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Old 02-16-12, 03:26 PM   #1
jax_realm
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Is a Camelbak MULE too large or uncomfortable for short rides?

I think I'm about to get one..probably a 100 oz..and was just wondering if any of you thought it is too bulky or uncomfortable for short rides...like 1 hour..it looks like an amazing piece of equipment, but then again, I don't know jack squat
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Old 02-16-12, 04:08 PM   #2
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Don't think I have the same model you're talking about but my hydration pack goes up to 100 oz. and has a chest and a belly strap. I usually fill it to 30 oz and have plenty left over for an hours ride.

Also the bigger packs are nice for winter to store extra layers.
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Old 02-16-12, 04:19 PM   #3
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The Mule is generally highly rated. I really like mine. You'll be glad for the storage room. The compression straps will minimize the bulk, although it is not what I would call a large hydration pack.
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Old 02-16-12, 06:17 PM   #4
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Not even. I've ridden one hour with it half full(about 3 pounds lost), with plenty of fluid to spare...even on a warm day. Damn thing increases in size like a Puffer Fish so well I have ridden 30-mile, 5 hour epics with it loaded with tubes, tools, knife, food, jacket, arm/leg warmers, wallet, phone keys, etc. The M.U.L.E. is one amazing piece of survival, is all I can say....
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Old 02-16-12, 07:55 PM   #5
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osprey packs are another great option

the mule should be a great size to start with, when i started riding i bought the camelbak hawg nv wich is bigger and i used it on all my rides no matter how long they were. i just recently bought a smaller osprey viper 10 which is smaller and i really like it better because the bladder stays a little flater when full and the overall fit and ergonomics just seem a little more comfortable. so i now use it exclusivly. but i still have my hawg if i need it for extended or overnight camping,hiking or biking.
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Old 02-16-12, 08:12 PM   #6
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I've had two Lobo's, a 1999 70oz model and the 2010 100ouncer. Could sometimes use a little more carrying capacity, and I've looked at the mule, but I don't want to carry a big one. I actually think the older model Lobo was a simpler and better design.
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Old 02-16-12, 08:29 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm just a cheap-ass, but for the $$ they want for the Mule, it better put itself on me and wash itself out!

I have a Coleman, 1400 c.i., 70oz. bladder; I do anything from 2-5 hour rides with it. Since the Army taught me how to be a creative packer, I can get QUITE A BIT of stuff secured in/on that pack. Costs about a third of the Mule.

I will not for one second talk smack about Camelback's quality; hell, the modern military has 'em! I upgraded my bladder's bite valve with a C-Back Big Bite, best ever! I just can't pop for it, I'll make do.........
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Old 02-16-12, 08:36 PM   #8
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I bought myself this tiny TNF Catshark pack thinking that small = better. Only it was too small and I couldn't fit anything I actually wanted in there. I eventually ended up with a GoLite Rush, which is slightly smaller than the Mule (610 in^3 versus 854 in^3). But I'd err on the side of slightly bigger than you need (within reason) rather than possibly too small, unless you're a racer. FWIW, the Rush is super low-profile and on sale on GoLite's site for $40, though the bladder doesn't come with it (I use the bladder from the Catshark).
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Old 02-17-12, 09:54 AM   #9
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sweet glad you guys like'em..
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Old 02-17-12, 12:22 PM   #10
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i have one, i got it from gander mtn's website on sale. it's the 100 oz and yeah it shrinks right up like they say or it extends out to even fit my helmet! it's very comfy, on shorter rides just dont fill the bladder up all the way.
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Old 02-18-12, 04:36 PM   #11
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I have a smaller Dakine pack that holds 2 L of water (with room for not much else), and it's annoyingly restrictive. You can always fill the bladder of a larger pack to less than capacity, and having the extra space would be extremely nice.

Anyone have experience with the $25 High Sierra packs they have at Costco right now? 2 L roll top bladder, and what looks like a nice design for a medium size water pack. Just don't know about the quality, but it's a great price for the features.

-Jeremy
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Old 02-19-12, 11:29 AM   #12
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I have a smaller Dakine pack that holds 2 L of water (with room for not much else), and it's annoyingly restrictive. You can always fill the bladder of a larger pack to less than capacity, and having the extra space would be extremely nice.

-Jeremy
This.

As stated, the Mule really shrinks down when you don't need the extra room, and is extremely comfortable. And also, as stated, it is large enough to make for a pretty decent minimalist day pack.
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Old 02-19-12, 07:32 PM   #13
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I use our Hawg NV.
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Old 02-19-12, 08:25 PM   #14
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I repainted my workshop today with my Mule on . Was feeling a little dehydrated and decided to just grab the camelbak. Ended up casually about 60oz over about 4 hours, without ever having to stop for a water break! Even up on the ladder, I was still able to sip away everytime I thought of it.

Perfect!
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Old 02-20-12, 10:43 AM   #15
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I have the 2011 Lobo and 2011 Mule, Lobo goes on short rides and anything over about 20 miles I take the Mule to put sammaches in with tools and anything else I want to carry. If you want to callapse it, it shrinks down pretty good and doesnt weigh much more than the lobo. If I was buying one, it would be the Mule.
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Old 02-20-12, 04:58 PM   #16
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It's comfy. My typical rides are 1.5-2.5 hours. I tend to fill it up, then ride a few rides or so before re-filling it.
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Old 02-20-12, 06:29 PM   #17
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I have a Mule and an Octane 8+ (slightly bigger)...I wear one for a backpack around town,the other for trail riding,long or short rides,love em both
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Old 02-27-12, 08:39 AM   #18
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mule

I ride with a mule. It is feels fine on my back. On shorter rides i just fill it up half way because i have never gone through that much water in a 1.5 hr ride. I love mine
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Old 02-27-12, 11:24 AM   #19
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I ride with a mule. It is feels fine on my back.
I WISH I rode with a mule! If I'm out with other bikers, we all carry our own stuff, and if I'm riding with beginners, I'm usually carrying the extra stuff. And when I'm the mule, no one carries me on their back!
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Old 03-01-12, 01:46 AM   #20
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I love my MULE. It's the perfect pack for short-long rides and daypack for hiking/general outdoors activities.
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Old 03-02-12, 07:14 PM   #21
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IMHO, look at something else than the MULE. The MULE hasn't enough small pockets for bits and bobs. Filling the water back takes up so much of the main compartment that you'll need to smash a sandwich to get one in there. The Air Director panel is moves the center of gravity away from your back and let's the pack flop around too much.

FWIW, I've had better luck with the Camelbak Consigliere. I also like the Dakine pack that I have, though I forget which model it is.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:26 PM   #22
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. The Air Director panel is moves the center of gravity away from your back and let's the pack flop around too much.
Interesting to hear this, the waist and chest straps hold it quite stable for me.
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Old 03-02-12, 11:08 PM   #23
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Same here. I never notice it moving on the bike, and even out running it has been pretty stable. Though, the full bladder does take up a little more space than I would have hoped. However, I find myself putting food items in the second open-top compartment, and leave the main zippered compartment for clothes and other non-squishables.

Though I do agree I wish it had more smaller pockets! Though, there isn't a lot of selection in the 100oz arena, so I am still happy with this choice.

And I have found that, with my camelback and a small waistpack, I can actually carry enough to be moderately comfortable for a full night out, at least from a minimalist approach. That is, I have shelter (5x7 tarp, which goes in the bag), water (100oz in the bak, plus 27 on the bike if I am on that), warmth (6x8 wool blanket, lashed to the outside), food (I could easily fit 2500 calories worth of high-density food in the camelbak + waistpack). Plus loads of other handy trinkets and such. Yeah, I wouldn't have a tent or a stove or hotdogs or marshmallows, but for about 15lbs of weight I could stay out a full 24 hours and remain dry, warm, hydrated**, and satiated. Yeah, anyone can do that with just about any backpack setup, but the big thing that sets it apart is that this is probably one of the most comfortable and stable ways I could carry this much water, in such a compact package.


**Assuming I am fully hydrated when I set out.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:23 PM   #24
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A shout-out to the Mule. I took only it and the aforementioned waistack on a short overnight bikepacking trip. From where we parked, it was 5 miles out to where we ended up camping, and 3 miles back, on the roughest trails I'd ever seen (they would have even been rough by dirtbike standards). I am a pretty technical rider, and in pretty good shape, and the trip out took 2 hours and the trip back took 1 (we took a shorter route back, because my friend had to be home to catch a flight) and this was the first time I'd ever had to Hike My Bike, heh. The only reason I mention that is to say that never once did I even notice the Mule moving!

We camped somewhat primitively (with only a tarp and wool blanket each for warmth / shelter), but I am EXTREMELY pleased with what I was able to carry in the waistpack and Mule. I described in my last post about what I thought I could carry, but to update:

-Added Extra socks and underwear,
-Ended up carrying almost 5000 calories worth of food, with almost all of it being regular food (canned food, peanuts, etc).
-100oz in the bladder, PLUS 35oz in a steel cooking canister.

If on a more casual hike or ride (i.e. without the strain and sweating of hard MTBing), I am now confident I could pack for a couple of days between the Mule, the cargo shorts (I only carried an extra long-sleeved short, and my sunglasses and map in the cargo pockets), and the waistpack, with water probably being the largest limiter.

The first picture is me ready to go, and the second picture is one of the crossing. It was actually about 18-20' wide, and what you see on the other side is actually what about 2/3 of the trail looked like, which is why it took so long to go these relatively short distances, heh.

*edit*

In short, I am still very happy with it. With the compression straps and two straps around the torso, you can really cinch it down tight with small loads and keep it stable, yet it can expand to hold a surprising amount of gear!
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Last edited by Lindenwood; 03-19-12 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 03-20-12, 07:24 AM   #25
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Anyone have experience with the $25 High Sierra packs they have at Costco right now? 2 L roll top bladder, and what looks like a nice design for a medium size water pack. Just don't know about the quality, but it's a great price for the features.
I don't know about their hydration packs, but I recently bought a High Sierra gym duffel for my gear. Seems well made. I do have a couple of roll top hydration packs that Blackburn made a few years back. I found the design to be just ok, and prefer the Camelbaks. Should be worth $25 I think.
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