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Initial Review: Hydrapak’s lightweight, versatile Laguna hydration pack

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Billed as an “all day pack,” Hydrapak’s Laguna is a well-organized pack that has plenty of room for a well-equipped day on the trail.  The company’s excellent baffled Shape-Shift reservoir and trademark lightweight construction are in evidence- but can a 1 1/4lb pack hold 3L of water and 10L of gear comfortably, or manage smaller loads without becoming a floppy mess?  Hit the jump to find out!

Loading and organizing the Laguna is relatively simple: two inner pockets and a pump sleeve help tame any main pocket chaos.  A smaller top pocket, two back pockets (the outermost with organizer and key clip), and two open side pockets keep necessities handy.  The reversible (for cleaning) and baffled (for shape and stability) Shape-Shift Reservoir sits in its own pocket against the rider’s back, padded by the same breathable EVA material that keeps the shoulder straps comfortable.  Two compression straps on either side of the pack keep things stable and help to manage bulky items like knee/shin guards and pruning saws.

Coming from more structured packs, I worried that the Laguna wouldn’t be able to handle heavier loads- or that it would lose its form when underpacked.  Fortunately, neither has been the case and the only tradeoff for the bag’s light weight has been a somewhat sweaty back on hot days.  Though it may be overkill for shorter days, the Laguna has served me well on everything from 2-6 hour rides- it never seems too big for anything but the shortest loops and its capacity is welcome on long days or when variable weather means several changes of wardrobe. 

Really, my Laguna wish list is short:  A lost cell phone had me wishing for a top pocket with its opening facing away from gravity’s pull and the right-strap-only hose clip leaves us left-hosers without sufficient drinking tube management.  While the effort is appreciated, the elasticated strap management bands are ineffective and could probably be improved on.  Yeah, we’re reaching.

The lack of a rain cover could be a demerit depending on your tolerance for wet riding- but the bag’s fabric does a better job than some raingear at keeping light moisture out.  The loose side pockets are convenient and the compression straps’ placement mean that smaller items (like mini tools) are content to stay put.

Ultimately, the $120 Laguna could easily be a rider’s only pack.   It manages large loads well without becoming unmanageable when under-filled.  Though it’s still early, the Hydrapak’s construction seems plenty sturdy and the pack is looking like new after a few months’ heavy use.  Absolutely worth a look.



photos looking much better than usual thanks to Kip Malone Photographer

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