CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Review

in Cycling by Carl H. Martens

Is it me or do hydration packs keep getting bigger? Not that I’m complaining, but I remember when everybody rolled with the half-liter CamelBak and we were all impressed by not having to reach for our water bottles. Well, as most things in the outdoor/performance sport industry, my beloved CamelBak M.U.L.E. has been given a serious makeover. I’ve always been impressed by CamelBak products, they’ve weathered many imitators and still hold the gold. Afterall, they were the first hydration systems on the scene so they’ve had a reputation to uphold. Over the years I’ve gone through four or five different hydration systems, and countless bladders (more on that later, no reason to buy new ones if you care for it properly).

camelbak mule nv reviewSo, I love CamelBak’s gear, but here’s the problem: Who the hell needs this much stuff on an average bike ride? I recently replaced my old M.U.L.E with the fancy new one, and the new one is great, I just won’t mountain bike with it. Personally, I’ve gone back to bottles as my rides aren’t quite as long as they used to be, and most of my races have a 10-mile loop or so before there’s a chance to refuel, so more time is spent cranking than hydrating. The new generation of M.U.L.E. weighs 2.41 lbs when EMPTY, and almost 9 lbs at full capacity (3 liters). 9 pounds! Some of us are weight weenies, some are not, but all of us will feel 9 lbs on our backs. I haven’t whipped out the scale, but I’m pretty sure that’s 9 lbs with a full reservoir before cargo. The specs on the M.U.L.E. NV rate it at having 600 cubic inches of cargo space. Another 600 cubic inches and I could use this thing for a thru-hike. In fact, with a little imagination, I bet I could do a cross-country cycling trip without panniers if I had this M.U.L.E. as my main-cargo and water carrier. In fact, I would gladly welcome the challenge of any takers and/or sponsors (Attn: CamelBak–I’ll gladly ride cross-country with nothing but a M.U.L.E. if you foot the bill. I travel cheap! please write to: carl@uboutdoors.com).

CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Review

CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Review

in Cycling by Bill Lobe

This review provided by:  MTOBikes.com

Is it me or do hydration packs keep getting bigger? Not that I’m complaining, but I remember when everybody rolled with the half-liter CamelBak and we were all impressed by not having to reach for our water bottles. Well, as most things in the outdoor/performance sport industry, my beloved CamelBak M.U.L.E. has been given a serious makeover. I’ve always been impressed by CamelBak products, they’ve weathered many imitators and still hold the gold. Afterall, they were the first hydration systems on the scene so they’ve had a reputation to uphold. Over the years I’ve gone through four or five different hydration systems, and countless bladders (more on that later, no reason to buy new ones if you care for it properly). 

ZeroGoo Hydration Bladder Dryer Review

ZeroGoo Hydration Bladder Dryer Review

in Cycling by Carl H. Martens

In the past I have thrown out and replaced my fair share of bladders that have developed mildew because of improper care by yours truly. I have tried the hanger method, but that takes a considerable amount of time and even then I haven’t had the desired results I would expect. Enter ZeroGoo. The $34.99 Hydration Bladder Dryer from ZeroGoo is a product that addresses unwanted buildup in the bladder. I had first become aware of ZeroGoo through a mountain bike forum. I contacted the owner, Trent Ballentine and he agreed to send a unit for review.

zerogoo-hydration-bladder-dryer-in-useThe ZeroGoo hydration bladder dryer was specifically designed to fit into the opening of a CamelBak wide-mouth bladder. It fit perfectly. The unit, when plugged in, uses a small 12 volt motor to power a fan that inflates the bladder to eliminate unwanted growth from occurring.

The noise produced by the fan is somewhere in between a microwave and a hair dryer. At times the noise produced can be somewhat bothersome.

We only tested the product on bladders that had been filled with water. During our first test I emailed Trent during our third hour of testing to inquire how long on average the ZeroGoo unit should take to dry a bladder. Trent responded via email stating that in Denver it takes about 30 minutes. Trent attributed the longer drying time to Georgia’s humidity and because of this he would expect three hours drying time. On multiple occasions we let the ZeroGoo unit run over night and throughout the day and the end result was never a dry bladder.

The unit only inflates the bladder and does not blow heated air into the bladder. Trent stated that he didn’t want to use a heater in the design since water is present and heat would release solvents from the plastic bag.

Below is a video of Trent Bellantine on Outdoor America explaining the ZeroGoo hydration bladder dryer.

Unfortunately, our test results here in Georgia proved to be no quicker than the drying time of the hanger method, 3-4 days. We have sent the unit to our correspondent Matt Brody who will test it in Arizona to see if a dry desert climate will yield different results. The design of the CamelBak bladder does not adequately allow for air to pass through the bladder and as a result makes the ZeroGoo unit no more effective than the hanger method. Our conclusion from the south is that, although it appears to be a great concept the particular unit we received was not able to perform like we had hoped.

We’d like to see one of two things: a heated version of the ZeroGoo to help dry the bladder or CamelBak’s bladder design to change to allow for easier drying and cleaning.

Stay tuned for our upcoming review of the DAKINE AMP hydration pack which utilizes a HydraPak Reservoir allowing for easier cleaning and drying of the bladder.