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Just right. It’s always subjective assessment, but finding a hydration pack that’s just right for racing has been hard for me. Sure, most racers wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a pack on race day, but when facing 24 hours’ worth of riding, being able to fix mechanicals, carry a light battery, or grab an emergency snack makes the fashion faux pas worth my while.
Hydrapak’s 4L (plus a 2L bladder) Selva aims to be just right for quick rides and longer races. Is this the little bag that could? Or did it leave me wanting for a bit more (or less)? Pass the break to find out!
Packed with mini and shock pumps, a multi tool, tube, a couple of snacks, and Hydrapak’s excellent Reversible Reservoir, the Selva can easily accommodate a light jacket or arm warmers and a light battery- but not much else. The lower pocket’s dividers, the external electronics pocket, and an inside mesh pocket do a good job at keeping organized. A dedicated bladder pocket helps to keep the bladder safe and allows for easy reservoir filling.
Like most of Hydrapak’s packs, the Selva is built using some seriously lightweight fabrics. It may not be the best choice for trail use, but they do help keep this race-oriented pack just under the 1lb mark. The lightweight construction has generally held up well, with the only exception being a hanging/grab loop broken during a bladder-seating-shake. For 2012, the grab handle is integrated into the (now mesh) shoulder straps- apparently I wasn’t the only one with this problem.
With just enough room to carry everything I need for a long cross country race or a couple of hours in our local Foothills, the Selva gets a ton of use. The bag is stable with the removable waist belt in place and basically stays out of the way and off my mind. Hydrapak’s Reversible Reservoir is one of my favorites for its easy filling and cleaning and generous water delivery. My only real complaint looks to have been resolved for 2012- and the shoulder straps made cooler as a bonus. If your essentials won’t quite fit in jersey pockets, the well thought-out Selva is a great choice. Available in 3 color combinations for $80