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Hydration system??

3084 Views 31 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  1SPD
Ok, so I currently have a very old Mule Camelbak. It works fine but I think it is time for an update (I have already changed out the bladder and hose twice). I like the new quick disconnect and the larger mouth opening on the bladder as well. I would also like a bag that has the air channels in it to help keep your back a little more cool. So, that being said, I think it is about time.

I have been thinking about the new Mule NV as it is larger or even the one that they make for the military (but it looks like it just has two large pockets on the outside). Ideally, I want something that has a larger central compartment in addition to the exerior pockets. Mainly for me to put extra clothing in when I start to get over heated during winter riding. At the same time, I don't want to be riding with a back pack either.

I have seen a pack that the central pocket basically has a zipper that goes from the bottom on one side all the way around to the bottom on the other, thus allowing the whole the to fold open in half. But I have yet to be able to find out who makes such a pack. anyone have any ideas?
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Dakine makes every other brand look like garbage.
MULE NV All the way.

It's a great pack. Super comfortable, good capacity and storage organization. NV back panel is the shiznit yo.

Stay away from the Mil. bags for rec use. Although they look cool, they don't have nearly the same ventilation on the back and are typically heavier.

Got my MULE NV a bit ago. Lovin' it.
I think I like the Hydrapak Big Sur. Seems to have enough storage for winter riding (carrying extra clothing to put on or when taken off) in addition to the needed tools (have to play mechanic when riding with the wife so an extra tube for her and what not). I supplied my wife with links to the Mule NV as well as the BigSur for my birthday present list so we will see what happens.
Double Ditto Deuter.

When I don't need to haul a lot I use a Hydro Lite 3.0 (weighs about 20 ounces empty and holds 3 liters) and when I need to carry more stuff I switch to a Race X Air II which also has a 3-liter bladder. The larger of the two has a mesh barrier in the back that keeps the pack several inches from your back, allowing air to flow through and sweat to evaporate---wonderful in hot weather and extremely comfortable to wear in any weather.

I also have the even larger Futura 28 AC. I have used it for carrying 20-25 pounds of gear on bikepacking trips and love it as well.

The two larger packs have a pull-out waterproof cover which keeps everything inside dry when you get caught in a rainstorm. :eekster:
Osprey Raptor

I love mine and it comes in a few different capacities and sizes so you can get exactly what you want. I have the 14 in a large and I've never filled it yet. The lid lock is pretty neat although, I don't use it that often and I love the design of their bladder.
Like my Camelbak Blowfish, has a center zipper that extends the size of the pack. Also has a good back ventilation surface. I think it's lighter than the Mule, but has same bladder size.


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I have the HAWG NV that's a great setup, but it's kinda heavy. I'm not sold completely on the NV thing after running my Lobo for 12 years. The HAWG may be worth a look.

I have both a MULE NV and a DAKINE APEX. The Apex sounds like what you are looking for, but both are fantastic.
+1 on the Ospreys, I have the Manta, which has some cool stuff:
Easy load bladder, in it's own compartment;
Magnetic end on hydration tube, just get it in the neighborhood of the chest strap and it sticks;
Lifetime warranty;
Rain cover in a little zip compartment;
Air-something back that keeps you cool;
Pockets on the belt for phone, etc, so you don't have to take the pack off.
Compression straps to keep stuff from bouncng around if its not full;
A couple sizes for different size bodies, and several different size cargo areas too.
Super comfy.

Been using it most every day bike-commuting, also trailriding, hiking & skiing. :thumbsup:
I have a 2010 Mule (not the NV), and I love it. It's fairly light, has a ton of storage, and looks pretty slick too.

They have them on sale at blue sky cycling for 55$ right now. You can't beat it.
+2 on Osprey Manta. Super comfy and mine holds a crapload of stuff ; and I don't really notice it.

arkon11 said:
I have a 2010 Mule (not the NV), and I love it. It's fairly light, has a ton of storage, and looks pretty slick too.

They have them on sale at blue sky cycling for 55$ right now. You can't beat it.
i was going to buy the mule nv. i also have an oooooooooooooooooold mule. (prolly 10-15
years old) the mule nv was much biiger than i needed. i got the new mule and like it a lot. has much more storage than the old one. the whole sweat thing on the back does not really bother me. good luck. find a place that has both and there you go.
I am absolutely sold on Deuter. Any of their packs with the Advanced Aircomfort back are outstanding. Keeps the pack off your back and also puts the weight on your hips instead of your shoulders. Unlike most packs, they're made specifically for biking and it's obvious the first time you ride with one.
arkon11 said:
I have a 2010 Mule (not the NV), and I love it. It's fairly light, has a ton of storage, and looks pretty slick too.

They have them on sale at blue sky cycling for 55$ right now. You can't beat it.
I snatched up one of these for $55 too, love it so far. Only certain colors though, nobody likes blue or yellow packs I guess.
What deuter packs are you guys running. I like the desin of the race X (shape wise). What I can't see in any of the pictures for damn near any brand/model is whether or not it has a larger internal pocket in addition to the other outer pockets that you can see in all pictures. At this point, it is sort of in the wifes hands at the moment though I have no idea what she will pick for me. I am sure I will be happy with either the Mule or Hydrapak over what I currently have though.
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