|Rating:||8.7 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
|Comfort||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Versatility||1.7 / 2|
For a few years my daypack has been the Osprey Talon 33 and while I love this pack its overkill in size for all but the most complex trips e.g. snow. I just found that having a half filled pack to be annoying and based on what I take with me, I really needed something much smaller. Unfortunately smaller often means less features and this has always been a bit of a sticking point for me when purchasing day packs.
My needs for a day pack are not excessive and came down to the following:
The Talon Pro series is relatively new to the market, at least in Australia at the time of this review, and I’m glad I held out for this amazing pack. While I am also testing out other day packs, this one is going to be hard to beat and here’s why.
Firstly let’s start with the negatives and there really is only one major negative and a couple of minor ones. The main negative is price. At AUD$309 RRP this is an expensive day pack; more on that later. Secondly the other potential negative is that if you are a hiker that has a 50 inch waist, you may struggle with this pack but in all fairness that’s an issue that most day packs on the market share. Another potential negative is there’s no rain cover but this is a feature that can always be added on.
Now for the positives and there are many. First let’s start with the colour range of which there really is only one choice and that’s grey. While only offering one choice may seen to be a negative, this grey colour has almost become a representative of technical lightweight packs worldwide from a number of brands. It’s neutral enough that if colour coordination is something you consider important, this colour will match with just about everything. The other colours on this pack are black and the occasional red trim.
Size-wise there are two choices Small/Medium and Large/Extra Large which will suit almost every hiker around. In my case I’m very firmly in the L/XL range. In addition to the size choice, there is also the option to extend the length of the back frame by means of a solid velcro section which just requires you to un-velcro, set the size and join back together; easy done.
This pack is meant to carry a maximum of around 8kg and while it will cope with more, the single entry handles your gear very comfortably, more so that the original Talon range. The front of this pack is pretty typical of most packs these days. The sternum strap has the ability to slide up and down to allow you to get the strap in just the correct position.
The cummerbund, as small as it is comfortable, has two very generous zip pockets that are much larger than you would expect to find on a day pack. I’ve always been a lover of these pockets and will usually store my GPS and snacks in the pockets. In addition, this pack has two smaller shoulder pockets and while in previous packs they were stretch mesh, in this case both pockets have a press stud that keeps whatever you’re carrying out of the weather. I just love these little pockets and typically use them for hand sanitiser, snacks etc.
As a smallish day pack, the Talon Pro 20 doesn’t have a full-on Pack Brain you will find on larger multi-day packs but instead has a descent size ‘stash’ pocket in which I typically store my wallet, keys and other valuables.
This pack has an external hydration bladder that sits between the main body of the pack and the suspension system which allows you to more easily direct the drinking nozzle to either side of the pack. The other big advantage of this system is that it tends to put a bit of pressure on the bladder which makes drinking that much easier and also allows the water bladder to provide a bit more padding on the back.
There is also a stretch pocket on the rear of the pack like many larger packs have for stuffing jackets and rain gear and this is a feature I always look for in any pack.
There are two pockets stretch pockets on the sides of the pack for storing water bottles – the positioning on this pack makes this very easy to do. As someone who usually doesn’t carry water bottles I will often use these stretch pockets to carry my buff and beanie when it gets too hot.
Most larger Osprey packs advertise a ‘Stow on the go’ trekking pole storage system however not for this pack which does contain two loops for ice axes or similar tools. You can stash away your trekking poles in a similar fashion using these loop attachments but you just can’t do it while you are walking having to sop and take off your packet to stash the poles.
There is also a helmet attachment on the rear of the pack given Osprey realised that many users for this pack may also be bike riders.
So now let’s get back to the price. I’m a big believer in ‘value for money’ as opposed to ‘price’ or ‘cost’ and as expensive as this little pack is, it’s packed with so many features and is such a comfortable little pack that it’s well worth the investment. From my perspective this pack is looking like it’s going to be my go-to pack for the next few years.
Disclosure: We may earn a small commission, at no additional expense to you, if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!
AUD$309.99 RRP (Often on sale)
There is also the Tempest pack range which is the women’s version of this pack
Osprey Talon Pro 20 Men’s Pack
Tim with his Osprey Talon 20, side view
Chest clip showing whistle. The sternum strap slides up and down to the desired location
Close up of back support. The mesh allows your back to breathe and minimises sweating
Hydration pocket located outside the main pack. Add a hydration bladder of your choice. The hose can either be left or right handed
Main pockets. The top zip is aimed at valuables e.g. keys and wallet. The bottom zip is the main entry point into the pack
Adjustable back frame. You set the length that works for you
Shoulder pocket closed
Shoulder pocket open
Side stretch pocket. These pockets are easy to stuff things in and out of which is rare for this style of pocket
Tool holder. While this set of straps is identified as an ice axe holder it also work for trekking poles. The loops can be stowed away if you don’t wish to use them
Hip belt pocket. It’s big enough to fit a small compact camera and some of the biggest pockets I have seen on a day pack of this size
This review was done with product provided for testing by the Australian importer of Osprey Packs