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Osprey Talon 33 Backpack Review

The first thing I will say about this backpack is that if I had one for every adventure I’m doing right now it would be this one. That’s a pretty tall order for a backpack.

It’s only a 33 litre bag so it’s not going to fit tons and tons of stuff for overnight hikes but for every kind of day hike/ski/snowshoe, this is the one I’ve been using. That said, I have been able to fit everything I need for a couple days in it for warm weather summer camping. Sleeping pad, tent, sleeping bag, stove food, water. All of it. In a 33 litre! That might be more of a testament to how small and light gear can get these days than the awesomeness of the pack. But lets get back to the pack.

Basic setup of the Talon 33

The Talon is a pouch bag which means that it’s just one big pouch that you stuff everything into with a strap and lid on top. The Talon 44 is also laid out like this. The Talon 22 is a zippered pouch with no lid. The large pouch makes up for most of the storage space with the remaining few litres in the lid on top. There is one small pouch inside the lid and one underneath it. These work well for keys, cell phones or other things that you need to keep separate from everything else.

The large main pouch has a strap to slide it shut at the top and that’s about it. it’s only got the one opening at the top so if you need anything at the bottom, you’ll be hauling everything out. I’ve taken to putting small things into light stuff sacks to make it easier to organize and remove everything. On the front of the bag is a wet gear pouch with drainage hole at the bottom. Also at the bottom are ice axe straps and an adventure racing tow loop.

The Talon 33 has a separate compartment between the main pouch and the back of the pack for your water bladder and a little clip near the top to keep it from sinking all the way to the bottom of the compartment. The straps have small loops on them to keep the water hose organized and little elastic compartments for small items like a camera or a protein bars. The hip belts also have large zippered compartments on them. I can fit my point and shoot camera in one of them or my GPS. I’ve recently upgraded to a Garmin Montana 600 GPS from a Garmin Colorado 300. It’s quite a large GPS and it still fits.

There is no frame in the Talon 33 but it doesn’t have a bit of a stiffener in the back panel. You can still fold it in half if you need to but it gives the bag a bit of shape. The 44 has a light internal frame to it. The 22 just has a stiffener like the 33.

My favorite features of the Talon are the size, mesh belts and ruggedness. I’ve found the size to be perfect for almost everything I do. It’s almost a little small for some of the longer winter trips if I have to carry lots of layers but for the most part it’s perfect. The mesh belts and shoulder straps are adjustable, comfortable and breathable. I haven’t had them chafe at all and aside from the regular sweat from a good hike up a mountain they aren’t especially warm. The bag has been on countless hikes, ski tours, and snowshoe trips as well as travelling around Australia and New Zealand. Everything on the bag except for the ends of a couple small bungee cords that came off is in great condition.

If you’re looking for a decent sized daypack for almost any adventure, I’d highly recommend the Talon 33. I regularly travel, hike, ski tour and snowshoe with mine and it’s perfect for all those things. The only thing I’ve come across that it doesn’t perform well has been carrying skis. Luckily when I’m touring, my skis are on my feet most of the time so that hasn’t been an issue much.

If you’re looking at getting a Talon and have any other questions, leave a comment below or email me!

6 thoughts on “Osprey Talon 33 Backpack Review”

  1. i am going on y first “real” outdoor adventure next week.  They recommend bringing a day pack.  It was suggested that i get one “on the larger side.”  I don’t disagree with that sentiment, as the price of these bags make me feel uncomfortable buying something that I won’t use much in the future.  I hope to begin taking 1 to 2 night backpacking trips with my finace’ in the coming year, and hope to use my day pack purchase as her pack (we have a similar sized torso).  Would you recommend the Talon 33 or 44, or something entirely different?

  2. @JackJohnston Hey Jack. Thanks for the comment. For 1 to 2 night backpacking trips I would go with at least the 44. That might still be tight for your gear depending on how much you’ll be carrying. It all depends on what size your gear is. I’d bring the gear you want to fit into the store and make sure it fits. The smaller the better but it still has to fit. I can just barely fit 2 days of very very lightweight summer gear into a 33 and that’s with a tiny down sleeping bag. My synthetic bag takes up half the 33 litres. Hope that helps. Email me at and we can chat more.

  3. How bad is this at carrying skis. I’m looking for a ski daypack that can carry my boots, a small packed lunch and a thermal but that I can use to carry skis through the resort for a short while if needed. Would this do the job?

    1. Hey Jonathan, There’s not a lot of structure to this pack so it’s fine carrying skis if you’ve got some stuff packed in it. Make sure your skis fit through the loops or you have your own straps.

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