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Trying to decide on a model but there isn't a local dealer with much in stock so I'll have to get it off the net without any lookey/touchy/feely.

Sooo .... HOSS or HAWG or MULE or LOBO or .... another brand?

Anyone familiar with the differences / features? I've seen some posts that the MULE didn't leave much room when the bladder was full so I may lean towards something a little larger. I don't normally carry a ton of stuff but it would be nice to have the space for the occasional epic. I guess one question would be how much do you feel the larger packs even if you aren't carrying much stuff or just doing a shorter ride?

Opines welcome.

Or any links to reviews or comparisons of the different models.

( Yes, I checked out the stuff in the product reviews section. But no one really mentions how one model compares against other models. )
 

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brooklyn bike rider
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i still have an old HAWG from nearly 8 years ago and it's still kicking ass.
plenty of room, very very comfortable, and clearly durable.

BUT i just checked out a bunch of Hydrapak's at a recent bike expo,
and the bags are SUPER light and the reservoirs are reversible for easy cleaning.
they have a whole range of sizes from reservoir and tools to everything for a tour.

i'm probably going to pick up a Hydrapak reservoir, but keep my Camelbak exterior.
 

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My personal fav's are the Chaos and the Mule.

The Chaos is great for a shorter ride, holds 2 liters of water, enough tools and spares / minipump for a nice 2 hour trail ride. The Lobo would be a nice alternative to the Chaos.

The Mule is better for the longer rides, holds 3 liters of water, enough room for tools, 2 spare tubes, mini pump, even has room to stuff a lightweight jacket in it. This is my pack for ride that go beyond the 2 hour mark. Durability is A1 as my pack is 4 years old and gets used on my mountain bike and the dirtbike. I don't even notice the weight even when fully loaded.
 

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I really dont see any reason to not get a hawg. I personally dont think that it feels any heavier/bulkier than a mule if you have them both empty, but you have 2x as much carrying space. I use my camelbak for commuting as well so maybe thats why I'm partial to having more room, but I also like to have the space so I can take off my knee/elbow pads and have plenty of room to fit them, as well as spare tubes, pump, and everything else. I think I have a tendency of carrying more than most people though...
 

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mosplat said:
i still have an old HAWG from nearly 8 years ago and it's still kicking ass.
plenty of room, very very comfortable, and clearly durable.

BUT i just checked out a bunch of Hydrapak's at a recent bike expo,
and the bags are SUPER light and the reservoirs are reversible for easy cleaning.
they have a whole range of sizes from reservoir and tools to everything for a tour.

i'm probably going to pick up a Hydrapak reservoir, but keep my Camelbak exterior.
+++10000 Hydrapak :thumpsup: Camelbaks have nothing on Hydapak. There lighter, have great air flow, the bladders are awsome and since their the other brand, their cheaper. I also like the size options better then Camelbak.
Well there you go, you can lead a horse to water, but...........you know the rest.
http://www.cyclegear.com/spgm.cfm?L1=&L2=&L3=&L4=&item=HYP_P808C
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/ProductDisplay?storeId=10052&langId=-1&catalogId=10551&productId=1025041&cm_mmc=$(referrer)$-_-Nutrition/Hydration-_-HYDRAPAK-_-20-5152-CHA-NON&mr:trackingCode=AD709846-A681-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA
 

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I've got a 12 year old first gen mule that I still use on every ride. Need something bigger as I can only use the small rear pocket when the bladder is full.

I've got a dakine Helipro that I use when I ski which has 1200ci of space. I love the pack and may try one of their mtb. bike packs. The 1200ci's seems a bit much for riding though and I guess if I ever need that much space on a ride I will just use that pack. So I have it narrowed down to the following:

Dakine Nomad at 1100ci
Dakine Drafter at 700ci

and the

Camelbak Don at 1070ci
Updated Camelbak Mule at 600ci (still maybe too small for me)
Camelbak Blowfish at 742ci (don't love the plain styling)
Camelbak Hawg at 1120ci (still think this is too big for what I need)

First, notice how much better the details and pictures on the Dakine site are - that stuff matters as I don't have to do a google search to find additional and exploded views of the Dakine packs like I do the camelbaks.

Secondly, I think Camelbak has rested on their laurels when it comes to developing new bladder technologies. The Dakine easily removable valve and hose appear to be a great feature as is the full width opening and inside out cleaning.

So, I think its going to be a Drafter, but I am still unsure. It sure would be nice to be able to go to a store to see them all together at one place.

Finally, I also have one of these Camelbak Unbottle 70oz which I use in the Dakine ski pack as well as for other stuff around town. Its a great solution that theoretically allows you to find any pack on the planet you want to use and turn it into a hydro pack.

Also, do a search here as there is a long 2 page thread that has run over a long length of time with lots of good advice.

Good luck.
 

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i have a mule and love it. It's JUST big enough for spare tube, tire levers, pump, cliff bars, cosmic ray book, cell, keys, wallet, camera, and a few other small things (+water of course). I love it best $80 i've spent in a LONG time :) //g
 

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I recently picked up the Camelbak Mayhem for $40 online. Holds plenty of h2o at 100oz and plenty of compartments for extra layers of clothing. Camelbaks must be good because they are standard issue for the military. My brother in law just came back from Afghanistan and he has a few camelbaks.

I like them personally.
 

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Drth Vadr said:
+++10000 Hydrapak :thumpsup: Camelbaks have nothing on Hydapak. There lighter, have great air flow, the bladders are awsome and since their the other brand, their cheaper. I also like the size options better then Camelbak.
Well there you go, you can lead a horse to water, but...........you know the rest.
http://www.cyclegear.com/spgm.cfm?L1=&L2=&L3=&L4=&item=HYP_P808C
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/ProductDisplay?storeId=10052&langId=-1&catalogId=10551&productId=1025041&cm_mmc=$(referrer)$-_-Nutrition/Hydration-_-HYDRAPAK-_-20-5152-CHA-NON&mr:trackingCode=AD709846-A681-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA
This man speak-eth the truth! I'm super super pleased I purchased a Hydrapak over all others...:thumbsup:
 

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Another vote for the HAWG. It has the ability to carry more, but if you don't fill it up, it cinches down nice and tight. It is tough as nails and is just so versatile. If you're a full grown man, it will be difficult to get even the lightest, smallest jacket into anything smaller than a HAWG. I use mine for everything, short mtb rides, long mtb rides, day hikes, amusement parks, etc. It's the perfect size in my opinion. Oh and it will withstand any abuse you can give it, I've used the crap out of mine, and even had a really bad mtb wreck with it that broke a hip and elbow, but the bag is no worse for wear.
 

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i replace my 6 years old hawg by a dakine Nomad.

i think the Nomad is a lot better in confort on my back, internal pockets are better organized also. (maybe the newer hawgs are better than my 6 years old one) the only complaint i have is that i dont like the bite valve ..i now have a camelback valve on it and it perfect.
 

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Let the good times roll.
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I used to have a mule. It was OK for basic rides, but I had trouble fitting in food + gear for any ride over a couple hours. It also tended to take a round (and uncomfortable) shape when loaded up. I don't think I'll get one of those again.

My latest bag is the Octane 8+, and I like it a lot better. It's a bit on the large side for a riding pack, but its light, wide, and sits close to my back. I barely notice I'm wearing it when carrying a light load. It comes with a small 2L bladder, but can take a 3L with no trouble. My favorite features are the side pockets (quick access to snacks & small tools) and compression zipper. With the zipper closed, the pack is small enough to take a light load without flapping around. Opening the zipper adds enough room for me to carry a full load of clothes, shoes, and lunch when commuting.

I can post pictures of mine if anyone wants. I remember from when I was researching on what to get for myself that detail pics of the Octane packs are rare.
 

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MULE, enough said - I agree that fully loaded it can take a bit of an uncomfortable shape,
but I always carry:
2 tubes, pump, shock pump, multi tool, chain tool, links, tire levers, phone, keys, first aid kit, and food.
There's always room for bars, an apple, a sandwich, etc. and I have before stuffed a top / bottom baselayer into the outside pocket (between the two compartments) without much problem.

I think this pack is the perfect compromise - suitable for as much as 5-6hr rides, and still tolerable for 1-2hrs, it has big water capacity, and holds all you need.

If you're DH and carrying pads... you want a DH-oriented pack.

Dakine makes great stuff, I use one of their backpacks and love it.
 

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Justin Vander Pol
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I've used both Cambelbak and Dakine packs. Dakine wins, hands down. Just plain better, though both of them hold up pretty well.

I use a large Dakine Apex, but for most I guess a Nomad would be less overkill. 5 years of abuse, and all I do is replace the bite valve every year or so, just like I do on my Camelbak.

I find big packs better. They feel small when empty, and also comfy when somewhat full. I ride in winter, so like to carry extra layers, tubes, tools, food, etc.

My old Camelbak Mule was a good pack (groundbreaking for it's day), but it felt like a stuffed sausage and moved around too much. Dakine fits better and stays put in a nicer way.
 

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jdizzle707 said:
I recently picked up the Camelbak Mayhem for $40 online. Holds plenty of h2o at 100oz and plenty of compartments for extra layers of clothing. Camelbaks must be good because they are standard issue for the military. My brother in law just came back from Afghanistan and he has a few camelbaks.

I like them personally.
I'm also loving my mayhem. Its much larger than the MULE that my friend has, the main difference is that his pack is much easier to organize. MULE has a lot of smaller pockets, whereas the Mayhem has the outer pocket, inner pocket, and the outer mesh pocket which can be cinched tight. But the Mayhem also has straps on the outside that can be used to attach anything to the outside of the pack; they're designed for pads but I've used them to hold random bottles, a fullsize bike pump, extra helmets, even a spare wheel.
 

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Have a look at the Wingnut bags, light, comfortable and you can get at stuff in the side pockets without having to take the pack off, I am using a Hyper 2.5 the only downside with it is that it is designed to take a square bladder which no one seems to make, there other packs will all take a standard style bladder
 
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