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When I’m writing a review for Discerning Cyclist, I try to ensure I cover all the bases: what the product is suitable for, how the product looks, good points, bad points and, of course, letting you know the features of the product. When it comes to reviewing the Crumpler Muli Backpack XL, though, I must admit that I’m not sure if I’ll make a mention of every feature of this dynamic bag as, well, I keep discovering new hidden pockets, zips and straps, months after receiving the product.
Nonetheless, I will try to give you a full and frank account of the bag as I currently know it, although I may make a few additions to this post as I discover some new secret passageway or cellar on it – I really wouldn’t rule it out.
So the manufacturers of this eclectic bike bag are Crumpler, who were formed in 1995 by a group of bicycle messengers in Melbourne who were dissatisfied with the quality and functionality of their bags and decided to do something about it. They’re profound knowledge of cycling, and their commitment to providing a top quality product means they continue to grow strongly, with the European part of their company now based in Berlin.
Crumpler’s primary focus remains on bags, although as well as messenger bags, their range now consists of backpacks, laptop bags, tablet sleeves, camera bags and pouches, sling bags, trolley cases as well as various other accessories. Quite the range.
Muli Backpack XL
The bag I managed to get my hands on though was the Muli Backpack XL. A bag, as I mentioned earlier, that is ridden with features and pockets.
This is a pretty big backpack, as it’s ‘XL’ tag probably implies. So it is more likely to be better suited to your travelling needs rather than your day-to-day commute – unless you happen to carry large amounts.
With travelling seemingly suitable, I opted to give the Muli its first test with a trip to Lisbon, more specifically to the Optimus Alive music festival in July.
I was heading to the festival by plane and needed enough space for a few changes of clothes, some towels as well as a very small tent, so fitting this all in a backpack that would fit into hand luggage was a test. However, the various adjustable straps on the side and front of the bag came into their element, making fitting everything into the bag not at all grueling.
Another handy feature of the bag I was impressed with was a fly zip along its front, allowing full access to the bag when packing – meaning if you want to get something out of the bottom of the bag, you won’t be on the verge of tears at the thought of pulling out the full contents of your neatly packed bag to get to it.
Carrying the bag was also remarkably comfortable, with an air mesh padded backside preventing anything digging into your back and slim padded shoulder pads making it comfortable on your front too. The addition of a chest clip on the straps also ensures that the weighting of the bag is evenly distributed to prevent any unwanted discomfort.
This feature packed bag made travelling to the festival, as well as getting stuff out of my bag in a cramped tent, a doddle.
Cycling with the Muli Backpack
- Chicken Tex Supreme Nylon
- Water resistant
- Reflective strip
- Internal slip pockets
- External zip pockets
- Multiple adjustable straps
- Fly zip
- Backlight holder
- Lock holder
- Laptop compartment
Importantly though, how does the Crumpler Muli Backpack fare on two wheels?
Well, with the background of Crumpler coming from cycling messengers, it is unsurprising that this bag is quite frankly a delight to ride with.
The aforementioned padded shoulder pads and back ensures that nothing digs in while riding, and also minimises a sweaty back – although this is somewhat inevitable when cycling with a backpack on.
With a reflective strip across the bags cover and a backlight holder at the bottom of the bag, along with some handy straps for a lock, makes this a fully-functional cycling bag – no stone has been left unturned.
So, whether you need to take a spare change of clothes to work along with a laptop and other gear, this bag will easily be able to deal with it.
As ever, quality comes at a price. That price is £149.90 on this occasion, which is by no means cheap. On the plus side though, this bag wreaks of quality. It will last trips and rides for years and be a pleasure at the same time.
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