Monday, October 4, 2010
This weekend, I put my new CamelBak M.U.L.E to work.  I also just spent about 27 minutes googling "M.U.L.E" because I figured it had to stand for SOMETHING (seeing as there are periods after each letter...), but I came up with nothing.  Disappointing. 

But that was really the only disappointing thing about this pack.  I've used it once before, but not for any long trip, so this was it's first true test, and it passed with flying colors.  When I bought it, I was looking for a day pack with a couple specific features.  I wanted it to have a hydration bladder, a low profile, enough storage for all the small stuff I take for a full day hike, and some external straps for stuff that wouldnt' fit inside (like a jacket).  I also wanted something that looked nifty.  Hey, if I'm gonna spend the money, I at least want a cool color!  After much hunting (like, a year or so), I finally broke down and went with the CamelBak MULE, which has a 100oz hydration bladder (with easy fill opening, antimicrobial tubing, and a lifetime warranty!), and 600 cubic inches of storage space.  It's perfection in a hydration day pack. 

Test numero uno of the weekend was the 50 mile bike ride down the VA Creeper trail and back.  It needed to hold: water, a couple Gu's and clif bars, a map, my camera, my phone, my sunglasses, my bike headlight.  It also needed to not flop around while going through bumpy stretches, needed to not make my shoulders hurt, and needed to be cool enough that my back didn't get sweaty.  Success on all fronts.  Because it wasn't hot outside, I didn't fill the bladder completely, but even if I had, it's equipped with a hook to hang the bladder from so it doesn't slough to the bottom of the pack, and keeps the weight distributed evenly.  I stuck my phone and camera in the iPod pocket at the top, which has a water resistant zipper seal.  I put everything else in the lower organization pocket, which kept it where it was supposed to be.  All in all, it was a success.  Comfortable, cool, organized.  I took the waist belt off (easily unclips), and just used the sternum strap which was comfortable and kept it in place plenty well.  Here you can see the pack in action... as a platform for my camera.  It didn't do that job so well.  But I bet it would do an excellent job of holding a Gorillapod.  This one even matches. 

On Sunday, I used it for a hike and had equally awesome success.  I jumped around a lot more (ran down a mountain for a bit), and it didn't shift or bounce like some packs I've had.  It held everything I needed, and could have easily accommodated my jacket in the compression straps had it not dropped to 45 degrees and started sleeting!  Here you can see the pack really in action.  It must have some scent barrier protection, because it was the only thing the ponies didn't try to chew on.  It also made me relatively visible in the dense fog. 

So, there you have it.  My CamelBak M.U.L.E is a win.  Now if I could only figure out what M.U.L.E. stands for!!!  Any suggestions?

Soon to come in the gear review department: Nike ACG pants, Petzl headlamp, CarbBOOM energy gels, and Columbia softshell jacket (a couple of which are in the picture above!).  Stay tuned!

Adventure on,


Anonymous said...

M.U.L.E. stands for Medium to Ultra Long Excursions ;)

About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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