The Osprey Seral 1.5L is a large hip-pack that is suited for long rides carrying plenty of supplies. This cavernous pack offers a generous amount of storage in the form of a large compartment, a smaller organizational pocket, and two smaller hip pockets, earning it our Top Pick for Long Rides. The hydration system is well-designed and features clever hose routing that is a whole lot simpler than other options. This waist bag is exceptionally comfortable and it conforms well to the rider. One knock on the Seral is that it is especially large. This doesn't translate to a higher weight, but it is visually quite large and brings a quirky fit for smaller riders. It's also reasonably priced making it a strong value.
Osprey Seral 1.5L Review
Compare prices at 3 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 earned a Top Pick for Long Rides. The Osprey does a lot of things well and doesn't have any major flaws. The fit can be a little bit funky for smaller riders, but aside from that, virtually all design aspects were dialed. The hydration aspect of the pack works as it should. In addition, storage and comfort were stellar. The Osprey is definitely a high-end pack but came up just a little short of the Editor's Choice. Still, this is a fantastic pack for a great number of riders at a nice price.
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 is an adequate length and taller riders will have no trouble having the hose reach their mouths. One interesting and noteworthy item is that the Seral 1.5 has a very unique way of routing the hose. Osprey takes a simpler approach and just routes the hose out of the top of the bag. They 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. It is easy to drink the water to the very end and it isn't one of those bags where you are struggling to finish the last few ounces.
Ease of Filling
The Seral 1.5 is moderately easy to fill. There are a few things going on here. First and very simply. It is easy to pull the bladder out of the top of the bag. It doesn't need to be fished out and it isn't finicky. 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.
Secondly, and in a unique manner, the hose routing plays a huge role. This pack does not have a quick-connect bladder/hose interface. As a result, it is best to remove the entire bladder and hose to fill this pack. 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 as they can sometimes be sticky, and fill with water. Upon completion, fold the flap at the top of the bladder back so the track is exposed and push the slider back on the track. One annoying quirk is the string attached to the top of the slider mechanism. If it was only an inch or two longer, it would be far easier to work with. The string is long-enough, but it's hard to believe that adding a little length would make it more of a tangle risk.
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 was reasonably cool when sitting against our back. The only flaw was a noteworthy fit quirk.
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 your hips are well articulated. The main part of the pack sits flat against your lower back/lumbar. The straps are of appropriate length and are wide enough to sit flat against your stomach and don't twist up or get sucked into the waistband of your shorts.
One quirk is 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 lowest part of the bag sits a little low on the lumbar and upper buttocks. This isn't noticeable when you are the saddle, but when you are standing, it is noticeable. This position 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 your 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 airflow 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 wasn't particularly cool or airy. There is simply too much material sitting against your back. That said, it wasn't especially clammy or hot either, it had 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 main 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. This is 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. This is a prime location for a tube. To the right is a zipped pocket. This is 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. These pockets 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. This pack is quite comfortable and really fades into the background when you're riding.
Ease of Cleaning
The Osprey pack scored reasonably well in the ease of cleaning metric. One key factor is the ease of access to the hose and bladder system. Since the hose and bladder simply pull out of the bag very easily, it makes cleaning much easier. There is no need to fuss with routing. It is easy to wash the bladder out, clean the hose with a pipe cleaner and hang it 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 that hold the two side of the bladder together for a little structure. These welded spots make it a little 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 gets some tubeless sealant in it, it is easy to scrub out. The large pockets make it easy to get in there with a rag and some cleaning solution. In addition, the material seems fairly quick-drying if you choose to hit the pack with a hose.
At $85, the Seral 1.5 is 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. This pack 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 earned our Top Pick for Long Rides. This bag 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, the Osprey could very well be the pack for you. If you generally find yourself on 90-minute hot laps, there are better options on the market. When storage capacity is critical, reach for the Seral 1.5, you won't be disappointed.
— Pat Donahue