Perfect for long weekends, the ROARK 5-Day Mule is a great looking 55L backpack designed with backpacking and city travel in mind.
ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L Backpack Review
- U-Shaped zip allowing suitcase-like opening
- Hidden laptop sleeve and passport pocket
- Stowable hip-belt and impressive harness
- Great looking pack with 4 colourways
- A costly backpack solution
- Small water bottle storage
- Lack of dedicated internal keyhook
ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L Backpack Review
The ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L backpack is a great solution for those looking for a pack that’ll easily store everything they need for a typical 5-day trip.
The stylish unisex pack features a tall, narrow design that’s perfect for securing heavier loads. By keeping the bulk of the weight close to the wearer, there’s no need to worry about cumbersome journeys and unstable trekking.
The ROARK 5-Day Mule is currently available in 4 great different colourways, offering a fantastic looking pack that’s not only easy on the eye but highly functional, too.
Outside the backpack
The first thing that you’ll notice when setting eyes on the pack is the unique, impressive design offered up by the team at ROARK.
The 5-Day Mule is a super handsome backpack (especially in the Military colourway pictured throughout the review) that fits nicely into the theme of the brand. There’s a splash of yellow accents here and there, a vibrant pack interior and a selection of useful pockets featured on the exterior creating that impressive look.
The backpack is relatively tall compared to both the width and depth with a tapered side profile that thins towards the top of the bag. This is a great piece of ergonomic design, focusing the bulk of the weight closer to the spine of the wearer and resulting in a much more comfortable, stable bag.
The harness is perhaps the most important part of any pack and the 5-Day Mule offers a great example of a versatile harness done right. Two adjustable shoulder straps are joined with a stretchy chest harness to form the bulk of the harness that is used for most travel.
For longer periods of walking and trekking, a stowable hip belt can be accessed from the back of the pack, offering additional support to the wearer. When manoeuvring the pack around vehicles, hotel rooms or short distances, a pair of sturdy grab handles (pictured in yellow throughout) make for confident handholds that feel great in the palm.
Although the pack isn’t one that is designed for extensive outdoor use, an ergonomic airflow back padding is offered as a sweat prevention system when carrying the pack. This has proved to be effective when testing the pack, ensuring that our shirts remain as sweat-free as possible in the peak of summer.
Staying focused on the back of the pack, users will be pleased to find not only a large laptop sleeve secured safely against the wearer, but a hidden passport/valuable pocket too. The laptop sleeve is large enough for the majority of laptops up to 17″ and although sufficiently padded, is large enough to include any additional padded laptop sleeves.
The front of the pack is home to a pair of spacious organiser pockets with a further pocket located on the right side to store water bottles.
Inside the backpack
Opening up the top front pocket, reveals a large pocket complete with an accessible, scratchless sunglasses sleeve. The pocket is great for storing items for easy access such as camera’s, glasses and wallets.
Moving to the lower front pocket, wearers will find the bulk of the organisation available in the pack. The XL pocket contains a pair of pen pouches alongside a useful notepad pocket. We typically opted to store our drone in this pocket due to its size and although the organisation options are a nice benefit – we can’t imagine too many users will use this as intended.
The main compartment is the most impressive feature, sporting a full-length U-zip to allow for a suitcase-like opening. The orange lining found inside is a fantastic stylistic touch of the military colourway and gives a fun flash of colour when packing and unpacking.
A pair of elastic compression straps can be found in the main section, designed to firmly grasp all belongings, although we would recommend utilising packing cubes to really benefit from this form of pack. A small mesh pocket can be found opposite the compression straps, great for storing small items such as waterproofs or books etc.
A water bottle pocket can be found on the right-hand side of the backpack, something that’s rare for larger backpacks. Unfortunately, when storing regular water bottles, the pocket does have excess space but limited height – resulting in a strange, insecure fit. Users can use a compression strap in an effort to prevent movement, although we would typically recommend using this pocket for alternative items.
One of our favourite features of the pack is the hidden passport pocket found between the harness straps. This prevents any unwanted hands onto valuables, offering a truly secret pocket that we hope to see in more backpacks in the future.
Material and durability
It’s clear that ROARK has spent some serious time focusing on the materials used on the pack in the design stages.
A combination of 1050D Nylon Ripstop and 1000D Nylon Plainweave is a powerful blend, offering a tough backpack that’s ready to take on just about anything. The exterior of the pack is water-resistant and difficult to mark – our pack is still looking fresh out the box with weeks of abuse.
The hardware used on the pack is just as impressive as the main body materials with trusted YKK Zippers used throughout. The plastic buckles and clasps used on both the harness and as external compressions straps are high-quality and are easy to use.
Subtle branding can be found dotted tastefully around the pack, adding splashes of detail that we really appreciate.
The pack is offered in four great colourways with Military (pictured), Black, Khaki and Dark-Khaki currently available.
Testing the ROARK 5-Day Mule
ROARK were nice enough to send us over one of their 5-Day Mule packs which we’ve tested on a handful of small trips over the last 2-3 weeks.
The combination of the sturdy padded harness and ergonomic airflow back padding make for supremely comfortable wear over short to medium distances. Thanks to the previously discussed narrow design, the pack does not feel clumsy or awkward and instead offers a streamlined and compact feeling.
Moving on to the handful of improvements that we like to see, the 5-Day Mule fairs well with only minor inconveniences experienced. The first of which is the water bottle pocket which is typically too shallow to secure for the majority of containers. The compression straps do offer some support, but we would typically recommend avoiding carrying water in this pocket.
Additionally, although the pack does offer great organisation, one of the front pockets would benefit from a key hook. Similarly, a document/tablet sleeve may also be a great addition for any revised versions of this pack.
Ultimately, the pack has proved to be a very effective short trip workhorse in the short time that we have managed to secure hands-on experience.
The ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L is a fantastic backpack and luggage solution when looking to travel for between 5 and 10 days.
The pack is one of the best-looking examples that we’ve put through its paces and with a clever slender design and great padding, it’s one of the most comfortable, too.
The pack is filled with a plethora of great features including a sunglasses pocket found in the top pocket, hidden laptop and passport pockets and full U-zip construction for the ultimate ease when packing.
The stowable hip belt is a feature that we’re super impressed to find and regularly use to both tidy us the aesthetic and prevent any unwanted snags when transporting. There’s so much to talk about with the 5-Day Mule and we’re only just getting started with our backpack journey.
Overall, the backpack is perfect for individuals looking for a stylish, functional pack or for couples looking to share a pack for weekend trips away.
FAQ: ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L Backpack
Have a burning question regarding the ROARK 5-Day Mule 55L backpack? Check out our Frequently Asked Question section below to (hopefully) find the answer to any questions that you may have!
The ROARK 5-Day Mule offers storage for up to a 17″ laptop, proving to be one of the larger laptop sleeves in a 55L backpack.
The ROARK 5-Day Mule is currently available in 4 fantastic different colourways.
When purchasing directly from the ROARK site, customers are able to select from Military (as pictured), Black, Khaki and Dark-Khaki.
Still not managed to find the information that you’re looking for? Feel free to drop us a line via the “Contact” page and we’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP!
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