Your Guide To The Best Way to Stay Hydrated On The Road
The only thing that beats neat and crispy fresh whiskey is water, and that is because water sustains life.
If you are into mountain biking, hiking, or running, then you will agree with us that the only thing your body craves when on the move is water. This is because we sweat. As a result of this we have to carry sufficient water when venturing into outdoor activities. In these cases, a water bottle won’t suffice, but we know what will; a CamelBak M.U.L.E Hydration Pack.
Why? This hydration pack is strong enough to hold up to 3 liters of water, but it isn’t too heavy.
How did I figure this out?
We all work a lot, and whether in employment, running our companies or both, we get wound down with the stress around creating a good life. Even though this sounds like a cliché, burnout is real, and when you don’t take the time to care for your body – your powerhouse, you will lose it all.
No, this isn’t meant to scare you but to expose the realities of life. We work too hard and forget to take breaks and refuel. I did. I forgot all about my powerhouse and spent every waking minute behind a desk making endless calls before I got a rude awakening – I forgot meeting times, I couldn’t control my headaches, and I added too much weight to my initially lean frame.
When you realize that your clothes no longer fit and that people who found you attractive no longer do, then, you know that it is time for a change. That was me.
The first thing I did was sign up for gym sessions but, that wasn’t enough. I loved cycling and mountain biking, so I got a new bike and went on the trail. Even though the fresh air and the cool breeze felt refreshing, fatigue kicked in, and I headed back home. This happened a few more times, but after three fatigue and draining stretches,
I did some research. What was the problem – dehydration! It was time to switch things up and to get something to hold enough water for my rides, and after a few fails, I came across Camelbak Mule Hydration Pack.
This turned things around, and I look forward to my daily cycling (oh, I resorted to biking to work, and it works wonders – no more sitting in traffic, I breath fresh air every day, and I shed off the extra weight).
What is a hydration pack?
A hydration pack is your water storage reservoir – a backpack with a specially designed bladder to hold water. It comes complete with a hose assembly as well as loops and buckles that hold and route the hose. Draw tubes and caps have functional designs that make it possible for you to drink water hands-free when riding.
In simpler terms, you can say a hydration pack is a specially designed backpack which has a bladder that carries fluids. The bladder feeds a hose, and the hose goes over your shoulder and clipped in place on the chest wrap/ strap or your backpack. The best part about these packs is they come with pockets just like your standard backpack making them perfect for long runs from your unraveling but tiring life.
Note that you need a hydration pack as long as you plan on engaging in strenuous outdoor activity away from human civilization even when your life is in order.
Why will you love a CamelBak M.U.L.E Hydration Pack?
This is like asking why we need water but, here we go!
Doctors, lifestyle magazines, blogs, and herbalists have one thing in common; they strongly recommend intake of about two liters of water every day. Not as a fad, but as a way of life. Drinking water is the only way to keep our cells in tip-top shape. While we may be unable to get into the habit of drinking that much water on a typical day (sitting behind a computer screen), we drink that much water when we go for a run or hiking, or mountain biking. This is because we will sweat.
Our bodies are 90 percent water – think plasma, and all cells rely on water in plasma to transport nutrients and to excrete wastes. Without water, normal cellular functions slow and this isn’t advisable for you when taking part in an endurance exercise like mountain riding.
Here, are all the more reasons to love a hydration pack:
- To protect you from dehydration
First off, the hydration pack holds more water than your water bottle ever could. If you want to save yourself from dehydration, you have to get a large-capacity hydration pack. Dehydration is the number one cause of poor cycling performance, heat stroke, loss of muscular function, hallucinations, circulatory collapse, and in extreme cases, death.
These happen because dehydration increases core temperature and rate of glycogen use while decreasing blood volume, blood flow to the skin, digestive function, sweat rate, and heat dissipation.
- The hydration pack makes it easy for you to hydrate on the move.
- The pack is safe thanks to the use of BPA and BPS-free materials. Therefore, even under sweltering heat, you will stay hydrated, and the water will not be harmful to your health.
- A CamelBak M.U.L.E Hydration Pack is easy and comfortable to carry around thanks to its narrow ergonomic design. It aligns well with the spine even on steep inclines; you won’t feel the like the pack is pulling you back.
Even though we now know why we need to get hydration packs, there is a bigger challenge which we all face – how do we select the best hydration packs?
Which are the main factors to consider when looking for hydration packs?
The design of the hydration pack
A Camelbak hydration pack can have two designs; the lumbar waist belt hydration packs and the rucksack style hydration packs. Some designs aren’t cross compatible between designs packs. For example, if buying a hydration pack for a backpack that didn’t have a hydration pack before, you have to keep in mind the shape of the area you plan on placing the hydration pack. A rucksack style doesn’t fit into an original waist-belt hydration pack style.
The fluid capacity
This is the main reason why you are buying a hydration pack and not a water bottle. The size chosen depends on the distance you wish to cover on the road and the difficulty level of the hike or the ride. For day-long expeditions, you should consider getting a large capacity water bottle. Hydration packs capacities range from about 1.5 to 3.0 liters. If you aren’t planning on going out for long hike or rides this weekend or later in the future, you should consider getting a small-capacity hydration pack. The small capacity hydration pack is perfect for kids.
As you think about the fluid capacity of the hydration pack, you should also keep in mind the cargo capacity. You know you’ll have to carry snacks, biking gear, tools, a few electronics, and maybe a light jacket. Considering the cargo capacity will help you make the right decision on the trail to take and the maximum duration of time you can be out.
Will you handle the cargo’s weight during the uphill and the downhill ride? Make sure that the compartments and the pads hold well especially on the downhill ride.
Size and the fit
Will the hydration pack fit into the size of your torso? Will the waists straps fit you? How about the back length – will it suit your body and feel comfortable on your back? Unfortunately, hydration packs do not come in sizes like the ones in clothes, therefore, to know if the pack fits, look at the reviews of the products to know if the pack fits almost everyone. You may also want to check out the product description to know of the packs is unisex, for kids, or for women.
Pressurized or not pressurized?
Is the hydration system pressurized or not? You ought to remember that drinking water from a large straw is hard and a pressurized hydration pack, though expensive, is the best option.
Stability and comfort
The hydration pack’s streamlined design is the main reason why the hydration packs are preferred by most riders. This is because the pack must align with the shape of your body to reduce resistant when riding uphill. The best hydration packs have narrow and compressible designs. Look out for a pack that hugs the weight of your body.
For extra comfort, the padding should be sufficient and the back part breathable to keep your back cool and comfy. For breathability, look out for air channels on the part of the pack that lies against your back.
Finally, for comfort, you have to make sure that the pack has adjustable straps.
Protection for hydration packs comes in the form of body armor protection and contouring to the shape of your spine. Protection also means having shock absorbing abilities. These are often subtle features which add protection without adding any extra weight to the pack.
This is a critical part of the hydration pack because you will use it every time you take a drink. So, is the bite valve made of soft or comfortable and easy-to-bite materials? Does water trickle or flood out when you open the valve? Does the valve leak? And, is it close to your mouth?
Does the cap seal the hydration bladder tightly? Do you go for roll-top closures, push-fit closures of or screw cap closures? The closure should allow you to fill the bladder with ease and it shouldn’t cause any spills.
How easy is it to clean the hydration pack? Cleanliness matters in hydration packs and you should be able to drain and clean the bladder after use easily. The best hydration pack is easy to clean and dry. To stay safe, clean it regularly and keep it in the fridge when not in use.
You may also want to consider the pack’s rain cover, the color, the material making up the sip tube, or cold water accessories like insulation reservoirs.
Expert tips: fill the reservoir with warm water if it's freezing and freeze the reservoir if hot.
With that in mind, here are our five best CamelBak hydration packs:
5 Best Camelbak MULE Hygration Packs
High-quality internal baffling system
Easy to use, comfortable
Pirate Black - CamelBak
Perfect color for the outdoors
Durable, easy to clean
1. Charcoal - CamelBak MULE Hydration Pack - High-quality internal baffling system - Best of the best
Mountain biking is one of the best exercises or hobbies you can pick up – though strenuous. It’s a great workout and that’s not all – think about the sights and sounds along the biking trail, how great you will feel after achieving a milestone. Better yet, how fit you’ll be after a few rides– tempting, right?
Well, as you look for the best mountain bike, here is something else you need – a CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack. Why? You must hydrate when cycling to enhance your performance. If you fail to hydrate, you may suffer from heat stroke, experience hallucinations, and your muscles will give away.
We highly recommend this hydration pack because of the following features:
The main antidote reservoir features of this hydration pack. This pack has a quick link system, a lightweight fill port, dryer arms, and an easy to open/ close cap. It also has a center baffling (heard of a hydration pack’s bladder before?
The center baffling is the same thing. It is the reservoir with a capped mouth for filling liquid and a hose that lets you drink water hands-free). The water bladder is safe for use because it’s BPA and BPS-free.
It feels comfortable on your back when cycling thanks to its narrow-gauge design. Streamlining is important when riding and this hydration pack’s stealth design is what you need. Incorporated into the design are features for carrying a helmet, a spare tube, a multi-tool, a pump, your lunch, keys, phone, and an extra layer.
Other structural features of this pack include an XV panel, a bike tool organizer pocket, a magnetic tune trap, helmet hooks, and four-point compression.
The three interior slip pockets and the three exterior pockets make sure that you have enough space for anything else you need to carry – say a map. You’ll have zippers for the closure of this pack.
Is it heavy? Well, with its capacity of 11 liters translating to a liquid volume capacity of 101.4 ounces, this hydration packs weighs a mere 1.11 pounds.
Is the construction fabric durable? Yes. The 70D/210 D diamond ripstop nylon makes it not just durable but waterproof as well – you know how wet it gets in the mountains, right?
Besides the narrow design, the comfort of this pack also comes from the breathable back – it has air channels – which will keep you cool throughout the ride. The size and the weight add to the comfort of using this bag too.
- It has sufficient storage space.
- It is lightweight and durable.
- It has a high-quality internal baffling system.
- The draw tube comes with an adjustable flow control at the mouthpiece meaning that you will use the mouth piece at the most comfortable angle.
- It is BPA and BPS-free.
- It is waterproof, and it doesn’t leak.
- It is easy to clean.
- The waist strap doesn’t work.
2. Barbados Cherry - CamelBak 2016 MULE NV Hydration Pack - Lifetime guarantee
Did you make a personal challenge in your New Year’s resolutions to go out mountain biking this year? How is the going?
Okay, as you look around for the right bike for an exceptional riding experience, here is something that will make your ride cooler – literally and successful; a hydration pack. Yes, just like the ones you see professional mountain riders with.
Why should you consider this CamelBak 2016 M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack?
It is spacious with three interior slip pockets, stretch overflow helmet storage, a patented antidote reservoir (low profile bladder with a 100oz capacity, and a total capacity of 11liters plus extra 3 liters in the reservoir). Even with this capacity, the hydration packs weighs a mere 1.7lbs making it lightweight and easy to carry.
The ability to withstand the 13liter storage capacity results from the hydration pack’s construction design which incorporates a 70D Diamond Clarus and a 420D nylon with a DWR of 1000mm. The water resistance comes from the use of imported PU material.
Other design features that make this an excellent mountain riding or hiking hydration pack include the quick link system, the Hydro-Guard, the pure flow tube, dryer arms and the ¼ turn cap.
To adjust the size of your load, this hydration pack comes with four-point compression straps. There are harnesses in the form of an independent suspension and a slide sternum strap.
- Its size is perfect for all body sizes.
- It has a lot of storage space.
- It is breathable and comfortable.
- It comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- Water remains cool throughout.
- It is durable.
- The color bleeds.
3. Imperial Blue - CamelBak 2016 MULE Hydration Pack - Easy to use, comfortable
Bike, helmet, knee pads, biking pants and top, goggles, music, phone, keys, map – check! One essential thing is missing from your list though – water and, you don’t have a high-quality hydration pack for enough water, a pack that doubles as a backpack.
While the market is full of hydration pack, we highly recommend that you take a look at this CamelBak 2016 M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack.
A few minutes on the internet will tell you that M.U.L.E is an iconic brand and you can trust this backpack that gives an ideal balance of hydration and cargo. How?
For hydration, this pack features Antidote reservoir features like the quick link system, a lightweight fill port, an easy open/close cap, a low profile design, dryer arms, and center baffling. For easy access to drinking water, this pack has a magnetic tube strap that snaps into place quickly.
This backpack has an ergonomic and a maneuverable narrow-gauge design and has compartments and pockets to carry all your essentials. It has an interior slip pocket and three exterior pockets. Besides aligning well with your spine, the design allows you to carry your helmet, a pump, a multi-tool, your lunch, an extra layer, a spare tube, your phone, and keys.
All this is possible thanks to the XV back panel, the helmet hooks, the magnetic tube strap, the bike tool organizer, and the four-point compression. Even with all these features, this backpack weighs a mere 1.4 pounds. It can carry three liters of water and enough snacks.
As you carry this pack, your back will remain cool thanks to the incorporation of breathable air channels in the design.
- The water bladder is easy to take out and to clean.
- It has a magnetic tube strap making it easy to use.
- The insulated parts keep water cool.
- It has more than enough space for water, snacks, and extra clothes.
- Comfortable for all body sizes.
- It looks great.
- It isn’t waterproof.
4. Pirate Black - Camelbak MULE Hydration Pack - Perfect color for the outdoors
The use of XV back panels makes this backpack lightweight because air moves freely over your back even when you fully load the pack. This enhances comfort and keeps your back cool throughout the hike or the ride. It has breathable design.
Your helmet is your most important hiking gear, and you must have it with you whenever you go out for an expedition. Several bikers often complain about the lack of enough space for their helmets and this M.U.L.E came to the rescue with this backpack.
The external hooks on this backpack are for carrying your helmet when you aren’t riding the bike.Space isn’t an issue with this backpack because it comes with top and rear zippered pockets. You have a clip for your keys too.
Whether you buy the US-made or the imported backpack, it will be the best backpacking asset you will every buy. This is true because of many reasons such as:
- Low profile design
This backpack has a low profile design with a welded center baffle that makes this Antidote easy to pack. This design also makes for extra stability on the trail.
The Antidote reservoir is durable thanks to its design which incorporates safe and stable 3-layered polyurethane made with HydroGuard Technology.
- Easy to open valve
For access to your drinking water, this hydration pack features an easy-open ¼ turn valve, and you can close the cap just as easily. To clean and fill the reservoir, you have an air-tight fill port with a large opening.
- Quick Link System
To track your consumption, to improve taste and to customize your hydration experience, you have a Quick Link System. This system works with all compatible accessories. There is also the tube disconnect and the auto shut-off system that makes it easy for you to route your hydration tube hassle-free.
- Finally, the use of coated ripstop nylon makes this a strong and a durable backpack worth your money. It weighs 1.43 pounds and has a total fluid capacity of 101.4 ounces.
- It has large and small storage compartments.
- The water bladder holds enough water that will last up to 5 hours in the toughest conditions.
- The back ventilation makes this backpack comfortable on your back, and it holds well even in sweltering heat.
- It is versatile thanks to the comfortable and ergonomic low-profile design.
- It is sturdy.
- Perfect color for the outdoors.
- You may need a cover if going out into the rain.
5. Multicam - CamelBak MULE MilTac 3 Liter Hydration Pack - Durable, easy to clean
If you have been looking for a hydration pack with army accents, then this is it. It’s a strong multicam hydration backpack with a sturdy design. The straps hold tight even when moving fast and you will not feel awkward or unstable carrying it.
It has specially designed Mil Spec Antidote reservoir that will keep you hydrated throughout the hike or the biking expedition. It is lightweight too.
Regarding space, this bag has more than enough space thanks to the extra pockets, the cargo, and the water bladder compartments. The two pockets on top will hold your essentials while the bottom compartment works best for your gear. These two compartments are entirely independent of each other.
The use of Cordura 500 fabrics makes sure that this M.U.L.E Hydration Pack stays with you for a long time. The zippered mesh is ideal for storing keys, and the loops on the side are excellent for carabiners.
You can drink water with ease when moving around thanks to the on and off lever on the pack’s bite valve.
For comfort, you have the padded shoulder strap and a waist strap that is not too broad. The waist strap prevents the bag from moving sideways.
- Insulation keeps water cool.
- It is durable thanks to the use of strong Cordura fabric.
- It is comfortable.
- It has enough space.
- It is easy to clean.
- The bite valve makes it easy to drink water.
- It is an expensive hydration pack.
- The shoulder straps aren’t adjustable for the width of the neck.
A good hydration pack makes the difference between an uncomfortable ride and a well-hydrated, high-performance body on the road. The tube and the bite valve make it possible for you to drink water whenever you need to without getting your hands away from the breaks or stopping over. Every wonder why professional mountain bikers ride for hours on end? Well, it’s all thanks to the power of an excellent hydration pack.
As mentioned above, dehydration saves you from heat stroke and possible death making a hydration pack a hiking or even a riding essential.
We have taken the time to check out these five hydration packs, but would you like to know our best choice, or rather, the editor’s choice? Though all these five hydration packs work well, the Charcoal CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack takes the day.
It has a low-profile and an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable on every wearer’s back. At the same time, it is very breathable and keeps your back cool thanks to the XV back panel that allows free air flow.
The straps have adequate padding and are adjustable making for a comfortable fit. It also has sufficient storage space (cargo and water) as well as an easy to use magnetic drinking tube trap. These features make it perfect for any rider, beginner or a pro and the color is ideal for the outdoors.