What we like:
- Very lightweight.
- Comfortable and breathable 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.
- On our pack, the sternum (chest) strap fell off.
- Too small for winter camping or if your gear is very bulky.
- No rain cover included.
- Weight2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg
- Dimensions24 x 12 x 10 in / 60 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
We’ve been testing the Osprey Talon 44 internal frame backpack for about nine months now, taking it to various trekking trips in the mountains, and bringing it to several multi-day hikes in the Latvian forests. So far it’s held up really nicely but more on that down below.
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Osprey’s Talon vs Tempest Backpacks
Upon first glance, the Talon backpacks may seem identical to Osprey’s Tempest line, which is aimed towards women. And although both models could be used by any gender, there are some differences that make them better for each one. But broadly speaking, the Tempest line is almost identical to Talon, with only a few differences.
Both of them are offered in different sizes, with the Talon offered in 55l, 44l, 36l, 33l, 26l, 22l, 11l, and 6l, and the Tempest offered in 50l, 40l, 34l, 30l, 24l, 20l, 9l, and 6l. Usually, comparable Tempest models are about 2-5l smaller. So if we’re talking about the Talon 44l in this review, the Tempest 40l is almost identical, just a bit smaller.
Other than size, there are only two other differences that we found. 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 line is shaped slightly differently around the hips and the chest, to accommodate different body shapes. So if you’re a woman and if 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.
Weight and Dimensions
The Osprey Talon 44 is in the perfect size to be used as a three-season backpack with semi-lightweight gear. In winter, the 44l capacity usually falls a bit short. From our own experience, we can usually squeeze in gear, food, and everything else for roughly 3-7 days of hiking. This is without attaching anything to the outside of the pack. If your gear leans toward the bulkier side, or if you’re bringing more gear because of the weather, you might have to attach something to the outside.
We think that with the Talon backpacks, Osprey has achieved a sweet spot between weight and comfort. Talon 44, weighing 1.1kg / 2.4 lbs 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.
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Materials and Quality
For the fabric, Osprey went with 100D and 210D nylon. The fabric definitely feels on the thinner side, as they’re trying to save as much weight as possible. In the picture above, you can see a few small holes at the top of the pack. We aren’t fully sure how we got them, but most likely it brushed against some sharp rocks as we were sitting on the pack while resting. The good news is that the holes aren’t increasing in size because of the ripstop technology. Honestly, you do have to be a bit cautious not to rip the fabric but it’s still much thicker and more durable compared to ultralight packs.
The fabric around the main compartment is also coated from the inside, and it seems to be pretty good at resisting light showers but don’t rely on it because it isn’t waterproof. For the bottom, they’ve used a thicker fabric, and so far it still looks in a mint condition, even after all the hiking that we’ve done with this pack.
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 we have nothing bad to say about them.
For all the buckles and clips they’ve went with plastic hardware produced by ITW, WJ, and YKK. It’s hard to say whether they’re durable or not, but just so you know, all of these manufacturers are outsourced and they aren’t the cheapest ones.
So far we haven’t had any issues with the buckles, straps, and other plastic hardware, except for the chest sternum strap. If the sternum strap is set on the lowest possible setting, it’s quite easy to detach it from the shoulder strap. It’s hard to put it back on but we managed to do it, and we haven’t had any issues with it ever since, as long as it isn’t set on the lowest possible setting. This seems to be a product defect, which could be fixed by somehow limiting the lowest setting, where the seam to which the sternum strap attaches to is thinner.
Comfort and Padding
As with all Osprey packs, the Talon 44 is very comfortable, but only with light and medium loads. Once the total weight of the pack exceeds 10-15 kg / 22-33 lbs the shoulder straps start to dig into your shoulders. Compared to other Osprey packs, for instance, the Atmos line, the shoulder straps and the hip belt are thinner and more flexible 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 and you don’t hike in the winter, where you usually need to bring much more gear.
The Osprey Talon 44 comes with a smartly-designed internal frame, which seems to consist of various 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. And the inner part is filled with a plastic sheet. Overall, the frame feels really light, it feels like it’s ergonomically wrapped around your back, and it provides enough structure for light and medium loads.
One thing that we really dig is the “Airscape” system, which basically means 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.
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 fit (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. To some degree, the hip belt also has straps on each side that keep the pack from wobbling around while walking, but they’re connected to both bottle pockets on each side and they’re kind of counter-intuitive to use, so we never tend to use them.
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. We usually store all the items in there that we might need to access, yet don’t want to lose, such as our wallet, small electronics, keys, e.t.c. (it’s actually perfect for keys because the pocket has a keychain inside to keep them from accidentally falling out.)
A nice feature that we like is that the top lid is removable. This is very useful if you’re using this pack as a carry-on because if it’s packed completely full with the top lid on, it will be larger than most carry-on limits. By removing the top lid, it will be just within the 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. We haven’t measured it, but we’d say that the top lid can hold about 5l 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 securing your rain jacket or a sweater. 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.)
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.
On the hip belt, you’ll find a pocket on each side. These pockets are actually quite spacious. We’ve tested quite a few packs, and usually, the hip belt pockets are too small to hold our smartphone but these ones do the job just perfectly. They’re also very easy to open while the hip belt is secured around your hips, which is very refreshing to see because most 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 we usually use to store our GoPro.
But the feature that we’re 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. This system can also be used to store a tripod (VERY useful if you’re filming your hikes.)
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.
In a few words, we think that for the purpose that it’s intended for, the Osprey Talon 44 internal frame backpack is an excellent choice, if not the best. By this purpose, we mean a lightweight three-season backpack, that’s durable, affordable, and feels comfortable with lightweight and medium loads. The only downsides are that if the pack weight is over 10-15kg / 22-33 lbs, it starts to feel a bit uncomfortable, and the 44l size is a bit too small for winter gear.