One of the great joys of parenting is sharing your passions with your kids. As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I’ve passed along the trekking bug. So of course, my kids want gear just like their dad. When it comes to light hiking, the Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. is a kid’s dream for the outdoors. It provides hydration on the trail with some packing room for good measure. Plus, the Mini M.U.L.E. comes in a variety of colors and pack designs sure to please just about any kid. However, the best part is the Mini M.U.L.E. is designed with grownup features that fits young explorers.
The Mini M.U.L.E. is, well, rather mini. (Which many will find perfect for young kids new to hiking). I find when the water reservoir is full there is still a little room for gear. (It certainly won’t be confused for a hiking pack). This does make it ideal for new hikers, or simple day hikes. Originally, I have my nine and seven-year-old in mind. However, I think the Mini M.U.L.E. is sized well for my six and four-year-old too. With a 12-16 inch torso fit range, most parents will find that it works well for their kids and will last them for multiple years.
The Mini M.U.L.E. fits well on both my son (Green/Mountain design) and daughter (Tie Dye Pink). The adjustable straps allow for fine-tuning the fit for their frame. I also notice the shoulder straps fit well for my daughter’s narrower shoulders, as well as my son’s broader shoulders and thicker frame. The secure fit also means it is ideal for mountain biking or a variety of other outdoor activities. Overall, it delivers everything I would expect from Camelbak in terms of quality and dependability.
The Mini M.U.L.E. is made from high quality materials, so I know it will stand the rigors of kid wear. I appreciate that it comes with a Secure Zipper Pocket so my little one’s treasures stay safe and sound. The Integrated Tool Organization feature inside the pocket keeps everything in place and easily accessible. On our first hike I threw in some Astronaut Ice Cream and dehydrated fruit as a fun mid-hike snack.
My kids love to help carry our collective gear on the trip. So even though the pocket is limited in size, we managed to fit in a package of Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai. My kids like to pack their notebooks, snacks, and small first aid kits. Additionally, the Stretch Overflow pocket provides extra space for a jacket, or extra gear for the journey.
Not only is the Mini M.U.L.E. utilitarian and fun to use, but it also keeps my kids safe as they adventure. The pack has “high-shine” areas for greater visibility, especially for late night exploring – or those troublesome twilight hours. The pack also includes an Adjustable Sternum Strap, so the pack can uniquely fit each of my children. The sternum strap is equipped with a Safety Whistle, which gives me great peace of mind when we explore (perfect for emergencies – or annoying siblings/parents). With each use, it is more and more clear the Mini M.U.L.E. is perfect for light hiking and hydration!
The Mini M.U.L.E. is full of clever designs and thoughtful features. I appreciate the ventilated harness shoulder straps. My kids find them comfortable, even on longer hikes. I like the ventilated design for easy airing out and odor control. The back panel is also made with breathable air mesh which does a good job of keeping my kids cool and comfortable carrying their hydration reservoir on their back.
The Mini M.U.L.E. only weighs a remarkable 14 ounces. On our hikes it is really manageable for all my kids including my four-year-old. I find even when fully loaded with water and some items it weighs at most about four pounds. Which is an ideal weight for small kids learning to hike – especially if it will also keep them hydrated.
Another feature I appreciate is the Crux Reservoir. Overall, the water reservoir is fantastic. I like its size (1.5L) and that it is appropriate for a kid. Fill up is a breeze. I simply grab the ergonomic fill handle and twist the easy open leak-proof cap. The cap is attached to the reservoir, but lays out of the way for a no hassle filling. I appreciate the self-sealing Big Bite Valve as it is simple enough for even my four-year-old to use. However, another great feature is the Mini M.U.L.E Crux Reservoir comes with a leak-proof on/off valve. This means my kids don’t waste water when it’s not in use. Plus, it is straightforward and easy for my kids to adjust and open on their own.
My only draw-back is that the tube tends to kink when my kids drink from the valve while wearing the pack. I’m not sure if it is because the length of the tubing makes it susceptible to kinking or because of something more specific to its design. Either way, it is a slight bummer.
My kids are ecstatic for the Mini M.U.L.E.! They loved having something their size with enough room to carry a few items (not to mention it is available in multiple colors and pack designs). I love how they are empowered to embrace responsibility and ownership on the trail. Having the ability to carry their own water, snacks, and some fun survival or hiking gear is a major plus. The Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. is perfectly designed for kids with its clever features, lightweight construction, and durability to last for years. The Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E. is a fantastic tool for raising a future trekker!
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