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Reviews > Packs > Frameless Backpacks and Day Packs > Osprey Talon 22 > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Osprey Talon 22 Backpack
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW
June 19, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Osprey Packs Inc
Web site: www.ospreypacks.com
Product: Talon 22
Size: Medium/Large (also available in Small/Medium)
Year manufactured: 2007
MSRP: N/A
Weight listed: 1 lb 11 oz (0.77 kg) Actual weight 1 lb 11.9 oz (0.79 kg)
Volume: 1300 cu in (22 l)
Load weight capacity suggested: up to 20 lb (9.1 kg)
Color: Moonlight Blue (also available in Acid Green and Spicy Chili)
Warranty: (from company web site), "Our lifetime warranty covers defects in materials and craftsmanship for the lifetime of the backpack. Products found to be defective will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of our Warranty Department."

front view

Product Description

The Osprey Talon 22 pack (hereafter referred to as the Talon or pack) is a blue panel-loading pack that the manufacturer say is "Designed for the fast, adventure oriented enthusiast". I like to think I fit their target audience.

The blue sections of the pack are made of 70 x 100 denier "shadow check" (rip-stop) nylon. The grey areas are made from heavier 160 x 330 denier "shadow check" nylon. Although I can find no reference to it in the attached owner's manual or the web site, the fabrics feel as if they have a polyurethane coating applied to the inside surface. It is tacky feeling inside the body. There are appliqués of raptor talons on either side of the front of the pack giving the series its name, as can be seen above.

The pack consists of a single panel or front loading sack. There are no dividers inside it. It is accessed by way of a double-pulled zipper that curves around the upper portion of the pack. The zippers have very nice finger pulls on them. (The same pulls are on all the zippers on the pack. A slash pocket made of mesh is at the top of the pack and is accessed by a separate zipper above the main one. Inside of this pocket is a key fob.

On the front of the pack is a pocket made of "stretch woven material with Lycra". This pocket is open at the top and secures with a centered fast-disconnect buckle, it hides beneath a shingled cover with the Osprey logo on it. The same stretch material is used for the side pockets, found under the compression straps. The face of the pack has a tow-loop centered at the bottom under the "Talon 22" name. A blinker patch is cut into it above the Osprey appliqué.

A single compression strap runs in a V-configuration on each side of the pack at the lower section. There are no straps for the upper portion of the pack. One bungee tool tie-off is situated on the upper right side (when worn) but there is no corresponding lower tool loop. Here is a shot of the side of the Talon.

side view


The Talon does not have stays for support but rather utilizes a "mesh covered HDPE ridge molded foam backpanel with integrated air channels". The air channels run horizontally and are spaced about a half inch (13 mm) apart. The mesh is only attached at the outside edge of the frame sheet and floats away from it when the pack is off. Here is a picture of the back.

back view


The shoulder straps are made of mesh covered foam that has slots cut out of it to reduce weight. On each shoulder strap are two elastic loops to act as hydration tube guides, and one stretch material pocket sized to fit energy gel packets. Each shoulder strap has the normal adjustment straps at top going to the pack to pull it close to the back, and at the bottom going to the hip belt. A three position sternum strap crosses the shoulder harness and closes with a quick-connector that doubles as a whistle.

The hip belt is constructed the same way as the shoulder harness. It has the normal Osprey "V" type routing of the adjustment strap. By pulling the straps towards the center, instead of away, it tightens the belt. Something new to me on both the hip belt and shoulder pads are D-ring keepers that keep the excess strap from dangling down, or flapping around.

Each side of the hip belt sports a decent sized pocket. The body of the pockets are stretch mesh, while the top is the shadow-check nylon. A zipper with the forementioned nice sized finger pull accesses them.

Field Conditions

Here are some of the trips I have used the Talon on since March of 2007.

30 mile (48 km) fastpack on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) from Big Bear California (CA) south. Temps were from 35 to 70 F (2 to 21 C) Elevations were to 8700' (2652 m) with a total gain of 4750' (1448 m) for the day. Starting pack weight was 12 lb (5.4 kg).

25.5 mile (41 km) fastpack on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) from Lake Arrowhead to Big Bear, CA. Temps were from 23 to 50 F (-5 to 10 C) Elevations were to 8000' (2438 m) with a total gain of 3000' (914 m) for the day. Starting pack weight was 16 lb (7.3 kg) it had snowed 3 in (7.5 cm) the day before and half the hike was in snow.

30 mile (48 km) trip on the PCT across the Santa Rosa mountains and into the San Jacinto mountains to Idyllwild CA. Temps ranged from 35 F to 60 F ( 2 to 16 C) and back down to 35 F when a storm hit us. Elevations from 5000' to 8000' (1524 to 2438 m) but a lot of up and down. Starting weight of 19 lb (8.6 kg).

36.4 mile (59 km) fastpack from west of Silverwood Lake to the Deep Creek bridge, and back to Arrowhead Lake via the North Shore Trail. Very up-and-down trail with 7800' (2377 m) of gain, and temps up to 91 F (33 C). Starting pack weight of 16 lb (7.3 kg).

Two consecutive climbs of Mount San Gorgonio (11500'/3505 m), one by way of the Vivian Creek trail, an 18 mile (29 km) brutally steep climb with 5400' (1646 m) of gain. The next week was the Sky High Trail, a 26.2 mile (42 km) jaunt with only 5000' (1524 m) of gain. Pack weight was about 15 lb (6.8 kg) for both of them as I was carrying a lot of liquid.

22 mile (35 km) climb of Mount San Jacinto and surrounding areas by way of Devil's Slide Trail with 6000' (1829 m) of total elevation gain. Very cold day with temps in the high 30's F (3 C) for much of it. I started off with a heavy 16 lb (7.3 kg) pack weight that did not change a lot as I did not drink much because of the cold temps. Here is a picture crossing a creek near the Mohave Reservoir.

bridge over untroubled waters

Observations

I got a Talon 33 in February of 2007. I have been a fan of Osprey packs for about 4 years and have owned two (now three) others. My regular hiking partners Dave and (fiancée) Jenn each have one of their packs too. The comfort of the pack belies its weight. But I found that I did not need all the room of it so I got the Talon 22 three weeks later, and loved it more! This is my favorite day pack ever.

The hip belt is its strongest attribute. It is very comfortable. I am trying to keep a 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) pace and have not experienced any discomfort from the slamming such a pace can bring on. It stays adjusted well too. No constant re-tightening needed. And I like the pockets on the belt too. I keep my sun block/lip balm and whistle and thumb-light in one and snacks and a few hard candies in the other. I still carry my whistle as the one on the sternum strap is nowhere near as loud as my regular one. Safety first…

The shoulder pads are better than all but one pack I have used in the lightweight category. I find them very comfortable. I like the hydration tube loops, but do wish there was a non-elastic loop on the shoulder strap also as my knife will not stay put on the stretchy loop of the Talon.

As with all of their packs in my experience, this one excels at load compression. The side straps work great to get the sag out of the bag! But they do one other thing that drives me nuts, and is my only real complaint. They go across the side pockets making it almost impossible to easily access the pocket, especially for a water bottle. I wish that they would run the strap though a "button-hole" in the pocket that would allow pack body compression while still leaving the pocket completely usable.

I really like the hydration compartment between the pack and the backpanel. It makes it so much easier to get to for refilling than digging into the pack. And the hook at the top keeps my bladders from sliding down to the bottom as they are depleted. Here is a shot getting a drink on the top of San Gorgonio. (And no, the matching shirt did not come with the pack. That was a present from my hiker girl who was tired of the green one.)
this sucks
The back pocket works very well to keep rain gear or (what I use it for most) my hat and/or wind shirt. When Jenn or Dave and I hike together I keep the maps there too so they can grab them when they want to. (I of course don't need them. I am a manly man, I don't need directions…)

The air channels seem to make a difference. While I still sweat with it on my back does not get nearly as hot as with some of my other packs. The same is true of the slotted shoulder straps. While I was worried that they may fall apart quickly that has not proven to be the case and I am carrying more starting weight and going farther faster and harder than ever in my life as can be seen by the field data above.

I really wish that Osprey had included a tool loop below the bungee tie-off. In fact I wish that it was centered more also. While this pack will not go out in winter (the Talon 33 is going to be taking over that duty, stay tuned for the review) I still like to be able to tie off my trekking poles when the climbing gets dicey enough to need two hands available.

So other than that and the side compression straps going over the pockets I can find nothing negative to say about this sweet pack. By the end of this year it should have at least a couple hundred more miles (320 km) under its hip belt. I really think that Osprey has a winner with this pack and the whole series from what I can tell from my two examples. Here is a shot going through a rock field south of Big Bear, California on the PCT.

on the rocks

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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