This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpack. Today’s post comes from my friend Marina, who has ridden her bike across the country and volunteered for Americorps.
Hello hello! My name is Marina and I was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. My current goal is to visit all 50 states and I’m quite thrilled to have already traveled to 38 of them. Outside of the US, I’ve traveled (in order) to Mexico, Canada, Honduras, Bahamas, Belize, Spain, France, Monaco and England. I just returned from a trip to New Orleans, LA and have high hopes to visit the New England area in January. Long term, I plan to travel extensively in South America starting next fall.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have an orange Osprey Talon 44. I got it about two years ago from REI for about $130 after a 20% off coupon. I’m not sure I could have justified the splurge otherwise. However, it’s been worth every penny.
>> Get an Osprey Talon 44 on Amazon
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
Over the past couple years I’ve only traveled domestically with my pack, mostly on outdoorsy type adventures. The shortest trip I’ve done is a simple overnight, with the longest being a 10 day backpacking/cycling trip around Glacier National Park. It is large enough to carry the essentials for a long tour (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, one pair of running shoes, flip flops, two changes of clothes, a puffy jacket, hat, toiletries and food) but light enough to not be a hassle for just a weekend. All the straps are great for cinching things down and I really love the outside, front stretchy pocket for my smelly running shoes or muddy Chacos. While less frequent, I’ve also used it for short weekend trips outside of the woods and have even worn it on my back to a wedding, stuffed with flowers coming out of the top.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
My first narrowing factor was size; I needed something between my larger extended trip Gregory pack and smaller day packs. The second and third narrowing factors were weight and the way it fit my body. The Talon is super light weight, all of the straps are super form fitting and cushy enough to not feel like they are digging into my hips or shoulders. I chose the Osprey because of all those aspects and I chose to purchase at REI because of their stellar return policy in the event that it didn’t work out like I had expected. Thankfully that hasn’t been the case!
>> Read our Ultimate Female Guide to Picking a Backpack for further assistance
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
It sounds really superficial but I love the color of my bag. The orange stands out in the woods, in the dark, in other piles of bags that it gets squished in with and is easily identifiable. I love that. I also love how size adaptable it is. If I want to cram it to it’s gills I can and it might weigh somewhere in the 30lb range, but if I want to travel light weight I can tighten it up so it doesn’t feel loose or cumbersome at all.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
My bag is not a women’s specific design but I haven’t found that to be a problem at all. It’s a size medium which has worked well for me (5’7, 130ish lbs), and you can tighten or loosen the straps a great deal for wiggle room. My boyfriend has used it before and it fit him too (6’2, 170ish lbs). Additionally, it’s always been super comfortable. The only exception was when I carried it on my back during a near 300 mile bicycle tour. In hindsight that was a terrible idea and no pack could be expected to be ideal for those conditions!
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes, I have squeezed it into many a overhead compartments, much to the dismay of certain Delta flight attendants.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
It’s perfect! But the right size all depends on your purpose for the pack.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I love my Osprey and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a similar use pack.
Thanks Marina for your insight and sharing your experiences with your backpack. Marina doesn’t have a blog, but if you have any questions for her about her backpack or her travels, be sure to leave them in the comments!