Review: Pack Everything Comfortably with the Osprey Savu Lumbar MTB Pack

It’s possible to make any piece of outdoor gear that can be used for mountain biking “mountain bike specific” with a few small changes, and that’s just what Osprey did with their new lumbar pack. Mountain bikers have used Osprey lumber packs, like the Talon and Tempest, but now the brand has a better option for us.

Osprey introduced the Savu and Seral packs last year at Interbike and now they are ready to ship. The Seral comes with a 1.5L hydration reservoir and magnetic hose that wraps around a rider’s waist. It has about 7L of carrying capacity.

The Savu is what I tested, and it’s smaller than the Seral, but not really that small. It holds two water bottles, rather than a hydration reservoir, and has roughly 4L of carrying capacity.

Specs

  • Two designated bottle holders
  • Zippered hip-belt pockets on each side
  • Zippered stash pocket
  • Angled hip-belt
  • Organizational pouches in the zippered main compartment
  • Vented, foam back panel
  • Waist strap closures for fit
  • MSRP: $55 (compare prices)

On the trail

I opted to test the Savu versus the Seral for two reasons: I like to bring a bottle of hydration mix on some rides and don’t want to dirty a reservoir, and I have too many bottles lying around that need to feel some sense of purpose every once in a while.

There are a few features or capabilities I need from a lumbar pack in order to consider riding with it. Ideally, I want to carry the bare minimum I would want in a backpack, but in a smaller package. I’ll need to have a room for a tool, tire levers, tire repair kit, a tube, a mini-pump, water, and a snack or two. That’s pretty much it. Any room left over sweetens the pot.

The Savu fits all of these items in an organized manner, with room left over for a few extras. I can fit even more snacks (very important), a small, packable wind breaker, keys, and maybe another small item. Depending on your mini-pump size, it could be a challenging fit. Mine is 9.25″ in length and I have to shove it in diagonally.

Then, of course, there is the need to bring water bottles. When I first unpacked the Savu the bottle holders looked very tight and I wondered if it would be challenging to fit a bottle or take one out while riding. The bottle holders maintain their circular form though and it is easy to take a bottle out and pop it back in. They also stay in place and I haven’t lost any yet.

The pinnacle of the pack, for me, was when I took it out for a 20-mile ride and still felt like I had everything I needed. I packed two bottles, with another bottle of water on my frame, and had enough snacks in the pack. I probably could have ridden another five or 10 miles without needing anything else.

Venting on the back panel is phenomenal and lets a lot of air in, and the angled straps make the pack comfortable for all-day wear.

Final word

Photo: Hannah Morvay.

The Osprey Savu checks all of the boxes and more. It’s more comfortable than wearing a full pack and I can still carry everything I need for big rides. Having room on the bike for another bottle becomes important if you’re going out for two hours or more, but for sub-two-hour rides, the Savu is an easy choice. I have a feeling it’ll see a lot of use this summer.

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