I have a confession, for I have sinned. Only when I got my hands on the Car Sick Designs “The Time Traveller” in 2019 did I realise hip packs are the ultimate cycling accessory, whether for weekend trails, extended bikepacking trips, or general life. It makes perfect sense: resting conveniently on your hips for all-day comfort, being the ideal size for essentials, e.g., tools, wallet, phone, camera, etc. The first time I rode with a hip pack was a total revelation, and now I rarely ride without one. Osprey has taken the hip pack one step further with their “off-the-back hydration solutions,” the Seral 4L and Savu 2L.
The Savu is the more affordable option of the two and offers a conveniently located single-bottle holder. This model is aimed at “quick laps on your favourite trails” and provides enough capacity for ride essentials. The Seral is a more sophisticated option that integrates a 1.5-litre bladder and high-strength magnetic hose coupling. I always have bottle mounts on the bike so gravitate towards the lower-profile Seral (also, once a bladder is empty, it takes up very little space, unlike a bottle). The Savu 2 and Seral 4 are super stable thanks to a biking-specific fit, with compression straps that pull the pack into the lower back and wrap around the hips. According to Osprey, “This is created by a breathable Airmesh wrap hip belt that contours over the hipbone, Osprey’s ErgoPull cross-body waist strap closure system that pulls the pack into the lumbar, and side compression straps that pull the load close to your body, providing the most comfortable, secure and stable carry.” Needless to say, a lot of careful product development has gone into these packs to ensure optimum comfort and bike-specific functionality. Moreover, all Savu and Seral packs, including carry-over, are now available in Bluesign-approved recycled high-tenacity nylon fabric with PFC-free DWR.
Osprey has taken the venerable hip pack and made it even more versatile. The Seral is easily my favourite option, as the hydration bladder is lower-profile and can be removed when not required to create additional space (whilst the Savu bottle holder restricts internal space with or without a bottle in place). As someone who’s always used CamelBak products (their Repack 4L hip pack is a great alternative), I prefer the Seral’s quick access tube for drinking on the move. Hip packs have become very popular over the past five years, and there’s a vast array of quality biking-specific options available (including Car Sick Designs, Nittany Mountain Works, Porcelain Rocket, and Bedrock Bags). However, far fewer offer built-in hydration, making the latest offerings from Osprey a worthwhile consideration.
Savu 2L ($50), Seral 4L ($75) | osprey.com