If you often go hiking, then you are aware that you need a good and sturdy backpack that can fit all your gear. Osprey makes some of the best hiking backpacks on the market, and in this review we will check out the Talon 22 and the Stratos 24.
Is one better than the other? What are the main differences between these two backpacks? Are they more similar than they are different or vice versa?
I will answer all of those questions, and give you as much details about these backpacks as I can. And all of that so that you can easily decide which one to purchase!
So, if you are having a hard time choosing a hiking backpack, you’ve come to the right place! Your problem will go away when you read all about the Talon 22 and Stratos 24 backpacks in this detailed comparison!
Before you find out about all the features of these backpacks, you probably want to know how big they are, and whether or not they can fit your laptop, right? So, let’s crunch those numbers first, and then we’ll move on their features.
20” x 11” x 11”
22" x 12" x 12"
70D x 100D Nylon Mini Shadow Brick
210D Nylon Crosshatch
Bottom & Accent Fabric
420HD Nylon Packcloth
420HD Nylon Packcloth
So, you can see that the Talon 22 is the smaller of the two packs, and naturally lighter. But, that also means that you can carry less inside this pack – about 5 lbs less gear.
You can also see that both of these Ospreys are made of nylon, which is a very sturdy and durable material. Many people prefer it to polyester, especially when talking about sporty backpacks. That is because nylon is not only more durable, but also has better water resistance. And it’s also more expensive than polyester, which speaks for itself.
The dimensions of the backpacks are pretty similar, with Stratos being just a couple inches larger overall. Is that the only thing that these packs have in common or is there more? If you want to find out, check out the next section!
Let’s start with the shared features of these two Osprey packs, and later on we can check out what is different about each one.
On both packs, the length of the harness can be adjusted to best fit your own torso. You can take it in if you find it too long for you, as well as extend a little further if you find the “default” setting too short.
Osprey usually makes almost everything about their packs adjustable, so that people of different heights can make their packs fit their bodies well. That’s because if a backpack isn’t properly fitted to your body, you are more likely to feel uncomfortable while you are wearing it, and also experience soreness or pain.
To make sure that it fits well, you should adjust the harness and all the straps so that there is no space between the back panel and your back, or the shoulder straps and your shoulders. Everything should follow the contours of your body, and you won’t feel uncomfortable even with 20+ lbs on your back.
This is one of Osprey’s signature design details – almost all of their backpacks feature a sternum strap that doubles as an emergency whistle. So, in case you encounter a mountain lion when you are out hiking, you can use this design feature to draw attention for your self and call for help.
Other than that, a sternum strap will ensure that both shoulder straps stay in place, and that one of them doesn’t slip off your shoulders. This is useful because with such heavy backpacks, you don’t ever want the entire load to be on just one shoulder – unless you like causing yourself unnecessary pain.
Since these are both hiking backpacks, it’s expected that there will be various attachment points for your hiking gear. And there are some – both of these Ospreys are equipped with the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachments.
Those are actually two loops that are located on the shoulder strap and just below the side pocket of the backpacks. They allow you to store your trekking poles when you don’t need them, and in such a way that they won’t bother you too much while walking. Great for a quick scramble where you don't want to have to put away your poles.
There are also loops for ice axe on both backpacks, in case you also like to carry that piece of equipment around. They are on the opposite side of the trekking pole loops, and you can carry around all your equipment at the same time!
Note: This is a feature Osprey also have on their bigger hiking packs like the Atmos & Aether packs
First off, both packs have a hip belt (obviously!), which is padded and ventilated. Its main function is to distribute the load of the pack across your entire torso and your hips, so that the bag doesn’t feel to heavy on your shoulders. And it also helps you avoid feeling really sore the next day, so utilize it!
Anyway, with these two Osprey backpacks, you will get twin hip belt pockets – one on each side. You can use them to carry anything that you want to have handy during your hike – a small camera (say a GoPro or something similar), your phone, wallet or a candy bar. And the best part of these pockets is that you don’t have to undo all the straps and take off the backpack just to get to that one tiny thing. They are super-convenient, let me tell you!
Obviously, if you are going hiking you are going to have to stay hydrated. Luckily, both packs are compatible with Osprey’s Hydraulics Reservoirs, and we’ll talk about that very soon. But I know some of you don’t really like sipping water from a hose, and prefer to carry water bottles with you.
There are side stretch pockets for those bottles on both of these backpacks. And there are also compression straps that go over these pockets, so that you can be sure that your water bottle won’t fall out. Another expected, but also very useful feature.
So, both packs have a padded and ventilated back panel, but there is a difference in the type of the back panel that they feature.
The Talon 22 backpack (pictured) is equipped with the AirScape mesh back panel. What is characteristic of this type of back panel is that it is heavily padded, and that it feels very soft and comfortable on your back. In this aspect, it has the upper hand over the AirSpeed of the Stratos.
However, the back panel on the Stratos is called the AirSpeed precisely to put emphasis on its superior ventilation features. It allows for excellent breathability of the pack, which almost guarantees that it won’t become smelly even if you sweat buckets.
But keep in mind that these differences are slight – as I earlier said, both panels are ventilated and padded. They just put emphasis on different aspects of their functions, both of which are equally important.
Do you prefer your hydration sleeve to be inside your backpack or just behind the back panel? If you prefer the first option, then you the Stratos 24 backpack is the one for you, because its hydration sleeve is located in the main compartment.
On the other hand, this backpack (pictured) has an external hydration sleeve, and that is something I actually prefer. With this type of hydration, there is more space inside the main compartment for my other gear.
And keep in mind this: even though the Stratos has a 24-liter capacity, that’s also supposed to account for a 3-liter hydration reservoir. So, you get about 21 liters of capacity for your other gear, compared to Talon’s 22.
It’s time to check out the unique features of the Talon 22 backpack. I’ll keep it short and sweet, so just keep reading and scrolling down!
And I’m not talking about side pockets. I’m talking about an additional stretch pocket on the harness, which you will find very useful on longer hikes. Well, Osprey calls this a harness pocket, but it’s actually located on one of the shoulder straps, and you can get to it very easily during your adventure, without having to take off the backpack.
I am also talking about a stretch front pocket, which features buckle closure. The front pocket is great for quickly stashing away a spare layer of clothing, in case you get hot. Especially because it is so easily accessible – you don’t even have to undo the buckle to get your jacket later on.
So, there are two additional pieces of equipment that Osprey wanted you to be able to attach to the pack. One of those is your bike helmet, and they included what they call LidLock helmet attachment point. It’s very easy to use, it takes up very little space, and adds very little to the weight of the backpack – until you attach your helmet to it, that is.
Another feature they included is the LED light attachment point. This is on the lower part of the backpack, and it’s very useful for all of you that go hiking or biking during the night. It will help you stay visible to other people and cars even when it’s pitch black outside, and that certainly comes in handy.
The Stratos backpack also has a few features that are unique to its design, and we are going to see what those are in this section. Who knows, maybe they will convince you that this is just the right pack for you!
Getting caught in the rain while hiking is really not fun, and we’ve all been there. Luckily, Osprey decided to include an integrated rain cover with the Stratos backpack, with its own designated compartment.
For one thing, these rain covers tend to be quite expensive, so you immediately get better value for money with this pack. And not to mention how useful they are – they will protect your backpack and everything inside it from rain, and ensure that your stuff stays dry. I would call that priceless if you like to throw in your laptop or tablet in the pack when you go hiking!
So, even though the Stratos isn’t equipped with a cool stretch front pocket like the Talon, it does have some kind of compartment there. And that is a vertical zippered pocket.
The zippered pocket isn’t as accessible as the stretch one, but I think it’s a little bit more secure. Nothing will fall out of it, and it utilizes pretty much the same amount of space.
This one is up to you – for me, they are both good design choices.
These two backpacks are very similar, and there are only a few design features where they differ. Therefore, it’s really hard to say that one is better than the other.
If you prefer to carry around a lot of gear, and want to be able to attach all of that gear to your backpack, then get the Osprey Talon 22. Even though it has a smaller overall capacity, it makes up for it with an external hydration sleeve and several added stretch pockets.
On the other hand, if you don’t often carry a lot of gear around, then the Stratos 24 will be just fine for you. It is every bit as good as the Talon, with a larger capacity and a somewhat better value for money – because of the included raincover.
Overall, both of these Osprey backpacks are well made, and you won’t have any regrets whichever one you choose. Head over to Amazon to check out their prices – maybe that will be what finally convinces you!