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The Lightweight Osprey Talon 44L Backpack Review (2020 Update)

lightweight osprey talon 44 review

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Osprey makes a wide variety of bags that are versatile and comfortable, and one traveler favorite is the Osprey Talon 44L. This mid-size pack is great for both city traveling and backpacking.

Marina has ridden her bike across the country, volunteered for AmeriCorps, and traveled throughout 38 states in the U.S. and nine other countries. Her orange Osprey Talon 44 has been her companion on a number of these outdoorsy trips. 

Though it is technically not a women’s specific backpack, Marina highly recommends the Talon 44 because of its adaptable size, extremely lightweight construction, and its bright color. Read on for more!

Osprey Talon 44L Quick Review

  • Top Pick For: Hikers and backpackers on the move who need a lightweight but durable bag that can carry the essentials plus a little extra.

PROS

  • Lightweight construction
  • Removable top lid
  • Osprey-quality comfort

CONS

  • Lacking luxury details
  • Only two color options
  • Not technically carry-on size

Why I Chose the Osprey Talon 44L

Marina at Glacier National Park
Marina at Glacier National Park

In shopping for a backpack, my first narrowing factor was size; I needed something between my larger extended trip Gregory pack and smaller day packs. 

The second and third narrowing factors were weight and the way it fit my body. The Talon is super lightweight; all of the straps are super form-fitting and cushy enough to not feel like they are digging into my hips or shoulders. 

I chose the Osprey because of all those aspects, and I chose to purchase at REI because of their stellar return policy in the event that it didn’t work out as I expected. Thankfully that hasn’t been the case!

The price was a bit of a splurge for me but I knew the quality and reputation of Osprey made it a good choice. It has been worth every penny.

Osprey Talon 44 front and back

Key Features

  • No-frills lightweight pack 
  • Solid construction built for speed
  • Top-loader access to main compartment
  • Convenient zippered mesh pocket under top-lid
  • Easy-to-access external hydration sleeve
  • Lower InsideOut compression/carry straps 
  • Seamless lumbar to hip belt body wrap
  • Aluminum peripheral frame effectively transfers load from harness to hip belt
  • AirScape back panel **New fabric on 2017 Model allows for better ventilation
  • Large stretch mesh front panel pocket; side stretch mesh pockets; stretch mesh harness stash pocket
  • 2 zippered hipbelt pockets

What I Love About the Osprey Talon 44L

Marina's backpack and things

It sounds really superficial but I love the color of my bag. The orange stands out in the woods, in the dark, and in piles of other bags that it gets squished in with. All the while, it is easily identifiable. I love that.

I really love the outside, front stretchy pocket for my smelly running shoes or muddy Chacos

I also love how adaptable the size is. If I want to cram it to its gills I can, but if I want to travel lightweight I can tighten it up so it doesn’t feel loose or cumbersome at all. All the straps are great for cinching things down.

Backpack Size and Packability

The size is perfect, right in the middle- not too big, not too small.

It is large enough to carry the essentials for a long tour (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, one pair of running shoes, flip flops, two changes of clothes, a puffy jacket, hat, toiletries, and food) but light enough to not be a hassle for just a weekend

I love that I can (usually) carry it on for airline travel. It is often right at the cusp of the restrictions, but I have squeezed it into many an overhead compartment, much to the dismay of certain Delta flight attendants.

Testing and Durability

Marina with her Osprey Talon
Marina with her Osprey Talon

Over the past couple of years, I’ve only traveled domestically with my pack, mostly on outdoorsy-type adventures. The shortest trip I’ve done is a simple overnight, with the longest being a 10-day backpacking/cycling trip around Glacier National Park. 

While less frequent, I’ve also used it for short weekend trips outside of the woods and have even worn it on my back to a wedding, stuffed with flowers coming out of the top.

Fit and Comfort Level

My bag is not a women-specific design but I haven’t found that to be a problem at all. It’s a size medium, which has worked well for me (5’7, 130ish lbs), and you can tighten or loosen the straps a great deal for wiggle room. 

My boyfriend has used it before and it fit him too (6’2, 170ish lbs).

Additionally, it’s always been super comfortable, even fully packed. At most, it might weigh somewhere in the 30lb range, which isn’t a problem at all given the comfortable straps and harness. 

The only exception in comfort was when I carried it on my back during a nearly 300-mile bicycle tour. In hindsight, that was a terrible idea and no pack could be expected to be ideal in those conditions!

The Osprey Talon 44 vs. the Osprey Talon 33

Osprey Talon 44 vs Osprey Talon 33

Besides size, the Talon 44 and Talon 33 have a few deal breaker differences to consider when making your backpack choice.

BackpackCapacityWeightDimensions (inches)Torso
Length
(inches)
Hips
(inches)
LidPrice
Osprey Talon 44 M/L44L2 lbs. 7oz.26.4H x 11.8W x 13D19–2328–50Removable (6L)$160

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Osprey Talon 44 S/M42L2 lbs. 4oz.24.4H x 11.8W x 13D16–2026–45Removable (6L)$160

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Osprey Talon 33 M/L33L2 lbs. 0.3 oz.24.4H x 11.8W x 11.4D
19–2328–50Fixed$140

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Osprey Talon 33 S/M31L1 lb. 14.4 oz.22.4H x 11.8W x 11.4D16–2026–45Fixed$140

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Similarities

Both packs fit the same torso lengths and waist sizes, outlined in the table above. And while their packable dimensions are different, the two packs are so lightweight that they’re within 7 ounces in difference across both sizes. 

Both packs are technically just over carry-on restrictions in height and depth. However, we’ve heard many positive stories about being allowed to carry them on when they’re not completely full. Because both bags have regulation widths, it’s easy to deflate the extra space/squishy contents with the compression straps. 

One caveat: beware of the European budget airlines, as their restrictions are very strict. Compress your pack as much as possible before the gate agent even sees it and be prepared for the fact that it may not pass.

Differences 

The biggest difference is that the lid of the Talon 33 is not removable, while the Talon 44’s lid is- that’s a full 6L that you could easily leave behind if you don’t need it, or if you need to remove it temporarily (like to pass carry-on regulations). 

There are also more color options in the Talon 33 than the Talon 44.

  • Talon 33: Martian Red, Black, Yerba Green, Ultramarine Blue
  • Talon 44: Martian Red, Black

Backpack Recommendation

I love my Osprey Talon 44L and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a similar use pack.

Osprey Talon 44 in Martian Red

About the Author: Thanks Marina for your insight and sharing your experiences with your backpack. Marina doesn’t have a blog, but if you have any questions for her about her backpack or her travels, be sure to leave them in the comments!



Add your voice & leave a comment!

Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Lisa Samani says

    I loved this review! I bought this pack for my 3 week trip to New Zealand this year….mainly using it to hike the Milford Track. I have the other sizes of the Talon also and I love them all……the 11,22 and 33. They are the most comfortable backpacks that I have ever worn. Now that I have all of the sizes I should be set for a lifetime of travel. Just took the 11 to a hiking and biking trip in Ohio.

  2. Judy says

    I have one of these and I have managed to get it into the overhead bin on smaller regional jets (CRJ) on many trips as long as it’s not filled past the level of the internal frame. Once at your destination, you have plenty of extra room to carry food, water, and other supplies. It’s super light and extremely comfortable. My few gripes are that it’s a top loader and has little internal organization – it’s basically one big cavity with a small brain pouch on the top. So sometimes you have to rummage to find what you need. That said, I recommend it highly. If you want better interior organization and easier access to your stuff, the Osprey Sirrus 36 is superb (although a bit smaller) and it comes in purple. 🙂

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