Osprey Talon 6 lumbar pack review

Lightweight and rugged, with more capacity than you’d expect

Gear
Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack

Battered and muddy but none worse for wear.

What is it

Osprey’s Talon 6 lumbar pack is a great day-ride gear-hauler sporting multiple compartments and twin water bottles. Lightweight but rugged, with more capacity than you’d expect, the Talon 6 may make you ditch your backpack for all but epic outings.

Pros
  • Wide side wings won’t cut into love handles
  • Nylon brace keeps pouch from flopping
  • Breathable next-to-back mesh curbs sweat rash
Cons
  • Side pockets a bit flimsy
  • Carrier strap placed wrong
Mtbr’s Take

Their ease of movement and low center of gravity have given lumbar packs renewed popularity in the mountain bike community. But bladder varieties tend to sag from water weight and can create sweat rashes where they rest against the back.

Pack specialists Osprey have come up with a great compromise in their Talon 6. Features include reachable 16oz water bottles on the side flaps, and tapered construction for easy extraction and re-insertion while riding.

Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack

Two zippered compartments hold all the gear you need for typical day rides.

Two years of thrashing have proven the nylon pack’s durability. At 302 grams (⅔ lb.) measured weight, it’s light. Yet it swallows more gear than you’d think — a rated 6 liters.

The padded side flaps won’t abrade your love handles, and each sports a handy zippered mesh compartment for things like energy bars, phone, map, and keys. The mesh is on the thin side and could use reinforcement, but other components of the pack — zippers, elastic loops securing the water bottles, stitching — have been rock solid.

The pack offers two roomy zippered compartments. The larger inner section is braced against the back by a rigid foam insert with raised pads to provide air circulation (and protect against sweat rashes) through the meshed inside liner. This reservoir is big enough to hold a multi-tool, tire irons, small pump, shock pump, spare tube, burrito and whatnot. The brace stabilizes the gear and helps prevent flopping during jumps and hucks.

Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack

Zippered reachable side mesh pockets for your phone or an energy bar.

The smaller outer compartment has a key clip and plenty of room for additional stuff. I use it mainly for just-in-case first aid items like bandages, tape, gauzes, Tecnu, Neosporin, sunblock and so on.

The Talon 6 sports outer cinch straps for a windbreaker, but in general they’re kind of pointless. This pack is best for 1-2 hour jaunts close to home or car.

The pack comes with a carry strap that can double as a hook hanger, although its placement makes access to the main compartment awkward.

Osprey Talon 6 Lumbar Pack

Look at all the stuff it’ll swallow.

For its size, the Talon 6 offers a lot of payload. It’s held up well through crashes, tree-swipes, encounters with trail brush, and Pacific Northwest mudfests. In fact, lumbar packs make pretty good rear fenders, as long as they’re machine washable (The Talon 6 definitely is that). They catch much of the trail crap and keep it off your back and fanny.

The Talon 6 comes in black, red and green. Osprey recently updated the model, but its basics thankfully remain the same.

Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: $75
More info: www.ospreypacks.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Paul Andrews

Dividing his time between Seattle and Santa Cruz, career journalist Paul Andrews has more than a quarter century of mountain biking under his belt, which he wishes had a few less notches.


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  • dustanjbaker@gmail.com says:

    I have been wearing this pack for MTB use and it’s not working good. While it is a well made and high quality pack with a good storage space and good bottle carries it falls short on fit. The strap is to narrow, needs to be twice as wide. and the straps are to low, they would need to be sewn higher up on the pack to be effective is keep the pack with water bottles upright. the pack sags down off my back and tilts down.

    I may cut the straps and sewn some new ones on in a higher upper location to help balance the weight of full water bottles better. NOT A GOOD MTB PACK AS IS

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