Once something of a ‘Marmite’ brand due to a strappy, fussy aesthetic many view as over-complex, Osprey is now one of the most popular rucksack makes out there due to its combination of advanced weight-distribution design, light weight, contemporary look and a well-thought-out feature set. The Talon 33 was updated for 2014 and is fast becoming a modern classic. Key features that set it apart from many competitors are an external hydration pocket (it sits between the back system and the main sack), which means you can refill without rummaging, two spacious zipped hip pockets, a stretchy mesh pocket on the front that would take a waterproof or hat, a webbing pocket on the left shoulder strap that’s ideal for a small GPS or phone, and a massive lid pocket. I’ve used the Talon 33 on many overnight camps and find it extremely roomy for its volume – while the M/L size is 33 litres, the S/M is actually 31. It’s also very comfortable despite the flimsy-looking straps; and the ‘Airscape’ back system – essentially grooved foam with a mesh overlay – is excellent at controlling sweat and surprisingly comfortable when loaded. Zip pulls are looped for easy access with gloves on, you get a plastic-coated gear loop and ice axe loops as well as two stretchy wand pockets, and – if you want it – Osprey’s unique under-arm trekking pole stow system (their "Stow-on-the-Go" design), which is a feature many love, but many ignore. The only real failing of the Osprey Talon 33 is the way the lid sits on the load when the sack is partly laden: the design performs well when full, but half empty it’s awkward and hangs forward heavily, especially when the lid is packed.
Capacity 33 litres
Internal compartments 1
External zipped pockets 3
Wand pockets 2
Rain cover no
Back lengths two sizes (S/M, M/L)
Women’s version yes (Tempest)
A few minor gripes, but otherwise the Osprey Talon 33 is an excellent all-round rucksack for daywalks and lean overnighters.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine March 2014