Out Of The Box: 2013 Camelbak M.U.L.E NV- by Grannygear
The M.U.L.E. has been a staple in the Camelbak lineup from way back and lives on today. The 2013 Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV is a full featured pack that should meet or exceed the needs of any weekend warrior out there. We had the numbers all called out in our On Test Post, located here, so now let’s take a tour of the features, shall we? First off, I have to say that I like the understated colors of this pack. The black with some red highlights is all biz, no My Pretty Pony colors. You won’t look like a Japanese school girl wearing this around at the trail head.
Now then, beginning at the front, there is a slash/vertical zipped pocket that is really handy for things you want to keep right on top…maps, snacks, point and shoot camera, cell phone, etc. Up above that is a media pocket that also makes a good sunglasses place with its soft lining. In between those two sections is a large, expandable stuff able “Overflow” pouch that can be compressed with straps. I used to love packs with bungee cording on the front to hold jackets, etc. This is better as you can put extra water bottles, etc in there. Awesome for that quick jacket grab.
The next compartment is five mini pouches. The main flap area, the netted (but NOT zipped) pouch, a pouch with some elastic band sewn in the opening, and two more pouches as well. Of course, a key clip. The main cargo area opens fully and is one, large pouch. Behind that is a 100oz/3L Antidote reservoir. The zipper pull for the reservoir pouch has a little blue anodized aluminum piece on it. Oddly enough, I appreciated that as it made it easy to spot in all the red and black material of the pack. The drink tube will work on either shoulder strap.
The new NV (iNtegrated Ventilation) back panel, with its octopus like pods, is kinda dramatic. But will it work? We shall see. It sure looks like it will vent well. The D Fit shoulder straps are vented too, padded well, and the sternum strap is height adjustable. Other features are flap-over hip belt pouches, a stowed in its own pouch rain cover, helmet hooks, and a blinky loop as well as bits of reflective materials sewn into the pack.
More from the trail as we load up this little mule of a pack and go riding. Check back with us.
Note: Camelbak sent the pack to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.