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Osprey Talon 33 Editorial Review

Submitted by vegastradguy on 2007-11-19

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 6 | Comments: 7 | Views: 18765

by Sandra H.

By Sandra H.

I have only owned two packs, an REI ultralight series (I think) and now this talon 33. As a college student I couldn’t afford anything else but free or almost free – I got the REI pack for $20 on a sale day. Needless the say the ultralight got trashed almost immediately on the long Red Rock approaches. I had tried patching it but living in the desert and between bushwacking; going through washes; butt slides, the patch work did not last too long. I was feeling pretty desperate because my pack was falling apart, the exterior frame dug into my sides, the chest straps were horrible, my neck hurt almost every time and just random things dug into my body with the long Red Rock approaches. Thanks to vegastradguy- my luck changed. I got the Talon 33 from him after he saw the state of my current pack.

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The Talon in Spicy Chili
Osprey Packs
The Talon in Spicy Chili. Photo by Osprey Packs.

As a girl the first thing I noticed was the color; it was ‘Spicy Chili’ and I fell in love with it immediately. I got the pack while celebrating Halloween at Joshua tree and it was put to use immediately. The second thing I noticed after the color was the material. At first I saw it looked like the same material my old pack was made of so I felt a little skeptical on how long this pack was going to last. At this point, though, anything was better than my old pack. The material seemed like an ultralight ripstop (70D x 100D nylon) although the bottom was a thicker material- 160D x 330D nylon. It’s been over a year of rough approaches now and the pack is still holding strong. The bottom has some small holes but it is double layered so my gear is still not showing (thankfully) – I’m currently considering reinforcing it with leather or haulbag material if I can find some. The official osprey website describes the pack for light use, so I understand the makers were probably not thinking on short people hiking through long washes and having to butt slide more often than not.

Osprey makes two sizes of Talon packs- S/M and M/L, and at 5’2” I believe I’m a giant, but vegastradguy insists that my pack is indeed the small/medium size. In this ‘small’ pack I can fit climbing shoes, harness, a double rack, a nalgene bottle, a hydration bladder which the pack has a dedicated compartment for it on its back, , a rope – strapped to the top, a helmet clipped to the outside, a headlamp, keys … .well you get the point – I hope. The pack is officially 1900 cubic inches (the bigger size is 2000), but it packs well enough that it feels bigger than that. It’s also fairly light at 1 pound, 12 ounces.

After I left the J-tree approaches and I was back in Vegas I really started appreciating this pack especially its comfort. The shoulder straps were wonderful, they did not dig into my shoulders; they are made of some kind of gel material which makes it super comfortable for the long approaches. A hike to the brownstone wall in Red Rock with a double rack; which for those who have not had the pleasure to climb there is quite a long hike (about 90min to 2 hrs) with considerable elevation gain (over 1,000ft), did not leave me with sore shoulders or hips. The back of pack is made with this airscape design and the previously mentioned gel material and it helps air circulate down your back nicely- no more sweaty back at the base!

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The harness and airscape system
Osprey Packs
The harness and airscape system. Photo by Osprey Packs.

Another problem I had with my old pack was the fit with the straps, both sternum and hip, they never felt like they fit right. With the talon the sternum strap is barely noticeable and the hip belt fits nicely…in other words if you size the pack correctly you can make it fit very comfortably. The pack has mp3/small cellphone/ipod nano carrier in the shoulder straps; I have never used them so I can’t tell you about that. The hip belt has two pockets as well, I can fit my digital camera there, so the pockets are decent sized. The pack also has ice axe holders but I have not had the pleasure to use them, as I live in the desert. Other features include a stretch woven front pocket which I use to put my guidebook to have handy but it’ll easily stretch to put a jacket in there as well. There are also stretch woven side pockets, but they are quite narrow once your pack is filled so a nalgene will not fit in there. I ended up using them as a place to put my trash.

At the end of the day, my funds usually limit me to whatever is on sale as far as gear goes. I was fortunate enough to receive this pack to review, but if I needed to purchase another pack in the near future, I would readily spend the $130 on this pack, as it has not only withstood the abuse of the desert, it has done so without leaving me with sore shoulders and hips!

Visit this item in our gear database.

Full Disclosure: The manufacturer of this product provided it free of charge to and then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review.


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7 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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1 out of 5 stars I find it odd that we need "guest reviewers" given the number of people on this site that would be willing to fill the role. Moreover, because "guests" aren't members/contributors to the forum they don't have the same level of accountability for their opinions nor do their opinions carry the same weight.

If you're going to have a note at the bottom that says "full disclosure" then disclose why it's a guest reviewer. The lack of disclosure hints that Osprey gave you a girls pack and you gave it to a friend in exchange for the review.
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The full disclosure note is so that the readers know whether the product was paid for or had to be returned- it is so that our readers know if we were compensated for a review or not.

A Special Guest Reviewer is just that, a special guest- there may be a variety of reasons for this- in this case it was a matter of timing of product receipt and staff available for review.
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Way to help out with some goodies vegas... Good review, would like a little more technical info about the pack, but I got the idea, and can find out what I need on the web page.
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Sidepull is just hacked off he doesn't get the free/cheap booty, ah la Vegas-Style. Which I would too, but then 'trad_guy administering this site, for free (I think), should have some sort of benefit, which should be extended to whomever they want. Nice review, with good data. Had the 5'2" girlfriend, but I traded her in on one that is 5'8" now, too bad I hate the old one, DIE!!!, or I would relay this to her. LOL
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As noted in earlier threads, all reviewers (including myself) work on a strictly volunteer basis, and are, when possible, rewarded for their efforts with the gear that they review.
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I've had this pack for a few weeks now. I've taken it on a solo of Keyhole Ridge in August, it performed great. I hauled it on Moonlight Buttress. I wouldn't recommend doing that, but it did hold up fine. It's been a good pack for me recently.
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i have used this pack for hiking and climbing the grand canyon. i have to agree the packs air scape system works very well and never once did i wish i had something different. the 4 liters i took with me (two of which were nalgenes fit i had to pack them first in the side stretch pockets), the rope harness and lots of other gear and the pack held all of it great. i have had the pack for over a year now and absolutely love it.

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