The Osprey Packs Talon 44 Backpack is a lightweight pack with an adjustable torso length that’s good for weekend backpacking trips, technical day hikes, climbing, and peakbagging. Weighing 2 pounds 7 ounces, it can carry a remarkable amount of gear, has a ventilated frame to help keep you dry, and a body hugging fit that provides excellent load control for scrambling and fast packing.
Specs at a Glance
- Frame type: Adjustable torso, internal frame
- M/L (18-20″ torso); (28-50″ waist) – 43″ actual
- S/M (19-23″ torso); (26-45″ waist)
- M/L (44L)
- S/M (42L)
- M/L (2 lbs. 7 oz) – 2 lbs 6 oz, actual tested
- S/M (2lbs. 4 oz)
- Exterior pockets: 8
- Main: 70D x 100D Nylon Mini
- Bottom: 420HD Nylon Packcloth
Internal Storage and Organization
The Talon 44 is a top loading backpack with a large top lid pocket, including a hidden mesh pocket under the lid. It’s a classic Osprey 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 pack’s main compartment to access gear during the day.
The pack has a rear mesh stuff pocket, good for stashing extra rain or thermal layers that you want quick access to, 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.
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.
If you’re looking at the pictures in this post, you’ll see that the Talon 44 liter backpack holds a lot more gear than the 40 liter backpacks made by many cottage gear manufacturers. That’s no accident. Osprey adheres to an industry standard for computing backpack volume that only includes closed pockets, and not the open side bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, or rear mesh stuff pockets that are counted by most cottage manufacturers. This is helpful to know about when comparing backpacks. If you were to add those pockets into the Talon 44 volume calculation, it’d probably be equivalent to a 55L – 60L ultralight pack made by a cottage manufacturer.
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. There’s is also 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.
The top lid is a floating style lid with 9 inches of extra webbing so you can scrunch gear underneath, giving you a lot of flexibility to carry extra gear. 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, like tents or foam sleeping pads that are too big or awkward to store in the main compartment of your backpack.
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 torso 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.
The Airscape Frame consists of two main components: a rigid rectangular frame made with fiberglass stays and aluminum cross pieces and an 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 hip belt is thinly padded as befits a 44 liter 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. For instance, the M/L size I tested is spec’ed to fit a 50 inch waist but is only 43 inches long.
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, the pockets have a mesh top but a solid nylon face. I can’t imagine how that’s a benefit. 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.
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 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.
- 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
- 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
- Hip belt is shorter than manufacturer spec.
Disclosure: The author purchased this product with his own funds.
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