Skip to main content

Osprey Talon backpack review

The Osprey Talon backpack is a comprehensively featured, premium rucksack for long day walks

Osprey Talon backpack
(Image: © Osprey)

Our Verdict

After miles and miles of use, it’s hard to think of any design feature that I’ve come across on any other pack that could really improve the Talon, beyond a rain cover – a pricey extra option ($37/£22) – and all this at an exceptional weight.

For

  • Perfect selection of pockets
  • Comfortable, breathable back panel
  • Seamless hip belt

Against

  • No rain cover

First impressions

The Osprey Talon backpack presents something of a design mystery, somehow ticking just about every option box for additional features without bulking up like a hefty bodybuilder.

In the same way that a conjuror pulls silk handkerchiefs from apparently standard sleeves, the Talon delivers a multitude of genuinely useful features from its neat, slender design.

There’s a narrow stretch pocket on the shoulder harness for a phone or small GPS, rubber bands to channel a hydration hose, plus zipped pockets on both hip belts for keys, cash and snacks. It’s amazing how quickly I took such convenience for granted.

On the trails

Everything on this pack seems tailored to keep you moving, from Osprey’s stow-on-the-go attachment for trekking poles, to a stretchy rear pouch capable of swallowing a waterproof or map. There’s even external access to the pouch for a hydration bladder, so there’s no need to unpack the backpack to refill the reservoir (bladder sold separately).

Twin, stretch side pockets each take a water bottle, a pair of hooks secure ice axes, and the decent sized lid has an external pocket for hat, gloves or perhaps a lightweight waterproof, as well as boasting an internal pocket for less-regularly used items. Even the tiniest details are well thought through, including a key hook attachment in the lid pocket and an emergency whistle on the chest strap.

But it’s not all show without substance. The Talon uses Osprey’s AirScape back panel that covers well-spaced foam ridges with a thin mesh to strike a sweetspot between keeping the pack close to the spine and excellent ventilation. It works a treat.

Likewise, the seamless hipbelt finds the perfect balance between padding and breathability, while avoiding any stitching that might cause irritation or abrasion.

Carrying is made more comfortable still with the option to adjust the torso length of the back system, using Velcro-style fastenings to slide the harness up and down to suit your own bodyshape.