Camelbak M.U.L.E. 100 oz. Hydrapack returns redesigned this season to optimize carrying space, with a new back panel to help alleviate "Pack Back" and keep air flowing. 580 c.i. Displacement is perfect for all-day trips or over three hours ride time
Strengths: last long time, replacement water bladder and water bladder parts are easy to find and not expensive.
Weaknesses: really none
I bought my mule back in 2003 gosh maybe 2002, its now 2013 and I still use it. Aside from changing out the water bladder here and there (just because they need to be changed) everything works. All the zippers still work. No fraying no cracking no rips or tears. Plenty of pockets and compartments and holds as much water and supplies as I need. Back around 2003-4-5-6 when I was 24hour racing, putting in hundred and hundreds of miles the mule survived it all in the mountains of calif and here on the east coast and its still holding up.
Strengths: serves the purpose it was designed for and beyond
I bought this to replace using water bottles and a seat pack. I was always limited on things I should be carrying on my rides. I discovered this on a close out 2012 model sale and had no choice but to buy it. The bladder holds plenty of water for an nice long epic ride on the trails. It has enough room to carry all kinds of different quick eats on the trail to keep the calories in you all day long. The front storage are has separate compartments in it to keep your important things safe and secure all ride long. It fits very comfortably and fells to be of good quality. The zippers and all seem to be plenty durable. I would recommend this exact one to anyone who likes to be on the trail riding hard for more than 2 hours at a time.
Weaknesses: had an issue with zipper on my original mule, which lasted me 8 season.
I used a mule for 8 seasons. Its been on my back every ride without fail. I had an issue with the zipper and Camelback took care of me, quickly. I have to say Camelback customer service is outstanding. They really do stand behind their products. I will buy another when this one wears out.
Strengths: Lots of storage space, good compression.
Weaknesses: None so far
The MULE is a very well thought out and executed hydration pack. Its got lots of expandable storage, can hold 100 oz of water and has some seperate pouches in the main pocket to hold tools and small items. There is a nice small pocket at the top that has a fleecy liner for your phone or ipod. The back panel has been redone as well and is improved but I still get a sweaty back. I sweat a lot anyway so this is not surprising.
I've been using a MULE pack for about 10 years and my old one is holding up very well. The only parts on my old one that are showing wear have been eliminated with the current model. I still use my old one, but just for hauling tools for trail maintenance. I have an Osprey raptor 6, which is also a nice pack, but is just a little too small for my liking. I gave it to my wife and got a new MULE.
Similar Products Used: Osprey Raptor 6 , Osprey Manta 20
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2012
Strengths: 100-oz liquid capacity is BOSS! I use mine hiking in desert/mountain wilderness areas. Room for lunch, small first-aid/survival kit, GPS pocket. Durable (mine is six or seven years old) -- no signs of wear with ROUGH usage. The mesh storage area is great for sweaty layer garments --- sad to see that's not on new models of the MULE.
Weaknesses: None in my style of usage.
Great pack --- I don't think I can wear it out. I think CAMELBAK made a mistake redesigning this unit, taking out some of the features of my older unit.
a Cross Country Rider
from san rafael
Date Reviewed: February 28, 2012
Strengths: this pack has lasted my for a long time with out aging a lot. i use this pack 4 or five times a week and couldnt be happer
Weaknesses: the pack is big but can hold anything you need.
a great product for mutiple uses that you want to last a long time
Similar Products Used: the other camel backs most sizes
Bike Setup: treck superfly 29er carbon
a Cross Country Rider
from Pocatello, ID, USA
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2012
Strengths: The size, weight, storage, convenience, and quality make this a top pick for mountain biking. I have three camelbak's will buy another. I like the MULE the best because it holds my gear and has capacity for more when I need to throw in some cold weather gear or after I take it off. The reservoir is easy to clean and dries out quickly when I hang it after a ride. I like the wide opening which makes adding ice and water an easy task.
Weaknesses: Even with the ventilation system it lays on your back and causes persperation.
This is a great product. Anyone can use it. I also use it when I go hiking and camping. I have never had a problem with a Camelbak product. The only thing I have ever had to replace is the bite valve.
Similar Products Used: My first hydration system was thrown away after my first ride with a Camelbak
Bike Setup: Giant Reign 0. All stock parts
a Cross Country Rider
from Indy, IN, USA
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012
Strengths: Carries enough water for most rides. (3L bladder)
Nice size, lots of small pockets/compartments.
Seems to hold up to a lot of abuse.
Weaknesses: Does not have some of the cool features the new packs, but mine is 9 years old so it's no fault of the pack.
This pack is 9 years old.....!!! Seriously, it just keeps going & going.
I toss it in the washer about once/month (I know it is not recommended but it works well on gentle cycle). This pack still looks new, pretty amazing for how many times I have fell on it :)
The only signs of wear are the velcro that holds the bladder section together started to fray so I had it sewn. The part where the mesh clips onto the top of the pack is looking a bit worn, but that is likely due to me jamming too much stuff into it for the past 9 years.
Pretty sure I can get one or two more years out of it, then I will have to buy a new one, but very impressed !!
a Cross Country Rider
from Glendale, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2012
Strengths: Durability, versatility and quality. Fits well, always works and replacement parts for the bladder system are readily available anywhere in the USA (and maybe the world?). Warranty is incredible. In fact I got this while looking to buy a new bladder for my six year old Mule. The shop just gave me a credit towards an entire new Mule pack! Outer pocket holds a helmet or jacket and SLR camera nicely and the utility pocket holds tools, wallets and keys in thier spot. A media pocket, lined with soft fleece like material, is perfect for phones, mp3 players or sunglasses in a pinch-also has earbud cord hole too. Straps are more adjustable than before which helps on skinny dudes like me.
Weaknesses: Only thing I would change is to custom size it for myself. As stated in strengths- I am not typical in size and being more slender, it's obvious this pack is made for the majority out there. Not a real kick in the teeth-I don't expect companies to make everything fit me.
Camelbak has been at the forefront when it comes to on the back, on the bike hydration since 1988. The whole thing started with a thirsty bicycle racer and an I.V. bag of water. Michael Eidson was that man, and as a paramedic and bicycle racer in the “Hotter ‘n Hell” 100 mile road race (in 100 degree temps), Michael put the I.V. in a tube sock, pinned it shut and stuffed it in the back of his jersey. The Camelbak has gone through many versions since and seems to always be the leader in hydration and back pack technologies. I started out with one of the first Camelbaks a long time ago and still have it, but I now use my MULE for everyday Mountain Bike riding these days. It fits all the things I need, and holds 100 oz. of liquid as well.
The 2012 Camelbak Mule appears to be little changed from 2011 aside from the spec sheet on the Camelbak website. It showed the 2012 to have about 200 cu. in. of storage less than last year which was odd as the pack had not changed outwardly. A quick call to Camelbak customer service (still live, personal and answered in the United States-what?) cleared up my confusion, the company had merely stopped adding every little pocket to the storage total and lists the storage of just the main compartment. Pretty clear that way, and a lesson learned. Find out how a manufacturer is coming up with that huge payload and ensure it fits your needs. The Mule fits mine, so we continue on.
Fit: I am a thin and tallish kind of dude so it is hard for me to be objective about fit. Just like American car seats are made bigger than Euro or Asians for our big fat butts, I suppose the packs are too. I have to carefully strap in to my Mule to ensure it stays put, which is really easy to do with the adjustable and padded shoulder straps. There is also a sternum strap that has almost 8 inches of vertical adjustment up the shoulder straps and of course can be lengthened out for barrel-chested men or the ladies. The waist strap works well too and is removable although for my skinny waist I wish it could get a little tighter when the going gets vertically pointed down. Seriously, I am not the norm when it comes to fit, but you should always try before you buy.
Finish: I am a detail orientated person who looks for quality in every area. The zippers are smooth pulling even when the bag is packed (over packed) but the pulls are a little small for gloved hand use at night or when trying to access a pocket on the fly. I solved this by adding a bottle opener key chain on one pull and some other useful/decorative ones on the others for fun. The back Air Director pads work pretty well when the going gets hot and gives the bag a smaller footprint on your body. The construction is tough due to the use of 70D Diamond Clarus & 420 Nylon with DWR & 1000 mm PU coating, which means…Okay I have no idea what that means, but I have never ripped or torn a Camelbak before so we’ll just assume it means “Awesome”.
Details: The bladder uses even more of Camelbak’s patented features such as these pulled straight from the site “Includes the new 100 oz. (3 L) Antidote reservoir with Quick Link™ System, 1/4 turn - easy open/close cap, lightweight fill port, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, 4mm insulated PureFlow™ tube, easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening.” All I know is I can leave fluid in it for a week by accident clean it and not worry too much about dealing with Giardia again.
The pockets inside the front compartment are sectioned to hold tools, survival gear or what-not and there is still a key hook too. The main compartment is giant sized at 580 cu.in. and there is an outer stuff pocket for jackets, cameras or a helmet. The trouble with being able to carry so much is deciding what you want to carry. You will get what you need inside this pack for a great epic ride of 3+ hours based on water capacity. There are four color-ways available and retail is about one hundred bucks.
In use: I have about 300 miles on the Mule right now and have not had one single issue. For that matter, I have never had a problem with any Camelbak I have ever purchased (five total) and recommend them to anyone. Feature-filled, adventure ready and always performing past my expectations. Those are redeeming qualities these days and Camelbak is reaping the rewards.
Similar Products Used: MSR hydration, Lezyne and some REI brand. Two of which had bladder issues quickly and the other was just did not fit right.
Bike Setup: How about pack setup? I carry first aid items, Crank Bros. trail tool kit, a windbreaker, usually a SLR camera, phone, keys, wallet and many times in the summer a second bladder for longer rides. Snacks, a pump, two tubes, and Co2 kit. Weighs in at around 14 lbs completely full and feels like a feather with the awesome padded straps!
a Cross Country Rider
from Glendale, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2011
Strengths: Light weight, plenty of storage for pump, spare tube, patch kit, chain tool and multi-tool. Storage for phone / mp3 player. Excellent water storage.
Weaknesses: None so far
This thing is rugged, and has everything you need. Add to that the support of REI and Camelbak and you can not go wrong.
Similar Products Used: None, this is my first hydration pack (yes I was still using water bottles)
Bike Setup: 2011 Giant Talon 1 29er
a Cross Country Rider
from Rhode Island
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2011
Strengths: THIS IS FOR THE 2011 MULE. New Antidote bladder is awesome. 100oz capacity. Good straps, I love the waist strap for mountain biking, it doesn't fly around. Tons of pockets, I live the separate pocket for the bladder, so it doesn't take up precious pocket space for tools and stuff. Fits great, i love the fleece lined pocket for my phone and camera.
Weaknesses: ABSOLUTELY NONE.
Buy it, ignore the price, you won't regret it. Just look at the rating of this pack, you can't go wrong, especially with the new antidote bladder.
Similar Products Used: Other hydration packs. THEY ALL SUCK EXCEPT CAMELBAK.
Bike Setup: 2010 Specialized Rockhopper Comp with many upgrades.
a Weekend Warrior
from Glendale, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2011
Strengths: I have owned several Camelbaks through the years and the MULE is my favorite due to it's 100 ounce capacity and handy storage capabilities.
Weaknesses: I wish the bladder could be removed from it's compartment with Velcro as apossed to the zipper. It's a minor gripe but you have to wrestle the bladder in to place when it's full and I'm always afraid I am going to catch the bladder in the zipper and puncture it. Again, minor issue.
Great pack and just the right size for a half day ride in AZ heat. Has enough room to carry a small tire pump, multiple tool, tube, tissue, small first aid kit, wallet, cell phone, spare master links, keys, sandwich, energy bars and gels and room to spare. I can't imagine riding without it.
I have a hard time and determine what hydration bag need, I've looked at these third
Osprey Raptor 6
Osprey Raptor 10
I know 2 of them are more or less identical, but I want a bag that can contain the things I need to but still not too large.
This is what I need wi ... Read More »
cant really decide between these 2 packs :( both looks grate and so on but cant make up my mind to pick one :D
seems like both have same capacity according to camelbak website which is:
Hydration Capacity: 100 oz (3 L)
Total Capacity: 854 cu in (14 L)
at first i wanted mule nv but ... Read More »
I can't decide which pack to get, the 70 or 100 oz. doesnt really matter much to me. I just want a nice pack that I can take for 2-3 hour all mountain ride. Some days I ride xc and others I do shuttle and lift service.
Looking for opinions from ppl who have had one of either of the packs.
Th ... Read More »
Edit - see link in second post for $29.99 price - I think the proce is only good for the weekend.
I guess this is the military version of the mule; I've read people discussing the differences here, maybe somebody can chime in and enlighten us. I'm sorry to say it was $29.99 yesterday, but I th ... Read More »