My original criteria for selecting a GHB or BOB was the size of the pack. The more a pack can hold the better, right? I quickly discovered the disadvantage of this mindset. A bigger pack is a heavy pack. While I can bare the grunt of a large load I favor lightness and speed over all else. The Camelbak Mule is a smaller pack and forces you to think about what you’re putting inside (that’s what she said.) Selecting a smaller pack means you put more thought into your gear. After bugging out a few times with my larger packs I realized I had gear I did not need. I also realized I had no desire to lug around dead weight in a bag that’s too big.
In this review we trim the fat as I show you the Camelbak Mule and explain why it is a formidable GHB.
- 12.5 Liters Storage Space
- 3L Hydration Bladder
- The iconic M.U.L.E is the perfect balance of cargo and hydration in a feature-rich, narrow-gauge design
- Antidote reservoir features Quick Link system, easy open/close cap, lightweight fill port, Dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design
- Key pack features: xv back panel, magnetic tube trap, bike tool organizer pocket, four-point compression, helmet hooks
- Designed to carry helmet, Multi-tool, pump, Spare tube, extra layer, lunch, phone, keys
- Camelbak Got your Bak guarantee: if we build it, we’ll Bak it with our lifetime guarantee
- Three interior slip pockets. Three exterior pockets.
What I like about the Camelbak Mule
This is a pack made for mountain bikers and cross country runners. One thing these sports have in common with a survival/SHTF scenario is a heavy reliance on water. Typically you would throw a couple water bottles inside a pack that’s too large and call it a day. Camelbak includes a high quality water bladder in all of their bags and the Mule is no exception. The reservoir bladder is BPA free and holds 3 liters of water. I like this setup because I have access to water while I’m walking or running. Traditional setups require you to drop your pack and dig through the main pouch. In a fully blown SHTF situation this might not be an option. Avid hikers are also well aware of the dangers of stopping. You can lose momentum and energy by stopping.
The Camelbak Mule is designed with comfort and high activity in mind. The compression straps cinch down the contents of your bag so everything sits close to your spine. This allows you to efficiently carry a load and move around without feeling bogged down or off balance. I have lots of experience using packs without the compression straps and it’s a night and day difference. The closer you can get your gear to the back of you spine the more mobile and balanced you’ll be.
Pockets and storage space
You got 12.5 liters of storage capacity not including the 3 L hydration bladder. Storage space is split up between the front storage pocket, the main compartment, and the felt lined media pocket for electronics or sunglasses. Between the front pocket and the main pocket is a stretchable section of synthetic material that can be expanded and stuffed with whatever you want. To give you an idea of the size of this expandable area, bikers could easily fit their helmet inside of this space. It’s a good amount of overflow space for extra storage if you find yourself needing to carry more than what the main container can hold.
The 3L hydration bladder
The signature feature of all Camelbak products is the hydration bladder. I’ve never had a Camelbak bladder leak on me. The material is BPA free so no worries about harmful plastic byproducts seeping into your H20. The hydration tube is detachable from the bladder via a quick connect apparatus and the drinking end features a shut off valve to open and close the flow. 3 L is the largest bladder Camelbak makes and it’s good to see that large capacity ship stock with the Mule. I’m not a fan of the hard plastic seal – It’s difficult to remove and thread back on the bladder. However, it does its job dutifully once sealed.
The Camelbak Mule is a great get home bag and a strong potential bug out bag. The more skills you have the less gear you need to survive a fully blown SHTF situation. I can see this bag sitting in your car ready to rock at a moments notice. You can load it down with water and all your important gear and “get home” should anything happen to you on the road. No, you’re not going to pack everything and the kitchen sink with the Mule. However, you’ll be able to pack all the essential stuff AND efficiently carry 3 Liters of water. That’s all you need when it comes down to it.
By the way, they make a military spec version as well. It’s very similar to the Mule but it’s made with heavier material and features MOLLE webbing on the outside. Until next time.