Brand: Osprey Packs Where to get: Bivouac, Torpedo 7, or many independent Outdoor retailers Typical Retail price: $139.90 NZD Equivalent women’s version: Tempest 9
The Talon 11 is a small pack designed multiuse day tramps, mountain biking and longer trail runs. It includes a number of features common across the entire Talon product range. I find it a good, well priced, small pack, best suited for up to 12hour races.
The hydration sleeve allows for external access for up to a 3 litre bladder, there is no specific attachment for a hose but plenty of tapes across the straps to thread it through. Note that the bladder is not included with the pack. The chest strap comes with an integrated whistle, which is very handy for those races where you need one.
The main pocket is quite narrow but big enough to fit a warm top, 2 x thermals, thermal pants, light weight waterproof pants and light weight waterproof jacket. There is one small external pocket, fitted with a key loop, which I find handy for putting gloves and a hat in. in addition to these main pockets there is a small internal scratch proof pocket just big enough for putting such things as a cell phone in. There are two external mesh pockets at either side that are big enough to slide a 750ml drink bottle into just, and ideally a 500ml bottle. Access to the mesh side pockets is a bit limited, while wearing the pack, so it’s not ideal for getting stuff out in a hurry. I find the hip pockets are a little bit on the small side, however you can stuff a 200g pack of lollies into each one. Seems like common sense but If you leave them open stuff can quite easily fall out!
In addition to the pockets there is plenty of other places to stash your gear. The helmet attachment “lid-lock” is great for securely fitting a helmet on the back, however it is a little difficult to get anything out of the main zipper with a helmet attached. The tool loop is useful for strapping an Ice Axe on, its only draw-back is that it is quite large, if you have a skinny lightweight Ice axe which allows it to slop around a bit. The bungee stash attachment is big enough just to fit a mid-sized rain jacket securely or a set of crampons.
The straps are all highly adjustable as you would expect with any modern day pack. There is a shoulder strap pocket for putting a small item, such as a 200ml bottle in, but I have never used it to its full extent before. Also I have never tested the pole attachment.
One of the best features about osprey packs in general is that they are comfortable to wear for long durations. The downside of this is that the weight of the pack itself is proportionally quite heavy. The frame is also quite stiff and not very flexible, good with a full pack but does have its downsides when it comes to running with a half empty pack. The mesh covered foam back panel has a number of holes to give it good ventilation during hot days. In general, it is more comfortable to walk or ride with this pack than run. The low profile top of the pack does allow for clearance when riding a bike helmet too.
Like all Osprey Packs it has a life-time guarantee and its American made so it’s built too last. I am up to around 400 hours of use with this pack and it’s still going strong with visibly next to no signs of wear. The mesh pockets on this variant of osprey pack are cut quite close to the pack and I have not had any issues with fences or gorse/matagouari etc ripping them apart as has been the case with some of the other Osprey Packs I’ve had
It is a very tidy looking pack, with a sleek and low profile on your back. For the wide range of attachment points it still looks tidy even with stuff stashed all over the place! With the quite rounded shape you could even say it looks a bit like a tortoise shell. It does look a little bit on the ordinary side however, with the muted colour tones it sort of blends into the background, perfect for flying under the radar. I have a small pack and it does make it looks like I am carrying a lot of gear when I wear it. It comes in a range of 4 colours, Blue, Orange, black and green. There is also no reflective-ness on the back of the pack at all, not so good if you are riding on the road at night or if you lose your team mate after dark in a race!
For a small day pack, with a multitude of attachment points it is priced at the lower end of the scale. Considering its intended use case and up to 12 hours or adventure racing I have found that it is well priced for the comfort and durability it provides. Similar small day packs vary from around $120 to $300NZD