CAMELBAK MULE PRO 14 & WOMEN’S LUXE PACK
by Robert Thorpe & Larisa Chinces
by Robert Thorpe & Larisa Chinces
Having used a Camelbak Mule as the pack of choice for many years, I was intrigued to see the new pack. At the editors launch, the brand guys went over it in detail and it looked awesome, but only wearing it in anger on the hills can produce a true test. First of all then, why has it always been my pack of choice: it’s robust, truly robust. It’s been thrown all over the place, taken out in all weather, been overpacked to bursting and yet it still loves me and looks after me. It deserves a rest, so bring on the new Mule from Camelbak! Larisa was introduced to the Camelbak Mule range by friends at Vitamina C PR from Italy, testing the Women’s Luxe, which is the ladies specific version of the leading Mule pack, and it’s quickly become her ‘go to’ pack too.
The first thing that you notice is the Air Support Pro Back Panel. It’s a well constructed and strong 3D Vent mesh panel, that lifts the pack away from your back, allowing maximum airflow and reducing that horrible sweaty back syndrome. Using it extensively this summer, it’s been awesome at keeping me dry and comfortable. The body mapping means that it simply fits superbly, and the new chest straps adjust up,and down too, giving a perfect fit, that fastens with a magnetic clip – very useful with gloves.
Inside of the 14 litre sack, there’s an array of small pockets with zipped fastening, allowing you to keep important items close to hand, and ample room for spares, jacket and even spare clothes for a lightweight expedition. The two main compartments are extremely voluminous and a definite increase on my older Mule model. Materials are strong, well sewn, and we both love the additional zipped pocket on the top, which is a great place for regularly used items, like an energy bar or even your phone.
We really love the open compartment at the rear, and use it all the time on bike and hike, as a quick grab area for a jacket or an extra bottle on an all day epic where water points are limited.
The chest straps are wide and comfortable and at the waist, the new addition of the two decent sized zipped pouches are a godsend. Pop your phone, money for coffee and a few energy bars in here and you’re away. Of course, it’s a Camelbak, and the 100 litre water reservoir is superb. The new flow control valve is excellent and easy to turn on and off, and super easy to take apart and clean. All the parts come apart easily, and the plastic is produced using CamelBak’s expertise to ensure that you only taste your drink.
Not only is this an awesome pack, that follows on the trend from the original Camelbak Mule, but there’s also now a ladies specific version. It’s about time too, as it’s so obvious that we’re built differently and need a little bit of consideration 😉 . The Women’s Luxe fills the gap that has existed for too long, and shares all the necessary great attributes of the rest of the range. It’s just the right size for me, giving lots of room for a jacket and snacks and tools etc on a long day in the hills.
The Women’s Luxe has a slightly smaller strap design, and it’s modelled to sit more comfortably on the shoulders and across the chest area. It has all the same necessary compartments, and the same super cool mesh back, to help to keep me cool on the bike. Using body mapping, the CamelBak women’s backpack uses all of their knowledge and experience and technology, for a tailored women’s-specific fit and improved cooling. Best of all, it works and it’s my favourite pack too 🙂 . Yes, it looks like both Robert and I are big fans of the new range from Camelbak, which carries forward the Mule reputation, into the future and onto the trails.
The previous Camelbak Mule was a legendary pack, but we’ve quickly fallen in love with the latest iteration from this world leading brand. Using it in the national parks here in the U.K. and in the mountains of Transylvania and Romania, it’s been truly amazing. Add to this that both of us reviewing these packs, in mens and ladies versions, come from a climbing and mountain background, and you’ll understand that a pack has to perform for us – and it does. The Camelbak Mule Pro 14 and Women’s Luxe Pack excel in every area, and they’re botha packs that’ll give you years of comfortable use on your mountain adventures.