Expert Review: Osprey Talon 22 BackpackPublished on 07/13/2022 · 8 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the backpack, which I bought with my own money in 2016.
Climbing in Red Rocks, NV! All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed
About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the backpack, which I bought with my own money in 2016.
The Osprey Talon 22 Backpack is a great adjustable and breathable backpack with plenty of storage and pockets! I have used it as a hiking pack, an overnight pack, a climbing pack, and a travel pack. Overall I think it’s a really versatile and well-thought-out backpack option with tons of useful little features that will last forever.
About the gear
- Model: Osprey Talon 22L
- Gender: Unisex
- Size: Small
- Pack capacity: 22
- Height: 5ft 3in
- Weight: 110lbs
- Experience : 20+ years
- When I bought it: 2016
- Length of trips: Day trips
- What I carried: Water bottle/extra layer/snacks/first-aid kit. As a climbing bag, the pack held 15 draws, a harness, chalk bag, helmet, shoes, and some other smaller gear. Also used to hold lunch/hammock/layers and all my fly-fishing gear on some longer hikes to lakes/rivers
- Used for: Car camping, as a climbing gear bag, day hiking pack, backcountry skiing, and a day hiking pack for fishing day trips where we will be far from the car for a long time.
- Where I’ve used it: Red Rocks, NV; Moab, UT ; Alabama Hills & Joshua Tree, CA; Sedona, AZ; Wasatch, UT
- Terrain: Really rocky trails, class 4/5 scrambling, dirt trails, snowy trails, just about everywhere
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Spring, summer, fall, winter
How it performs
What I was looking for
At the time of purchasing this backpack, I didn’t really have a good go-to “Outdoor adventure pack.” I needed something that could carry all my hiking gear and be a versatile option for whatever new activities I might pick up in the future. I tend to dabble quite a bit in different types of activities without usually being super focused on one consistently, so I wanted something that could accommodate that.
Why I chose this gear
I chose this gear because it isn’t really specific to one type of activity. Some packs, for example, are just great for ski touring, climbing, or fishing. But since it was my first outdoor-type pack, I wanted something that could work for all of these and not just have features specific to one thing.
I also had heard awesome things about Osprey. My dad, who has always been a big inspiration for me in terms of getting outside and trying whatever new outdoor activities, had always used Osprey packs. He had an Osprey backpacking pack, an Osprey hydration pack, and a similar-sized Osprey daypack, so that was also a key deciding factor because I knew if he used Osprey gear, it must be pretty great!
What I love about it
- Durability: I have had this pack now for six years and really put it through the ringer. I have used it for just about every sport and just about every weekend, and it has honestly held up so well. There are a few elastic pieces that are starting to give out a bit, and the logo is starting to rub off, but after everything I have put it through, I can’t believe nothing else is wrong with it. It’s still totally functional, and though it could use a wash, it’s still in awesome shape.
- Weight: It isn’t the lightest weight on the market, but for all it can do, it’s still relatively lightweight. There are a lot of lightweight daypacks that weigh less than the Talon, but they don’t have all the compartments, straps, adjustability, or same comfort as the Talon, so overall the few extra ounces that this pack weighs are totally worth it.
- Ease of use: It’s super easy to use, there are tons of pockets and the straps are really intuitive.
- Breathability: This is my go-to pack in the summer because the back panel is so breathable. I get much less sweaty trekking around with this in the heat compared to any other backpack that I have tried. It lets air in and is mesh against your back so that you don’t feel like it’s sticking to you.
- Adjustability: There are a lot of options for adjustability. It’s nice if you want to let a friend borrow it because it’s totally customizable to them.
- Capacity: For a 22L, this honestly feels way bigger. I can fit so much in here because the material is stretchy and there are tons of different compartments! I feel like this pack I can fit almost 30L of gear in whereas the 26L backpack I have is almost more like 22L because it has a stiffer face material.
- Weather Resistance: It has a DWR coating on it, so if there is heavy rain it will get soaked but light rain or snow have been a-okay!
- Features: There are tons of pockets, straps, loops, you name it. On the outside sides are straps that you can use to attach skis in an A-frame shape; on the top outside there is a hamlet carry; on the straps there are two little pockets and two hip pockets. There are water bottle pockets on either side and a hydration sleeve in the back. They really thought through everything on this pack, which is really why it’s so great.
- Pack access: The access and shape are great. The zipper opens really wide, and it’s a great shape for cramming whatever gear one might need inside without worrying about not being able to easily get to whatever is at the bottom!
- Other: A super-underrated feature on Osprey packs is that the sternum strap has a built in whistle. It’s such a kick-ass safety feature because if the person who’s wearing it were to fall and need help, it is so easy to reach the sternum strap. Most people don’t carry a whistle and on the off chance that they do, it’s likely in their bag. Tripping and falling aside, as a woman who does a lot of things alone in the wilderness, I think this is something people don’t talk about enough. It’s a feature that I love so much.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Suspension and comfort: Though I think the suspension and hip belt are pretty good, I do think there are slightly more comfortable options for shorter folks. Even with the straps adjusted perfectly, I have other packs that carry heavier weight a bit better. This is especially true when the hip belt isn't buckled. If I hike without the hip belt buckled, my shoulders will probably be a bit sore.
- Adjustability: There are almost too many options for adjustability in the shoulder straps. It’s honestly great, but once I dialed it in to be the right size, I kind of found these to be overkill. I have had friends use it before, either to borrow it for a trip or just to take a turn carrying gear in instances where we only brought one backpack, and it takes me forever to get the strap settings adjusted correctly again. It’s nice to have that feature, but I think I would rather have just found something that fits me well without messing with the straps.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this pack was doing a “hike” called the West Slabs outside of Salt Lake City. The word “hike” is pretty loose to describe what this is because there is only a trail until you get to the bottom of a 1600ft-tall wall of granite. From there you put on your climbing shoes and climb the rest of the way with your hands and feet, like a typical rock-climbing route. Though some people use ropes for it, it’s pretty uncommon and just easy enough to do without ropes. The whole time you can see an incredible view of the Salt Lake Valley. I used my Talon on this outing, and it held my change of shoes, water, snacks, first-aid kit, some climbing safety gear, and an extra layer without any problem.
Value for the money vs. other options
Osprey has a really solid warranty program if anything does go wrong, and all in all, their gear isn’t that expensive for how nice it is and how many well-thought-out features it has. I think the Osprey Talon 22 is a particularly screamin’ deal—even in the world of Osprey, which crushes it in all their products—just given the versatility. I used this as my all-in-one pack for a long time before investing in a backcountry-ski-specific pack or a climbing-specific pack. Even now, I know that if either of my other packs were to ever have any issues, or a friend needed to borrow a pack for something, my Talon will last forever and I can always use it as a backup or spare.
The Osprey Talon 22 Backpack is a great pack for anyone who likes hiking, climbing, fishing, or anything else outdoorsy, and I think everyone should have one. It has a lot of well-thought-out features that aren’t too specific to any one sport and make it really versatile. It is especially an awesome option as a first backpack because it lasts forever and keeps up with any future hobbies one might get into.