The Mule has long been Camelbak’s most popular hydration pack, and for good reason. It’s a handy size, is well made and has a design that makes it easy to use.
We stuffed the Mule NV with a mini pump, patch kit, multi tool, mobile phone, GPS, cash, keys, base layer and windproof, and still got the full 3L bladder in there easily.
We dropped, dragged, soaked and sat on it, and the Mule never complained; its character reminding us why Camelbak is still the most popular hydration pack brand.
The load can be secured and compressed while the padded shoulder straps allow it to be positioned in a range of locations on your back to suit your riding style. The Camelbak bite valve is excellent too.
The new Mule features Camelbak’s NV supported and vented back system. It is comfortable and works well, allowing some extra air ﬂow, though it’s something we feel we could easily do without – especially as our other favourite hydration packs (Wingnut and Salomon for example) don’t have it.
We’ve never given the sweaty back issue much thought, even after thousands of hours riding with different hydration packs in all weathers. Losing the NV would remove the bag’s unique selling point but would lower weight and help the pack to swallow a wider variety of load shapes.