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Osprey Talon 22 Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

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  • Currently 4.5/5
Overall avg rating 4.5 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: November 3, 2014
Street Price:   $100 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Well ventilated, stretchy front pocket, many features such as helmet clip, very adjustable, versatile, separate compartment for hydration bladder.
Cons:  Hard to lash bigger items to the outside, water bottle pockets are small.
Best Uses:  Day hiking, mountain biking, adventure racing, bike commuting.
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  67% of reviewers (2/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Osprey
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ September 3, 2012  
Overview
Two things stand out about the Osprey Talon 22: ventilation and extra super bonus features. This pack is for people who want clever features and are willing to pay a little extra and carry a little more weight. If adventure racing or mountain biking is your thing, the Talon is a perfect option for you. With features such as a helmet attachment, blinker clip patch, and a tow loop, the features of this pack will make your life easier. The Osprey Talon wins our Best in Class award for being the most comfortable and versatile pack we reviewed, proving useful in just about any application and being extremely breathable and adjustable. If you want the ultimate in lightness, check out the REI Flash 18 ($35), which is only 11 ounces. Or if you a looking for a balance of lightweight and comfortable, check out the Deuter Speed Lite 20 ($89), which is about the half the weight of the Talon but also has fewer features and is less comfortable for carrying heavier loads. For even more features and a truly innovative back design, see the review of the Osprey Stratos 24, but keep in mind that the Talon distributes weight more comfortably than the Stratos and still has a very ventilated back panel.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Features
The features list on the Talon is impressive: helmet clip attachment, blinker light attachment, adjustable harness, ventilated back panel, hip belt pockets, tow loop, bungee tool attachment, and stretchy outer stash pocket.

Of those features, Chris Mac may be among the few who use the tow loop, he uses it all the time when towing his mountainboard behind him, but it also may be useful for activities such as adventure racing.

The helmet attachment is amazingly easy to use. Simply slide the plastic end through a hole in the helmet, flatten it out, and ta-da, your helmet is secured. It works better if the pack is mostly full, and sadly, does not work on a solid hard plastic climbing helmet since it relies on holes in the helmet to work.

The harness is not only adjustable, it is easily adjustable. Undo the Velcro, move the straps to where you want them, and stick them back on. Very few packs let you do this to customize the fit, and those that do generally require a lot more effort. Just don't let the strap harness ride too high if you plan to wear it while riding a bike, or it will rub against your neck uncomfortably.

You can squeeze a handheld GPS, iPhone or similarly sized smartphone in the the shoulder strap pocket for easy access. We love this feature.

The side compression straps can pass under the side water bottle holder. This means you can get access to your bottle without undoing the side straps. The only downside is that these water bottle pockets are so small that only certain types of bottles fit inside. There is also a stretchy outer pocket for cramming in extra stuff. It has a vent/drain hole at the bottom (which doubles as the blinker attachment) which means you can throw your wet flip flops or bathing suit in the back and they will dry out as you hike.

Another notable feature is that unlike all the other daypacks we tested, the hydration bladder has its own compartment separate from the main pack compartment. This has turned out to be especially handy, because when refilling, usually a bladder gets a little wet, and if you put it in the main part of your pack with your extra layers, everything gets a little damp. With its own slot, there are no worries of this happening on the Talon, and it makes it even easier to slide the bladder in and out while the pack is still full.

The Talon 22 will hold 13 or 15-inch laptop, though there is no special pocket for one. A 17-inch laptop just barely fits.

Weight
The downside to so many features is added weight. The pack itself weighs 1 lb 11 oz before you even put anything in it. If you are a light and fast minimalist hiker, this is not the pack for you.

Comfort
When loaded up with weight it still is remarkably comfortable. The adjustable harness, sternum strap, and waist belt make it so that you can find the most ideal fit for your body. The Airscape back construction is breathable in warm weather without adding the entire frame that comprises the packing ability of the pack, such as the Airspeed back construction on the Osprey Stratos. Every point that comes in contact with your body is meshy and breathable, including the shoulder straps and waist belt, making this the most breathable pack in this review.

Versatility
Extra carrying features make this pack more versatile. By being able to attach your helmet easily to the outside, you don't need to try and stuff it inside, and the trekking pole carry allows you to stash them when you have the need for using your hands. These features also make the pack work well whether you are hiking, biking, or just walking around town.

Durability
The Talon 22 seems quite durable, and after many hikes, climbs, and bike errands has not shown any serious signs of wear.

Ease of Use
This pack has so many features that at first it seems overwhelming. It took a couple days using the pack to get familiar with the functions of all the pockets, bungees, and adjustments. However, once that learning curve is over, the pack is fantastic to use. The adjustments on the harness, sternum strap, and waist belt are all very simple to make in order to achieve the greatest fit, and the features actually make carrying certain awkward items, such as a hiking pole or helmet, easier. Using this pack with a hydration bladder is also much quicker and easier than with other packs because of its separate compartment.

As one of the smaller packs in our review, we were wondering how well it would perform in our "10 Essentials" pack test, but everything loaded in quite well. The extra mesh top pocket and front stretchy pocket make it easy to organize and access the necessities in the pack.

Best Application
This pack, with its helmet holding feature and blinker clip, seems ideally suited to mountain biking and bike commuting. Our reviewer started using it for all her bike errands around town, including grocery stops, and found it to be perfect. However, one of the best attributes of this pack is its versatility, and this daypack could be used for just about any use you need it for.

Value
For around $100, this daypack is jammed with features. If this is what you are looking for in a pack, this is a great deal. You get durability, performance, and comfort for a relatively moderate price.

Other Versions
The Talon is available in various sizes, ranging from the smallest, the Talon 6 - $70 to the Talon 44 - $150. The pack is also available in a 33 liter size for $130, the Talon 33 - $130.

The Hi-Vis Raincover will protect a smaller Osprey pack from the elements.


McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 3, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (4.0)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 25%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 16, 2012 - 07:00pm
Chris McNamara · Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab
QUESTION

Hello, first of all I would like to thank you for the job you are doing here, very very useful for us, I never had any regret because of the goods I have bought considering your reviews.
Second, I would like to ask you if you can give me an advice regarding your test reviews for backpacks in 20 l, I mean Deuter Speedlite 20 and Osprey Talon 22. I mostly do hiking (and from time to time skiing), so the weight is very important for - me by taking in consideration that a light pack will be more comfortable. But you said Talon 22 is better and more comfortable so I could accept some more weight for comfort. For example based on your reviews, I choosed Arcteryx Squamish instead of Patagonia Houdini. My biggest question mark is if on the back of Osprey Talon 22 I can fix two treking poles or this is imposible. Unfortunately I don't have the possibility to see Talon 22 so I can make myself a clear view, this is why I am asking you this.

Thank you very much if you will have time to answer my question! (and sorry if my english is not perfect)

Ionut


ANSWER

Hello Ionut,

Thank you for your support of OutdoorGearLab! In answer to your question, the Osprey Talon 22 has only one trekking pole attachment on it, however, since it is a bungee, I think you could affix 2 poles to this single attachment. See photo attached.

If you are more concerned about weight, you might prefer the Deuter Speed Lite. It is still comfortable, but lighter than the Talon. The Talon does have a more comfortable waist belt and a more ventilated back panel, but it does have other features like a helmet attachment that you may not use while hiking or skiing. The Speed Lite does not have a trekking pole attachment though.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions, I am happy to help.

McKenzie Long

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 7, 2012 - 04:21pm
waynowski · Backpacker · new zealand
not designed for wet weather at all.
the water bladder compartment is outside the main compartment. and does not close, it's totally open to any rain, the nylon between the bladder compartment and the main compartment has no coating on it to stop water entering it.
otherwise it's a nice comfortable pack with extra stretchy pockets for ready accessing gear, nice flexible construction to move with your body…

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 3, 2014 - 09:11pm
ibroberts · Climber · Austin, TX
I searched high and low for a day pack that I actually liked. After going through a slew of packs from brands as varied as Arc'Teryx, Tactical Tailor, North Face, and Kelty… I ended up with this one. It does everything it needs to do. The shoulder straps are comfortable and ventilated. No frills main compartment with plenty of space. Handy organizer pocket at the top of the pack. Camelbak compartment separate from the main compartment (great for reducing damage if stuff starts to leak…)

The ventilation on the back is second to none, except maybe some of the Gregory packs with their weird "standoff" panels. I almost always sweat profusely on my back whenever I'm wearing a backpack, but the Talon 22 does a decent job of keeping my back ventilated. This is a losing battle however and I don't think there are any backpack makers that have figured out how to effectively do this.

The newer models (2014) seem to come with an ice axe loop and gear loop on either side of the bottom of the pack. Nice features that I wish were on mine.

Sternum strap position is (of course) move-able, with a built in whistle on the fastex clip. Pretty nice.

The material is, as another reviewer mentioned, not waterproof - but I don't really expect this of this pack. Get a rain cover like everyone else.

The pack is incredibly comfortable (moreso than any daypack I've worn). Wearing it for hours is no big deal.

The helmet attachment feature is great. I thread it through the rear of a Petzl Elios climbing helmet. Bike helmet also works too.

My few complaints:
  1. The organizer pocket at the top of the backpack can almost restrict access to the main compartment if you put too much stuff in it (I normally do… it seems to carry a GPS, small flashlight, headlamp, gloves, ski goggles, sunglasses, etc…)
  1. The hip belt isn't removable. For a fast-and-light pack, this would be nice (but the hip belt certainly isn't intrusive).
  1. The camelbak hose retention loops on the shoulder straps are stretchy and loose - handy for threading a camelbak hose, but I will normally clip a handheld radio to these straps on some other packs. The loops on the Talon 22 aren't strong enough to hold a radio securely (a very, very minor quibble).
  1. The side water bottle pockets have webbing straps strangely looped around them - this can make putting a thick Nalgene bottle into the pockets difficult at times (especially when the pack is full). That said, the pockets hold the bottles quite securely when the straps are cinched tight. But this is a bit of a pain if you're not carrying a camelbak and want to quickly take a drink. Outdoor Gear Lab notes this in the "Cons" section of the review.
  1. The mesh stretch pockets on the shoulder straps might have fit an iPhone 4, but phones now are huge and my 5S doesn't fit with a case. I use the pocket for carrying a Foretrex GPS if it's not strapped to my wrist.

These minor concerns aside, this is still the best daypack I've owned so far (and I've had a lot of the damn things…) 5/5 to Osprey for getting it right.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Osprey Talon 22
Credit: Osprey
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by McKenzie Long
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