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Mountain Innovations Osprey Talon Review

Mountain Innovations Osprey Talon Review
14 December 2016 No comments

The Osprey Talon pack is well-known in outdoor circles. You'll find this pack is a firm favourite of many walkers, cyclists, scramblers and even commuters. Its versatility, adjustability and AirScape back system has always been at the heart of its success and popularity.

Available in a range of well thought out sizes (11L, 22L, 33L, 44L) and both small/medium and medium/large back sizes, there really is a Talon for everyone. And if those options weren't enough, Osprey has taken the Talon pack and applied a design specific to the women's form factor in the guise of the Tempest, again available in a range of sizes (9L, 20L, 30L).

Osprey Talon Size Range

Our Digital Marketing Exec Nick got his hands on Osprey's latest Talon pack and took to Snowdonia to find out whether Osprey really can improve on their award-winning pack and if it can truly live up to all the praise the previous iteration receives.

Feature Highlights

  • AirScape accordion foam back panel
  • Adjustable torso length
  • Seamless lumbar to hipbelt body wrap
  • External hydration access
  • Array of pockets and storage options



  • Feature-loaded pack with a huge amount versatility
  • Highly adjustable, comfortable, well-ventilated back system
  • Exceptional durable build quality and a well thought out pack
  • Not by any means heavy, but there are lighter packs available
  • Side pockets can be a little tricky to fit a water bottle when pack is stuffed full
Front of the Talon pack

First Impressions

When the new Osprey Talon 22 in black first arrived at my desk I was immediately drawn to the updated sleek styling and the monotone colours (with subtle reflective accents) of the pack, in my opinion much nicer than the more traditional use of grey of previous versions. Being regularly chided by my colleagues for the lack of colour in my office wardrobe, this colourway was right up my street.

Exploring the many pockets and features it was plainly obvious that this pack is genuinely spacious, making clever use of its 22 litre capacity.

The next revelation came when I donned the pack at the end of the day to head back home on my bike. I'd never quite realised how comfortable a day pack could be until I snapped together the waist belt; the seamless lumbar to hipbelt body wrap really does hug you right around the hips and inspires confidence in its weight bearing capabilities. Performing admirably on the short ride home, it left me eager to give it a more thorough testing in the hills.

Back system of the Talon pack

Design & Features

As soon as you begin to pack this bag, you can tell the design and layout had been well thought out and has been refined since the last iteration. As is the case with all of Osprey's packs, the build and material quality is high and it gives the impression it will last. Couple this with Osprey's All Mighty Guarantee and you know it's got your back (pun intended).

One of my favourite features of this pack is the external hydration sleeve, which may not initially seem like a big deal, but if you've ever had to refill your sleeve then reinsert it into an already full pack, you know how much of a chore this can be. It also helps keeps moisture away from your dry kit and both the Osprey Hydraulics and CamelBak antidote reservoirs integrate well.

I also like the dedicated easy access microfleece pocket at the top of the pack and the appreciate the additional internal fleece zipped in the main compartment - both perfect for storing phones, sunglasses and other items you want to keep scratch-free. The two spacious waist pockets provide great on-the-go access to your essentials and will take a phone, compact camera or energy bars without any problems.

Strapping in to the Osprey Talon


The Talon has always been touted as Osprey's daypack workhorse and its adaptability to a variety of uses. I took the pack with me to both the Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia to see how well it really performed.

The first real opportunity I had to test the pack was a brief few hours dog walking up and around the Malham and Goredale area. The weather forecast was suspect so I threw in the waterproofs and a bit of lunch and took to the hills. It was a pretty run-of-the-mill amble and I almost forgot that I was carrying a pack at all, such was the comfort provided by the AirScape back system. The hipbelt bore the weight well and moved fluidly, it will be interesting to see how well the new back system ventilates in summer weather, but if Osprey's previous designs are anything to go by I expect it to do a decent job of keeping you as cool as possible.

I had the chance to throw a bit more at this pack on my trip to Snowdonia, specifically a scramble up Moel Siabod. As a little snow had fallen recently, I strapped my walking axe on to the pack with ease using Osprey's clip and ice axe loop system. Again being just a day trip I didn't really carry too much gear, but threw the crampons in just in case.

I found the pack no hindrance at all when scrambling up the frost-covered rocks and even a few choice encounters with some sharp rocks left no marks whatsoever. All in all this pack made for ideal fast and light hiking.

Hiking up a snowdrift with the Talon


Osprey packs are famed for their innovation and build quality and the latest Talon is no exception. The pack is clearly designed with active users in mind, but is equally useful for day-to-day use and commuting.

If I had to find one shortcoming of this pack, it would be that I had issues trying to squeeze my Nalgene water bottle into the side pocket when the pack was stuffed to bursting. This was remedied rearranging a few bits in the pack and utilising the standard compression strap side pocket setup.

The new Talon is a daypack that’s really impressed: from the adjustability of its back system to the multitude of storage options, and most notably the incredibly comfortable AirScape back system and seamless lumbar to hipbelt body wrap. I'm definitely looking forward to taking the Talon on many more walks this winter and there's no doubt in my mind that this will quite quickly become my go-to pack for all my weekend escapades.

Ice axe strapped onto the Osprey Talon pack - enjoying the view

The Osprey Tempest

The Osprey Tempest is to all intents and purposes a Talon specifically designed for the female form. Osprey have a history of taking their most popular packs and designing a women's specific fit built from the ground up, the Tempest is no exception.

Osprey Tempest size range Climbing with the Osprey Tempest

Bristol store climbing expert Lily has been taking the Tempest through it's paces for the last month. Not only has she been using for her daily commute to work, but also on various trips to the crag. She says "I'm seriously blown away by how comfortable the new Tempest pack is, I've used the older version before, which already fitted great. Osprey have really outdone themselves this time".

She goes on to say "I've been taking this pack on all my trips to the crag, it's ideal for throwing in all of my climbing necessities, perfect for hiking and even scrambling as it moves so well with you, plus I also love the quick access pockets, so handy."

Take a look at the new Talon and Tempest below, plus loads of great new packs from Osprey including the new Stratos and Sirrus. As always don't forget to tell us below what you think about the new packs from Osprey and if you have any questions just us know

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About the Author:

Pete Fletcher - Outdoor Expert

Pete grew up hiking most of the trails in the Lake District before being introduced to skiing. A decade later and you're most likely to find him snowboarding, skateboarding or making a mean coffee.