I bought my Osprey Talon 44 internal frame backpack in early 2020. Since then, I’ve done one major 500-mile thru-hike with it and countless day, overnight, and multi-day hikes. In total, I estimate that I’ve hiked about 1000-1500 miles with it.
In this review, I’ll share my experiences from using it for the last three years – which parts of it failed, what things I wish were different, which parts of it I love, and more. Overall, it’s been a really great pack, and I usually recommend it to many of my friends, but it has a few quirks.
What we like:
- Very lightweight.
- Comfortable with light and medium loads.
- Lots of useful and unique storage features.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
What we don’t:
- Uncomfortable with heavy loads.
- A few minor things have started to break after a while.
- Too small for winter camping or if your gear is very bulky.
- No rain cover included.
- Weight3.2 lbs / 1.45 kg
- Dimensions26 x 12 x 10 in / 66 x 30 x 25 cm
- Volume44 l / 2700 cubic inches
- Materials100D & 210D nylon
- WarrantyAll Mighty lifetime warranty
- Water-resistanceWater-resistant fabric, no rain cover.
Detailed In-Depth Review
Since I bought the Osprey Talon 44, a slightly new, updated model of it has come out. Today, you won’t be able to find the same pack that I have – the new one will be marginally different, even though the name is identical.
The largest difference is the weight. My Osprey Talon 44 pack weighs 1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs, and the new model is slightly heavier – weighing 1.45 kg / 3.2 lbs. This makes it less appealing for ultralight hikers, but the added weight comes with a few benefits.
I checked out the new model in my local outdoor store, and it looks like they’ve switched to a slightly more rigid frame, and the fabric seems to be a bit thicker. So essentially, they’ve updated the pack’s durability, and also made it a bit more comfortable for carrying heavier loads. Other than that, I couldn’t spot any differences.
Materials and Quality
After 3 years of hiking, I haven’t had any significant issues with the pack. Yes, a few issues have come up, which I’ve covered down below, but overall, the pack functions just as well as when I first received it. And I’m sure that I will still be able to use it for many more years.
All the zippers on this pack are made by YKK, which means there shouldn’t be any significant quality issues with them further down the line. So far the zippers have performed ideally, and I have nothing bad to say about them. They aren’t getting stuck, no teeth are missing, and they still work perfectly.
For all the buckles and clips Osprey has used plastic hardware produced by ITW, WJ, and YKK. It’s hard to say whether they’re durable or not, but I haven’t had any issues with them so far.
For the fabric, Osprey went with 100D and 210D nylon. The fabric definitely feels thinner compared to my cheaper, heavier internal frame backpacks. Although the pack definitely isn’t ultralight, it feels much lighter than other Osprey packs that I’ve tried.
In the picture above, you can see a few small holes at the top of the pack. I’m not really sure how I got them, but most likely I brushed the pack against some sharp rocks while resting. The good news is that the holes aren’t increasing in size because of the ripstop technology. I’ve had them for two years now and they aren’t getting worse.
The fabric of the main compartment is also coated from the inside, and it seems to be pretty good at resisting water, but it isn’t waterproof. It will resist minor rain, but now a downpour.
At the bottom, it’s fitted with a thicker fabric, and so far it still looks in perfect condition, even after all the hiking that I’ve done with this pack.
Another thing that is starting to break is the drawstring for the main compartment of the pack. The stitching underneath it seems to be coming apart due to me pulling the drawstring very tightly. It still works, but I should definitely get it fixed soon. Osprey probably should have used some reinforced stitching there to avoid this from happening.
Another thing that broke during my thru-hike was the trekking pole drawstring holder. The stitching slowly started to come apart, until finally, I had to resolve to a piece of tape that I bought in a local hardware store.
However, I’m pretty sure that it’s my own fault. That’s because it’s meant to be used for storing trekking poles, and I stored my tripod there, which is roughly 5x heavier. So obviously, I can’t blame Osprey for this, as the issues only started appearing once I started storing my tripod there.
One last thing that feels a bit awkward or a design flaw, is that you can pull off the chest sternum strap. It’s attached to the pack with a plastic piece that slides on a hard, circular element. If you move the sternum strap to the lowest setting and pull it strongly, it will come off.
This happened to me during one of the first times when I used this pack, and I was pretty sure that it broke. But I didn’t because it turns out that you can put it back on with some effort. And it stays in place unless you set it to the lowest setting. So it isn’t really an issue, but it seems like a minor design flaw.
Weight, Volume, and Size
The Osprey Talon 44 is the perfect size to be used as a three-season backpack with semi-lightweight gear. When I was thru-hiking with it, I could easily carry all of my gear in addition to 3-5 days of resupplies. In winter though, the 44 l capacity usually isn’t enough, unless I attach something to the exterior of the pack.
I think that with the Talon model, Osprey has achieved a good balance between weight and comfort. The 1.1kg / 2.4 lbs weight of the Talon 44 is heavier compared to truly ultralight packs, which usually weigh around 800g / 1.75 lbs. However, the problem with truly ultralight packs is that they usually aren’t as comfortable and they come with fewer organization features compared to regular internal frame backpacks. With the Talon line, Osprey is definitely leaning towards the regular backpack style, while still achieving a very impressive weight, which isn’t that far off from ultralight packs.
Comfort and Padding
As with all Osprey packs, the Talon 44 is very comfortable. When my pack isn’t too heavy, I never feel any back or shoulder pain.
However, once the total weight of the pack exceeds 15 kg / 33 lbs, the shoulder straps start to dig into your shoulders. That’s because compared to other Osprey packs (for instance, the Atmos AG 65), the shoulder straps and the hip belt are thinner and have less padding for weight-saving purposes.
But even with the slight decline in comfort, this pack is much more comfortable compared to “fully ultralight” packs. This pack isn’t really meant to carry heavy loads but it’s perfect if you own somewhat lightweight gear or if you’ll mostly be hiking in the summer.
The Osprey Talon 44 comes with a smartly-designed internal frame, which seems to consist of multiple, built-in elements. The outer frame is hidden underneath the fabric, but it feels like it’s made from partly aluminum and partly some kind of flexible plastic. The inner part of the frame seems to be filled with a plastic sheet. Overall, the frame feels really light – it feels like it’s ergonomically shaped to the curves of your back, and it provides enough structure for light and medium loads.
One thing that I really like is that this pack is very breathable. The internal frame is kept about 1cm from your back with a foam structure, which passes through enough air to keep your back from getting sweaty. The shoulder straps and the hip belt also mostly consist of this foam material, which makes this pack very breathable – even on very hot summer days. I finished a 500-mile thru-hike with it in Spain during the summer, and my back was rarely sweaty.
On the back, the shoulder straps are attached to the main frame with a huge velcro clip, which means that you can adjust the torso length to your height (between 48-58 cm / 19-23 inches.) The hip belt is also adjustable between 71-127 cm / 28-50 inches in waist size. To achieve a perfect fit, you can also adjust the shoulder strap length, the load lifter straps, and the chest sternum strap.
The Talon 44 comes with a spacious main compartment, which is also accessible from the bottom with a dedicated zipper. The main compartment is quite simple and doesn’t house any additional pockets. On the top, it’s secured with a drawstring and an adjustable strap.
Although the fabric around the main compartment is water-resistant, it isn’t waterproof, so you should use either a large, waterproof pack liner or several smaller dry sacks to protect your gear from getting wet.
The only pocket in the interior is situated at the bottom of the top lid. It’s a zippered mesh pocket that’s secured with a zipper. I usually store all the items in there that I might need to access quickly, yet don’t want to lose, such as my wallet, small electronics, keys, etc. (it’s actually perfect for keys because the pocket has a keychain inside to keep them from accidentally falling out).
A nice feature that I like is that the top lid is removable. This is very useful if you’re using this pack as a carry-on when flying because by removing the top lid, it will be just within the carry-on size limits, and you can use the top lid as a “personal item”.
At the top of the top lid, there’s another pocket secured by a zipper. I haven’t measured it, but I’d say that the top lid can hold about 5 l of gear when packed full.
Further down the exterior, in the middle part of the pack, you’ll find a large stretchy mesh pocket, which is really useful for quickly storing your rain jacket or a sweater when it becomes too hot.
The pack also comes with two ice pick attachments in the middle of the pack, and two adjustable straps at the bottom for securing something to the exterior (for instance, a sleeping mat or a tent).
On both sides, the pack is equipped with stretchy mesh pockets for storing water bottles or something similar. Both of them can be tightened with adjustable straps, which is nice if you’ve stored something there that you don’t want to lose, such as your tent poles. I really like that these pockets are so stretchy because it’s very easy to take out and put back in large, 2-liter water bottles.
On the hip belt, you’ll find a pocket on each side. These pockets are actually quite spacious. I’ve used quite a few packs, and usually, the hip belt pockets are too small to hold my smartphone but these ones do the job just perfectly. They’re also very easy to open while the hip belt is secured around my hips, which is very refreshing to see because on most other packs they aren’t.
If you enjoy using water bladders, then you’ll be happy to know that the Talon 44 has a water reservoir sleeve hidden behind the internal frame. It also comes with elastic straps on the top of both shoulder straps to house the water hose. On the left shoulder strap, the Talon 44 has another smaller stretchy pocket, which I usually use to store my GoPro.
But the feature that I’m the most excited about personally is the trekking pole storage system. Usually, trekking poles have to be stored at the side of the backpack, which is inconvenient because you have to take off the backpack every time you pass more difficult rocks, where your hands need to be free in order to do some climbing.
On the Talon 44, trekking poles can be stored very easily with two drawstrings, with the bottom one located just below the side water bottle pocket, and the top one in the middle of the left shoulder strap. You don’t need to take off the backpack to secure your trekking poles, which is very useful if you’re doing technically difficult trails. But as I said earlier, don’t use it to store your tripod because I broke the top drawstring that way.
Brand Reliability and Warranty
Osprey is known as a reliable, yet affordable brand. Although their products are manufactured overseas, their quality seems to be on point.
The Talon 44 is backed up by Osprey’s All Mighty Warranty. The rules for their warranty are very simple – Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge any damage or defect in our product (Quoted from their website)
The only thing that isn’t covered is cosmetic wear and tear (scuffed-up or discolored fabric). And if you do want to send in your pack for a repair, you’ll have to pay for inbound shipping, and they’ll cover the return shipping costs.
I haven’t used this warranty for this pack specifically myself, but I have had pleasant experiences with Osprey’s warranty before, so I can indeed confirm that they stand by their warranty.
Osprey’s Talon (For Men) vs Tempest (For Women) Backpacks
At first glance, the Talon backpacks may seem identical to Osprey’s Tempest line, which is made specifically for women. And although both models could be used by any gender, there are some differences that make them better for each one.
Both of them are offered in different sizes, with the Talon offered in 44 l, 36 l, 33 l, 30 l, 26 l, 22 l, 20 l, 11 l, and 6 l, and the Tempest in 40 l, 34 l, 30 l, 28 l, 24 l, 20 l, 18 l, 9 l, and 6 l. Usually, comparable Tempest models are about 2-5l smaller. Compared to the Osprey Talon 44, the Tempest 40l is pretty much the same model, just meant for women.
Other than size, there are only two other differences. The first one is the available assortment of colors, with the Tempest line being a bit brighter and more colorful.
The other one is more important – the Tempest models are shaped slightly differently around the hips and the chest to accommodate different body shapes. So if you’re a woman and you want to buy the Talon model, it might feel a bit tight around the chest and you might not get a perfect fit. But other than that, both models seem identical in terms of features, layout, and everything else.
I think that the Osprey Talon 44 is a perfect choice if you’re looking for something in between ultralight and regular internal frame backpacks. It’s really lightweight, but at the same time, it’s still very comfortable to use. It also comes with various features that you wouldn’t get on most ultralight packs. I personally love the big, stretchy side, shoulder strap, and exterior pockets, the large hip belt pockets, and the trekking pole storage system.
That said, the Talon 44 really isn’t ideal when carrying heavier loads or when hiking in winter. When the pack weight goes above 15 kg / 33 lbs, I can start to feel the shoulder straps putting strain on my shoulders. And for winter hiking, 44 liters just isn’t enough, unless you have expensive ultralight gear.
For beginner hikers, I would recommend getting a larger, more comfortable pack that will do well with bulkier gear, like the Osprey Atmos AG 65. But for someone who already has gotten a bit lighter gear and usually does most of the hiking in the spring, summer, or autumn, the Osprey Talon will be a really great choice.