Osprey Seral 1.5L Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Loads of storage, easy hose routing, comfortable
Cons: A little bulky, busy design
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Seral 1.5 is a killer hip pack that earns a Top Pick for Long Rides. It does a lot of things well and doesn't have any major flaws. The fit can be a little funky for smaller riders, but aside from that, virtually all design aspects are dialed. The hydration aspect of the pack works as it should, storage and comfort are stellar, and the price is nice.
Ease of Drinking
The Seral 1.5 delivers solid drinkability. The hose and bladder are both well-executed, and the drinking motion doesn't require excessive force to get a good haul off of it. The magnetic attachment on the waist makes it especially easy to pull the hose off when you want a drink.
The hose on the Seral 1.5 is an adequate length — taller riders will have no trouble having the hose reach their mouths. One interesting and noteworthy item is that the Seral has a very unique way of routing the hose — straight out the top of the bag. Osprey designed the bag so there is a small gap between the end of the zipper and the end of the opening for the hose to pass through. Nice touch. This way, the hose doesn't get twisted or crimped in any manner. The hose exits the bladder in the bottom-center of the bladder making it easy to drink your water to the very end without struggling to finish the last few ounces.
Ease of Filling
The Seral 1.5 is moderately easy to fill. It does not have a quick-connect bladder/hose system, but Osprey used a nice work-around. The bladder is roughly the size of the zippered opening, so removal requires simply pulling the bag directly out of the top — no finicky wrangling or fishing around needed
Secondly, and uniquely, the hose routing plays a huge role. Because this pack does not have a quick-connect bladder/hose interface, it is best to remove the entire bladder and hose to fill the bladder. Since the hose isn't routed through some small hole in the side of the bag, it is quite easy to pull the bladder out to fill it. Other bags that try to have clever hose routing but do not have a quick-connect valve are quite difficult to work with. With these packs, you have to pull the hose out of the hole and then remove the bladder. More importantly, you have to reroute everything afterward. With the Seral, it is much simpler; the whole unit simply lifts out.
The act of filling the bladder is also quite easy. Simply pull the slider off of the track, use your fingers to pry open the bladder, and fill with water. Upon completion, fold the flap at the top of the bladder back so the track is exposed, and return the slider to the top. One annoying quirk is that the string attached to the top of the slider mechanism is a bit short — an inch or two more would make it far easier to work with.
The Seral 1.5 is a comfortable waist pack. Osprey really nailed some of the small details that are ever-so-important. On longer rides, we had no problem with chafing or irritation. The pack is reasonably cool when sitting against the back.
When clipping this hip pack on, it is apparent that Osprey paid attention to the important details. The portion of the straps that wrap around the hips are well articulated, and the main part of the pack sits flat against the lower back/lumbar. The straps are of appropriate length and are wide enough to sit flat against the stomach so they don't twist up or get sucked into the waistband of your shorts.
One quirk is that the shape of the bag is a little odd due to the fact that is simply larger than most of the other packs we tested. The bottom part of the bag sits a little low on the lumbar and upper buttocks. This isn't noticeable when you are the saddle, but it is when you are standing. It doesn't really restrict movement, but it seems imperfect or a little unfinished. It is beneficial to really wear this bag in a slightly higher waist position to counteract this.
The portion of the bag that sits against the back is soft with a tiny bit of airflow. There is a light screen that covers some ribbed material. The ridges in the plastic help promote air movement to allow moisture and heat to escape on those toasty summer rides. It is always hard to gauge how well this works. Given the sheer size of the Seral 1.5, it isn't particularly cool or airy — there is simply too much material sitting against your back. That said, it isn't especially clammy or hot either, having more of a pillowy, soft, feel.
The Seral 1.5 has copious amounts of storage. As a result, it won our Top Pick for Long Rides. You can fit plenty of snacks, food, and even an extra layer or rain shell.
The main part of the bag has a couple of storage zones. The compartment that holds the hydration bladder also has a large storage area. There are no cradles or pouches, just open storage. This area is best suited for a carefully placed rain shell or base layer. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich could work well too.
The front compartment has additional storage and some organizational pockets, accessed by an approximately 10-inch long zipper. Upon opening the bag, you are looking at an elastic, mesh, storage area on the left. This has an elastic upper connected to a mesh pouch, a prime location for a tube. To the right is a zipped pocket, a nice spot for some small pieces like a quick-link or a rolled-up shifter cable that you don't want getting frayed. The rest of this large area is open storage and suited for snacks and fruit.
On the sides of the bag near the hips are two zipped pockets, one on each side. These compartments are a little too small for most modern cell phones but could work for keys, some cash, or a multi-tool. They are nice as they are easily accessed without removing the pack.
The Seral 1.5 weighs 360-grams. This is towards the top end of the weight spectrum for the packs in this review, though it is still far from heavy. And it's important to note that, overall, the Seral is quite comfortable and really fades into the background when you're riding.
Ease of Cleaning
The Seral scores decently here. One key factor is the ease of access to the hose and bladder system — since they simply pull out of the bag, it makes cleaning much easier. There is no need to fuss with routing. It is simple to wash the bladder out, clean the hose with a pipe cleaner, and hang it all out to dry. When it is time to ride again, fill 'er up, drop the bladder and hose back into the bag, and you're rolling.
The bladder inside the Seral has a nice wide slider-top opening, making it quite easy to reach your whole hand right inside. The bladder does have two circular welded spots on either side to provide a little extra structure. These areas make it a marginally more challenging to clean inside when compared to some other bladders. Otherwise, this pack is generally a cinch to clean. If the inside of the bag gets sticky from some old fruit or tubeless sealant, scrubbing it out is simple. The large pockets make it easy to get in there with a rag and some cleaning solution. In addition, the material is fairly quick-drying if you choose to hit the pack with a hose.
The Seral 1.5 is a strong value. This is a quality hip pack that offers nice comfort levels, huge amounts of storage, and an easy-to-clean and user-friendly hydraulic bladder system. It does a lot of things right and has few flaws. In addition, Osprey has an excellent warranty and replacement policy that adds value.
The Osprey Seral 1.5 is a high-quality hip pack that earns our Top Pick for Long Rides. It offers generous amounts of storage and a slick and simple design. If you are seeking a lumbar pack to carry loads of supplies and snacks on a sizeable ride, this might be the pack for you. If you generally find yourself on 90-minute hot laps, there are better options on the market, but when storage capacity is critical, reach for the Seral, you won't be disappointed.
— Pat Donahue