Osprey Talon 55 Pack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Osprey Talon 55 Pack | Review

Our verdict on the Talon 55, a multi-day pack that sits within the U.S. brand’s broad Talon and Tempest collection of nimble and nifty packs.

Many hikers will be familiar with Osprey’s Talon and Tempest packs. In fact, I’d hedge my bets by saying they’ve been the most popular hiking backpacks of the last decade. For those who aren’t familiar, Talon and Tempest are part of the same collection, with the Talon being the men’s fit and the Tempest being the women’s offering. Expect bum bags as small as 6 litres, multi-day packs of 55 litres and just about everything in-between, giving options to cater for just about every day of trip. 

Will using the Osprey Talon 55 pack on the Welsh coast (with his dog Griff). Photos: Dave Macfarlane

What unites them all is their focus on a close and comfortable fit that’s also breathable. I’ve been using the Talon 55 in the mountains of Wales recently and those aspects of it really impressed me, alongside its feature set too. 

How We Found the Talon Fitted

Like every other pack in the Talon and Tempest collection, the Talon 55’s back system features a soft, mesh-covered foam with long channels that allow hot air out and cool air in. 

This results in a pack that conforms super precisely to the contours of your body, keeping the load close. From my experience with the Talon 55, I’ve never felt like the pack is pulling me backwards. Instead I find it helps me to maintain a straight posture, even when I’m carrying all the equipment I need for a campout. 

Of course the tradeoff you usually get from a backpack that keeps the load right against your back is that you don’t get the same levels of airflow that you’d get from a pack with a suspended mesh back system. That’s true with the Talon 55 to some extent, but I do still find that the airflow levels you get are still good and I’ve not felt sweaty or uncomfortable wearing it. 

Our tester Emma using the Talon out in the Preseli Hills of Wales. There is actually a women's specific model called the Tempest. Photo: Dave Macfarlane

Like the back system, the hipbelt and harness also give a close and comfortable fit. The shoulder straps are wide and comfortable, with a touch of padding, while the hipbelt fins do enough to support the weight of the pack while also allowing complete flexibility too. 

The Talon 55 comes in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. I’m 5 foot 10 and found that the S/M fitted me perfectly after I’d refined the fit by adjusting the back panel. This, by the way, is a very easy process as it’s a simple rip and slip Velcro panel that can be lengthened or shortened by at least 6 inches. 


One thing that you can always expect from an Osprey pack is that it’s going to have lots of useful details and features – and there’s no change here. There’s an array of points where you can fasten trekking poles or an ice axe for instance and loads of compression straps, a bladder sleeve, floating top lid and all the other bells and whistles, including a whistle that’s built into the chest strap. 

The back system really hugs the body but still allows airflow too. Photo: Dave Macfarlane

In terms of pockets, there are two medium sized ones on the hipbelt that will take a bag of Haribo each. These are easily big enough for most smartphones. There’s a big pocket across the lid that I found to be big enough for my waterproof jacket and there’s a similar pocket under the lid too. There are two stretchy mesh pockets on either side, both of which have toughened up bases so you can carry trekking poles in them without the tips causing damage – and these are dual entry so you can just about reach around and grab things out of them without needing to take the pack off. This, I found, works with bags of sweets but is tricky with a water bottle. 

There’s another big stretch mesh pocket across the front which will easily swallow a down jacket and waterproof jacket together. I’ve been impressed by the durability of this mesh. Often these types of pockets can tear or become scuffed easily but I’ve found it’s held up nicely for me. 

And there’s one more mesh pocket which is on the harness. This is cleverly designed so that the fabric can be tucked away when the pocket isn’t in use. It’s only issue is that it’s a little on the small side and only really big enough for an energy gel or chocolate bar.

The pocket on the harness is sized for a snack bar or energy gel. Photo: Dave Macfarlane

Access to the main compartment is via a drawstring at the top, at the base and via a long zip down the middle and, as such, I’ve found this pack is great for keeping my kit organised and, perhaps more importantly, easy to find. 

Materials and Structure

All of the Talon and Tempest packs across the collection are made from a lightweight but very durable ripstop Robic Nylon that’s derived from recycled materials. It also has a water resistant treatment that’s free from  PFAS. Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof and it doesn’t come with a rain cover so whenever I’ve trekked with this I’ve always made sure all of my kit is stored safely in dry bags. I’ve found other rain covers from 50 to 60 litre packs will work with this too. 

The hipbelt pockets are big enough for a phone and are ideal for snacks. Photo: Dave Macfarlane

Heavy loads are managed well thanks to an internal lightweight frame. This isn’t removable. That’s really all there is in terms of structure here and to me that’s a good thing as it means the Talon 55 (and all the packs in the Talon and Tempest range) will pack down completely flat. That means you can stick it in the bottom of a duffel bag or suitcase without it swallowing up all the space. That makes it great for when you’re going on a holiday that might involve some trekking over the course of it. 

Osprey Talon 55 Verdict

At 1442g this is just above what I’d classify as ultralight (for something lighter from Osprey you might want to look at the Talon Velocity or the Osprey Exos), still, it’s by no means a heavy backpack and it does bring a lot of features to the table, all of which will make life on the trail that little bit easier. 

It’s comfortable, convenient, it feels aerodynamic and it also feels well made and durable too – it’s the kind of pack that gives the impression that it’ll last a long time.

The front mesh pocket is ideal for keeping a layer within easy reach. Photo: Dave Macfarlane
OM editor Will testing the pack out on along the Pembrokeshire coast.

Osprey Talon 55

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
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