Review: Orange Mud Endurance Pack

You may not have heard of Orange Mud, they’re a small company based out of California who have been specialising in hydration since their first prototype was knocked up in a hotel from a gun holster, a waist pack and a ratchet strap from a truck. Since then, the product range has grown and improved, and they are now ready to launch in the UK.

We received the Endurance Pack in black and orange, which boasts the following features…

  • Pack Weight: 270g, 9.5oz.
  • Dimensions: 10″W x 13″ tall / Volume 6 liters.
  • Bladder: HydraPak 2L (70oz) elite, with quick disconnect and blaster valve.
  • Compartment 1: Bladder compartment
  • Compartment 2: Main cargo
  • Compartment 3: Zippered elastic pocket with secure key clip.
  • Material details: Our stretch fabric is tough, abrasion resistant, & endurance designed.
  • Shoulder pocket storage: Phone, gel, nutrition, electrolyte and more, both sides.
  • Front chest pocket storage: 15oz/450ml soft flask capable.
  • Front adjustments: Elastic straps have multiple adjustment locations.

Although billed as the “Endurance” option suggesting it’s suitability for longer distance events (the 2l bladder included will help with this), the pack is quite a bit smaller than the Dialled favourite Osprey offerings. Obviously, a smaller pack size means less storage, but to overcome this, Orange Mud have squeezed in expandable pockets onto the shoulder straps in addition to the main (also expandable) back pocket and bungee chord webbing.

Emptying my existing Raptor 14 (admittedly not full), I’ve managed to get everything into the Endurance Packs various pockets, with the exception of a spare tube, which I’m quite certain I could squeeze in with a little adjustment. I would like to move to my toolkit from the bottom pocket to the shoulder one, but I found that where this pocket sits on top of the shoulder, made it a bit unsuitable for inflexible cargo and perhaps better suited for the all important Jelly Babies or gels.

The small form of the bag, which is basically designed around the hydration pack (held in place via a Velcro tab) is secured in place by various straps, and I personally found the fit really good and the bag really stable during the rough stuff. The adjustable front straps are designed to allow a good fit for both men and women, although I would liked to have seen one of these adorned with some method to secure the hydration tube, which liked to spring free during descents and swing around to my annoyance.

Another benefit of the small pack size is the back coverage. I get hot when riding and a large backpack means my back gets really hot and I sweat a lot. As comfortable as my Raptor is with its wraparound waist belt, I really appreciate the smaller back coverage of the Orange Mud and the extra cooling it allows. Both bags offer breathable fabric on the bag, but we all know no coverage is better than even the best breathable solution.

I’ve used the bag on numerous rides now, and there is zero sign of wear. It’s truly flexible construction means I can load with a little water for short trips, and its remains comfortable and secure, likewise, loaded to the brim with water, there is no telltale “slosh” feeling from the backpack as the bladder moves when going over bumps – it’s held in all the right places.

To sum up, the Orange Mud Endurance pack is well made, uses quality materials, has a good design, great comfort, secure fixing and decent storage for a 2-3 hour ride (depending on your water intake). But here’s the killer. The Endurance Pack currently retails for £119.95 and you can pick up a raptor (which are the go-to for MTBers round these parts) for £85. Is it worth an extra £35? The jury’s out on that.

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