Talon 11 v. Talon 22 v. Hornet 24 (v. my toes)

I do love packs!  Always have.  I like feet too.

Like the photo sez (L to R): Talon 11 (circa ’09), Hornet 24 (circa ’11), Talon 22 (circa ’07).  Feet circa ’81-present, a work in progress (of ugliness, mostly).

I got the 22 in early ’08, as that was what all the cool kids had.  It has done very well.  In the spring of 2009 I gave in to pack lust and got the 11, even though I strictly didn’t need it.  It’s proven faithful for day adventures, and generally a more frequently used size than the 22, though not big enough for overnights on foot or more gear intensive adventures (winter).

The 24 is brand new, on test for BPL (packs designed for active pursuits, 20-25 liters, claimed at less than 600 grams; we found five).  It appears to be smaller than the 22, and might be, though based on stuffing both full of the same load of towels they are very close in size, closer than the photos make it seem.  It seems like an ideal amalgamation of the 11 and 22, with the best features of both.

For instance:

-both the 11 and 24 have unpadded waist belt wings, I don’t think the padding in the 22’s does anything

-the 11 and 24 have a fixed shoulder yoke, for lightness and simplicity (folks much taller than 6′ might not like this so much)

-the 24 has a less fat and protrusive booty than the 22, but is wider than the 11

-the 24 lacks the goofy inside wallet pockets, has thinner webbing, and is generally leaner

-the 24 has much better compression than both of the others.

-the 24 has better shoulder strap padding (and the narrow straps of the old Talons) than the 11 or 22 ever had as stock

Circa ’08 Talon 44 straps and yoke on my 22.  Thicker than the stock straps and with a solid center section that increases the carry comfort substantially.  Still thin like the stock ’07-’08 22 straps.

Talon 11 straps.  Wider (pointless IMO) and lacking the united center.  Ok for a small pack.

Hornet 24 straps.  Narrow, thick foam like the 44 straps, with a layer of 3D foam/mesh on the inside to spread the load.  Very nice indeed.

24 v. 22 hip belt comparo.  Note the refined design and smaller hardware and webbing on the 24.

First summary point: Osprey hit the nail on the head with the original Talon 22 concept, and I assume they’ve made bank on it.

Second summary point: the Hornet 24 is the next, substantially improved generation of the 22.

If you want to buy a used Talon 11 and 22, head over to the Bikepacking.net forums soon.

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7 thoughts on “Talon 11 v. Talon 22 v. Hornet 24 (v. my toes)

  1. I have the Aura with the giant mesh area. That’s my contribution to this backpack orgy.

    We should get drinks soon.

  2. I also use a Talon 11 and 22. My 11 gets used almost daily and I love both packs. I’m kind’a bummed that there’s now something (maybe) better out there. Fortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to try the new pack so I’ll continue to be happy with the Talons… Does the Hornet have pockets on the waist belt? I can’t tell from the photos. Thanks for all your write-ups, Dave.

  3. Hey Gary!

    The Hornet has waist belt pockets that are basically identical to those on the other packs. Curiously, one has a mesh lower half, the other solid fabric.

    While I do like the Hornet better, the differences are quite small, if anything only an excuse for one of the more superfluous forms of upgraditis.

  4. I love my Talon packs. The 11 has seen heavy use for some of my cycling adventures. Both are top quality:)

    I’m now considering one of the Osprey hydration packs.

  5. I went to the store 6 months ago certain I was going to spend my money on an Osprey pack (probably Talon series). I found nothing about them more compelling than the competitive Camelback product I have been using for 11 years. They certainly were no lighter when including hydration system weight, and the did not include a bladder in the price, so I passed.

    Overall, they had neat doo dads that I probably don’t appreciate as a completely bike centric pack hauler.

  6. Update:

    Carried the Hornet during the Grizzlyman Adventure Race yesterday. Brilliant pack. The compression is perfect, the pack quite stable when running, and the lash points on the back held snowshoes really well.

    It’s worth the extra cash over a Talon 22.

  7. Nice review, Dave! The main zipper on my Talon 22 is starting to go…it’ll be a tough decision as to whether I should put in a new one or replace the whole dang thing with a Hornet. Hmm…

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