Gear Review: Hydrapak Laguna Hydration Pack with Shape Shifter Reservoir

Out on the trail in Northeastern PA.
Over the years, I've learned a lot about what I look for in a backpack. Features like comfort, fit, adjustability, appropriate capacity, and more top the list. But when it comes to hydration packs, for me, a good reservoir can make or break my feelings about the pack as a whole.

Hydrapaks bearing the "Laguna" name have been around for at least the past three years. To me, this means the general fit and feel of the pack has worked for a while, but it's been refined. In general, I didn't find anything unique about the pack itself (except the reservoir, more below), but the 2013 iteration has a number of features I like. The quick access top loading pocket is big enough to store more than just a granola bar or sunglasses, and the front pocket has multiple internal organizer pockets. The zippered reservoir pocket makes it easy to get the reservoir in and out of the pack without emptying the main compartment. All of the pockets are great; the last thing I want to deal with on the trail is having to dump everything out to find what I'm looking for, or to refill the reservoir.

The Laguna is also the perfect size for a day hike. For my first day of testing, I took the Laguna out on a hike on a below-freezing day in Northeastern Pennsylvania and managed to fit an entire set of layers, Columbia Powerfly included, into the pack with a full reservoir. Even when it's full, it's still comfortable to wear; the straps and back panel are well-padded. The adjustable sternum strap and removable waist belt made it easy to get a good fit. Weighing in at just over one pound, it's a lightweight way to carry everything you'll need for a day on the trail.

Pack itself aside, when I got a note from the folks at Hydrapak about receiving the complimentary Laguna to test, I knew I was going to love the 3L reservoir. I reviewed the Geigerrig Rig 500 as part of the Hydration Summit last summer, and the reservoir remains my favorite feature of the Rig 500 system. Guess who's behind the reservoir? Hydrapak. The drink tube comes off with a snap (technically, it's called a Straight Shot Plug-N-Play Connector), which makes it easy to drain and dry the tube. It's also compatible with other plug and play systems. The slide top closure is awesome; I can't imagine a reservoir without one. And the entire system, drink tube included, is PVC-free.

My two favorite features of the reservoir are the snap zip baffle and Hydrapak's Quantum Clip. The snap-zip baffle which all new Hydrapak shape-shift reservoirs have, helps reduce jostling, but still allows you to turn the entire reservoir inside out for cleaning and drying. The Quantum Clip allows you to keep the drink tube in place on the pack using a magnet. Watch and be amazed. 

The bottom line? The Lagnua pack itself is alright, but Hydrapak's reservoirs are really what set them apart from other hydration system manufacturers. They're innovative, thoughtfully designed, and solve a number of problems I've had with other reservoirs in the past. I'd definitely recommend the reservoirs, and don't plan on using another one anytime soon.

Do you have issues with your non-Hydrapak reservoir? What other reservoirs have you tried and liked, or hated? Think the Lagnua looks like the pack for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Great review. I'm actually writing about some bottles I'm loving and plan on requesting recommendations for bladder options. You read my mind!
shannonwood34 said…
This looks like a pretty cool pack. I know its about time for me to purchase me a new one for this upcoming turkey season here in Alabama. The only down fall in toting one around in spring time turkey season is you still have a lot of times your turkey vest loaded down with all the goodies.
Katie said…
I can imagine that does complicate things! Good luck with your new pack search.