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Osprey Talon 11 Backpack
Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella
March 21, 2009
Name: Jennifer Estrella
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States
After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a Sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.
Web Site: www.ospreypacks.com
Product: Talon 11
Year Manufactured: 2008
MSRP: Not indicated on the manufacturer's website
Available 2009 Colors: Spicy Chili, Magnesium, Citron
Reviewed Color: Moonlight Blue
Sizes Available: S/M: Capacity: 600 cu in; 9 L; Weight: 1 lb 5 oz (598g); M/L Capacity: 700 cu in 11 L; Weight: 1 lb 6 oz; 640g
Size Reviewed: S/M
Actual Weight : 1 lb 5 oz (598 g)
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 5 in (46 x 20 x 13 cm) Measured height, width, depth.
Warranty: From manufacturer's website "Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a quality repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer."
The manufacturer claims that the Talon 11 is indicated to be used for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. This pack is part of the Active Light Pursuits series in the Osprey pack line. The manufacturer states the following on their website in regards to the Talon 11: "A great pack for everyday activity, the Talon 11 will fast become your regular companion. A laced bungee cord with fabric wings keeps extras secure while a mesh hip belt keeps the pack stable without encumbering your mobility."
I purchased the Talon 11 in the early summer of 2008. Since my purchase Osprey has changed the color line, they added quick release buckles for the load lifters, added pockets to the hip belt, and added the BioStretch hip belt with mesh covered, slotted foam. This BioStretch component of the hip belt is similar to the harness straps on my model. Those are the only changes that I can see from viewing the manufacturer's website.
The Talon 11 is a panel loading day pack. It has dual zippered main panel (compartment) access. There are no main compartment dividers inside the Talon 11. The main compartment has a 6.25 x 5.25 in (16 x 13 cm) pocket with a hook and loop closure. This pocket is sewn at the top seam of the pack and rests against the back of the main compartment.
Inside hook and loop closure pocket
The main material of the pack body is blue 70D x 100D nylon shadow check and gray 160D x 330D nylon shadow box at the base and side of the pack. On each side of the pack is a stretch woven side pocket that measures 5 in (13 cm) wide and 6 in (15 cm) deep.
Side view of the Talon 11
This pack has an AirScape Backpanel which is a feature on all the Talon packs. This is a mesh covered, 4 mm HDPR ridge molded foam backpanel with integrated air channels.
AirScape Panel and harness system
The harness and hip belt straps have strapkeepers that prevent excess webbing from flapping. This system has C-clips that are sewn on the strapkeepers which are intended to be easily clipped over the hip belt or the harness webbing. I found it very easy to keep my straps from flapping by using the C-clips. However, sometimes they magically become undone.
There is a smaller pocket on the front of the pack just below the main compartment access. This is a stash pocket that is mesh lined on the back panel. There is a red key clip inside this pocket. The Osprey logo is embroidered below this pocket on a type of patch.
Front of pack pocket with key clip
The front of the pack has a bungee laced compression system which helped me store larger items that could not fit inside the pack (such as a helmet and my snorkeling gear). This bungee system has a quick release buckle towards the top of the pack and consists of a cord that is fastened (by small webbing loops) to fabric panels that run lengthwise. These fabric panels have silver reflective raptor talons on each side. The bungee system has a cord lock to keep it in place when it is cinched to my desired position. At the base of the bungee system are slots to hold a blinker light. Below the blinker light slots in silver reflective lettering is "TALON 11". The Talon 11 has a top grab handle located at the very top of the pack. There is also a tow loop on the pack that is sewn near the base.
Front view of the Talon 11
The harness is a fixed type that allows no adjustment for torso length. The harness is called a BioStretch harness which is mesh covered, slotted foam and has a pocket on each strap of the harness that is stretch woven. These pockets are intended to hold energy gels. But, I was able to cram into the pockets a small headlamp, my Jelly Belly snacks, and tissues. The harness also has an adjustable sternum strap that can be attached at three different height adjustments. The height adjustment points have what appears to be a rubber like material with slots in it. Primarily these slots are located beneath the energy gel pockets with one exposed at the bottom. The sternum strap is anchored on each side with an oval plastic piece that is slid into the slots (by rotating it into a horizontal position and pushing it through the opening). The buckle on the sternum strap is a quick release type that has an integrated whistle. The Osprey name is embroidered on a black tag on the right side of the strap when I am wearing the Talon 11.
There is an external hydration compartment on the Talon 11. This is located between the backpanel and the main body of the pack. If I look at the top of the pack there is a small tab that has a water drop stitch on it and the letters H2O. There is a small webbing loop just below this tab that has a quick release buckle this serves as the hanger for the hydration system if needed. There is a cord attached at the base of the grab handle (on the pack body) and a snap with a webbing loop on the backpanel. This serves as the closure for the hydration compartment. To insert my hydration bladder I unfastened the snap and moved the cord out of the way. Then I inserted my water bladder with the hydration tube outlet at the base of the pack. I then routed the tubing so that it exited the top of the compartment. There is no slot to pass the hydration tube through, but on the harness there are elastic straps on the right and the left that the hose can route through. Once I had the hose routed I closed the opening by fastening the snap with the cord in place. The manufacturer states that a 3 L (101 fl oz) bladder can be used in this pack. I used a 2 L (68 fl oz) bladder in the Talon 11.
There is one tie-off loop on the Talon 11. It is on the side of the pack near the top and is on my right side when I am wearing the Talon.
This is a highlight of where I have used the Talon 11. I have used it in many more locations for day hikes and for mountain biking.
Millcreek Canyon, Utah: The pack was worn on a sunny 5 mi (8 km) day hike. The temperature was around 67 F (19 C). The starting elevation was recorded at 5,600 ft (1,707 m).
Neffs Canyon, Utah: This was a 3 mi (5 km) day hike with lots of rattlesnakes on the trail. We had to turn around because we did not want the dogs to get bitten by the snakes. The temperature was recorded at 78 F (25 C).
Nine Mile Forest Recreation Area, Wisconsin: The Talon 11 was used on two 3 mi (5 km) day hikes (on two separate days) in the early evening. The park elevation is 1,279 ft (390 m). I had no means of recording the temperature at the park. I would estimate that the temperature was in the mid 70 F (21 C) range.
Hawaii: The most enjoyable use was as a day pack in Hawaii on the big island. We spent 6 days hiking to snorkeling or scenic spots that are hard to get to without a boat. The hikes were anything from 0.5 to 3 miles (1 to 5 km) each way. Temps were between 76 and 82 F (24 to 28 C) and terrain was dirt, (lots of) lava, and sand.
Newport Beach, California: The temperature was recorded at 55 to 57 F (13 to 14 C) with heavy rain over a course of two days. During one of these these days I wore the Talon 11 on a day hike in the Newport Beach area totaling 4 mi (6 km).
Red Rocks, Nevada: This was a three day climbing/camping trip. At the locations where we were climbing that there was no sun and it was about 41 F (5 C) with a light wind. The highs were around 55 F (13 C). The lows at night were around 30 F (-1 C). I wore the Talon 11 on some day hikes when we were not climbing.
Crystal Cove State Park, California: This was a day hike for a total of 5 mi (8 km). The temperature was recorded at 53 F (12 C) with light rain in the early morning. The elevation here is just above sea level. I also used the Talon 11 for several days while mountain biking in this area.
Impressions and Performance
I am very happy with the Talon 11. I have used it for short day hikes and for mountain biking. I really love this pack for mountain biking because it is comfortable on my shoulders, it gives me adequate space, and it is not bulky. But, I also love the Talon 11 for day hikes. For mountain biking I can store a rain jacket or a shell, extra tubes, my tire pump, snacks, sunscreen, and other small essentials. Since I do not have a handle bar mount for my GPS device I stored it in the side pocket during my ride. For day hikes I can carry a trail book, jacket, extra layers, sunscreen, snacks, and other essentials. During the winter during snowshoe day hike I usually carry a larger pack since I may need more layers.
I think what most impresses me with the Talon 11 is that it is a very simple lightweight pack. The backpanel and the harness ventilation works beautifully. I still get some sweat but not as much as some of my other packs that are not constructed with a mesh backpanel or a mesh harness. The backpanel also does not have seams except where it is sewn to the back. One of my other packs have seems on the backpanel that give me pressure areas and discomfort.
The hip belt and the harness is tightened with just a quick pull that can be done one-handed. The hip belt and the harness straps also release easily. The harness straps have a flexible foam encased in the mesh and are comfortable on my shoulders even after walking or riding for several hours.
The Talon 11 size S/M fits me well. The next size was too large for me. The S/M is indicated for a torso length less than 19 in (49 cm). Even though this is a fixed harness system the Talon 11 fit me well.
The most I have carried in this pack is 11 lbs (5 kg) and it was still comfortable. I usually carry around 8 lb (4 kg) in this pack). I pretty much filled it to maximum capacity while we were day hiking to snorkeling spots in Hawaii. I attached my fins to the back of the Talon using the bungee system and placed my snorkel in a side pocket and held it in place with the tie-off.
Hiking to a snorkeling spot in Hawaii
The main compartment is easily opened by the large zipper pull tabs. These are designed with a cord loop and a plastic piece over a portion of the cord. None of the zippers have failed. Even when the pack was stuffed to capacity I could easily open and close the zippers.
I generally store small less used items in the inside hook and loop closure pocket or sometimes a map. The pocket is easily opened by just pulling on the flap. The hook and loop closure has always closed for me and has not lost any of its original characteristics.
I can also keep small items in the stretchy energy gel pockets on the harness. Sometimes I put a small headlamp in there, some Jelly Belly snacks, lip balm, a knife, or some tissues. They are small pockets but they have a lot of stretch.
I have yet to use the tow loop on the pack. I do not participate in adventure racing and I have yet to find a need for the loop.
I have used the blinker slots near the base of the pack to secure one of my bicycle blinkers. I do not have a light permanently mounted on my mountain bike and securing it to the pack worked out perfectly. The blinker did not fall off while I was riding.
I think the hydration system is great. I can easily refill my bladder and place it in the hydration compartment without removing the contents of my pack. Even with the water placed right behind the backpanel I find that I am still comfortable no matter what the water level is inside the bladder. The only comment I have about this system is that I have to move the load lifter straps out of the way to fit my bladder inside. The new Talon 11 has quick release buckles for the load lifters.
The side stretch pockets do have an abundance of stretch. I can cram my camera inside the pockets without any difficulty. I also put snacks, tissues, and small water bottles inside these pockets. I can reach down into the pockets while I am wearing the pack with no difficulty. I must have good shoulder rotation. I like it that the pockets only have an opening at the top. Then I do not have to worry about items falling out. Some of my other packs have side access to this type of pocket and I have lost items with that type of design.
The pack has been exposed to light drizzle and the main body fabric did repel the moisture. The side stretch pockets became wet. In a downpour I would feel most comfortable with some type of pack cover so my contents do not get wet. The zippers are not designed to be waterproof but, they are covered by the pack material to help prevent precipitation from entering the pack. The zipper covers give the pack an appealing, finished look.
The fabric is in excellent condition and there are only a few scuff marks on the base of the pack. Basically the pack still looks like new. I think the Talon 11 is a well constructed pack.
Things That Rock
Great size for day hikes and mountain biking
Bungee system is great
Hip belt and harness can be easily tightened or released
Things That Are So So
No hip belt pocket (but there is now hip belt pockets on the 2009 models)
I am very happy with my Talon 11. I am glad to see that the new model had pockets on the hip belt. I will continue to use this pack on day hikes and for mountain biking for many years to come. The Talon 11 is a comfortable, lightweight pack.