Camelbak L.U.X.E. review

“Shrink it and pink it” used to be the standard in women’s specific mountain bike products. But the Camelbak L.U.X.E. is hardly a shrunken version of the popular M.U.L.E. hydration pack: with the same 100 oz bladder and same 600 cubic inch capacity this is a pack for the woman that rides IN FRONT of the big boys. As for the pink, well, my L.U.X.E. is crushed violet, or purple, which happens to be my favorite color!

I’m typically a minimalist when it comes to riding–risking walking out of a trail because I’ve left behind tubes and mini pumps for fear of being weighed down by extra stuff. The L.U.X.E. can carry a lot in its five compartments (not including the separate bladder compartment) so now I can easily take along a pump, extra tube, a few tools, food and much more. There’s a nice organizer pocket with a key holder that is perfect for small items like gu, energy bars, or your cell phone. The small lined pocket is great for keeping scratches off your camera or ipod.

The Camelbak L.U.X.E. has waaay more capacity than my previous pack (a Camelbak Classic) and even with the 100 oz bladder completely full of water, the L.U.X.E. did not feel any heavier while riding. The handy adjustable waist and sternum straps helped keep the pack stay put without even the slightest jostling over technical rocky sections. The back of the pack has six strategically positioned pads for a comfy fit and to provide areas of ventiliation. On short or long mountain bike rides, you’ll hardly notice it’s there.

Overall, I felt really confident and comfortable riding with the L.U.X.E strapped on my back. This women’s pack is not too bulky despite its huge capacity. There is more than enough room for storing bike accessories or stuffing in clothing. Plus, the 100 oz of water will definitely be useful on hot, humid summer rides here in the south. The only problem I have encountered so far is that one of the zipper pulls broke off, but luckily there are two zippers so I can still access that compartment. I plan to take my L.U.X.E. on all my mountain biking adventures – who says it’s just the boy scouts who need to always be prepared?

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