Review: Osprey Talon 22

osprey talon 22
Do you recognize this lava field?

If you follow me on social media, then you know I do a significant amount of hiking. It’s been mostly day hiking in the last few years, but I have done some multi day back country hikes as well.

Over time I have accrued some decent gear and thinned out the useless junk.
My favorite backpack that I have bought in the last few years and use all the time is this Osprey Talon 22. This bag is for certain, not useless junk.

Features:

Starting with the body interface. Both Shoulder straps have adjustments to bring the load in closer over the shoulder as well as 2 extra straps crossing them for clipping on last minute gear. Or, dangling your sunglasses and camera junk.

The left shoulder strap has a small elastic utility pouch. I hardly find anything that fits there so I really don’t use it. Under that small pouch, you’ll find a place for for trekking poles. I put a small compass on there for quick reference.
The chest cinch has plenty of strap for most body sizes. It also can slide up and down the shoulder straps to keep the proper adjustment/fit. The clip on the cinch has a built in whistle too.
Seamless hip pads with more of the Airscape accordion foam create a very comfortable place for the majority of the load to sit. Keep in mind that this bag is rated for around 10 to 20 pounds. Both the left and right hip pad have a zippered pouch. I usually put my phone in one and car keys in the other.

The Airscape mesh and foam ventilation system isn’t to die for but I find on hot and humid days here on the Appalachian Trail, I’ll sweat regardless of the bag. The vents perform well enough given the intent of the bag to carry a small load and the multi sport design. It does fit and flex very comfortably.

The hydration compartment. It is, as most of the bag, a well thought out pouch with a small strap to hang your hydration bladder from that helps keep the bladder from bunching up or moving around. I also like keeping the weight of the water close to my back. I have a cheap-o bladder, a Camelbak, and a Platypus. The Platypus is by far my favorite. Pro tip, suck all the air out of the bladder to keep the water from sloshing around while moving down the trail.

Coming around the top of the bag, there is a utility zipper compartment with a tie in for a lanyard. In here I learned that it can fit many things including a Glock 19 inside a pancake holster and still have plenty of room for a 2nd magazine. (I don’t always carry like that)

Behind that you’ll find the main compartment that has a nice dual zipper opening. Immediately inside of this compartment, there is a mesh zipper pocket near the top. I usually fill it with Cliff bars, a plastic camp fork, and lens cloth. The rest of the compartment will vary in contents as you would expect it to. However, I can almost guarantee that there is a vented dry sack with extra socks and a small hoodie. A small first aid pouch, pack cover, and MSR water filter.
The main compartment is plenty big to carry whatever day pack items you might need and the Osprey carries the load well.

Externally, the left and right water bottle pouches have cinches which can keep items in the pouch but double to tighten up the bottom of the bag as well.

Inside the left pouch I have a little emergency kit containing: 550 cord, knife sharpener, flint/magnesium, sewing kit, and boot laces. Things that don’t weigh much but can be very useful in a tight spot.

On the very back of the bag is a nice mesh catch all pouch. There is a cinch and buckle to tighten this up but I have never adjusted it or unbuckled it. This pouch is where I keep my gaiters, since they get all dirty. There is also the LidLock system that is designed to carry your helmet.

Personal thoughts:

Osprey knows what they are doing. I have seen lots of reviews of this bag that give it more or less 3 out of 5 stars and I honestly disagree. One of the biggest complaints that I have seen are about the longevity or durability of the materials used. Which really is not fair to the design of the bag if it is only reviewed for hiking against purely hiking bags. The thought process involved in the Talon’s design was to cut weight for mountain climbers and bicyclists, while being able to carry a small load.

Further, a consistent complaint is the lack of a frame to assist in load carrying. If hiking is your only planned activity, then a rigid frame is great. But a frame does not allow climbers the ability to move or bend. The same can be said for bicyclists, especially mountain biking.

I do not do any climbing, but I have ridden some trails and done some small stump jumping with this and other bags. For a bag that was designed to do everything, it does achieve just that.
With all of that in mind and maintaining an understanding of the original design, I can say that Osprey nailed it with this bag. The sales alone are on my side as well. Both my Talon 22 and Katrin’s Tempest 20 have held up great throughout the last couple years.

Side articles:

Carrying a firearm in the outdoors

Man with machete kills hikers on the AT

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