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). 

Dakine AMP 12L Hydration Pack Review

Dakine AMP 12L Hydration Pack Review

in Cycling by Carl H. Martens

The 2009 Dakine AMP pack gets a makeover including the all new reservoir making it a great backpack for mountain biking. DaKine makes a huge improvement by teaming up with HydraPak to include HydraPak’s Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System with the 12L Amp. The addition of the new reservoir automatically increases the stock value of this unit. If you are unfamiliar with this hydration system, read our review of it…hands down, one of the best bladders on the market!

In addition to the Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System, the pack comes complete with XC helmet carry straps (works using helmet’s chin straps), quick access mesh pockets, fleece sunglass pocket, tube/pump sleeves and a molded back panel with air channel ventilation. Although we didn’t use the helmet carry straps in our testing, we really loved the numerous zippered pockets included the fleece lined sunglass pocket, tube/pump sleeves and padded MP3 player pocket were a huge plus. Commuters and night riders will appreciate having a small loop located at the bottom of the front of the bag specifically designed for a reflector or flashing light.

dakine amp 12l with giro xen helmetThe pack uses a light weight nylon material and integrates a breathable mesh material on the shoulder and removable waist strap as well as on the back panel. We found that the tube sleeve was large enough to fit up to two tubes which we thought was a nice feature for long epic rides over challenging terrain. We used the large tube sleeve to our advantage for stuffing our multi-tool and CO2 cartridges in with 1-2 tubes.

The padded MP3 player pocket is well situated inside the large compartment of the pack and shares the same opening as the reservoirs tube for the headphones leading to an elastic strap on the should strap opposite the shoulder strap with the reservoir tube. This was a very noticeable feature compared to other packs that fail to include either a designated pocket for an MP3 player or those that don’t take into account the headphones of such devices and leaving them unsecured.

HydraPak Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System Review

HydraPak Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System Review

in Cycling by Carl H. Martens

If you are familiar with the traditional hydration reservoir like the bladder found inside of a CamelBak you are well aware of one major problem, the inability to easily clean the bladder. After a ride a year ago or so I said the following to my girlfriend, “it’d be great if there was a bladder that sealed like a Ziploc so it’d be easier to clean.” My thought was that if the opening at the top was larger it would be easy to clean the inside of the unit without using the “hanger” or “freezer” method and eliminate the need for something like the ZeroGoo unit that we previously reviewed.

hydrapak-reversible-reservoir-ii-hydration-systemHydraPak took my simple idea and made it far better with their Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System. We first became acquainted with this reservoir hydration system when we tested the Dakine AMP backpack, however the reservoir was first introduced in 2008. We quickly stopped using any other reservoir we had on hand.

The Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System features a 36″ Drink Tube, 90deg. Bite Valve, Quickdraw Tube Attachment, Plug-N-Play Connector, and Straight Bite Valve Base.

We loved everything about the HydraPak Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System

hydrapak-slide-and-sealThe reservoir itself is ingenious. The opening of the reservoir folds over itself and is secured in place by the easy on, easy off, Slide Seal, a sliding plastic clip which slides across the top of the reservoir. Think of the bladder as a Ziploc bag that gets folded over itself and then you slide the white little plastic piece across the top…it is very similar. When it is time to clean the bladder you simply slide the plastic clip off, unfold the reservoir, reach inside and turn it inside out. Amazing!