On Test: Osprey Seral MTB Lumbar Hydration Pack With 1.5L Reservoir
Reviewer: Steve Leeder
Photos: Steve Leeder & Mandy Lamont
This whole water / gear / random stuff carrying thing shouldn’t be so hard. There are so many options and ideas as to what works best. To be honest, if I didn’t have to carry anything ever I would be stoked but shit goes wrong and we need stuff while on the trail. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to carry a pack again, unless its crazy gnar trails, and I also want some back protection so what’s the best thing?!?
Well, lately I have been riding with the OSPREY SERAL bum bag, wait, I was told not to call it a bum bag, LUMBAR RESERVOIR PACK, and its been pretty awesome. My biggest concern was that filled up even just with water that it was going to bounce all over the place but I’ve raced a 5 stage Enduro race with 2 proper downhill stages as well as some pretty big drops and tech trails and I didn’t feel it move at all. Osprey has used a pretty cool specifically shaped hip belt and compression straps along with what they call ERGO PULL (a fancy term for keeping the waist straps and buckle in the middle of your belly and pulling even) to keep the bag sitting as close to your body as possible.
The main reason for the bag is to carry water, right? The SERAL comes with a 1.5L reservoir. The water hose is obviously long enough to reach from your bum to your mouth but it’s out of the bag. This made me nervous as well but it has a cool little magnet that clips it around your waist. How strong can a little magnet be while charging down a steep technical trail? So far in the last few months of use, it hasn’t come undone yet.
The reason packs have become a no go is the sweaty grossness that your back and jersey become from the pack sitting directly on your back. The waist belt is made from what they call AIRMESH and the main back section is made up of an extra thick-ridged foam with a centre air channel. The airflow is awesome.
There are 2 big compartments with heaps of pockets inside to keep everything separated. I have been able to cram everything for a race or a really long epic around the local trails. As I drink the water and eat all the bars and GU gels I just keep pulling the straps to make the bag smaller and tighter to my back.
One thing that I always seem to find with most any bag or even pockets on some clothes is how tough it is to pull the zipper pulls. Osprey have put these little plastic “loop holder openers” ha, I’ve got all the technical terms sorted out, don’t I? It’s such a simple thing but it really works. Not just a gimmick.
In short, this reservoir pack works and it works real good.