You heard URP Gear Reviewer Sarah Bradham discussing packs on this podcast with Traci Falbo. Here she provides a few more details and pictures to help in your search for the perfect hydration solution. First up: The Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L.
When you are ready to tackle big, unsupported days in the mountains, or on the roads, the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L will get the job done. With more pockets than one can count—OK, you can actually count them, there are 11—you can organize all of your gear so it is easy to find and grab without fumbling around. The high quality, durable fabric will eliminate and worry about rips or snags, and will keep this pack in your toolkit for years to come.
- Volume Capacity: 12L
- Weight Without Bladder: 18 oz (with bladder, 21oz)
- Maximum Bladder Size: 3L
- 2 LARGE front pockets (fits up to 600ml soft flasks)
- 2 small front stash pockets
- 2 shoulder pockets
- Back compartment that holds 3liter bladder
- Shock cord on back compartment
- Trekking pole holder (with upgrade kit; add $10)
- Comes with 2 liter bladder
- Sizing: one size fitz all, unisex
- Color options: Black, Black/Orange
What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the pack.
There are a plethora of pockets on this pack! The front sports 6—2 large, 2 small, and 2 high on the shoulder straps with velcro closures. The back of the pack is divided into 4 different pockets. The main pack bag has 3 divisions—one with a zipper that you access via the side, and two in the main pack bag. There is also a large stash pocket on the back with a bungee. With so many pockets you can easily divide your gear based on when you think you might need to access it.
The main bag on the back of the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L closes with a 9 inch military grade zipper. The zipper is large, easy to open, and offers security for everything in the main bag.
This pack is BIG. It is intended for all day adventure running, hiking, or mountain biking. You will be able to fit everything you need and then some for your day in the mountains. I headed out for a long day and really tried to put it through its paces by loading it up—two liters of water in the bladder, 1 600ml bottle in the front, multiple bars and gels, a jacket, a long sleeve shirt, small first aid kit, headlamp, water filter, GPS, maps, and a few other random items—and it handled well. I did find in my testing that the limit of what I could carry in the pack was my comfort, not the size of the bag. Nine to ten pounds was my comfort threshold. At about the ten pound mark it started to weigh too heavy on my shoulders.
Water Carrying Capacity
The pack comes with a two liter bladder, but it can accommodate a three liter bladder if desired. If you throw a three liter bladder in the back, and two 600ml bladders in the front, you can go for a long way without any outside support or water sources. The front pockets are designed to hold 600ml with tabs for the extension tubes to slide through to prevent flopping. The hydration bladder slides into its own compartment that sits right next to the back, holding it tight even if there is nothing else in the pack bag.
The universal sizing is both a pro and a con. On the pro side it allows the pack to adjust to you regardless of the amount of clothing you are wearing or if you lose or gain a few pounds. The fully adjustable side straps also let you decide the orientation of the front pockets. Pull the side straps higher and the front pockets will be moved farther apart on your chest. Leave the side straps looser and you can pull the front pockets very close together. It also allows you to share the pack with a friend or partner if needed.
Elasticized Front Straps
The front closure straps have enough elasticity that if you pull them tight you don’t feel constricted in your chest, but yet they still hold the pack in place so it doesn’t feel like it is bouncing around.
What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the pack better.
A secure front pocket
I fully appreciate that there is a zip pocket in the back, and I find that is where I tuck my wallet and jangle of keys when I head out for a long day, but I do wish there was a small zip pocket in the front for small items that you want to be readily accessible and secure.
I’m still on the hunt for a great pole setup on a running pack. The attachment point for poles on the Orange Mud Adventure Pack is on the back, and utilizes two small bungee cords to hold the poles tight. The bungees were barely long enough to secure both poles. You might find yourself struggling a bit with this setup if you have anything other than ultralight/thin poles.
Orange Mud has opted for tough over lightweight. I think this also falls into the pro/con category. The fabric is bomber and can take a beating. You won’t worry about tree branch snags, coming in contact with rocks, or keys poking through the material. However, that toughness comes with extra weight. Most of us likely won’t notice a few extra ounces on our back—and it could even be helpful in training—but in a racing scenario you will likely want to opt for a lighter pack.
When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L excels.
This is the pack you want to bring out for big adventures. A full day in the mountains—check; a long, unsupported road run—check. You can carry as much fluid as you need and still have plenty of room for all of your food and other essentials. You will want to keep an eye on the weight to maximize your comfort. 1 liter of water weights 2 lbs, so if you carry 3 liters on your back and two 600ml soft flasks on the front, you are already pushing the 8 lb mark.
How it compares: my current go-to pack and how this pack compares.
I like to compare this pack with the Adventure Vesta 4.0 and the Raidlight Responsiv 10L. The main difference is the universal sizing and weight. The universal sizing doesn’t allow the same glove like fit of the women’s specific packs that allow you to fully dial in the sizing, so you do give up a bit of comfort. The Adventure Pack 12L can also fit a lot more gear than the other two, so you do need to be careful not to exceed what will be the comfortable weight limit for your body type.
Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this pack or not.
I think this is a great option for people doing long days in the mountains, either running or hiking (hiking is great cross-training after all), or mountain biking. It’s not the lightest pack on the market, and doesn’t have a lot of the flair of some of the other packs on the market, but it is big, versatile, and durable. It’ll get the job done and be with you for a long time. It’s also got a pretty sweet price point at $139.95
Purchasing Information for the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L
If you are interested in purchasing the Orange Mud Adventure Pack 12L check out your local, independently-owned running specialty store to check them out. Click here to go straight to go to the Adventure Pack 12L on Orange Mud’s website. If you’d got some Amazon money to spend and would like to help support the site, please visit this link. Should you choose to keep the pack, it’ll drop a few bucks into our tip jar. Thank You!