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Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack Review

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
2016
Price:
149.95

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 23, 2016
Last modified:September 18, 2016

Summary:

The Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack ($149.95) is a lightweight pack with an adjustable torso length that's good for weekend backpacking trips, technical day hikes, and peakbagging. Weighing 2 pounds 5 ounces, it can carry a remarkable amount of gear and has a body hugging fit that provides excellent load control for scrambling and fast packing.

The Osprey Talon 44 Backpack has an internal frame that hugs your back and hips
The Osprey Talon 44 Backpack has an adjustable internal frame that hugs your back and hips

The Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack ($149.95) is a lightweight pack with an adjustable torso length that’s good for weekend backpacking trips, technical day hikes, and peakbagging. Weighing 2 pounds 5 ounces, it can carry a remarkable amount of gear and has a body hugging fit that provides excellent load control for scrambling and fast packing.

Internal Storage and Organization

The Osprey Packs Talon 44 backpack is a top loading backpack with a large top lid pocket, including a hidden mesh pocket under the lid. It’s a classic Osprey Packs design that’s withstood the test of time, providing convenient access to maps, snacks, and day time essentials so you don’t have to open the main pack back to access gear during the day.

You can route the side compression straps on the outside or inside of the mesh pockets
You can route the side compression straps on the outside or inside of the mesh pockets.

The pack has a rear mesh shovel pocket, good for stashing extra rain or thermal layers that you want quick access to during the day and two side water bottle pockets faced with stretch mesh that have reinforced fabric panels at the bottom for protection. You can also thread the pack’s side compression straps through the pockets or over them, a nice feature.

The water bottle pockets are reachable while wearing the pack, but only if you pull the bottles out holster-style through a side opening and not from the top. However, getting them back into the side mesh pockets is difficult without taking the pack off.  If you prefer using a hydration reservoir, there is an external hydration pocket and hook located behind the shoulder harness for hanging a water reservoir. It’s not a pocket inside the main pack bag, so it’s easier to refill, and you don’t have to worry about a leak drowning all of your gear.

The Talon 44 has a zipper on the bottom of the pack bag for accessing gear. Unfortunately, it's useless if you line your pack with a garbage bag to prevent leaks
The Talon 44 has a zipper on the bottom of the pack bag for accessing gear. Unfortunately, it’s useless if you line your pack with a garbage bag to prevent rain from leaking in. But it’s a nice feature for backpacking in dry climates.

There’s also a zipper at the bottom of the pack bag, which you can use to access gear buried at the bottom of your pack. It’s really just an access zipper, without a separate sleeping bag shelf or compartment inside.

External Attachment and Compression System

The Talon 44 comes with one tier of side compression straps, arranged in a Z-style configuration, that are good for securing items in the side mesh pockets like tent poles.

The Talon has a top compression strap running over the top of the pack bag that provides compression and an additional attachment point under the top lid
The Talon has a top compression strap running over the top of the pack bag that provides compression and an additional attachment point under the top lid

There is a top strap that runs over the draw string opening of the main compartment that you can pull tight to compress the load from back to front and help counter any back lean. The strap can also be used to hold rope or clothing in place between the bottom of the top lid and the pack bag.

While the top lid has a few inches of extra webbing that you can use to raise it in order to scrunch gear underneath, it doesn’t quite have the reach that a true floating lid does on a higher capacity pack. There is also a limit to how much you can overload this backpack, in terms of weight, because the hip belt is so soft. Still the length of the webbing is sufficiently long for strapping a coil of climbing rope or coats under the lid if you need more carrying capacity.

The Talon 44 has a pair of webbing straps at the base of the pack that can be used to strap bulky items like a sleeping pad or tent body to the outside of your pack
The Talon 44 has a pair of webbing straps at the base of the pack that can be used to strap bulky items like a sleeping pad or tent body to the outside of your pack

The Talon 44 also comes with a pair of sleeping pad straps that can be used to lash a pad or tent body to the bottom of the pack. Osprey is one of the few manufacturers who still puts these straps on their lighter weight backpacks and they are very useful if you need to carry bulky gear that is too big or awkward to store in the main compartment of your backpack.

The Airscape frame is covered with suspended mesh that helps keep you cool and dry
The Airscape frame is covered with suspended mesh that helps keep you cool and dry.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Talon 44 uses Osprey’s Airscape frame which lets you adjust the amount of space between the hip belt and the shoulder straps so it matches your torso length, one of the most critical elements of getting a good fit. The shoulder harness is attached to the back of the pack using velcro, and to adjust it, you simply pull it loose, and move it up or down to match your toros length.

Unfortunately, the markings on the shoulder harness that indicate torso length aren’t marked in inches or centimeters so you have to fit the pack using feel instead of simply resizing it to your torso length if you already know what it is. Call Osprey Packs Support for help if you don’t know whether you’ve adjusted the pack correctly or not. They are very helpful and having a well fitted pack makes all the difference.

To lengthen the torso, separate the panel holding the shoulder harness to the frame and adjust it but pulling it up or lowering it to fit your torso length
To lengthen the torso, separate the panel holding the shoulder harness to the frame and adjust it but pulling it up or lowering it to fit your torso length

The Airscape Frame consists of two main components: a rigid rectangular frame made with fiberglass stays and aluminum cross pieces and a HDPE back pad covered by softer padding and mesh with grooved air channels for ventilation. The pack’s main compartment is anchored to the rigid frame, as are the hip belts and the bottoms of the shoulder straps, providing excellent weight transfer to the hips and load control.

The Talon 44 hipbelt is lightly padded which limits how heavy you can pack the pack
The Talon 44 hip belt is lightly padded which limits how heavy you can pack the pack.

The Talon hip belt is thinly padded as befits a 44 liter back, low capacity backpack designed for lighter loads. It still provides excellent load transfer since it’s sewn directly to the pack frame, but its lack of “stiffness” limits how heavily you can pack the Talon. I actually prefer a less padded hip belt like this because I feel it wraps around my hip bones better, but it is critical that you get the right hip belt length. (See: How Should a Hip Belt Fit?) The hip belts on Osprey Packs tend to run small and my advice is that you buy a pack with a hip belt that fits you rather than trying to suffer with one that’s too small.

The hip belt and shoulder straps on the Talon 44 are covered with mesh and lightly padded. While the hip belt has pockets with zippers, both pockets are made of mesh and will be less durable and water-resistant than pockets with a solid nylon face. The shoulder straps have ample gear loops for hanging electronics or threading a hydration hose, in addition to a small “bar” pocket and Osprey’s trekking pole suspension system.

Deep mesh pockets and compression straps make it possible to haul a lot of extra gear from fishing poles to tent poles
Deep mesh pockets and compression straps make it possible to haul a lot of extra gear from fishing poles to tent poles.

Recommendation

The Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack is a fully featured backpack suitable for everything from technical day hikes to overnight backpacking trips. An adjustable frame pack with a fully featured internal frame, it provides a body hugging fit that provides excellent load transfer to the hips in a lightweight (39 ounce) and affordable ($149.95) package, an increasingly rare combination in the lightweight and ultralight backpacking category. If you prefer a traditionally styled backpack with a top lid pocket over a frameless roll top pack or you want a lighter weight version of a bulkier internal frame pack for shorter lightweight trips, I recommend you try the Talon 44 backpack. It’s a delight to carry if the hip belt fits, with all of the conveniences of bigger internal frame packs in a lighter weight package.

Likes

  • Adjustable torso length
  • Body hugging fit
  • Full frame provides rigidity
  • Hip belt is sewn to frame providing excellent load transfer to hip
  • Rear sleeping pad straps provide excellent utility
  • Easy to pack and use for UL backpacking and technical day hiking

Dislikes

  • Manufacturer’s max load rating of 40 pounds is high. I’d rate it closer to 25-30 pounds.
  • Mesh hip belt pockets are easy to tear
  • Difficult to reach water bottles in side pockets
  • Hydration reservoir can cause back pad to bulge

For complete product specifications, see the Talon 44 page at Osprey Packs

Disclosure: Osprey Packs and Live Out There provided Philip Werner with a sample Talon 44 for this review. This post contains affiliate links.

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23 comments

  1. nice pack but not sure why Osprey designer choose white color for the bottom of the pack, where it almost sure to get dirty.

  2. Tis a possible.. I like Osprey Packs and have been carrying mine for over 8 years now without any malfunctions, rips or tears… Great pack…What I like on mine is the built in Rain Cover especially hiking in the South….

  3. How capacious is this pack in practice, compared to say a Gossamer Gear Gorilla?

    • I can get a lot more gear into the Talon 44. It’s rather impressive. Osprey measures volume using an industry standard which only counts closed storage, not open pockets like most UL manufacturers. The Talon 44 is really an exceptional pack. I really love the frame system too. You just need to make sure the hip belt fits.

  4. I’ve been using Kestrel 48 and I love it. I think Osprey has it together in their design and manufacturing. My one minor complaint is that the sleeping pad straps aren’t quite long enough for the pad I carry. the roomy top compartments are terrific.

  5. I have not yet found an Osprey hip belt (and I’ve tried numerous) that doesn’t actually cause pain to my hip bones. It’s not the padding (my 1995 Six Moon Designs Comet has a thin hip belt, too, yet it’s superbly comfortable for me). Just shows that for a pack, fit, fit and fit are the most important features!

  6. I absolutely love my Osprey Talon 44. I have an older model, and it looks like there’s a significant change to the hip belt and the back pad system. Philip, have you ever used the older model, and if so, are you able to comment on your feelings about those differences at all?

    Before I got a lighter cuben pack (which I also really love) I carried this Talon 44 for years. It took a real beating, had zero rips, tears or critical failures, and carries very comfortably still. I often lend it to friends when someone needs a pack to join a trip. I definitely love mine, and I do feel bad seeing it sit unused more often these days while I use my newer pack.

  7. I have a Talon 33, and there were two really weird issues. First, there was zero documentation about how to adjust the torso length. I read the stuff that comes with the pack, no info, and I finally discovered the trick. Second, the hipbelt wasn’t even close to the length in the specs. I bought some webbing and hacked an extension, then e-mailed Osprey. They measured one, admitted it was short and sent me an extension.

    Both of those things worry me. I like the construction, but…what?

    • You’ve discovered the problem with most osprey packs. The hip belts are often too short. That’s why I point it out in every Osprey review I write. But they’re fine if the hip belt fits. If not, get a different pack.

  8. I love my two Osprey packs – a Talon 33, and an Aura 50. They seem to last forever, so I don’t really have an excuse to try other packs…

  9. I bought the women’s version (Tempest) and had the worst time trying to figure out how to adjust it. The Osprey website was useless! I finally found a great YouTube video someone made and was able to make the adjustments and learn what all the parts were for. I’ve only worn it on day hikes but love it.

  10. For those of you struggling to fit an osprey pack, they have online owners manuals for each model series with that type of info. There should be a link on the swing tag that came with it. The talons/tempests can be found at

    http://www.ospreypacks.com/user_manuals/OM_TalonTempest_S14_ENG.pdf

    Wherever you bought it at surely should have employed people capable of fitting you in store! If not, time to find somewhere else to shop! That’s one of the perks of bricks and mortar shopping!
    Ben.

    • The problem is that the documentation is incomplete and the sales help at most stores doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is compensated to sell you stuff regardless of whether it fits or not.

      • Look at the single photo under “Harness Adjustment” and the short paragraph. That is crap, which is too bad for a solid pack. Fitting should be a whole page, not one sentence of cryptic text.

        Pack makers have done this right for decades. I can’t understand why Osprey is incapable of helping their customers be happy with how their packs fit.

      • I agree. I studied that page and was still confused. I even went to the “how to pack” page, but it was worse! Ridiculous. Thank goodness I found a good YouTube video where a hiker explained everything.

  11. hi i want to know has anyone had any issue with the webbing on the outside pockets of the osprey talon 44?
    mine seems to be that the elastic fibers inside are breaking down making the external covering of cotton, weak, iv contacted the manufacture and they said they never had any feed back on it? and that it seems due to owners fault, ie me…but i have never had it wet and used extreme heat to dry it or spill any chemicals on it or even wash it for that matter as they suggested.. i am considering posting it to them for them to take a closer look.. as they only had few crappy images i supplied them with to address the problem
    let me know has anyone else encountered such trouble..my packs 2 1/2 years old
    thanks

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