The Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV Model Backpack Product Review

The Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV Model Backpack Product Review

By Yani G. / February 21, 2015

mule-backpack-hydrationThe CamelBak M.U.L.E Backpack (NV Model) is a lightweight backpack that is designed for hikers, cyclists, runners and other athletes that need to be able to stay hydrated while also keeping their hands free and carrying gear. Ever saw something and said to yourself: damn, I need this thing, like, right now!? Well, I felt something like that the first time I saw the picture of it.

But let’s see what it actually does:

About the M.U.L.E. NV Model Backpack

CamelBak have been making backpacks for many years, but to their credit they have not allowed themselves to become complacent with their designs. They have modified and updated their designs many times over the years, and the M.U.L.E. NV is the result of their hard work to date.

This backpack is suitable for all kinds of terrain and weather, and it allows you to carry enough water with you to stay hydrated while you take on the task ahead. The narrow-gauge backpack is really designed to be a backpack for mountain bikers, and CamelBak promise that it offers “everything you need and nothing you don’t”. Well, except if you need a 75 litres backpack that is, because then you’ll be disappointed with this 12+3 litres.

The Benefits of The M.U.L.E. NV

This minimalistic design philosophy is important because it means that you don’t have to worry about being overloaded when you are riding, running, hiking (makes a great addition to your lightweight hiking sleeping bag) or whatever your outdoor extravagant sin is supposed to be. The backpack will stay out of your way because of its ergonomic design, and even when you fill it up to the maximum capacity it won’t bulge in awkward ways.

Under normal conditions, the backpack is designed to support your load in a way which means that it is not completely flat on your back. The load is held away from your back so that there is plenty of ventilation, meaning no-more uncomfortable sweaty patches on the back of your t-shirt. The backpack also features a built-in rain cover which will shelter your gear while you are out on the road.

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CamelBak have designed this product with comfort in mind from the ground up, so it is designed to be as light as possible. This is one thing that many bag makers overlook – they don’t think about the fact that if the bag you are carrying is heavy when it is unloaded, it will be incredibly uncomfortable to carry once it is full. The M.U.L.E NV is designed to carry enough gear for a full day of activities (among normal circumstances), as well as three liters of water.

The manufacturers understand that the modern athlete carries more than just a change of clothes, a torch and some snacks. The redesigned bag includes several clever, easy-access compartments for tools, electronics, keys and other small necessities.

The pack is designed to carry everything that you need for a day out on the trails. It has a media pocket, a pocket for storing bike (or other) tools, a handy “stash” pocket and a removable rain cover. The bag can carry your helmet, a multi-tool, a spare inner tube, your bike pump, an MP3 player or other digital entertainment device, a smartphone, your keys and your wallet, as well as a small packed lunch and some extra layer of clothing. And you’ll still be able to fill some things up up to 12 litres of space. Go minimal, and that is really a lot of space we’re talking about!

This backpack has a quick-link system which offers an easy to open and close cap, a lightweight port for filling the cap up, dryer arms, and an innovative low-profile design.

The patented Big Bite Valve and HydroGuard technology as well as the PureFlow tube mean that you will have access to fresh, clean water whenever you need it, with minimal leakage. The mouth opening is easy to clean so you can always drink with confidence.


As with all other CamelBak products, this bag comes with the “Got Your Bak” lifetime guarantee. This means that if you are not happy with the product or it breaks under normal use you will get your money back.

The bag is rugged enough to survive being thrown around, dropped, dragged, sat on and drenched with water. It is padded in all the right places and the straps are adjustable so most riders should find themselves feeling quite comfortable while using it.

The Downsides of the CamelBak M.U.L.E NV

It is hard to find something faulty with this backpack. In fact, the only real issue that tends to get highlighted in Camelbak Mule reviews is that the NV panels do not tend to stay in place. While the panels are adjustable, they tend to slip around, leading to a situation where the upper NV panel digs in to the shoulder blades and the lower one sits below the waistline. This is something that is not usually an issue with other models.

For you chic snobs out there, the cosmetic issue might be an issue: the bag is quite plain, and the colors are limited. People say other CamelBak products such as the HAWG NV (which is btw. loved by the Military personnel such as the Seals because it’s robust and supercool and I need one of those too!) are far more eye-catching and visually appealing.

Oh well.

Of course, since the pack will be sitting on your back, a plain look is not really a problem, especially if you value functionality. But if you really think of this as a bad thing, you might want to reconsider them outside livin’ you’re living.

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The CamelBak M.U.L.E NV Hydration backpack is a rugged, versatile and well-made sports accessory that is ideal for hikers, long-distance runners and cyclists. While it is a bit more expensive than some rival models, it is worth the price because of its high quality and the incredible comfort that it provides.

Staying hydrated is a must for any serious athlete. If you are currently skimping on hydration because you find it awkward to carry a traditional sports bottle then you should seriously consider one of the CamelBak range of products.

Still not convinced?

Then check out other CamelBack hydration backpack products on Amazon through this link. There is more than one version of this product, and it may be that a larger model or an alternative style may appeal to you more.

About the author

    Yani G.

    Hiker and a gadget freak. When not reviewing the latest products on the market, Yani is traveling the world with his lovely wife, exploring new horizons and telling us about it.

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