As our Osprey Talon Pro 20 rucksack review shows, this multi-purpose panel loader might become the pack you turn to most often. We really hope you find it useful.
The Talon Range
The Talon series has been a very firm favourite of the Osprey range for years. That’s no surprise. It hits the sweet spot for so many users and so many activities. Osprey highlight its suitability for walkers and bike packers. We agree, but it just as well suits mountain bikers needing to carry a larger load or skiers looking for a resort pack. It also makes a great everyday about town load hauler. So, when they looked towards a Talon Pro series, it must have been quite a design challenge to consider what they might change. Osprey have produced a 20 or 30 litre version and we took one of their Talon Pro 20’s for a test drive.
The Talon Pro 20 bears more than a passing resemblance to the standard Talons, but there is plenty that stands the two apart. The first thing you’ll notice is the fabric. The Talon Pro comes in a silvery grey colour that is a combination of 2 fabrics. 100D Robic is a material combining 93% nylon and 7% polyester. This is used in high wear areas such as the base and sides. This is combined with 200D Nanofly material which is used on the lid, hip belt pockets and parts of the side panels. Everywhere it could be used effectively really. Nanofly fabric integrates high molecular weight polyethylene ripstop and 100D nylon to create a very light fabric with high abrasion resistance. The upshot of the lightweight construction is a pack weighing only 900grams.
Osprey’s have an industry leading commitment to sustainability which we discussed in a previous article here. With this in mind, the fabrics are made from Bluesign approved recycled nylon with a PFC free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating.
On the front of the pack there are various features that make this pack suitable for different activities. Working from the base upwards, there are twin ice axe attachments. In line with multi-sport use, these have neat little sleeves that they can be tucked into when not in use. On each side panel there is a stretchy mesh pocket. Each of these can store a water bottle, but just as easily can be used for clothing, snacks or even a bikers knee or elbow pads. When not in use they sit flush to the pack to avoid getting in the way. To help securely snug items stashed in the stretch pockets and to control volume, there are also side compression straps.
On the front of the pack there is another stretch mesh stash pocket. Items held in here can be secured with a quick release strap at the top. This pocket is large enough for maps, guidebooks or items of clothing. Collectively, the stretch front and side pockets add significantly to the load carrying capacity of the Talon Pro. At the bottom of this pocket there is also a light clip point. The final feature on this front panel is one of Osprey’s excellent lid locker helmet attachment systems. These work extremely efficiently with most types of helmet.
The main compartment of the Talon Pro opens with a clamshell style zip. All the zips have pull toggles for easy use with gloves. This offers quick and efficient access to the main contents. The large single main pocket is the main load carrying space. Aside from that there’s a small zipped mesh pocket that is perfect for a wallet, phone or similar sized items. There’s a key clip in here too.
The other load carrying features are a large zipped pocket on the top of the pack and an exterior hydration sleeve. The hip belt has a zipped pocket on each side and each shoulder strap also has a small expandable elasticated pocket. This will squeeze in an iPhone, but is more ideally sized for items like energy bars or a GPS unit.
The harness system combines an injection moulded Airscape HDPE back panel with EVA foam padding. The shoulder straps are sculpted with die cut EVA padding. The pack also features Osprey’s continuous wrap harness and hipbelt. This allows the pack to move with you. The waist belt is well padded and adjusts with a quick adjust strap that pulls from either (or both) sides. This offers an easily adjusted centralised fit. Finally, a sternum strap with integrated whistle completes the harness system.
Anything else? There’s a grab handle on top for carrying or clipping in. Osprey have also added walking pole attachments, reflective graphics and adjustment straps at the top of the shoulder straps. Finally, the Talon Pro 20 incorporates an easy adjustment system allowing the back length to be tweaked for the perfect fit.
As is usual with all Osprey products I’ve used, this Osprey Talon Pro 20 rucksack review reveals a very comprehensive feature set. Infact, I always imagine the Osprey designers having a great time fine tuning the details for their products. In the case of the Talon Pro 20 this may have been complicated further by the intention of creating a pack suitable for different activities. Maybe, but you wouldn’t really notice as everything integrates effortlessly.
So far I’ve used it primarily for hillwalking, scrambling and mountain biking. As we are in the middle of the pandemic my testing has been limited to the Peak District National Park. That’s no bad thing though as it’s a great testing ground. Especially in winter. The mountain biking I’ve used it for has also thrown all conditions into the mix. It’s been well tested!
First things first. This pack is extremely comfortable. I hadn’t initially realised it had an adjustable back system and yet it fitted really well anyway. But, if you need to adjust it, this is a great feature. It’s also very simple. You just prize apart some very grippy velcro, adjust, and push the velcro together again.
The Airscape back panel adds support and structure. I haven’t really tested the ventilation capabilities too much yet as the temperatures have remained very low. However, I’ve tried similar systems on other Osprey’s and I’m confident it will work a treat. I really value the back panels stiffness too. This makes for a very supportive carry and means items stored inside won’t push into your back. It also offers enough padding to be comfortable.
Besides that, the sculpted shoulder straps offer comfort and breathability and the padded hip belt also works superbly. All in all, once the Talon Pro is on your back and cinched up, it is both stable and comfortable.
In terms of load carrying, the easy access main compartment makes it simple to get things in and out. For smaller items there are loads of other choices. The handy mesh pocket inside the main compartment is perfect for wallets or keys. The easy access hip belt pockets will carry some snacks, a compass, lip balm and a host of other smaller items.
The stretch mesh stash pockets at side and front add considerably to the load capacity and convenience. You can stash a map just as easily as a spare jacket. The only thing to note is that these aren’t particularly weatherproof, but apart from that they are great. The small pockets on the shoulder straps will keep items like a Clif Bar or compass within easy reach.
But, my very favourite pocket is the zipped pocket on the top. This is such a useful feature. Osprey define it as a scratch free sunglasses and electronics pocket and it is perfect for those items. It’s also a great place for snacks, compass, hat or a host of other smaller items. It’s position couldn’t be better and it is also a decent size. I’ve also found I can reach over my shoulders and access this with the pack in place. It is just so useful.
The Nanofly fabric initially appears quite flimsy and you’ll wonder if it will stand up to tough use. I’ve not yet had the pack in use long enough to be able to comment on its long term durability, but so far it has shrugged off everything thrown at it effortlessly. It has protected the contents in rain and snow. Having said that, as is normal on this type of pack, the zips are only going to be weather resistant rather than waterproof.
My Osprey Talon Pro 20 rucksack review reveals a great addition to the Osprey line up. In a world where many people undertake various activities, it really pays to have a pack that will excel for a selection of sports. But, the problem with a ‘jack of all trades’ can be that it doesn’t do any particular job perfectly. In this case I have found no compromise in performance between the activities I’ve used it for. I haven’t used it for skiing yet, but feel confident it will be great for this too. How nice to have one pack that will tick so many boxes. The Talon Pro 20 retails for £150 and full details are available on the Osprey website here. There is also a women’s specific fit version of the pro range called the Tempest. Finally, all Osprey packs are covered by their industry leading All Mighty Guarantee.
Out of interest, The Osprey Talon Pro range of packs were used by Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja on his recent record breaking winter ascent of K2. Osprey have a special feature about this on their website here. While most users aren’t going to be heading to the heights he’s reached, it’s good to know these products have been tested in such wild environments. We wrote a piece about Nims K2 expedition here and here.