Hydrapak Jolla Review


The Jolla was a comfortable and highly conformable pack, and molded to you back’s contours, and didn’t create any pressure spots. The shoulder and sternum straps worked well and were easy to use and adjust, and held the weight evenly. The hip belt comes off the pack in a large swath of material as it rolls out over your sides, and is comfortable and stable, and was stowable if one is so inclined. I did find that the pack tended to flop around on my back, especially on rough terrain, and it liked to bounce up towards my helmet. Even cinching down the straps in any manner and variation didn’t seem to alleviate the issue, and it was exacerbated when the pack was full.

Mesh Back
The mesh backing is very resilient and pliable, so the pack really conforms to your torso, which allows plenty of movements, and an all day comfort level. Even with all the high tech air channels and fancy padding, I found that I had perspiration issues, and I got a wet back during most rides, which is common to this type of system. With larger packs, I am preferring the raised backs of some of the competition (Vaude, Ergon, etc.), which use a frame to hold the body of the pack away from your back, offering suspension, ventilation and breathability. In fact, their own Del Mar commuter pack has this type of feature.

The pack is made from light weight nylon, which has been amazingly durable for the abuse that I have put it through. They use a combination of 210D Baby Ripstop Nylon and 420D Double Nylon for the pack’s construction. The pack comes in all Black and Ivory, which I tested, and I found that although the lighter color can pick up a few dirt spots easier, it reflected the sun in warmer weather, and kept your back cooler.


Main Compartment
The main compartment is cavernous, with tons of space and some useful pockets and pouches. I really liked the front zippered mesh pocket in the main area, as it was the perfect spot and size for many items. I wish the rear pouch was smaller, since it protrudes out too much when filled, and gets in the way of packing and organizing, plus it needs a zipper or some elastic to keep things from bouncing around. The large opening is nice and wide, so it’s easy to find things, and put them in, making it a breeze to browse for stuff, though a slightly longer zipper for a larger clam shell opening would have been useful. The packs total capacity of 18 liters/1100 cu in was great for any season, and it allowed me to carry inclement weather gear and knee pads, and pretty much anything required short of an expedition or the kitchen sink.


Middle and Front Compartment
This pack is the mack daddy for its pure number of pockets, and it has so many that I sometimes didn’t even use all of them, which is a great problem to have! The middle compartment is really deep, and it gives one quite a bit of capacity, and helps keep the smaller items organized and easily obtained. It has two great zippered pockets, a Velcro closure pocket (perfect for a wallet), two pen slots and one skinny pocket. I usually place my small items in a baggy for functional purposes, but with the plethora of pockets, I could organize in any manner possible. The front compartment, has two mesh pocket, a key clip and has an audio hole, though I never have used one myself. It has two nice zippered side pockets that are made with some elastic material (for water bottles?), so it allows you to add larger objects than seems feasible for their size, but the lower side straps made it difficult to use them efficiently, so I usually put tools or items I wouldn’t need as frequently.


Next » Impressions Cont.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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