Osprey Talon 33 Review: Is This the Best Lightweight Hiking Bag?

The Osprey Talon 33 is a streamlined, comfortable, and durable backpack that’s perfect for long dayhikes.

When you want to go on a light hike, it’s a no-brainer to opt for an Osprey pack. They’re one of the best backpack brands on the market—and the Osprey Talon 33 is one of the best men’s backpacks for day hikes and light overnight trips.

The Osprey Talon 33 is versatile, carry-on sized (if necessary) and comes in at a very affordable price point. It’s an amazing bag all-around, but it is lacking in a couple key areas.

If you just want to know if the Osprey Talon 33 is a quality bag, the answer is a resounding yes. If you want to get into more of the nitty gritty, keep reading. I’ve used this bag on a ton of hikes and have gotten to know it quite well.

Osprey Talon 33

Type: Daypack

Use: Hiking/Backpacking

The Osprey Talon 33 is a highly-rated men’s backpack designed for heavier day hikes and light overnight hikes. It’s an extremely well-rounded bag at an affordable price point.

Osprey Talon 33
9.2/10
Highly Recommended
Scoring Categories

8.3Build Quality

9.5Comfort

9.1Ease of Use

9.4Functionality

6.1Water Resistance

7.3Brand Impact

7.8Buying Experience

10Warranty

7.1Price-to-Performance

Pros
  • Very comfortable hip belt
  • Breathable ventilated mesh backing
  • Highly adjustable fit
  • Lots of external pockets
  • External hydration sleeve
  • Compact
Cons
  • Top access only
  • Too big for day hikes (great for overnights)
  • Side pockets are difficult to access
  • Water reservoir sold separately
  • Doesn't come with a rain cover
Product Specs
  • Capacity

    33 L

  • Weight

    2.4 lbs

  • Dimensions

    25.6" x 11" x 9.8"

  • Material

    ripstop nylon

  • MSRP

    $190 (USD)

  • Expand to view all specs
  • Zippers

    YKK #8 coil zipper

  • Shoulder Strap Shape

    contoured S-shape

  • Frame

    full internal frame

  • Hip Belt

    structured, built-in

  • Sternum Strap

  • Load Lifters

  • Breathability

    suspended mesh

  • Main Opening Style

    drawstring + top lid (or "brain")

  • Luggage Handle Pass-Through

  • Front Pocket

  • Shipping

    free

  • Return Cost

    free

  • Return Window

    30 days

  • Warranty

    lifetime warranty covering wear and tear

  • Collapse specs

Osprey Talon 33 Review: Quick Answers

  • A men’s hiking backpack for day hikes, overnight trips, and general travel use.
  • Available in two men’s sizes: Small/Medium and Medium/Large.
  • Good riddance, airport drama. You can use this compact bag as carry-on luggage.
  • Lightweight without sacrificing comfort and technical performance.
  • Super breathable to keep you cool in hot climates.
  • This robust and durable backpack comes with a lifetime warranty.

Who Is the Osprey Talon 33 for?

  • This backpack is designed for men. If you’re a woman, check out the Osprey Tempest.
  • Ultralight trekkers and hikers.
  • Day hikers going for a stroll in forests, deserts, or mountains.
  • Overnight hikers who don’t need much gear (campers in a warm climate, for example).
  • Travelers who want to do a combo of travel and light hiking.
  • Travelers going to hot and sweaty climates.
  • People who want high-tech backpack performance.
  • Adventurers who are traveling in the US and want to carry their luggage onto the plane. BE CAREFUL: it is an approved carry-on size for MOST US airlines, but double-check with your airline.
  • Travelers who hit the road hard and need a lifetime warranty for their packs.

Who Isn’t the Osprey Talon 33 for?

  • If you’re a woman, check out the Osprey Tempest. It’s a very similar design, but it’s made specifically for women. If you’re not huge into hiking or trekking but want many of the same qualities of the Osprey Talon, check out the Osprey Fairview 40.
  • Long-haul trekkers. You’ll need something bigger to keep all your gear in.
  • Overnight hikers and trekkers in a cold or extreme climate. Go bigger.
  • Heavy packers.
  • Travelers who need room for bulky equipment or extra shoes.
  • Travelers who only need a backpack to get from the airport to their accommodation. If you’re not planning on any hiking at all, then this pack is overkill for general use.
  • Digital nomads with a lot of gear. For that, check out my NOMATIC Backpack review.
  • Adventurers who want to carry on their luggage on a flight outside of the US (this backpack is a little big for most international carriers’ requirements).

Osprey Backpacks: Who Are They?

Osprey has long been one of my favorite backpack brands. That’s why I was excited to write up this Osprey Talon 33 review.

With tough as nails gear, an excellent warranty, and competitive prices, they’re the go-to brand for many adventurers out there (myself included).

Over the course of my world travels, I almost always see hikers or travels sporting an Osprey pack, and it’s no wonder why.

a woman sits on a coastal trail with an Osprey pack
The folks at Osprey are adventurers too — they know their stuff

Osprey is based in Cortez, Colorado. As most of us know, that is prime hiking and backpacking territory. The company is located in the perfect spot to produce quality gear to get us out exploring the great outdoors.

Osprey puts a lot of effort into making their gear accessible to everyone.

And I also respect the fact that…

The company helps make stunning landscapes and trails attainable to anyone who wants to try. The company is so versatile in its sizing and adjustability that they really do have something for everybody.

Osprey goes one step further for their customers with their “Almighty Guarantee.” This refers to their warranty policy, where they will repair any fault or defect at absolutely no cost to you.

Did you grab your bag a decade ago? No problem. Did something go wrong just last week? Osprey has you covered.

Now that’s what I call excellent customer service and standing behind your product.

So, the warranty is great. But what else makes this backpack shine? Keep reading this Osprey Talon 33 review to find out.

Osprey Talon 33 Features

Simple is good. The Osprey Talon 33 offers just that, reliable simplicity.

No, this backpack is not packed with features like other hiking backpacks out there. That’s just not really Osprey’s vibe. This backpack has the right number of features for what it needs to do.

It does everything you need it to on a short hike, like carrying a hydration sleeve or trekking poles.

Osprey actually just redesigned this backpack, so if you’re familiar with older versions of the Talon 33, read on. There have been a few changes!

Dimensions & Specifications:

Load Range: 20-30 LBS 

Small/Medium Medium/Large
Volume 1892 IN3 / 31 liters 2014 IN3 / 33 liters
Dimensions 22.4H X 11.8W 11.4D IN 24.4H X 11.8W x 11.4D IN
Weight 1.904 lbs (Pretty light, right?) 2.017 lbs

AirScape Back Panel Suspension System

Osprey Talon 33 in redYou’re going to love this section of this Osprey Talon 33 review. After all, who doesn’t love a comfortable and adjustable bag?

The AirScape back panel suspension system in this latest edition of the Osprey Talon 33 is probably the most significant change they’ve made. Osprey created something called the AirScape suspensions system. It sits snugly against your body. This offers increased flexibility, comfort, and support.

Who doesn’t want more of that?

I bet you’re thinking, “Yeah, but won’t I get all sweaty and stinky?”

Nope!

The AirSpace system also brings way better ventilation than the previous versions. You’ll be feeling fresh, I promise.

I can say from experience that the ventilation system is a major selling point for this bag.

Ultra Lightweight

I had to rub my eyes to check if I was seeing things when I saw the weight of this bag.

It almost doesn’t seem possible. I busted out my scale to see if it was true.

And well, it is true.

At just two pounds, the Osprey Talon 33 is exceptionally lightweight. It’s very light because Osprey didn’t include a metal frame in this backpack. That has its advantages and drawbacks, but if you’re packing light, it’s all advantages for you.

However, you don’t want to use this backpack for loads over 30 pounds. The 20-pound mark is this pack’s sweet spot. And if you’re going on day hikes, you shouldn’t need more gear than that, anyway.

Thick, High-Quality Shoulder Straps

The Osprey Talon 33 is very lightweight in itself, so I honestly wouldn’t have judged Osprey too harshly if they skimped on the shoulder straps a little more than usual.

But they didn’t. Osprey really delivered on this feature too. This pack has comfortable, easily adjustable straps with thick padding. They make the backpack even lighter.

Adjustable, Comfortable Hip Belt with Continuous Mesh & Hip Belt Pockets

Osprey always makes a high quality hip belt. They’re consistently very well-padded and durable. If you haven’t already figured it out, the Osprey Talon 33 is super comfortable.

A big reason for that is the thick mesh padding that runs from the lumbar support system all the way to the adjustable hip belt.

What’s more, this 33 liter day pack comes with hip belt pockets for easy access to your most used items.

Sternum Strap

The adjustable sternum strap on the Osprey Talon 33 adds extra balance to the pack and helps you make sure your shoulder straps are in the right position.  It also comes with a handy emergency whistle.

You may not think you need a whistle, but just wait until you do.

You’ll thank me later.

Adjustable Torso Length

a man modeling the Osprey Talon 33Everyone has a different sized torso, but it’s pretty rare to find a backpack that offers adjustable torso length. You can do this by sliding the harness up and down with a velcro connection hidden behind the back panel.

This is a huge plus for me. I’m one of those people with long legs and a short torso.

Most people are on the opposite end of that spectrum, so most backpacks are designed for them. It can be really uncomfortable to have a backpack that doesn’t suit your torso perfectly, so I’m pleased to see the Osprey Talon 33 has included this.

It’s added customization like this that makes this such a great backpack for lightweight hikers.

Top Loading

Osprey Talon 33 loading from the topThe Osprey Talon 33 is a top loading backpack. While I generally opt for a front panel loading backpack when I’m doing general travel, there’s no doubt that a top loader is far superior as a hiking backpack.

Top loading systems add way more stability and balance to the bag. That’s the number one thing you want when hiking across a narrow ridge, believe me.

The only downside is that you can only access the bag from the top. There is no bottom access. So make sure you keep all your daily essentials near the top of the main compartment.

Nothing quite says rookie like having to dump everything out of your bag to find that one item. You don’t want to be that guy.

Fixed Top Lid

Osprey Talon 33's top lidThe older version of the Osprey Talon 33 had a removable top lid. Osprey decided to get rid of the removable option this time around and just stick with the fixed top lid.

The removable top lid isn’t that necessary. Honestly, it’s just another thing to keep track of when you’re moving from place to place. You don’t have to worry about losing your fixed lid while traveling.

Top Lid Storage

The Osprey Talon 33 comes with fantastic top lid storage. There is an external zippered slash pocket where you can keep small everyday essentials.

It also comes with a mesh pocket on the internal side of the top lid. I like to keep my toiletries and first aid kit in there. This extra storage makes up for the bag having top access only.

Exterior Straps

I wouldn’t even dream of taking a backpack for a hiking trip if it didn’t have external straps. They help you balance out your weight, maintain comfort, and carry a bit of extra gear that wouldn’t otherwise fit in the main compartment.

The Osprey Talon 33 has side straps that allow you to store tripods, a water bottle, a sleeping pad, or maybe even a thin rain jacket.

It also has dual loops at the bottom. You can store trekking poles there, or maybe even ice picks (but I really, really don’t recommend you use this bag for cold climates).

Get this.

The straps even have little elastic cords on the shoulder harness that you can loop your glasses through. As a serial sunglasses-loser, I love this. Osprey seriously thinks of everything.

External Hydration Sleeve

This wouldn’t be a fair Osprey Talon 33 review if we didn’t talk about a negative aspect of this bag.

If you didn’t already know, all of Osprey’s hiking backpacks come with an external hydration sleeve where you can store a water reservoir. It’s great to travel with a water reservoir, especially in hot climates, or on overnight hikes when one water bottle isn’t going to cut it.

Unfortunately, the external hydration sleeve is sold separately. It’s definitely worth picking one up to go with the Osprey Talon 33, though.

There’s nothing worse (or more dangerous) than running out of drinkable water.

External Pockets

Osprey Talon 33 hip belt pocketsThe Osprey Talon 33 has nine—yes NINE—pockets. Eight of these are external pockets. Good external pockets make me very happy.

Who doesn’t love shoving things randomly in an external pocket? That’s a must-have when you’re on the go.

Apart from the lid pocket and the hydration sleeve that we’ve already been through, there are six additional pockets.

What additional pockets does this bag have?

  • There are two zippered hip belt pockets. They’re a great place to stash your snacks, keys, phone, and whatnot.
  • Two stretch pockets are found on the sides. You can use them to store water bottles, hand sanitizer, maps, and all kinds of useful things.
  • You can find a small stretch mesh pocket on the left shoulder strap. It’s the perfect place to store whatever you need to keep very close at hand; things like EpiPens, sunscreen, bug spray, and (maybe) more snacks.
  • There’s a big front pocket to stash your extra jacket into as well. I also like to wrap up my wet clothes in a plastic bag and put them in there. That way, my damp clothes are separate from the main part of the bag, so there’s no chance they’ll stink out my clean ones.

Osprey Talon 33 Review: Pros and Cons

This backpack checks a lot of boxes on the perfect day hiking backpack list. However, it does miss the mark on one or two things. In addition to those few gripes, there is no one-size-fits-all backpack, and the Osprey Talon 33 is no exception. Let’s dive into the pros and cons.

Pros

  • The hip belt is outstanding. The Osprey Talon 33 is super comfortable, great as a daypack, and will balance out the load seamlessly. But make sure you don’t overfill it! Keep it around the 20-25 pound mark, and your hike will be a dream.
  • Ventilated mesh on the back panel is super breathable. It’s the perfect backpack to bring along on a short hike in a humid climate.
  • You can adjust the torso length. This allows you to get a custom fit for your unique build.
  • There are so many external pockets. It makes it really easy to store and access essentials like water bottles, snacks, hiking poles, and first aid kits. I like that it comes with a big external pocket to store extra jackets or wet clothes.
  • The external hydration sleeve gives you a place to easily store extra water. It’s always better to have too much water than not enough on a hike.
  • A versatile backpack. This backpack is great if you’re planning on doing a bit of hiking, as well as just general travel.
  • It’s compact. This bag is small enough to use as carry-on luggage on most US airlines.

Cons

  • The Osprey Talon 33 only has top access. A lot of other hiking backpacks have bottom access as well as top access, but not this one. Due to its small size, it’s not a huge issue. As long as you pack smart and keep all the less necessary things at the bottom of the main compartment of the bag, this won’t cause you too much grief.
  • If you’re buying the Talon 33 only for day pack use, it could be overkill. Personally, I would only go for this bag if I was planning on doing at least one overnight hike.
  • You need just a little bit of shoulder flexibility in order to easily reach the side pockets. This is annoying if you’re thirsty and can’t grab your water bottle. It’s no big deal, though. I personally use the water reservoir as my first line of thirst-quenching, and I use the bottle as a back-up.
  • It doesn’t come with a water reservoir. This is sold separately.
  • Not suitable for all airlines. While it’s an approved carry-on size for most US airlines, it’s not approved for all of them. You’re definitely going to need to check this bag in on any airline outside of the US.
  • The suspension mesh is a light color, and it tends to show dirt. If that kind of thing bothers you, then you might want to go for something in a darker color.
  • It doesn’t include a rain cover. Most new Osprey hiking packs do these days, so that’s a bit disappointing.
  • At $140, it’s on the expensive side for a smallish day pack. However, you are paying for quality with Osprey.

What Materials Is the Osprey Talon 33 Made Of?

The main section of the bag is made from high-quality nylon ripstop fabric (70×100 denier), and the accent and base are made with strong packcloth that is tear-resistant.

Aesthetics: How Does it Look?

This Osprey Talon 33 is one of my favorite Osprey bags in terms of looks. It’s understated, but it’s still suitably unique.

I like how it looks very structured, even though it doesn’t have a metal frame.

It comes in four colors, all of which I like. And if you’ve read my other Osprey reviews, you’d know this is my biggest gripe.

This bag comes in Yerba Green (forest green meets olive green), Martian Red (slightly on the brown side of red), Black (self-explanatory), and my favorite—Ultramarine Blue.

The mesh padding is white, so it tends to get dirty easily. That doesn’t really bother me though.

After all, dirt and grime are like battle scars for hikers.

Comfort: Is it Easy to Wear?

There’s a reason that everyone on the Internet is freaking out about this backpack. The redesign of the Osprey Talon 33 is extremely comfortable. The AirScape suspension system paired with the incredible lightweight qualities of the frameless design, as well as the excellent padding of the hip belt and harness, make for a near-perfect day hike backpack.

It won’t weigh you down at all, so you can focus on the hike at maximum enjoyment.

And because it’s incredibly breathable—back sweat really isn’t a problem at all.

Organization: How Does it Stack Up?

The lack of bottom or side access to the main compartment in the Osprey Talon 33 may be a problem for some people. I get it.

It’s really annoying to have to dig through a bag from the top only bag to grab what you need all the way at the bottom. However, this backpack is small, so as long as you pack methodically, it shouldn’t bother you too much that it’s a top loader.

Osprey has made up for the lack of other access options by including A LOT of external pockets and straps for everything, whether it’s a water bottle, sleeping bag or trekking poles.

On a day hike, you likely want most things on the outside of your pack anyway, so that you can grab them quickly and easily.

Durability: Will the Osprey Talon 33 Last?

This Osprey Talon 33 review made sure to look at durability. This bag doesn’t look all that durable, but looks can be deceiving. It’s a very high-quality, well-made bag because it’s made from the best materials out there.

The nylon holds its own in most trekking situations. The accent and bottom parts are made with durable packcloth that is resistant to tearing and scratching.

While the Osprey Talon 33 is very durable, I do have a word of warning. If you’re going on a particularly rocky climb or doing some intense mountaineering, the Osprey Talon 33 might not hold up to the challenge. It will be fine for anything else, though.

Besides, if you have any issues with it at all, Osprey will most likely fix it for you.

Price: How Much Does the Osprey Talon 33 Cost?

What good would an Osprey Talon 33 review be if it didn’t discuss price? I’ve got you covered there too.

This bag costs $140.

And if I’m honest? The Osprey Talon 33 seems pricey for a day hike backpack. Osprey is generally more in the mid-range price bracket, but the Talon strays from this trend.

That’s a bit of a problem for me.

The backpack doesn’t come with the water reservoir or a rain cover. You may find yourself needing those too. That will add around $80 to the total cost. All up, you’ll be looking at around a $220 price tag.

However, like all Osprey bags, you’re paying for quality. Given this bag is slightly more suited to overnight hikes mixed with general use, it’s a reasonable price.

You’ve always got to remember that when you’re buying a hiking backpack, you want something that will keep your back and shoulders healthy for the future. The Osprey Talon will definitely do that.

Warranty: What Kind of Warranty Does Osprey Talon 33 Offer?

Osprey has an excellent reputation, and a big reason for that is because they offer their Almighty Guarantee. This is a lifetime warranty.

If you’re in the US and you need a repair done on your backpack, you can contact Osprey directly on their website. You can send your pack to the factory and the repair team will fix it for free. All you have to do is pay for the postage.

What about those outside of the US? You can contact their International Customer Service team and they will point you to your national distributor who will help you out. Repair policies differ slightly from country to country, but Osprey 100% has your back.

Shipping: Does Osprey Ship Their Bags Internationally?

If you purchase your product on the Osprey website, they provide free and direct shipping to the US and Canada with an easy returns process.

For those located outside of the US or Canada, you will need to purchase your Osprey Talon 33 via a local supplier. Osprey doesn’t directly ship their bags internationally as they have a lot of local suppliers throughout the world.

Pretty much every good backpack store stocks Osprey, so you will almost definitely be able to snag one at your local store. If not, they will probably order it in for you. A list of local suppliers is available on Osprey’s Talon 33 product page. Shipping costs will vary depending on which supplier you go for.

Osprey Talon 33 Review: Accessories

The Talon doesn’t have any purpose-designed accessories as such, but I definitely recommend you look into getting an Osprey-brand water reservoir and a rain cover.

They are both competitively priced, even compared to generic brands, and they are purpose-built for their backpacks. Take a look at them and grab them if hydration and keeping your stuff dry matter to you. Hint: they definitely should. These extra accessories make hiking with this backpack so much easier.

Osprey Talon 33 Review Summary: Final Thoughts

The newest version of the Osprey Talon 33 is an excellent improvement over the older version.

The addition of the AirScape suspension system, combined with the frameless design and well-padded hip and shoulder straps make for a comfortable, lightweight backpack that will see you through a day or overnight hike without a hitch.

It’s also a fantastic option to go for if you like to do a bit of hiking on vacation, but you also want to take it easy and do some general travel.

I love that the Osprey Talon 33 performs so well in hot climates. There’s nothing I hate more than getting a sweaty back while doing a hike in the tropics. The AirScape design ensures maximum breathability. This is a massive pro for me.

Osprey Backpack Mountain Hikers
The Osprey Talon performs well in hot climates AND cold climates

The Osprey Talon 33 offers so much external storage. The main storage you’re going to want and need are found on the outside of the pack.

While it would be 100% perfect if it did have a bottom and side access point to the main compartment, the top loading system with access to the main compartment does the job pretty well. This decision adds way more stability to the pack.

I’m all about hydration. The external hydration sleeve is another big benefit. However, it’s kind of annoying that they make you buy it separately.

It’s a very durable backpack, and it can pretty much handle any terrain you throw at it, including mountain treks. But keep in mind that the bag may not survive extremely rugged trips.

The Osprey Talon 33 is the right backpack for you if you value lightweight packs for shorter hikes. Go try it out at a shop to get a feel for it, I’m certain you’ll love everything it has to offer.


READ MORE:

Osprey Talon 33 FAQs

What is the difference between the Osprey Talon and Tempest?

The Osprey Talon is the men’s version and the Tempest is the women’s version of the same pack.

Is the Osprey Talon 33 waterproof?

The Osprey Talon 33 is water-resistant, but not waterproof.

What is the weight limit for Talon 33?

20 lbs is the maximum weight I recommend carrying in the Talon 33.

Is Osprey worth the money?

Yes, Osprey is worth the money for the world-class designs, durability, and outstanding warranty.

What is the best Osprey backpack for hiking?

The Osprey Talon series has the best backpacks for day hikes.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
2 comments
  1. Making blanket statements that women shouldn’t buy this pack and instead get the women’s specific version aren’t helpful. I’m a small shouldered, but tall woman, with hips and breasts and while the women’s version fits me, I absolutely prefer the fit of the men’s. And I know I’m not alone in this feeling.

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