I’ve used enough daypacks over the years to notice the little differences between the many models out there—and to be very picky about them. Not only do I favor lighter, simpler daypacks for everything from dayhikes with my family to ultra-dayhikes, but I expect comfort, good access, and versatility, and I know what I like in features. With those requirements in mind, I took Osprey’s Talon 18 out on several dayhikes of varying lengths—including a 27-mile, 12-hour day—during a six-day rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
It carried comfortably even throughout my longest day. The molded-foam, Airscape back panel flexes and doesn’t have the rigidity of a wire frame, but has good support for 15 or more pounds and keeps the pack’s weight down; it also allowed some air circulation across my back.
If, like me, you prefer a lightweight, multi-use pack for dayhiking, adventure racing, or scrambling peaks, with simple but smart organization, the men’s Talon 18 and women’s Tempest 16 are good choices. Osprey’s Talon series includes several models from 6L to 44L. The women’s Tempest series, with a gender-specific harness, is available in models from 6L to 40L.