I recently went on a day hike in the desert and brought my Camelbak M.U.L.E. I’ve had this pack for at least ten years, maybe more. It’s been a good companion, holding 100 oz in the bladder and a few other items. Before my hike I had wanted to pack a rain jacket but didn’t have the room. Climbing over rocks later on, I got hot but didn’t have the space to stow my fleece. Then it rained on me. It was evident I needed something with more storage space that was still light. I wanted something that was good quality but not covered in MOLLE webbing. I love bags, so any excuse to get a new one is good enough for me!
By J. Bridger, contributing author to SHTFblog and Survival Cache
Enter the Osprey Talon 11. If you’re looking for a day hike pack, an everyday carry bag, or an innocuous pack for a grab-and-go bag, this is a good contender. It’s lightweight, comes in two sizes, has enough capacity to carry your essentials, and has a great suspension system. It will carry whatever you put in it comfortably. It has good back ventilation, a sternum strap, and a hip belt. Let’s take a closer look!
I mentioned the Osprey Talon 11 comes in two sizes: you have Small/Medium and Medium/Large. Confused? Me too. Moving on. It comes in several colors: Black, red, bright green, blue, and yerba green. I chose yerba green, which is similar to a dark olive drab. An added bonus is Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee. I appreciate good customer service, and steer clear of companies that don’t share that sentiment. If your pack needs repaired, they’ll fix it, doesn’t matter how or when. Simple!
The S/M has 9 liters of storage and the M/L has 11 liters. It’s on the small side for a day pack. If it were any smaller, I’d want a bigger one. The Osprey Talon 11 has one main pocket, and a separate pouch for a water bladder (sold separately). It can accommodate a 3-liter bladder (though keep in mind this will limit how much you can fit in the main pocket). My 3L Hydrapak takes up a substantial part of the pack’s capacity. That’s okay, I bought this pack mainly to carry water. I can cram 3 full size bath towels into it, if that gives you any idea of its capacity. It can hold my day hike loadout with a little room to spare: 3L Hydrapak, down jacket, rain jacket, beanie, headlamp, Spyderco PM2, bic lighter, water tablets, Chapstick, handkerchief, compass and map, and 6” Emergency Trauma Dressing.
The Osprey Talon 11 pack is loaded with features, almost too many. I don’t like having loops hanging off the pack to snag. Luckily, I was able to remove some of them without damaging the pack. I can reattach them later if I decide I want to; I really appreciated this feature. Inside the main pocket is a mesh pocket with a clip for your keys. I can nearly fit my spread-out hand inside; it’s a good size. On the front flap, there is a top pocket that is a little larger than the inside pocket. If your pack is stuffed full, these will really only accommodate flat items. On either side of the pack are two elastic pouches. These are too small for a 1L Nalgene but will hold one of the smaller, thin walled 17-ounce water bottles perfectly. There is a cinch strap on each side that you can place over the side pouch or tuck inside.
The hydration compartment has a buckle to hang your bladder. You can get into this pouch without opening the main compartment. A small handle is sewn on top of the Osprey Talon 11. On the front of the bag is a neat device you can use to attach a helmet. This would be great for biking, kayaking, or outdoor climbing. I was able to untie this and remove it without permanently damaging anything. There is a generous amount of shock cord underneath, which I like. It’s a great place to hang wet socks to dry. The compartment buckles at the top, allowing you to stuff something larger inside, like a shirt. Below this are two slots for a bike light.
The sternum strap has a built-in whistle that works surprisingly well. This is a great addition that shows how much thought was put into the Talon. If you’re lost, you can blow the whistle instead of yelling (it’s louder and saves energy). The hip belt is one of my favorite features of this pack; they are made of breathable material and have a generously sized pocket on each side. They can be a little difficult to get into when you’re wearing the pack, but it’s far from impossible to access. These hip belt pockets are perfect for holding a compass, Chapstick, and Cliff bar. The hip belt is easy to tighten and loosen; Osprey really did an awesome job here.
The shoulder straps are comfortable and have lots of adjustment. There are two usable elastic loops on each strap, perfect for hydration tube routing. On the left strap, there is a long skinny elastic pouch sized just right for a pocket knife or a Surefire G2 Nitrolon-sized flashlight. It’s too narrow for a cell phone, and I wouldn’t want to cram my Wiley-X’s in there. Also, on the left shoulder strap of the Osprey Talon 11 pack is a short piece of shock cord to secure your hiking poles, with the help of a loop hanging off the bottom left side of the pack. I won’t use this feature, so I easily removed both to keep things simple. Lastly, on the right side of the pack is an ice axe attachment. I also won’t be needing this, so I tucked the loop up under the front flap and removed the shock cord.
Osprey Talon 11 Uses
This bag is well thought out and could easily fill many different roles. I intend to use it as a day hike pack, but it could also be used as a range bag, everyday carry bag, laptop bag, canyoneering or small climbing bag (It holds a 45-meter static line, harness, and has a helmet attachment point), or a go bag. It’s also small enough to be a carry-on personal item for a weekend flight. The Osprey Talon 11 is lightweight, well built, and has an awesome warranty. You really can’t go wrong with this one!
Weight: 1lb 6oz (22 oz)
Capacity: Medium/Large = 11 Liters. Small/Medium = 9 liters.
Features: hip belt, sternum strap, helmet attachment, hiking pole attachment, ice axe attachment, hydration compartment.
Hip belt and pockets
Packed with features
Doesn’t come with a bladder