Review: Hydrapak Avila Hydration Pack

The Hydrapak Avila is the smallest, lightest hydration pack in Hydrapak’s line that is intended for use on the bike.

Specs

Weighing in at just 7 ounces when empty, this pack is truly ultra-lightweight. Yet, the water reservoir can hold up to 70 ounces of H2O, so this pack can still carry a good bit of hydration.

The reservoir features Hydrapak’s shape-shift technology, allowing for a flatter, more comfortable ride when the internal zipper is used, or a maximum-capacity version when the zipper isn’t used.

The Avila is made of CrossSoft nylon diamond ripstop with interlock stretch fabrics. The pack also features 360-degree reservoir insulation, an internal mesh pocket, pump sleeve, sliding sternum strap, a key clip, and a reflective light loop.

Out on the Trail

To begin, I have to confess I really like large hydration packs. I like to know I have everything I need, and that usually includes three liters of water. Still, I figured a pack the size of the Avila would be useful for shorter rides.

This pack truly is uber-lightweight. Sometimes I get so used to hauling around a ton of gear on my back that I don’t give the extra weight a second thought–but when I use a pack as small and light as the Avila, I realize how much that weight actually burdens me when I ride.

Note: I tightened up the straps some once I got rolling.

The straps are very thin and whispy-light, but plenty strong, reasonably comfortable, and very well ventilated when riding.

On the down side, with the water reservoir unzipped for maximum water storage (I drink a lot, even on short rides), there’s almost no room for gear in this pack. I was able to squeeze a hand pump, multi-tool, and spare 29er tube in there, but it was stuffed tight! Still, that’s acceptable for a pack of this style: the idea is to be as lightweight as possible.

If you’re going to use this pack, I recommend simultaneously running a seat bag to carry a tube, tool, and inflation equipment. Doing so will free up a little more room in the pack and make it feel lighter too (which is the goal with a pack of this sort, isn’t it?). Also, it’s worth noting that since the pack is so small and doesn’t include a waist strap, I still had easy access to my jersey pockets while riding. That in and of itself will provide more storage room (if you wear a jersey with pockets), and reserves the pack just for hauling water.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a hydration pack for short rides, or you want to carry as little gear on your back in as lightweight of a package as possible, the Hydrapak Avila is the pack for you! If, however, you like to prepare for all situations, I’d recommend a pack with more storage room, such as the Hydrapak Tamarack.

MSRP: $59.99

Many thanks to Hydrapak for providing the Avila for review!

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