Waist Pack, Hip Pack, Lumbar Pack, Bum Bag (UK), Fanny Pack (USA)… once you’ve stopped giggling it’s worth considering that this humble piece of kit may well suffice for your carrying needs in a variety of circumstances. Smaller waist packs have been a favourite of fell runners long before the running hydration vest packs came along although for all but the most minimal kit requirement races the later have pretty much taken over. Waist packs are still a big favourite with XC skiers, mountain bikers and even ice climbers like the great Guy Lacelle have put them to use for carrying minimalist kit.
Osprey’s Talon 6 Lumbar Pack is very much at the larger end of the waist pack category and is built for comfort and convenience. Comprising of a main pack with an additional front slip pocket, two spacious side pockets on the waist belt wings, two bottle holders and Osprey’s signature Talon foam compression panels you can pack a fair bit into the Talon 6. All this is ‘constructed with high-quality bluesign®-approved recycled high-tenacity nylon with a PFC-free DWR coating’ reflecting Osprey’s ongoing commitment to sustainable production https://www.ospreyeurope.com/gb_en/sustainability/. With their AirScape™ back-panel creating a more breathable body contact area and a Biostretch waist-belt to keep loads stable without restricting movement. The waist belt tightens with a twin forward pull that is much easier to adjust to the correct tension without twisting the pack on your body though it can leave two longish tails to tuck away. The Talon 6 is a luxurious waist pack and by far and away the most comfortable I have carried in this size. Whatever the marketing spiel it really does fit comfortably keeping the load stable. The AirScape™ back-panel aids breathability a little but the reality is that anything worn tight against your body is going to limit evaporation of sweat significantly so don’t expect miracles but it certainly improves over just a plain back-panel with its die cut pattern of grooves allowing some circulation of air as you move. I have an earlier generation of Osprey’s AirScape™ on a mountain biking lumbar pack and the Talon 6 version is a noticeable improvement. One of the benefits of using a lumbar pack is that it generally puts less pack in contact with your skin compared to carrying a back pack and as a result can be more comfortable in hot weather. So what can you pack into the Talon 6 realistically? For a hike with my better half I recently packed:
- Polartec Alpha warm layer
- Rab Waterproof
- Map extract or minimap
- Bike bottle or 500ml Nalgene
- Flask (Hydroflask travle mug/flask)
- Sandwich & cereal bar
As you can see the Talon 6 can easily swallow your personal kit for non technical days out.
For walking I found the Talon 6 to be faultless, it was comfortable, stable and arguably less sweaty than any alternative. The side pockets were easily accessible on the move for snacks, phone (for photos) or compass. The bottle holders were very secure but I sometimes needed to rotate the pack to the front to access the bottles if the elastic retainer was tightly fastened – this may just be a by product of my lack of shoulder mobility! The front slip pocket contains a key clip which is useful but I feel would be better placed in a side pocket. With keys in the front pocket I was reluctant to place either sunglasses or a phone in there for risk of scratching them. The clip itself could do with being a little stronger in my opinion too as I often found it would unclip unintentionally which could be very unfortunate if you were not alert! Besides walking I used the Talon 6 for XC rollerski training and off-road riding and again it proved to be excellent – stable, comfortable and that lovely forget you’re wearing it experience. The slightly elastic nature of the waist belt really lets it conform to your body without impairing movement.Osprey state:
“Minimalist day hikers, trail runners and anyone who wants to be prepared with the essentials but without extra bulk will appreciate the Talon 6.“
which pretty much nails it bar the trail running. I tried the Talon 6 on a few occasions for trail running but unless you skipped the bottles altogether it just bounced too much for comfort. There are far better options of trail runners – Osprey themselves have their Duro range that has recently been revamped with an improved Waist pack the Duro Dyna Belt that is likely far more suited to your trail running needs if you’re not opting for a hydration vest.
Overall a luxurious high quality lumber pack built from bluesign®-approved recycled high-tenacity nylon with a PFC-free DWR coating. The Talon 6 is ideal for hikes which don’t require large amounts of kit or more vigorous activities such as mountain biking and XC skiing where there is not too much vertical oscillation. With loaded bottles the Talon 6 has a tendency to bounce when trail running to be comfortable.
- Extremely comfortable
- Good capacity
- Secure storage
- Accessible pockets
- Tendency to bounce when running
- Key clip placement
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!