Camelbak Mule vs Osprey Viper 9 Backpack Review

In this comparison review, we will assess the Camelbak Mule vs Osprey Viper 9 backpacks. Both models are popular choices for hikers, bikers, and adventure seekers. We’ll explore their key features, design, storage capacity, hydration systems, and overall performance to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Build Quality:

The Camelbak Mule boasts a sleek and rugged design with durable materials, making it ideal for demanding outdoor activities. It features a ventilated back panel and adjustable straps that provide comfort and stability during extended wear. The Osprey Viper 9, on the other hand, offers a more streamlined and lightweight design. It has excellent build quality, utilizing high-quality materials that ensure long-lasting durability. While both backpacks excel in design, the Mule edges slightly ahead due to its sturdier construction.

Storage Capacity:

The Camelbak Mule offers a generous storage capacity of 15 liters, providing ample space for gear, clothing, and personal items. It includes multiple compartments, pockets, and attachment points, allowing for organized storage and easy access to essentials. The Osprey Viper 9, as the name suggests, has a smaller capacity of 9 liters, which may be limiting for longer excursions. However, it compensates with intelligently designed pockets and a dedicated hydration compartment. If you require more storage space, the Mule would be the preferred choice.

Hydration System:

Both backpacks excel in their hydration capabilities. The Camelbak Mule features a 3-liter reservoir with an easy-to-use drinking tube and a leak-proof design. It provides efficient water flow and quick access, ensuring proper hydration on the go. The Osprey Viper 9, meanwhile, comes with a 2.5-liter Hydraulics LT reservoir, which offers similar convenience and reliability. Although the Mule has a slightly larger capacity, both backpacks provide ample hydration for most outdoor activities.

Additional Features:

The Camelbak Mule incorporates thoughtful additional features, such as an integrated rain cover to protect your belongings during wet weather. It also includes a helmet carry system, allowing you to securely attach your helmet when not in use. The Osprey Viper 9 offers a LidLock helmet attachment and a blinker light attachment, enhancing safety and functionality during outdoor adventures. These additional features make both backpacks highly versatile, catering to specific user needs.

Overall Performance:

When it comes to overall performance, both the Camelbak Mule and Osprey Viper 9 excel in their respective areas. The Mule shines in terms of storage capacity, durability, and overall ruggedness, making it an excellent choice for longer and more demanding trips. On the other hand, the Viper 9 is exceptionally lightweight, making it ideal for shorter outings or individuals who prioritize minimalism. Ultimately, the decision between the two depends on personal preferences and the specific requirements of your outdoor activities.

Camelbak MULE Review

I have been using a Camelbak Mule pack for the past few years and recently decided to try another pack with the Osprey Viper.

The Mule can hold 3 liters/100 ounces. I was looking for something smaller and that is where I found the Viper at 80 ounces.

I have had the Mule for almost 3 years and put it through the ringer with sweat and grime and briers. I have never had a tear or any problem with the pack.

Check out the Camelbak Mule at

The Viper is smaller but in some cases that can be better when you are trying to travel light and move quicker. I found that putting 100 ounces of water on my back for a 100 mile plus off road journey can put extra stress on your body. But if you have to carry it – this is one definite option.

You can load up a fair amount of gear in the Mule as it has a 9 liter / 500 cu inch space. But believe it or not the Viper has 549 cu inches of volume (I am double checking these numbers). Typically I carry a small medical kit, multi tool, emergency lighter, and a full bladder (if it is hot weather and I have a ways to go). Most of the time I go with about 50 to 75 ounces and sometimes I put a jacket in the back pouch.

The fabric on the Camelbak Mule is very durable and mildew resistant. I have had the bag fully wet from sweat, or river water or rain, as long as you half way try to dry it out it does not mildew.

Both bags have a waist strap but I have never used it despite carrying a full load (water, food, med kit). This includes bikepacking down a steep rocky single track – I just dont use the waist strap.

I have not used it but the Viper has a helmet connect system on the back.


In this comparison review, we examined the Camelbak Mule and Osprey Viper 9 backpacks, highlighting their design, storage capacity, hydration systems, and overall performance. The Camelbak Mule offers a larger capacity and sturdier build quality, while the Osprey Viper 9 excels in lightweight design and additional features. Ultimately, your choice should be based on your individual needs and preferences. Both backpacks are reliable choices from reputable brands, ensuring a comfortable and efficient outdoor experience.

If I had a choice right now I would stay with the Viper even though the Mule has been very good to me and I am sure it will continue to have a few more adventures.

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