Gerber Serra XC Hydration Day Pack Review
I used a hydration pack for the first time on my hike with my kids to the Lemon Squeezer in Harriman State Park (Arden, New York).
The pack is a Gerber Serra XC. I like it a lot. What sold me on the Gerber Serra XC was the packs reservoir. The reservoir is dish washer safe – meaning it’s easy to keep clean!!!
I did some research before settling on the Gerber Serra XC. I did some research before settling on the Gerber Serra XC. The main consideration for hydration packs seems to me to be the reservoir or bladder that holds the water. The majority of concerns have to do with keeping the with bladders clean and dry between outings. I didn’t like the idea of having to spend a lot of time cleaning a bladder after each biking or hiking trip to prevent mold and other stuff from growing inside the bladder.
The removable reservoir used in the Gerber Serra XC is made of a transparent, semi-rigid, polyethylene and is dish washer safe. If you can’t bring your dish washer with you on your camping trips and you need to clean the reservoir, the reservoir’s spout opening is big enough to allow using a wire brush to clean the inside and big enough to allow air dry any moisture inside the reservoir. You just hang the reservoir on a tree branch and air dry.
The 100-ounce (about 3 liters) reservoir is plenty for my two sons and I for our 4 hours hike to and from the Lemon Squeezer on a day where the temperature was in the low 50’s and humidity was low. But I think 100 ounces of water should be enough even for a longer, mid summer hike for three.
The Gerber Serra XC pack provides 755 cubic inches of cargo space. There are two small elastic, non-zippered closure storage pockets on the outside of the two main compartments and two mesh pockets on the contoured mesh waist belt. Bungee straps provide secure strap down of a windbreaker or light jacket on the outside of the pack.
The pack has mesh covered foam padding for the shoulder blades and lower back, and contoured breathable straps, to allow more airflow for cooling when the pack is carried during hot and humid weather. I didn’t get to test the benefit of this design since it was jacket weather when I used the pack for the first time. The Gerber Serra XC also comes with a hidden pull-out rain cover in bright orange, a communication holder for a GPS or cell phone.
The 755 cubic inch cargo space is probably too small for all the snacks, lunch and emergency clothing for 3 people – even if two of the people are kids. Luckily I purchased another Gerber Serra XC – in green – for my sons to carry on longer trips in the summer.
The only problem I had was water leaking from the point where the drinking tube is connected to the reservoir. The clamp that holds the tube to the nib coming out of the reservoir was a bit too high and allowed water to get around the washers between the tube and nib. I fix the leak simply by moving the clamp down a bit.
Another possible problem to keep in mind is that items kept in the two mesh pockets on the contoured mesh waist belt can work their way out of the pockets and possibly fall out without you knowing.
I will have to update my review of the Gerber Serra XC since I have to see how the pack performs in hot weather. While there are padding behind the shoulder blades and lower back, there is no padding where the reservoir sits flat against the back. It would seem logical that if my back is in direct contact with the pack on a hot day that my back would get sweaty very fast. I will have to report back.
This is where I purchased my Gerber Serra XC at SMKW.com. Unfortunately, they are out of stock as of this posting. Great price if you can get it.