CamelBak’s MULE has always been a safe bet for a big-but-not-too-big pack, and the current model continues the trend. You’ll find a three-litre reservoir and 12.5 litres of cargo space split between an array of pockets.
The outer pocket floats on compression straps, giving a place to carry a helmet or, more usefully, an easily-accessed rain jacket. The reservoir itself has useful features like in-situ filling, an easy-to-open cap and a handle that drops into a pocket inside the pack to support a partially-full reservoir.
Stability and comfort are good, and there’s enough space for the essentials without tempting you to bring the kitchen sink. Some riders may find the straps a bit long, but you can always shorten them. If you find the bright blue a bit lairy, it’s also available in red, orange and good old black.