User Review: CamelBak M.U.L.E.
Size: 549 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 5 main not including bladder pocket
Height of Owner: 5'11''
Price Paid: $80
I have way too many daypacks but this one’s a keeper.
Camelbak’s MULE was originally not what I was looking for in a daypack but I was gearing up for some summer hiking and camping sessions and bought this under a friend’s recommendation. When I went to the store to pick it up I was surprised on how “compact” it was. Originally this pack is made for mountain biking but I had been looking for something that would be fast, light and pretty durable. That means no “trashbag” texture.
I’ve had it long enough to test it in many conditions and here are my results. One Word: This MULE is lean and mean.OK, so that’s six words…But I can’t help but say a lot about this pack. For a long time I was taking a larger, bulkier pack and I ALWAYS ended up overfilling it or at least I ended up taking unnecessary things.I mean, who packs towels on a hiking trip?! Me. Or I did. Not anymore.
So, why this pack? This is not the “end-all-be-all” for lightweight packs. In fact the material that makes up the CamelBak MULE isn’t even considered lightweight material. It’s the size and functionality that sold me on this one. So if you are looking for a pack that forces you to pack smart, stores plenty of water and is pretty bomber, then you might check this one out.
I had two main reasons for getting this pack. More water storage and lighter packing options. I wanted something to take on day hikes without the bulkiness of my other day packs. Here are the stats for the pack:
Capacity: 100 oz. (3L)
Cargo: 549 cu.in. (9L)
The features include a weather-resistant MP3 pocket and the site claims that there is enough water storage for over 3 hours. The MULE also features a Dynamic Suspension™ Harness System for load stability. I found this to be pretty darn neat since we can get pretty active on the trail. The Air Director also proved to add some comfort once the trail got hot-and-heavy. It allows your back to breath just a little bit better which means a lot to me since I get pretty sweaty. Loading options include a pocket for the Camelbak bladder, a main compartment for storing raingear, snacks, small first aid, or extra gear. There is also a smaller secure cargo pocket for putting even more gear like a digital camera or GPS device. Inside has a small clip for your keys and organizer pockets for other essentials.
The pack features two overflow pockets for even more loading; a small one on the front of the pack and a larger overflow pocket in-between the zippered compartments. Overall, this pack makes a great daypack. It has showed me how to pack smart and therefore has made my outdoor excursions that much more enjoyable. Aside from taking it on day hikes, I got the opportunity to take it on a canoe trip in which I got a chance to really test its ruggedness on the river. It came home with sand, dirt, moisture, and sweat. After a good cleaning it looked like new. Not bad.
Now I know that I didn't say much about the bladder, but with 100 ounces of water to carry there’s not much you can say other than it’s plenty for a 3-5 hour hike. On the canoe trip it actually lasted all day with a few sips left over the next day. It’s a great pack with good loading options. My friend recommended it, and I also recommend it.