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.
- Wide side wings won’t cut into love handles
- Nylon brace keeps pouch from flopping
- Breathable next-to-back mesh curbs sweat rash
- Side pockets a bit flimsy
- Carrier strap placed wrong
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.
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.
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.
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
More info: www.ospreypacks.com