The Osprey Talon 22L is a lightweight and fully featured backpack that’s perfect for peak bagging, quick hikes, and long days on the trail. The Talon 22L provides an impressive blend of comfort and features for a sub 2 pound day pack. My gear closet consists of a lot of 40L+ backpacks for overnighters and a couple hydration vests for trail running. A few months ago, I started looking for a backpack that would be as comfortable as a running vest, but provide the feature set of a larger backpack. After some research, I found the Talon 22L and have been putting it through the wringer ever since.
Build, Design, And Functionality Overview
The core of the Talon 22L is made from a durable and lightweight 70D nylon, and the bottom of the bag has an even more durable 420HD nylon panel. This pack is not waterproof, but I have found it to be resistant to a light drizzle. I don’t bother bringing a pack cover for a day pack this small, as I find it fits comfortably underneath my rain jacket when the skies open up.
Storage, Pockets, Lid, Hydration
My size M/L Osprey Talon 22L has an internal volume of 22L. If you buy the S/M, you’ll be limited to 20L. 22L is more than enough space for me to bring food, water, and layers for me and my son on family hikes.
You’ll also find a helmet attachment anchor right under the Osprey logo on the back of the pack. This is a nice feature for mountain bikers and those needing a helmet for scrambling and boulder hopping.
On the top of the Osprey 22L there is a massive envelope pocket that’s large enough to fit my camera and a spare lens. There is an additional mesh envelope pocket on the inside of the pack.
The hip belt pockets on the Talon 22L will fit my iPhone XR if I jam it in, and my Pixel 3A fits very comfortably. On most hikes, I’m able to fill these pockets with energy gels, chews, and other items I need to reach while on the go.
On the sides of the Talon 22L, there are stretch pockets that are on the short side, but fit most 1L bottles without issue. I’ve tried longer 1L bottles like the ones from Smartwater and found the pockets to be too short to secure them. On the front of the pack, there is a large stretch pouch for wet items or layers that need to be quickly accessed.
The left chest strap has a very small pocket that’s useless when compared to a hydration vest. It’s possible to store snacks, chapstick, or other small items, but I couldn’t even get a soft flask to fit.
The Osprey Talon 22L comes in two sizes, S/M and M/L. The S/M comes in at a height of 18.1 inches and the M/L is two inches taller at 20.1 inches. The Talon 22L is adjustable and can fit a wide range of hikers due to the velcro adjusted shoulder straps panel. To make adjustments, I was able to lift the shoulder straps up from the back panel and then secure things at the appropriate height.
The Osprey Talon 22L size S/M weights 1.68 lbs, and the M/L is 1.79 lbs. This weight is on par with some of the hydration packs I own, which makes the Talon my top choice for quick day hikes.
Hip Belt and Chest Straps
The Osprey Talon 22L has a seamless hip belt that is fully integrated with the lumbar section of the backpack. This provides a comfortable and friction free wrap that carries a load nicely. I can load the Talon with upwards of 20 lbs before the pack starts to feel beyond its abilities.
The Talon has thin, padded, and comfortable shoulder straps that rest on my traps nicely without any pinching. The adjustable back panel really helps with comfort as well, as it allows me to get the pack perfectly adjusted for my torso and pack load.
On the front of the shoulder straps, you’ll find a sternum strap and load lifters. The load lifters are something I really like, and are not a feature found on a lot of smaller volume backpacks. I can release all tension in the load lifters when using the Talon as a hydration pack, and then tighten things up when I need to carry a heavier load.
You’ll also find a trekking pole bungee attachment on the left side shoulder strap. You can lace your trekking poles through that bungee and then tether them to a loop on the bottom of the pack to carry the poles when they’re not in use.
Compression, Straps, and Attachments
For compression, the Talon 22L has belts on the bottom half of the pack that run from the base to the top of the side pockets. I’ve worn this pack fully loaded and completely empty, and the compression straps do a great job of keeping things secure and shake-free when dialed in.
Frame and Ventilation
The Talon uses an Airspeed back panel for ventilation which provides very comfortable cushion against my back. The openings in the mesh create just enough space between my back and the Talon 22L to allow for airflow. It’s not as much ventilation as my Osprey Levity, but it is much better than my hydration vests.
The Osprey Talon 22L does not have a frame, which is fine for a pack of this size and capacity. The back panel has a stiffness akin to a sheet of flexible cardboard. This is just enough to keep things from scrunching up under a heavier load.
I’ve been using the Osprey Talon 22L over the past few months on long hikes, short hikes, and a few trail runs, and have had nothing but positive experiences. My first few outings were marred by a poor fit, but once I got the back panel adjusted for my torso length, everything fit like a old shirt.
Even when hiking in the brutal desert heat of Palm Springs, the Talon 22L remained comfortable, and kept my back fairly dry. With an empty pack or a heavy load, I’m able to dial this pack in and keep things from bouncing around or causing me any discomfort.
The flexibility of this pack and its feature set is what I like most. All of the pockets, pouches, and storage areas are well thought out and easily accessible. The only thing that would improve this pack for my use would be more functional chest strap pockets.
If you’re searching for a lightweight, comfortable, and durable hiking backpack that can handle any distance you’re looking to cover, the Osprey Talon 22L is a great pick. At $110, the Talon 22L is a high value option and my top recommendation for a small volume hiking day pack. It is easy to see why this is REI’s best seller and the pack I see most often on my local trails.