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Robust Hydration Pack ?

I am frustrated by the short life of Hydration packs. I have just thrown out my third 'Big make' pack in four years as it failed after only about 50-60 rides with a 6 inch tear. :( All three of my packs failed the same way (after a similar number of rides) in that they either tear or unstitch near where the shoulder straps enter the top of the bag between my shoulder blades. This seems to be a high stress area. They just don't seem to be able to take the long-term load of a couple of litres of fluid and 3-4kg of kit on even the modest trails that I ride. It could be because I also have a 48" chest, but I don't see that as a massive factor.

I have had to revert back to my ancient Topeak pack which has done hundreds of rides. That pack was reinforced with what appears to be a heavy duty ripstop sailcloth material surrounding the area where the straps enter at the top of the pack. Sadly that pack is full of holes elsewhere from old age and so is also on its last legs. Topeak stopped making packs a long while ago and ebay hasn't produced a decent one

Have users got experience of a 12-15 litre hydration pack that you have used for many, many rides that hasn't shown signs of load stress failure where the shoulder straps attach near the top of the bag? I am not looking for sexy bright colours, or a big brand, I don't even care if the bladders have a short life, I just want a pack that is genuinely robust.

Posts

  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    edited April 2020
    Camelbak MULE
    I have had this pack for about 10 years, maybe longer. It get snagged on branches, speared by brambles and gorse, it acts as a back protector when I fall off, it gets covered in mud. When the mud is dry, I scrub it off with one of those wooden-backed bristle brushes. It goes in the washing machine about twice per year. It holds my tools, spares, pump, 3-litre bladder, folding saw etc on a permanent basis and various clothing items on a temporary basis. The fit is great and I am totally unaware of it moving about on my back.

    One of the fabric straps that holds the chest strap to the pack is looking a bit ragged, but it's been like that for years and my local shoe-repair guy will be able to fix that in a jiffy if/when it does fail. One of the stretchy fabric straps that holds the drink hose in place has gone a bit limp, but it's the upper one of two and it doesn't matter. And I can always use the other side if it did matter. All the buckles and clips all still work, all the zips still function and with their zip tags intact. There are no rips or tears in the fabric, which I find astonishing given the abuse it has received. The fabric at the very bottom that gets most of the mud thrown at it, and subsequent scrubbing with the bristle brush, is looking a bit scuffed but is nowhere near worn through.

    To be honest, I'm getting bored with it (it's black) and would like one of those fancy new design ones from Osprey (in a colour to match my bike?). But Osprey will have to wait; there is years of life left in the Camelbak MULE as it seems to be indestructible! :)

    I know that Camelbak still make a pack called a MULE, (Camelbak MULE LR 15) but is it built to the same quality as the old one? Check the reviews and make your mind up.

  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,790
    I have an Osprey Raptor 14 that has been going strong for nearly 5 years. It has faded a bit but there are no tears, rips or split seams on it.
    Osprey packs are expensive but they are well designed and well made.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • PerrygcPerrygc Posts: 10
    edited April 2020
    I have never bought a Camelbak as whenever I tried them in the past their waste straps have been 20mm too short for me to be comfortable and they don't appear do an extension strap. I may try them again to see if they have now fitted longer straps.

    Unfortunately it was an Osprey Raptor that I just threw out as it developed the long stress tear near the shoulder :/ I wouldn't entirely rule one out again as they are a nice pack, but that one just didn't last.

    I am kind of thinking that if I went for a pack that is much larger that is designed with 20 litre internal and a three litre water capacity it might be more robust if I run it half empty.

    Thanks guys, lets see if anyone comes up with any other suggestions.
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,790
    Did you get in touch with Osprey about a guarantee claim for the pack? Their customer services is very good and they would probably repair or replace the pack if it is a failure rather than accidental damage or abuse.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
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