- Backpacks & Waist Packs
I have noticed the Osprey Talon 4 before but, in all honesty, just thought it looked over-sized. However, one of my running friends, Colin Knox (http://colinknox.blogspot.co.uk/), has been using the Talon 4 for a few years now and, at the recent Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, there were at least 4 or 5 of these on the go in the small field of 70 runners.
My review of the Osprey Talon 4 waist pack is long overdue as I have now had the chance to run in a variety of situations with the pack. I have taken it out for longer runs in the Cairngorms and also on a number of shorter training runs. Given my success with the Talon 4, it is likely that I will run at least part, if not all, of the forthcoming 95 mile West Highland Way Race with the pack.
I have been searching for over a year now to find the ‘perfect pack’, one that will cover all eventualities, from a shorter 1 to 2 hour run, through to a full ultramarathon (with checkpoints/aid stations). The Osprey Talon 4 appears to tick all of the boxes.
“This active lumbar pack features an innovative hip compression system that also secures water bottles. StraightJacket style compression keeps the pack stable during dynamic movement.”
With 2 bottle holders that can accommodate both the provided Osprey bottles or your own choice of bottles, the Talon 4 is capable of carrying sufficient fluid for longer runs. Generally I discard provided bottles in favour of my preferred Camelbak bottles. However, the Osprey bottles are good quality and leak free, something that is so often overlooked in many waistpacks and backpacks.
The bottles are easily accessible on the move thanks to the angled bottle holders and can be firmly anchored in place thanks to some clever restraining straps.
The Talon 4 does not suffer from the bounce that is so common amongst other packs and, especially of packs with dual bottles. I can only assume that the clever construction of the pack, with the main storage area sandwiched between the 2 bottle holders is responsible for this. Further, there are a number of refinement staps that let you fine tune the fit and all but eliminate bottle bounce.
In terms of storage, there are zippered pockets at each side which can easily take gels, bars, keys, even an iPhone (although it can be a snug fit with a headphone cord in place). There are two spacious larger pockets sandwiched between the 2 bottle holders. Each of the pockets contains a small loop which makes for easy opening and closing whilst on the move. I generally carry pretty lightweight gear and, as a result, I have no problem packing in a waterproof (North Face Triumph), space blanket (best to be prepared) and a buff or two. To be honest, I have yet to have the need to pack it to the limits but, if at all, this will likely happen at the forthcoming West Highland Way Race.
The biggest shock as far as I was concerned was with regard to the pack stability. Given the size of the pack, I had expected at least an element of bounce but was pleased to find that this was not the case.
The single problem that I did have was on the inaugural run. I did not move the excess strapping to the side of the pack and, as a result, the motion resulted in a slight chaffing between my t-shirt and the belt loops. Having learnt this lesson, I now pull the excess strapping to the side and, thankfully, have had no repeat of this issue.
To conclude, I can see this pack getting a lot of use and, especially as the temperatures soar, it will be good to keep the back free of a backpack. Given the generous pack space of the Talon 4 I should be able to accommodate everything that I need both in terms of training and actual ultramarathons that I would previously have carried in a backpack.
I am glad that I finally gave the Talon 4 the chance it deserved.
@rodeoboy155 Be sure to try on 4 size if poss. My Spyridons fractionally 2 big, ideally need a perfect fit. The original minimalist shoe :o)
@TheJerichoRoads congratulations, sounds like a very successful weekends running :o)
1st trip for Harris to Loch an Eilein to finish off our long weekend. Finally time to head home. Back soon :o) http://t.co/RM8fBkDJha