Osprey’s Talon is the daypack we see on the trails more than any other. And there’s good reason for its popularity: it’s light, has a nice fit, is made in a wide range of sizes and bright colorways, and hits a desirable price point. We’ve used the latest Talon 22 for the past year and have found it to be a useful multi-sport option. It’s not the most comfortable or feature-rich pack on the market, but the intelligent design satisfies the needs of most day hikers, bike commuters, and travelers. Below we break down the Talon 22’s carrying comfort, weight, ventilation, organization, durability, fit, and more. To see how the Talon stacks up, see our article on the best daypacks.
What makes the Osprey Talon 22 a top seller year after year is its balance of weight, comfort, and features. The pack is a big step up in terms of padding and support from an ultralight design like REI’s Flash series. But its thin framesheet and minimalist cushioning on the shoulder straps and hipbelt prioritize weight and packability over all-out comfort. We’ve found the Talon to be an ideal match for typical day hikes and bike commutes: throw in a puffy, rain shell, food, and some water, and it conforms nicely to your back. But load it down with extra water or heavy gear, and it will droop and the thin padding on the hipbelt will start to feel less comfortable. In those instances, we like a heavier-duty option like Osprey’s Stratos, which has a metal frame and more substantial foam for putting weight on your hips.
With a weight of 1 pound 12.6 ounces in the M/L size, the Talon falls on the light end of the daypack spectrum. It’s nearly a pound less than Osprey’s other big-time model, the Stratos 24, although it’s missing that pack’s ventilated backpanel and metal frame. Some of its closest competitors include the Gregory Inertia 25, which weighs 1 pound 9.4 ounces, and Patagonia’s Nine Trails 20L at 1 pound 13.6 ounces. You certainly can go lighter at the same capacity with the packable REI Co-op Flash 22 (13 ounces), but you’re compromising on storage, ventilation, and carrying comfort. We’ve used the Talon extensively and have never had an issue with its weight, not to mention it packs down nearly flat for throwing in a duffel bag.
Osprey is a leader in back ventilation design, and we think they’ve come up with a nice solution with the Talon. Its lightweight focus means forgoing the suspended panel that you get with the Stratos and larger backpacking-specific models, but the entire back and hipbelt are made with mesh and have just enough spacing to generate some airflow. Even the shoulder straps have cutouts in the foam to help keep you as cool as possible. If back ventilation is a top priority, the Osprey's Stratos 24 is the better bet, but we think most people will be happy with the Talon’s design.
The pocket layout of the Talon is fairly straightforward but gets the job done in divvying up your gear. You get a hydration sleeve that sits behind the backpanel, two stretchy side water bottle pockets, and two hipbelt pockets that are large enough to fit most modern phones and point-and-shoot cameras. Additionally, the pack has a zippered exterior pocket at the top, a very useful stretchy shove-it pocket along the front, and one small zippered mesh pocket with a key clip on the inside of the main compartment. A more feature-rich design will offer a few more storage options, but we’ve never felt the Talon is lacking in this regard.
Osprey built this pack with more than just hiking and travel in mind, and they’ve added in a few functional multi-sport features. As with their mountain biking packs, the Talon 22 includes their LidLock system, which allows you to secure a bike helmet against the pack body. Additionally, there are two horizontal slots at the bottom for a light. For summit bids, you get an ice axe loop and bungee to secure it. And those that use trekking poles on their day hikes will appreciate the attachment point for storing the poles on the left-hand shoulder strap. About the only item missing is a rain cover, but Osprey does sell their High Visibility model that fits the Talon 22 for $25 extra.
The Osprey Talon 22 is meant for moving fast and light, but it’s also pretty durable overall. Osprey uses sturdy 420-denier nylon along the bottom of the pack, which helps a lot with puncture and tear resistance. And all of the buckles, zippers, cord, and plastic pieces are high quality and have worked flawlessly throughout our testing. Having said that, it’s good to be aware of the areas that use lightweight mesh. The backpanel, water bottle pockets, large shove-it pocket along the front, and even the shoulder straps are covered with this thin and open material. But as long as you avoid squeezing between rocks and are conscious of where you throw it down—or you don’t mind the occasional duct tape patch job—the Talon should have a pretty solid lifespan.
The curved shape and flexible backpanel of the Osprey Talon 22 give it a very nice fit against your back. We also appreciate that it’s available in two sizes for both the men’s Talon and women’s Tempest models. You can dial in the fit even more by moving the shoulder straps up and down via Velcro attachments near the top, as well as by tightening the load-lifter straps. All told, the Talon offers a customizable fit, which is especially impressive given its weight-focused build.
Other Versions of the Osprey Talon
We tested the men’s version of the 22-liter Talon, but Osprey also makes it in the women’s-specific Tempest 20. Besides a 2-liter difference in capacity, smaller available torso sizes, and unique colorways, the Tempest essentially is an identical design. In addition, both the Talon and Tempest are made in a wide range of capacities from a 6-liter lumbar pack all the way up to a 44-liter overnight bag. The 6-liter design has limited appeal—it’s a little on the large side for running and is much too small to use as your only hiking bag. But for day trips and travel, we like the Talon 11 and 22, which have a very similar top-loading design and pocket layout. Stepping up to the 33- and 44-liter versions get you a top lid, and the largest-capacity bag also includes a zippered access to the main compartment. All five fit into a specific niche in the hiking and backpacking market, but we think the Talon 22 and Tempest 20 have the widest appeal.
What We Like
- Hits a nice balance of comfort, features, and packability for lightweight adventures.
- The Talon and Tempest are made in two sizes (unlike the Stratos), and it’s easy to dial in the fit with the adjustable shoulder straps.
- Multi-sport-ready with a helmet and light attachment, and an ice axe loop.
What We Don’t
- The pack doesn’t have a rigid frame, so it can droop and become uncomfortable under a heavy load.
- There’s a lot of lightweight mesh along the exterior, which impacts durability.
- For warm-weather hiking, ventilation falls short of Osprey’s Stratos.
|Osprey Talon 22||$110||1 lb. 12.6 oz.||11, 22, 33, 44L||Cushioned||Back panel||4 exterior|
|Patagonia Nine Trails 20||$129||1 lb. 13.6 oz.||14, 20, 28, 36L||Cushioned||Framesheet||6 exterior|
|Gregory Miwok 18||$100||1 lb. 12.3 oz.||12, 18, 24L||Cushioned||None||8 exterior|
|Deuter Speed Lite 20||$75||1 lb. 1 oz.||12, 16, 20, 24L||Webbing||U-frame||4 exterior|
|Osprey Stratos 24||$130||2 lb. 12 oz.||24, 34, 36, 50L||Cushioned||Alloy frame||5 exterior|
As we mentioned above, the Talon is a popular sight on the trails, but there’s plenty of formidable competition. Patagonia’s Nine Trails 20L, for example, lines up well with the overall design of the Talon 22. Both are made in two sizes, are lightweight at well under 2 pounds, and have very useful stretchy pockets along the exterior. The Nine Trails is a little stiffer and can carry a little more weight, but we give the edge to the Talon. It’s $19 cheaper, comes with a few more multi-sport features, and its compression straps do a better job pulling the load in snug against your back.
One of the newest options is Gregory’s updated Miwok line. The 18-liter model, in particular, stacks up well to the Talon 22: it’s similarly priced at $100, comes in around the same weight at 1 pound 12.3 ounces, and includes helpful features like an attachment point for trekking poles and adjustable torso. That said, the Miwok is only offered in one size, forgoes most of the Talon’s multi-sport features, and the brand-new model hasn’t proven itself yet over the long term (we have one out for testing at the time of publishing). Both are competitive daypacks from leading competitors, but for $10 more, we’d go with the more feature-rich and larger-capacity Talon.
If you want to go truly fast and light, Deuter’s Speed Lite 20 is one of our favorites. This pack weighs just over 1 pound, can stow a surprising amount of gear, and has plusher padding than the Talon on its shoulder straps. But the Deuter only uses webbing for its hipbelt, which greatly impacts comfort when carrying extra weight. If you want a stripped-down, minimalist design, the Deuter is hard to beat—you can even remove the flexible U-shaped frame and hipbelt. But for many day hikers, the Talon will be worth the extra $35 investment.
On the other end of the spectrum from the Speed Lite is Osprey’s Stratos 24. In many ways, this fully featured daypack is a shrunken-down version of a backpacking model. It includes a stiff metal frame, excellent back ventilation, soft cushioning on the hipbelt and shoulder straps, and tons of pockets and extras like a rain cover (for more information, see our in-depth Stratos review). But it also weighs nearly a pound more than the Talon, costs $20 more, and won’t stuff into a duffel bag as easily. Both are well-designed and very functional daypacks, but the choice should come down to your priorities on carrying comfort vs. weight.
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