Hydrapak Selva Review

My first real exposure to Hydrapak’s products was this year at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. They had a unique booth set up with a game of bean bag toss, known to many as corn hole, with free gear as a prize for making it in the hole on your first shot. I didn’t make it in, but I still got a water bottle as a consolation prize.

Ok, maybe that’s not really all that unique, is it? Well, if it had just been a game of corn hole, maybe not, but the “bean bags” were actual 1 liter Hydrapak reservoirs filled with water. There were bags of water flying all across the field, bouncing off of the boards and the ground, and you know what?

None of them broke. None of them even leaked. That’s how good Hydrapak’s technology is.

Special Features

The Selva hydration pack that Hydrapak sent me to review has 250 cubic inches of storage and a 70 oz. / 2 L. reservoir.

It has several intuitive features, not the least of which is the magnetic mouth piece attachment. When I first noticed this, I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen! With other packs, making sure that my mouth piece was in the right spot was always a challenge, and putting it back after taking a drink always seemed to be a hassle, especially if it’s all you can do to keep up with the wheel in front of you. This movable magnetic attachment makes it an absolute cinch!

But of course, as I mentioned above, it’s the technology of the reservoir itself that is truly remarkable.

For starters, we were able to use the reservoirs as bean bags because the hose can be completely detached from a full bladder without having it run everywhere, thanks to a unique valve system at the bottom. This makes it easy to drain the hose and keeps everything secure and leak free when it’s re-attached.

After the hose is detached, the reservoir can be turned completely inside-out for easy drying and cleaning. This feature is courtesy of the wide fold-top closure. To close the top, just push the two hard ends together, fold them over, and slide the locking mechanism on top.

Once the bladder is ready to go, it hangs from a hook in the main pouch to keep things evenly distributed inside the pack. On the trail, the bite valve rotates to allow full flow or you can lock it out to keep it from dripping.

Here’s a quick video clip from Hydrapak illustrating how easy it is to fill and clean the reservoir:

Real Life Performance

This is all well and good in theory, but how does the Selva perform out on the trail? The Answer: Even better!

Most of the time, it takes me a little while to get used to a new pack. With the Selva, I only had to loosen up the straps and adjust them to my liking and after the initial 30 seconds it took me to get set up, I’ve just been able to forget it! The Selva is easily one of the most comfortable packs I’ve worn.

With 250 cubic inches of storage, it has enough room to fit emergency tools, a pump, tube, and a few extras, but probably not any extra clothes. It’s a pretty low-weight, low-profile pack that is perfect if you want to forget that you’re carrying gear. It’s intended for serious mountain bike use, and rides so snugly that even in the rough stuff it stays in place and doesn’t distract by bouncing all over the place. Several packs I have used in the past would be fine on the climbs, but when it came to launching off of drops on the downhills, they would fly up and hit me in the back of the head. Thankfully, the Selva stays exactly where it’s supposed to be: in the middle of my back.

Obviously, at this size it isn’t intended for epic-length rides, but Hydrapak has several other offerings with more water and gear storage for when you want to put in those really long mile

As for the hose routing, I’d like to thank the commentators for pointing out the correct route. When I first got the pack, I felt around on the inside of the straps but couldn’t seem to find my way through. After looking at it again, when coming from the inside of the pack you just have to be careful to take the upper route so you end up on the outside instead of inside the strap. Or, thanks to Hydrapak’s ingenious valving technology, you could route the hose backwards through the gray flap and connect it to the reservoir once it’s on the inside. Again, thanks to the anonymous commentator for pointing that out!

Bottom Line

Looking for a hydration pack for your everyday mountain bike rides that is easy to clean, rides firmly on your back, and has a ton of small features that make it easy to use? Check out the Hydrapak Selva for $74.99!

Thank you to Hydrapak for creating such innovative products, and for providing one of them for review!