As most of you know, I've been sharing helpful guides to Osprey backpacks for more than 2 years now (find full post list is at the bottom).
I thought that putting together a guide around Osprey Talon vs Stratos (which also applies to Osprey Tempest vs Sirrus) models would be helpful for most of you.
Because both of them took place in my top Osprey hiking backpacks post, and their differences can be confusing at times.
Let's take a brief look at them before we dig any deeper.
You can think of Talon | Tempest line as a more comfortable & less feature-rich alternative to the Stratos | Sirrus line. In short, I'd recommend the Talon 22 for multiple high output activities, the Stratos 24 or Talon 33 if you'll be day hiking only, the Stratos 36 for overnight camping trips and Stratos 50 for weekend trips.
...also apply to their women's counterparts, Tempest and Sirrus lines.
If I had to lay them out one by one...
Talon 22 vs Stratos 24
I'd recommend them mostly for daily purposes.
- Talon 22: In addition to day hiking, if you're also planning to perform a fair amount of other high output activities (think biking or bikepacking), then I'd recommend Talon 22 over Stratos 34.
- Stratos 24: If I were to day-hike with my pack 80% of the time or more, then I'd prefer the Stratos 24 over Talon 22.
- Its design is intended towards hiking more than the Talon 22. Equipped with more pockets: Top panel zippered stash pocket, front panel zippered storage pocket and front panel vertical zippered pocket. There might not be (isn't) much difference between their volumes, but you always wish having your equipment organized on a hike. This will make a noticeable difference.
Talon 33 vs Stratos 34 and 36
I'd recommend them mostly for day hikes with occasional overnight camping trips with UL gear.
- Talon 33: More streamlined (no sleeping bag compartment & less exterior pockets) compared to Stratos 34 and 36, but offers more comfort.
- Also, unlike Talon 22 and Stratos 24 & 34, Talon 33 is loaded from top - which allows easier access to your main compartment when you take your pack off and put it on the ground.
- Now yes, I am listing the Talon 33 under this heading and not under the previous one - but don't let that mislead you. Overall design (no sleeping bag compartment and few pockets combined with small size) of Talon 33 would allow you to camp overnight only if you're packing ultralight gear. Otherwise, I'd probably stick with Stratos 36 in most cases for that matter, and prefer Talon 33 just for day hikes.
- Stratos 34 (no women's counterpart!): I can't think of any situation I'd recommend this pack over the others mentioned in this post.
- Its design, in my opinion, is mostly "flawed", for the lack of a better word. Its intention is unfortunately stuck somewhere between day hiking and overnight camping. The thing I find the most strange and confusing about it is that it's large AND offers front panel loading at the same time. It doesn't even have a women's counterpart! Is Osprey experimenting their marketing with this pack or what?!
- Stratos 36: The most suitable pick here for overnight trips. Mind you though, I'd still like a (much) larger volume for trips longer than 1 night. Check out Stratos 50 for that matter.
- Versatility-wise, it's a no-brainer that the Stratos 36 is the winner here. If you aren't sure about the ratio of your day hiking trips to your overnight camping trips... Better be safe than sorry. Some say that the more space you have, the more you'll pack, but I don't find it necessarily true for me. I think having the extra space but not needing it is better than needing it but not having it. Especially when you're considering to get a backpack that's far from cheap.
Talon 44 vs Stratos 50
I'd mostly recommend them for weekend camping and hiking trips.
- Stratos 50: The most suitable pick here for this. I'm pretty sure that the Stratos 36 won't suffice in this case.
- Besides the obvious volume increase, everything else stays the same going from Stratos 36 to 50. The benefit of the additional side access becomes a complete game-changer here.
- Talon 44: I'd probably get the Stratos 50.
- Unlike Stratos 50, Talon 44 does not offer a side-access to the main compartment (as it's the case for all Talon & Tempest line-up). If you're like most people; when going above, say, 40 liters; an additional access would probably always come handy. Not having to dig through your entire inventory and then re-packing them mostly save you a lot of time and frustration on the go.
Both are great lines with different design intentions: Talon | Tempest line is more comfortable & less feature-rich than Stratos | Sirrus line.