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Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Talon 22 Review


Day Pack

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Editors' Choice Award
Price:   Varies from $69 - $100 online  —  Compare at 6 sellers
Pros:  Tons of features, fully adjustable, comfortable, well ventilated, separate hydration compartment
Cons:  Runs small, side mesh pockets are small
Bottom line:  This pack offers a time tested versatile design that is ready for any adventure.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Osprey

Overview

The Osprey Talon wins our Editors' Choice Award for standing out in three key areas: comfort, versatility, and awesome bonus features! Due to great ventilation and the ability for a completely customizable fit, the Talon is one of the most comfortable packs we tested. No matter what activities you're into, the Talon excels in just about any application. With features like its helmet attachment, bungee attachments for trekking poles and an ice axe as well as a blinker clip patch, the features of this pack will make your life easier.

If you're looking for a minimalist pack, check out the REI Flash 18 ($35), which weighs only 10 ounces, or if you're looking for a balance between light weight and totally tricked out, check out our Top Pick winner, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 ($89). For even less features but maximum comfort and breathability, check out the Gregory Salvo 24.

Looking for Bigger Talon Daypack?
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If you like the Talon 22 as you go to daypack but are looking for a little more space, check out the Talon 33. This daypack touts all the same features that you love about the Talon 22, but gives you an additional 11L of space to play with.

RELATED: Our complete review of day packs

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Jeremy Bauman & Gentrye Houghton

Last Updated:
Friday
December 2, 2016
The Talon wins our Editors' Choice Award because of its excellent blend of comfort, versatility, and ease of use.

Performance Comparison


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The Talon wins our Editors' Choice award because it is a versatile pack fit for deserts, mountains, or a trip to the coffee shop.

Features


One thing Osprey did not do was skimp on features for the Talon! It comes tricked out with a helmet clip attachment, blinker light attachment, an amazingly adjustable harness, a ventilated back panel, hip belt pockets, easy access trekking pole attachments, bungee tool attachment, and a stretchy outer stash pocket.

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The helmet attachment is a nice addition for commuting and is super easy to use; it works best with a helmet designed for biking, but can also be used with a climbing specific helmet, though a little less secure. To attach your helmet, just slide the plastic end through a ventilation hole, flatten it out and voila! It works best if you've already loaded the pack, and there is an option to tighten the bungee cord for added security.

There is also a stretchy mesh stash pocket covering the outside of the pack. This is handy for quickly stuffing an extra layer or even crampons (appropriately wrapped, of course!) The blinker attachment is fixed at the base of this pocket, meaning that there's an open drain hole ideal for drying out wet socks from water crossings or even sandals while you continue to hike.

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The harness is not only fully adjustable, but it's one of the easiest to adjust we've encountered. You can customize the shoulder straps by undoing the Velcro inside the hydration compartment, and moving the straps to where you want them. You can also use the load lifters on top of the shoulder straps to adjust the load, as well as a fully adjustable and padded waist belt. This is the only daypack we tested that allows a fully customized fit. For a full run down on how to adjust your pack properly, check out our Buying Advice.

The Adjustable Harness on the Osprey Talon


One feature that is loved across the board, and unique to this pack out of all that we tested, is that the hydration bladder has its own separate compartment. This gives easy refill access even if your pack is overstuffed.

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Behind the back-panel adjustment hides the hydration reservoir compartment that makes it easy to refill on the go.

The stretch woven side pockets are equipped with Osprey's InsideOut compression straps. This is a great feature to secure smaller items, like sunscreen bottles, but do prove to be problematic with some water bottles. The pockets are on the small side, so only certain sizes fit, and a traditional 1-liter widemouth Nalgene is not one of them. Also, the compression straps do raise some difficulty in getting the bottle back into the pockets without taking the pack off.

Weight


Although all the extra features on this pack add a little weight, the Talon, at just over 26 ounces, took third place in weight right behind our other two award winners. If you are a fast and light hiker and want something more streamlined, you might consider our Best Buy, the REI Flash 18, which is the lightest of all the packs we tested at 10oz. For more capacity in a lightweight package, be sure to look at the Granite Gear Virga 26. If you're willing to consider a smaller pack, check out the Deuter Speed Lite 20; it weighs just 18oz.

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From left to right: Osprey Daylite, REI Flash 18, Deuter Speed Lite, Arc'Teryx Cierzo 18, Osprey Talon, Osprey Stratos, Gregory Salvo 24, Granite Gear Virga 26.

Comfort


The back panel is fixed with Osprey's AirScape design and consists of a mesh covered, ridge molded foam that is not quite as ventilated as the Gregory Salvo 24, but still keeps you cool on hot days. Additionally, the BioStretch harness and hip belt, provide support all around while still retaining flexibility under heavy loads.

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The back-panel encourages air flow, much more than typical mesh backs, but doesn't breathe as well as packs like the Gregory Salvo or Osprey Stratos

While we liked this design, it failed in comparison to the super breathable back panels found on the Salvo and Osprey Stratos. The downside to the increased airflow of these packs is that the back panel itself takes more internal volume; this is especially true on the Stratos. This is where many will think that the Talon's back panel yields the best of both worlds. It is comfortable, doesn't weigh a lot, and doesn't reduce internal capacity.

Pay close attention to make sure you buy the correct size. We found that this pack runs a bit small on the average male frame, but fits more petite female frames perfectly. Also, the awesome padded hip belt was a bit snug on our male testers. Luckily, Osprey offers two sizes in this pack (S/M and M/L), as well as an extendable waist belt that can be added.

Refer to our Buying Advice Article for instructions on measuring yourself for a pack, another option is to visit your local outdoor retail for a professional fitting.

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While the Talon carried this testers equipment, it is not well suited to backcountry touring. The lack of ski comparable compression straps could be problematic if you needed to boot pack. Also, the size was on the small size. Inside the pack is a shovel, probe, helmet, water, and some snacks.

Versatility


This pack is tricked out with features to make it the perfect option for almost any scenario. Whether you're a weekend warrior or living a dirtbag lifestyle, the Talon will easily take you wherever you need to go. From the office, travel, and to the outdoors, this pack excels.

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The top left photo features the velcro adjustable back-panel. The top right photo is a good view of the helmet holder and large mesh pocket that we especially loved. The bottom let photo shows the ice axe attachment.

All of the extra carrying features add to the versatility. With the helmet attachment, you can bring this pack on a commute and there is no need to try and stuff your helmet inside rig it to the outside (once you reach your destination). If you love lashing stuff to the outside of your pack, you definitely need to read our review of the Deuter Speed Lite 20; the Speed Lite has one of the most innovative strap systems that we've seen.

The trekking pole carry feature on the Talon lets you quickly go hands-free and get your poles out of the way without ever taking off the pack. For winter warriors, stash your avalanche gear in the pack, put your crampons in the stretch pocket, and attache your ice axe to the loop.

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Durability


This pack held up well in all of the situations we tested it under. From the desert, snow, bush whacking, to road biking and in-town commutes, this bag excelled without any signs of wear. After enduring 24-hours of drizzling rain and snow during our water test, the Talon's contents were only marginally damp. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find that the contents in the top zippered pocket remained dry. With an extra bit of fabric provided to cover the zipper, no moisture was allowed to seep through. If you're really concerted about the elements, you can purchase Osprey's Hi-Vis Raincover.

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Ease of Use


Due to all the features, the Talon lost a couple points for ease of use because of the slight learning curve. Don't overlook the amenities just because you feel overwhelmed; learning to use all the bungees and adjustments took us only a few uses. Once we figured how to appropriately and effectively use some of the features, like the ice axe carry and trekking pole attachment, the pack is pretty fantastic and rather handy.

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The Osprey Talon 22 loaded with groceries. Since this pack is tailored for biking, it is the perfect pack to use while running errands by bike.

Best Application


If you're looking for a pack to accompany you mountain biking and general commuting around town, you'll love the helmet carry and blinker clip feature when heading into the grocery store with your Talon. If you're looking for a small day pack for spring summit attempts or general day hiking, you'll love the ice axe attachment and pole stowing feature while the Talon accompanies you on the trail. The best part about the Talon is the versatility you'll find with it, which is why we've made it our Editors' Choice award winner. It is not only suited to trails or the backcountry, but is also comfortable around town, on a bike, and just about anywhere you need it.

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A side view of the pack onto of an ancient volcano in New Mexico.

Value


Not only does this pack come jam-packed with features, but you'll also be getting a pack with fantastic adjustability and comfort; coming in at $100, you're getting a great deal.

Other Versions


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Talon 6
  • Cost- $70 ($30 less than the 22)
  • Weight- 11 oz (15 oz less than the 22)
  • Size- 16 L smaller than the 22
  • Lumbar style pack, perfect for short day hikes

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Talon 33
  • Cost- $130.00 ($30 more than the 22)
  • Weight- 2 lbs (6 oz more than the 22)
  • Size- 10 L larger than the 22
  • Recommended load weight range- 15 to 25 lbs (5 lbs higher than the 22)
  • Top loading style pack

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Talon 44
  • Cost- $150.00 ($50 more than the 22)
  • Weight- 2 lbs 6 oz (12 oz more than the 22)
  • Size- 22 L larger than the 22
  • Recommended load weight range- 25 to 40 lbs (25 lbs higher than the 22)
  • Perfect for lightweight backpacking

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Tempest 20
  • Cost- $100 (same price as the Talon 22)
  • Weight- 1 lb 7 oz
  • Size- 20 L (2 liters smaller than the Talon 22)
  • Recommended load weight range- 10 to 30 pounds
  • This pack is women's specific

The Hi-Vis Raincover will protect a smaller Osprey pack from the elements.
Jeremy Bauman & Gentrye Houghton

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 2, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Daypack for Hiking - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Daypack for Hiking

by Jeremy Bauman and Gentrye Houghton


Unbiased.