Strengths: Looks cool. Easy to clean. Highly adjustable. Never leaks. Fits everything.
Weaknesses: Waist band never stays tight. Feels bulky and uncomfortable with full 3 liters, but 2.5 liters is fine.
Fill this thing half full of ice and your water will stay cold for 2 days. I sweat ALOT and hydrate ALOT, but I've never run out of water on all day trips. I use it for hiking and mountain biking. The pack can fit so many supplies that I couldn't possibly use all the space. The most I've filled it with are tire pump, shock pump, tube, tools, knife, phone, wallet, camera, sunglasses, first aid kit, food, and jacket. You could easily strap body armour, sleeping supplies, and burner for a multiple day adventure.
Strengths: Holds plenty of water and gear, has a nice keyring thing so you can keep an extra set of keys in your pack and not have to worry about losing your keys! Good breathability and cooling. Nice snug fit. Bladder and hose don't get mildewy and gross very easily. Large bite valve lets a lot of fluid through, reservoir is super easy to fill.
Weaknesses: Not GREAT breathability--the bottom pads get pretty damp and stinky after a few rides. The bottom cargo area gets a little rough on the lower back if you have your weight unbalanced there.
Awesome pack! I ride most days a week so I don't clean my bladder more than once a year or so since it always has fresh water in it. After 2 years of use with no cleaning it's just starting to show some mildew in the hose (no bad taste though). You can fill this thing to the brim, but most normal rides will never require this much water, and weight, so I just fill it halfway or so. This pack will last you for years and years, you'll love it!
a Weekend Warrior
from Southern Ohio
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2011
Strengths: -Holds lots of stuff
-Bag is durable
-Nice size - not too big or bulky
Weaknesses: -Zipper pulls are poorly constructed
-Why's there a hole at the bottom of the bag?
Review for the 2008 version.
This bag is my favorite riding partner. It accompanies me on all my rides, on- and off-road. Has just enough room to hold a few extra tubes, a snack, car keys, a few tools, a light jacket, and a pump. I have used and abused it for two years. The backpack part is easily machine washable.
Not sure why there is a small outlet hole at the very bottom of the backpack. I guess it's to help drain excess water or something, but mine seems to be a great way to let mud and spray enter the the pack and onto the bottom of the bladder.
The bladder works really well. Not foul-tasting or anything. For some reason, my cat loved to chew on mine and punctured the bladder at the top near the hanging hook. I patched it with a Park self-adhesive inner tube patch, which has held up fine, but I have since replaced the whole bladder with the new and improved Antidote version from this year (with the hose disconnect -- a great added feature!).
The waist belt is removable - which is nice because otherwise it's pretty useless.
All the zipper pulls have systematically disintegrated over time. I have replaced them with 1" key rings which are actually much easier to use.
Overall, this is a great pack. I bought a second one for my wife and recommended one to my friend. Even if you have to replace the bladder every couple of years, this is definitely a good purchase.
Strengths: Do it all, carry all for all day endurance rides on or off the trail!
Weaknesses: holds so much stuff that makes it heavy on the lower back when fully loaded, but that's a "me" problem!
I have had this same pack since early 2004 and I put another blatter in it just because I thought 7yrs. was long enough and could't get clean anymore. This has been thru a lot of rides with me...I ran over it on accident with my truck a few years ago with about 80oz of water and it did not burst!! Tough as you could hope for. It has more than paid for itself and easy to empty and wash the whole thing. Highly recommended if you are like me and want to spend the extra few bucks to get something for longevity. I will one day replace it with another M.U.L.E. for my Endurance MTB rides and or longer weekend rides.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2011
this review is for 2010 model and it can fit a lot more than it looks.
when it first arrived i tested how much it can hold. ended up with two short sleeve t-shirts and pair of short knee length cargo pants in the main compartment (with some spare space on the sides which can fit in a tire pump easily), Uvex XP100 helmet fitted securely in the stretchable middle compartment with visor towards the bottom, only the back portion of the helmet exposed. my keys, wallet, etc in the outer zipper compartment.
today day i used it as a small daypack while i go to a basketball game after work. fitted a pair of nike tennis shoes (size US 10.5) in the middle compartment, again two short sleeve t-shirts and pair of short pants in the main compartment, and 3 liters of water.
after the game, fitted my pair of long jeans from work and the two sweaty t-shirts in the middle compartment with teva sandals in the main compartment. nikes could not fit in anymore as the long jeans took up quite some space. i'm 6ft tall and 170lbs, from there you can roughly figure out the amount of clothes i've packed into the bag.
i'm really impressed that such a lightweight and small pack can hold quite a bit of stuff. furthermore the ergonomics are carefully tailored to the body shape and even when loaded i never felt that bag was pulling me backwards while walking.
can't wait to try it out on the trails. am writing this review just so that those who are thinking about getting one during closeouts for 2010 models, don't thinking further, if you can find a good deal just go for it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Adelaide South Australia
Date Reviewed: November 9, 2009
Strengths: This pack is fantastic, good design,holds plenty and not to big to put stuff in you don't need, this pack will hold out as long as the zippers do. with care the pack should serve you for many years. Its comfortable, I can ride all day with it its like my second skin when I'm riding, superb product worth every cent!!!!
Weaknesses: The zipper tags pulled off on most of the zippers and I replaced them with small cable ties and it was fixed.
This is the premo hydration pack Grand Daddy of them all, the Beez Neez !!!dont waste your time on anything but a CamelBak!!!
Similar Products Used: Some other marginally cheaper hydration pack I got that was a waste of time. What was I thinking!!??
Bike Setup: Giant Trance1
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2009
Strengths: The Camelbak's outstanding, great storage capacity, excellent fit, ruggedly designed. I never ride without. Provides some back-protection in single-trail biking to ordinary XC/marathon-bikers, as it fits tightly, thanks to broad and comfortable straps(though probably not to real downhillers).
Take care when washing, it might take damage in the washing machine. Use a rain coat or alternatively one of those dirt-repellent sprays.
a Weekend Warrior
from Springfield VA
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2009
Strengths: Best all around hydration pack/carrier I have used. I really like the 100 oz size and enough room for all my gear. Not to large and not to small. Zip pockets, places to store stuff like CO2 pumps netted area and is comfortable to boot.
Weaknesses: You might want a better place for a cell phone than a zip pocket.
Great hydration pack holds lots of water and a enough room for your gear for a day ride.
a Weekend Warrior
from Outer Mongolia
Date Reviewed: June 29, 2009
Strengths: I think I have the 08 model. This is my favorite pack for rides less than a half day. It carries all my stuff, but keeps me from taking the kitchen sink, since I probably would if I had more room. It looks good and is simple to get at the things I need most. The small bag is perfect for my tools and the mesh bag holds my light or other misc junk. This bag is tough too, but cleans up really well after a spin though the wash on gentle.
Weaknesses: It is impossible to stuff a full bladder into the bag if the main compartment is stuffed, though this seems typical for hydro packs. It would be easier if the zipper would go all the way down on the hydro compartment. It sits a bit weird on my back until it has settled in and the bladder is deflated somewhat, not a big deal though.
Great pack for short rides when you want more than a bottle (really all my rides). You may need more for a day out on the trail, but for half days it is perfect (for me).
Similar Products Used: Camelbak classic used for races.
Bike Setup: AM / XC
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2008
Strengths: Sensible storage configuration, MP3 pocket, reasonable bulk/storage ratio
Weaknesses: no external fill, no fluid level indication
I needed more storage than my Classic 3L offered, and the Mule is the same bladder in a larger pack, so it was a good choice. I like the Mp3 player pocket which is suitable for storing my cell phone more safely than smaller pakcs can. It is much bulkier than my old Camelbak but not unreasonably so. I do need to use the removable waist strap to keep the weight from shifting around too much though. Compartments are organized neatly into the bladder compartment, a full size internal compartment, half size outer compartment, half size internal organzied compartment, and a small size external pocket.
I have two main gripes with this pack compared to my old Camelbak. The first is lack of external fill. I have yet to figure out how to conveniently fill the bladder and get a full bladder fitted neatly into its compartment. For now I just try to remove extra stuff from the pack and 'pull' the bladder into its pocket, holding it from the bottom.
The second weakness of this pack is that I don't know how much water I have left. On the Camelbak classic I can sort of pinch the bottom of the pack and get a feel for how much fluid is in the bladder. The Mule's design keeps the bladder isolated in its compartment. This does annoy me on longer rides where I have to be careful of going through my water too quick.
Other than those two things the pack is a perfect size for long rides. Combined with two water bottles you can acheive a very respectable range and also bring along enough stuff to be prepared for that distance.
Similar Products Used: Camelbak Classic 3L/100oz, Blackburn Hydrapak
from Dubuque, IA
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2008
Strengths: Air director back panel really keeps the back dry. The waist straps can be easily removed which is nice if you plan on taking it walking/hiking. Reservoir has a lifetime warranty now and it looks awesome!
Weaknesses: None really.
It really is an awesome pack. Big 100oz reservoir, plenty of room for your stuff. If you plan on carrying anything large like a camera or something I would recommend going with the H.A.W.G.
Strengths: Solid construction, adjusts easily, 100 oz capacity, great organization & compact
Weaknesses: None. If you want more storage capacity get a bigger Camelbak
This is easily the best $70 I've spent. It's a compact bag that still has enough space to hold the bare essentials even after the bladder is filled to capacity. The construction is rock solid and made to take abuse. Plenty of pockets and compartments helps to keep everything organized. The back panel is padded and grooved for greater comfort and ventilation. The shoulder straps are extremely comfortable. The adjustable sternum and side straps keep everything snug and stable as you ride.
The Omega reservoir can store almost 3 liters of liquid and features a large opening for easier maintenance. The bite valve has a lock to keep it from leaking while in storage. I think it's an extremely well designed product and absolutely worth the money. I'm never going back to bottles and cages again.
Similar Products Used: Water bottles, cages and backpack
Bike Setup: '99 'hopper
from fort walton beach, fl.
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2008
Strengths: Sweet fit this is the most ergonomic fitting pack. The strapping system is very easy to adjust and you only have to do it once. plenty space for the essencials and then some. Very compact with organized storage.Mp3 pocket is a great feature and its weather proof. very strong materials, what you would expect from Camel Bak.
Weaknesses: A little heavy for you weight snobs, just travel light like your suposed two and it will be a awesome addition to your equipment.
Very compact aerodynamic fit,I don't ride with out it. Its the best pack Ive had yet.