I specifically asked Osprey to send over a Talon 8 Waistpack some time ago so I could do a long term test on its usability for Search & Rescue work. I generally carry a lot more gear when out on a foot-search, but needed a smaller, less cumbersome carrying option when out as a Search Dog support, where we move much faster and lighter.
The Talon 8 is the largest of Osprey’s waistpacks (bumbags, fanny packs or even Lumbar Packs, as Osprey call them) and comprises of a large central, water resistant pocket which is big enough to take a compact waterproof jacket, torch, snack and hat. In front of this main pocket (away from the body) is a shallow secondary pocket which is useful for those items which would perhaps sink and be lost in the main compartment. Both feature waterproof zippers with stormflaps, and in practice – which has included some absolutely torrential rain – these have never leaked a drop.
The Talon’s distinguishing feature is the dual 0.5L bottle holsters which, if you are so inclined, can be handy to balance out the weight distribution around the pack. The bottle pockets have a brilliantly simple bungee cord which holds even fully-loaded bottles in place when you’re running or jumping.
Off the side of these bottle pockets, two large webbing compressions straps help to keep the main pack’s contents from rattling and bumping around on the trail.
The Talon 8 features a thick foam pad up against your back, which is ribbed and vented to allow a little air flow and keep you from getting too sweaty and horrible. Certainly this works very well to protect you from any knobbly bits in the pack.
The Talon 8 has a thick waistband which comes around your kidneys and features two waterproof zippered side pockets. These have been my favourite feature of the pack and where I house those small items that I use most often. Not having to swivel the pack to get to them has been brilliant.
There are a couple of improvements I’d have made, and would like to make to the Talon. Firstly I’ve re-strung the bungee compression mesh on the outer of the pack. This was to give things a bit more security over rough terrain where a jacket had a tendency to work its way down and out of the horizontal bungees (see image below). This was pretty easy to accomplish.
Secondly, and more importantly for me is the main buckle arrangement. The Talon works best worn quite high up the torso, above the pelvis so it can’t work its way down when it’s heavy and you’re running. Osprey’s arrangement of fairly thin webbing (20mm) and buckle have on occasion felt a little uncomfortable and pinchy when the pack has been heavy and I’ve worn it tight. Also, the manner in which you tighten the waist is perhaps a little overcomplicated. I have a 32-inch waist and had a lot of spare hanging webbing after adjusting the pack. A little tailoring may be needed if you purchase this pack.
Overall though, the Talon has suited my needs and provided a comfortable, fairly large capacity pack which allows me to move fast and light.
The below video shows how much kit it fits on a day-to-day basis.
SUMMARY: Osprey’s Talon 8 is a large capacity waistpack which works best worn high up on the pelvis. It has good weight distribution and padding around the lumbar region. Build quality is excellent and it’s been very waterproof indeed. The only snags are that when it’s very heavy, the thin webbing waistband can be a little uncomfy, and you need to make sure you keep weight lower down in the pack or it flops away from your body at times.