to my back. The Airscape back system has worked quite well at keeping my back dry too.
The 30-litre capacity is just enough for winter as long as gear is quite compact, though 40 litres would be better. If you’re not carrying snow gear it’s fine. The capacity can be pushed to maybe 35 litres by really stuffing gear into the stretch pockets. The zip-round top gives quick access to the contents and so far hasn’t leaked in rain. The pack isn’t fully waterproof of course – the seams aren’t sealed – but I’ve not had more than drips inside. There’s a mesh zipped security pocket with a key clip just inside the top. The big mesh side pockets easily hold litre size water bottles though you can’t access them while wearing the pack. Waterproof clothing can be stuffed into the front pocket for access without having to open the pack in the rain. The shoulder strap pockets are quite narrow. The hipbelt pockets are roomy – my fairly large smartphone fits in okay. The watertight zips are a little stiff on these pockets and I need two hands to open and close them. They have loosened a little with use.
I think the Talon Pro is an excellent daypack. It should prove tough and the design is practical. The weight is quite low. The price is on the high side but you do get materials and features not found on similar packs and the quality is excellent.