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Osprey Talon 11 hydration pack review

A do-it-all hydration pack for longer days out

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £110.00 RRP | USD $140.00 | EUR €125.00 | AUD $200.00
Osprey Talon 11 hydration pack for mountain bikers

Our review

A good general-use adventure pack, but not designed specifically enough to recommend it for mountain biking alone
Pros: Plenty of cargo space; excellent access to main compartment; comfortable wide waist belt with good zipped pockets; bungees on back for holding extras; stiff back comfy and prevents cargo digging in
Cons: Limited internal organisation; one large compartment means everything mixed in and free to move; ineffective compression strapping to control this
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Osprey manufactures a huge number of packs for every occasion, from bike-specific hydration packs to climbing rucksacks.

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The Talon falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, likely in the ‘general adventure sport’ category.

It offers plenty of room, a comfortable waist belt and some good zipped pockets, but the lack of dedicated compartments is a negative.

Osprey Talon 11 hydration pack specifications and details

The Talon 11 is a decent all-round pack, but inside there’s only a single compartment.
Andy McCandlish / Our Media

The first thing to note about the Talon 11 is what is not there.

As a general adventure sport pack, there are few of the MTB-specific features that I generally take for granted in the best hydration packs.

The main section is pretty much the only compartment, unless you count the narrow sprung mesh pockets on the outside. Barring one suspended phone-sized mesh pocket at the top, there are no dividers or tool organisers to secure your bits and pieces once loaded up.

Bungee cords enable you to attach kit or clothing.
Andy McCandlish / Our Media

There are bungee cords on the back to secure clothing or extra kit, and the wide waist belt has a large zipped pocket on each side.

The brand’s adventure sports heritage is given away by the attachments for walking poles and ice axes, which is great if you’re looking for a multi-use pack.

Osprey Talon 11 hydration pack performance

The stiff mesh back ensures a comfortable ride.
Andy McCandlish / Our Media

Although I was very taken with the Talon 11 as a general pack to head for the hills with, I was less enthusiastic about it as a pack purely for mountain biking.

My main gripe emerged as soon as I went to pack my kit. The Talon’s more general-use credentials mean there’s no tool organiser or tool roll as you get with some of Osprey’s packs; it also doesn’t include a compartment you can store tools in to keep them accessible.

This meant they went straight to the bottom of the cavernous 11-litre main section and just moved around freely. Waterproof jackets went in on top, and it meant the whole lot had to come out when I needed to access anything.

The wide waist belt incorporates two zipped pockets.
Andy McCandlish / Our Media

It’s not a great start, but the pack was very stable when it was on, despite the compression straps not being as effective as I’d have liked. It was also comfortable thanks to a wide, stiffened back with mesh and channelled foam to keep things cool.

Handy zipped pockets on the chunky waist belt were roomy enough for some tools and spares, but I preferred to keep them for quick access to energy bars and other frequently needed items, such as a GPS bike computer or phone.

The hydration pocket is well placed down the back of the ‘Airscape’ backboard and is nicely isolated from the contents of the main compartment, which is a positive. It did take some vigorous shimmying to get a full reservoir into a packed bag. However, you can say the same thing about most hydration packs.

Osprey Talon 11 hydration pack bottom line

There are better options if you want a pack designed specifically for mountain biking.
Andy McCandlish / Our Media

Despite all of that criticism, the Talon 11 is not a bad pack, it’s just missing a lot of the design elements that make for an excellent MTB-specific hydration pack.

If you’re after a general pack to ride into the hills, then get off and climb them, I would have no hesitation in recommending it, but as a purely mountain biking pack, it’s not among the best.

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If you want an Osprey pack better suited to mountain biking, try the larger Siskin 12 or smaller Raptor 10 packs, both of which offer more bike-specific features.

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $200.00EUR €125.00GBP £110.00USD $140.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 980g – without reservoir, Array, g
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Osprey


Features br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Fabric: 100D x 210D Bluesign Recycled Robic Nylon
Colours: Cosmic Red; Stealth Black; Limon Green; Ceramic Blue; Eclipse Grey
Reservoir: Not supplied
Features: Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment; Injection moulded Airscape™ HDPE backpanel with EVA foam padding; Stretch mesh side pockets; Twin zippered hipbelt pockets; Internal key attachment clip; Stretch pocket on harness
Bag capacity br_bagCapacity, 11, 0, Bag capacity, 11l, Array, l