Osprey Seral 7 Review
Abigail Armstrong takes a look at the Osprey Seral 7, a bike-specific lumbar-pack featuring an internal hydration reservoir.
The Osprey hip pack is a small hip or waist pack with a hydration bladder and tube designed to carry 1.5 litres of drink and other things you’ll need for a day ride.
My riding is nearly all off-road and I usually use a bottle and then fill my jersey pockets with other essentials to keep the weight down. However there are times when you need to either carry a few more things or when you want to avoid drinking from a muddy bottle. A hydration pack serves both these needs and the choices are a backpack or a hip pack.
I was keen to test this hip pack to see whether I felt more balanced on the mountain bike with the load moved lower down. However, I was worried that the strap would dig into my tummy and leave me gasping for breath, and that the tube would break free from its magnetic clasp and either dangle into the spokes or into the mud.
The main section is quite large and has an interior pocket for the bladder and room for jacket, pump and sandwiches. In front of this is another zipped pocket with an interior scratch-free lined pocket for phone or sunglasses, a key clasp and further space for snacks.
There are two side pockets on the hips which are waterproof on the exterior but mesh against the body and these are each big enough for small items that you might need ready access such as a mini tool, keys, snack bars or gels, etc. There are compression straps to reduce the bulk if you’ve not completely filled the bag.
The hydration bladder – like other Osprey bladders – is easy to fill with its wide opening and slide-on closure. Fill it, place it in the hydration pocket and zip up. If you fill it with the maximum capacity (1.5 litres) and a few lightweight bits and pieces (rain jacket, snack bars, mini tool and mini pump) then it’s quite comfortable and didn’t hinder my riding.
Because the bag sits on your lower back you can’t put anything bulky in your jersey pockets, everything has to go inside the bag. I found if I added a bit more weight (a couple of bananas) the belt dug into my tummy. I then had to loosen it and shift the weight over my hips instead. Don’t try wearing it like a sash because it just swings around to the front so you’re constantly spinning it back behind you.
However, this might just be due to having a narrow waist and bigger hips which made the bag ride up to my waist. I got my partner to try wearing it and he didn’t have this issue.
On the plus side having the weight lower down was very comfortable. I felt pretty balanced with it and unlike a backpack it didn’t make me overheat; a bonus in the warmer months.
As with other Osprey bags it is well designed and well made. It has strong and secure zip pulls, sealed zips, a carry handle, adjustable straps, compression straps, and a strong fastener clips. It comes with the Osprey All Mighty guarantee – that it is good quality, but if there is any defect they will repair it or replace parts (eg clips).
I wore the Seral 7 on a very splashy muddy day and was worried about the bite piece getting dirty, so threaded the tube under my jacket and out through the neckline. This worked, though I sometimes had to dig around to fish out the bite piece and it was a faff to remove the bag and un-thread the tube when I wanted to pee! So if you’re wearing lots of layers, and it’s super muddy, you’re probably better off with a backpack hydration pack.
On the other hand the Seral 7 got covered in mud but kept my back clean! The exterior is waterproof and you can brush or shower any mud off it. However when you unzip the bag you have to be careful not to let in any mud or water.
On a drier (but still muddy) day I tried it with the tube worn properly around the waist and fastened with the magnet. I was impressed that this clasp was strong enough to hold the tube in place while I was riding. However as soon as I jumped off the bike to open a gate and my arm brushed against the bite piece it came off and swung free, generally aiming towards the muck on the bike. So best to keep your elbows out of its way or opt for threading the tube under your jacket.
In a review last year for the Raven 10 I had an issue with the taste from the bladder but no such problems with this one.
I mentioned at the beginning I had a few reasons for wanting to try a hip bag and a few reservations. It was nice to carry weight lower down my back and I didn’t feel unbalanced or bottom heavy. The Seral 7 can dig in if you wear it too high on the waist – it’s more comfortable on the hips. The only drawback is the way the tube can become detached and so I tucked the tube out of the way inside my jacket.
List of Seral 7 features
- Hydration compartment with bladder
- Room for jacket, sandwiches, etc
Front pocket with:
- zipped sunglasses/dry pocket
- Key clasp
- Mesh pocket
Two side pockets with mesh on inside, waterproof outside
- Big clip fastener at the front of the belt
- Compression straps
- Sealed zips
- Magnet to hold the bite piece and a choice of positions to place it
- Shaped back panel covered with mesh that holds the bag slightly away from your body to allow air to flow
- Tab with reflective stripe that you can clip a light onto
- Carrying strap
- Reflective logos
Take a look at Abi’s review of the Raven backpack.