Gear Reviews Hiking and Camping

Osprey Talon & Tempest – Pack Review

Osprey Talon & Tempest – Pack Review

How do you improve on an already iconic design?

The Talon and Tempest packs from Osprey have been well received in the outdoors community and taken out many prestigious awards along the way. So we were intrigued to find out what made these packs so good and how Osprey have improved an already iconic design.

Finding the right pack can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you’re new to hiking. Are you doing an overnighter, or a day hike? Is the day hike short or long? How big does the daypack need to be? Too small and you risk not getting enough in there, too large and it’s just overkill and cumbersome.

Then there’s the features. What to look for? What’s essential versus a luxury? You see where this is heading? Yep, confusion. Well, it was confusing for us when we first started, and we got through several packs (and a fair amount of cash) before finding the right ones.

Sometimes you need to use a pack for several hikes before finding out that they’re not right for you, which is an expensive process. So we hope that this review will prevent you from having to go through that same process.

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The Tempest and Talon by Osprey are two great day packs bursting with features. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

The Story

Osprey are a dedicated team of people who have immersed themselves into the industry and the outdoors lifestyle for over four decades, to bring you packs that have been thoroughly thought through and rigorously tested.

Since Osprey was founded in 1974, every single product design bearing the Osprey name has passed through the hands of owner and founder Mike Pfotenhauer, undergoing relentless scrutiny. That’s pretty incredible really. Mike has a hands on approach and this results in a  product that works. Why? Because he cares. Simple! And when you care about your product this much, it’s going to show.

“Osprey is, in large part, about exceptional relationships. Between the pack and its wearer. The pack and its makers. The company and its staff”  – Mike Pfotenhauer

From stitching the first lines of custom-fitted packs, to meticulously designing innovative products with intuitive features, to forging personal relationships with the sewing operators who construct the packs, Mike has been the unbreakable thread that makes Osprey a company like no other.

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Both the Osprey Talon and Tempest share the same array of features. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

The colours on these two packs are stunning! Both packs come in a choice of three bright colours to choose from, plus a black option for the more stealthy hikers out there.

Initial Impressions

We felt slightly honoured to be chosen to review the packs, after being fans of Osprey for many years. So all I could hear in the back of my mind was “don’t stuff this up”. No pressure then. The packs arrived at our office and we promptly tore open the packaging with child-like glee.

First off the colours on these two packs are stunning! Both packs come in a choice of three bright colours to choose from, plus a black option for the more stealthy hikers out there. We received the Talon in Martian Red and the Tempest in Lucent Green. Beautiful!

Although the more subtler colours may be a preferred choice for some walkers, we always prefer to choose a bright colour, that can be easily spotted from a chopper, if heavens forbid, it all goes pear shaped.

Features

Whether you choose the Talon or Tempest,  both packs share the same array of features and what a set of features they are…

  • LIDLOCK™ helmet attachment
  • Sternum strap whistle
  • BIOSTRETCH™ harness
  • Harness adjustment
  • BIOSTRETCH™ built-in zippered hip belt pockets
  • LOWER INSIDEOUT™ compression/carry straps
  • Dual-Zippered panel access to main compartment
  • External hydration sleeve
  • STOW-ON-THE-GO™ trekking pole attachment
  • Large stretch mesh front pocket
  • Ice tool loop with bungee tie offs
  • AIRSCAPE™ back system
  • and more…
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The BIOSTRETCH™ built-in hipbelts and zippered pockets. The lumbar to hipbelt body wrap is seamless, providing extra comfort throughout the day.  Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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Although it hasn’t been listed as a feature, we know how handy this is. Ever done a river crossing or a bit of canyoning? Well, having drainage holes is a good thing, trust us. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The ice tool pole attachment and bungee tie off. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The Large stretch mesh front pocket, handy for all sorts of things. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

Because the pack is deeper and narrower, it creates improved stabilisation based on the position of the load to a woman’s centre of gravity. Thus improved balance and a much more stable pack.

Womens Specific Fit

It’s clear to see why Osprey have become so popular. It’s the level of detail in the design and the connection between the pack and the wearer and an understanding of the differences between male and female body shapes.

For example, the hipbelts on the Womens packs are shaped and angled to work better for Women. They accommodate the conical shape of Womens hips and differences between the waist and hip measurements. This results in more support and comfort for loading.

It doesn’t end there. Because the pack is deeper and narrower, it creates improved stabilisation based on the position of the load to a woman’s centre of gravity. Thus improved balance and a much more stable pack.

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The InsideOut™ Compression straps ensure stability and secure items in the side pockets. They can be routed inside or outside of the side mesh pockets: Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The Tempest hipbelts have been specifically designed to be more comfortable for Women. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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Osprey have designed the Women’s pack shape to be narrower and deeper, which allows for greater freedom of movement. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The shoulder harness on the Tempest is designed with different curves to create an anatomical fit for a woman’s neck, shoulders and chest. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

The packs felt very secure as we jumped around the rocks. The compression straps worked as they should and we didn’t experience any sloppiness or over balancing.

Packing & Adjustments

I sometimes struggle with day packs and and the amount of gear I need to get in. More of that in another post, but I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of pockets both packs have. We had no problems filling these up with the necessities and then some. The word TARDIS came to mind.

The pack felt a little high on my back so some adjustments were needed before we set off. Well, well what a breeze setting these packs up were. The load lifter panel is super-easy to adjust. Just pull the velcro tabs apart, then slide the panel up or push it down to the desired height, using the handy markers to get it balanced on both sides.

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The load lifter straps and the handy markers allow you adjust the harness very easily. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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Once I had set up the harness adjustments via the load lifter straps, I was set to go. Out on the trails the pack felt very comfortable and secure on my back. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

When rock hopping, you really need the pack to cling to you like glue. Any flapping about can result in an unexpected swim.  With the compression straps done up nice and tight, off we hopped.

Out On The Trails

We headed out to a trail that had a mix of terrain to try and get a feel of how the packs felt on the ups, downs and some technical sections. We even threw in some rock hopping for a balance test to see how they fared when jumping around.

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The water bladder can be accessed via an external sleeve, which makes it so much easier to remove and refill. There’s also a little clip that attaches to the bladder to keep it upright. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The nifty LIDLOCK™  gadget keeps your open face helmet attached securely to the pack. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

Secure

With the compression straps done up, the pack felt very secure. The harness was comfortable and there was no tightness under the armpits. On the steep sections the pack stayed in place and neither of us experienced any slipping up the back or bouncing around.

When rock hopping, you really need the pack to cling to you like glue. Any flapping about can result in an unexpected swim.  With the compression straps done up nice and tight, off we hopped.

The packs felt very secure as we jumped around the rocks. The compression straps worked as they should and we didn’t experience any sloppiness or over balancing. This was probably due to the longer narrower design of the pack, which aided balance by keeping the centre of gravity low.

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The unique suspended mesh located on the shoulders, backpanel, lumbar and hipbelt contour to a wide variety of body shapes and sizes to create a custom fit to your body. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The LIDLOCK™ helmet attachment in use. Great for carrying your helmet for those hike-a-bike days. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

The BIOSTRETCH™  hipbelts felt very comfortable throughout the day and provided a good level of support and load transfer.

Easy Storage Access

The zipped hip belt and elasticated harness pockets are a good size for snacks, compass etc and easy to access whilst on the go. Some hipbelts require you to stop and fiddle around before you can get them open, but these were a breeze to open.

I would like to see the zips at the opposite end of the pocket. Sometimes zips can catch on twigs and open up without you noticing. Having the zips on the opposite end can avoid this from happening.

However, this didn’t happen to us on this occasion but it has with other packs. Something Osprey could investigate perhaps? Yes you could say that I’m whinging about something that wasn’t an issue, but I can’t help but add my 20c into product design.

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Forgot your whistle? Both packs feature a built-in whistle in the sternum strap. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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Internal mesh zipped pocket with security hook. The dimpled fabric is also designed to reduce scratching on smartphone screens and glasses. Pic:Tyres and Soles
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Stow-on- the Go™, meaning you can quickly attach and release walking poles without needing to remove the pack. Pic:©Tyres and Soles
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The packs feature two side mesh stretch pockets for larger items. This is a 1 litre bottle. Pic:©Tyres and Soles

The new Talon and Tempest offer a huge feature set that you really couldn’t improve on.

Comfort

The BIOSTRETCH™  hipbelts felt very comfortable throughout the day and provided a good level of support and load transfer. The lumbar to hipbelt body wrap is seamless and is probably the reason why we didn’t feel any uneven pressure or discomfort down there. I guess the logic here is, if there’s no seams then you wont feel the seams? Makes sense to us.

The slightly stiffened backpanel provides very good load support up to the recommended load of 8-9kgs. We actually loaded the packs up higher and didn’t notice any issues at all.

Conclusions

Finding the right day pack can be an adventure in itself. With so many brands offering so many options, it can become a minefield to navigate. The new Talon and Tempest offer a huge feature set that you really couldn’t improve on. The packs are lightweight, incredibly versatile and very comfortable with plenty of storage areas.

With the combination of the compression straps and panel adjustments, it’s super-easy to get that perfect fit. The Osprey Talon and Tempest can be used for an array of activities from; commuting to work, to easy day walks or those more epic hikes where you need to carry a more comprehensive range of equipment.

We will continue to use the pack and report back on a long term test at a later date.

Specs

The TEMPEST 20 Women’s pack.

  • Capacity: 20 litre
  • Load range: 10-20 lb | 5-8 kg.
  • Weight/Unloaded: 0.69(XS/S)  –  0.75kg (S/M) (approx).
  • Dimensions (CM):  50h x 28w x 27d
  • Sizes: WXS/S   WS/M
  • Price: $169.95

The TALON 22 Men’s pack.

  • Capacity: 22 litre
  • Load range: 10-20 lb | 5-8 kg.
  • Weight/Unloaded: 0.61(S/M)  –  0.81kg (M/L) (approx).
  • Dimensions (CM): 51h x 28w x 28d
  • Sizes: S/M   M/L
  • Price: $169.95

Pop into your local Paddy Pallin store to test one out.

 

Jason Lorch

Chief Editor at Tyres and Soles
Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I'm also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them. So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.
Jason Lorch

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