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(The Gear Loop) - Osprey’s Talon range has been the brand’s go-to offering of top quality hiking packs for several years now. Combining modern styling with ergonomic design, the line-up makes carrying all manner of stuff across rugged terrain as comfortable as possible. 

The Talon 22, as the name suggests, is a 22-litre daypack that is designed for a variety outdoor pursuits, from hiking to mountain biking, with elements and features specially designed for the latter in this latest version. If you want something smaller, try the Osprey Talon 6 that we also tested.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 15

We spent a few weeks trekking, cycling and even running (slowly, admittedly) with the pack to find out if it’s worth the lofty asking price.

Our quick take

In our eyes, the Osprey Talon 22 is a pack that works really well for hiking, but Osprey has decided to fit a couple of bike specific features, which unfortunately don’t automatically make it the best bag for miles in the saddle.

However, if you’re looking for a pack to take on more casual rides, or you simply ride a bike in a slightly more relaxed position, this could be the bag for you. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 13

Its ample volume is perfect for days out and the helmet clip is a great addition for stashing lids when not in use. Plus, Osprey’s general fit and clever use of multiple pockets make it both extremely comfortable and incredibly handy to use. 

Osprey Talon 22 review: a versatile backpack for walking and riding

Osprey Talon 22

3.5 stars
For
  • Loads of adjustability
  • Very comfortable when loaded
  • Commuter friendly features
  • Also great for hiking
Against
  • Not ideal for mountain biking
  • Compression straps would be handy
  • Expensive

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Fine materials

The bulk of the Talon is fashioned from recycled 100D x 210D nylon, which provides protection from rain showers, but anything more and the contents will eventually become soggy. Although judicious use of dry bags will help solve this problem.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 2

In the Talon 22, the tactical use of two individual grades of nylon means that load-bearing areas are reinforced with a burlier material, while weight can be saved thanks to lighter textiles in those less fragile regions.

This clever use of fabrics means that the pack weighs in at a svelte 0.9kg, which is highly impressive form something that is this feature-rich. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 11

Taking a deeper dive into the ergonomic design elements, Osprey has used an injection-moulded back panel to provide more rigidity and support when carry heavier loads. 

This means that when the pack is stuffed to capacity, it keeps its shape rather than bulging out at every seam, which we’ve found some other lightweight packs, without a back panel, suffer from. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 5

Easy on the back

Osprey’s proprietary Airscape back panel sees several foam ribs lift the pack away from the wearer’s back to allow air to circulate and maintain a comfortable environment, free from pools of sweat.

This also also allows the pack to sculpt to the wearer’s body to provide a secure fit, with its chunky and tactile straps and buckles allowing whoever is wearing it to really dial in the correct comfort and fit, despite the body shape or size. What’s more, the straps and lumbar belt use a similarly sculpted foam to provide a close fitting yet well-ventilated experience. All in all, the pack feels like it's floating.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 9

All of these design elements add up to a very cosy yet secure-feeling pack. Even when fully loaded, the Talon felt almost weightless, the harness and straps spread the load effortlessly and remained steady over uneven and high-speed trails when out riding.

Space for the kitchen sink

Admittedly, 22-litres is hardly going to be enough for a multi-day epic adventure (you'll need a proper trekking backpack for that), but for the longer jaunts further from home, we found the Talon to be near enough the perfect size. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 12

Using it across a range of gravel and mountain rides, from local 20km blasts - carrying just a hydration bladder, jacket and a couple of tools - to all day epics across the Chiltern Hills, we managed to transport enough food to feed a small army (or two hungry cyclists), tools to complete a bottom bracket overhaul and a variety of coats, gloves and socks. Trust us, it’s cavernous in there.

On shorter rides, we found ourselves potentially over-packing, simply because of the available capacity, which certainly didn’t do our Strava times any good. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 17

Also, we quickly noticed that compression straps were missing, which would help to keep everything snug when the pack was relatively empty, as we found anything inside would crash around a bit.

Full of features

There’s a large front pocket, which is strapped down by a heavy duty buckle and proved ideal for storing a rolled up coat or other bits of clothing that need to be close to hand. There are also small pockets on the wings of the lumbar belt and harness, which we found were perfectly placed to store snacks, as they were accessible when pedalling or walking without breaking stride.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 6

Other features include a helmet clip on the front, which provides a great way to carry a lid hands-free when commuting, for example, or could potentially be used to hang climbing head protection.

On the side of the pack towards the bottom, there’s a plastic tube that is used to hold a pair of fully extended walking poles when scrambling up a steep incline or other situations where walking poles would prove to be a nuisance. 

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 3

The hydration bladder pocket is external, found between the backplate and the pack. We loved this because it’s easy to get in and out, not requiring the entire pack to be emptied to get at it, plus it keeps any drips away from items.

Now, we understand that one bag to rule them all would be the perfect situation, and that the Talon 22 is pitched as a “versatile daypack”, but in some situations there is a need for specialisation.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 19

The best example of this is the fit, which is largely excellent, especially for hiking, but comes unstuck a bit when cycling. As soon as we threw a leg over a bike it became clear that the pack sits too high on the back and interferes with a helmet, and we found that even looking a short distance along the trail would lead to the packing pushing the helmet over our eyes. Irritating.

We tried slackening off the straps to make the pack sit lower but this then pushed the lumbar strap into an uncomfortable position and the sculpted backplate didn’t fit quite right.

The Gear LoopOsprey Talon 22 review photo 14
To recap

A brilliantly versatile backpack that proves very comfortable to wear and sports plenty of pockets for stashing and accessing kit on the move. The fit is great and easy to dial in for different body types, but we did find it a tad annoying when riding. Unfortunately, it kept knocking our helmet, leading us to conclude that it’s probably not for hardcore mountain bikers or those spending lots of time in the saddle, despite the cycling-specific features included.

Writing by Matt Buckley. Editing by Leon Poultney.