First Impressions

Not too long ago we received this note: “I recently sent a package your way, which includes​ the Tumalo Pack made by Mazama Designs, an outdoor-products development company located in Bend, Oregon.” The note went on to describe the advantages of the pack and the company’s value prop — which focuses on low center-of-gravity, body-hugging designs that should keep the pack “in sync with the wearer.” Hey, we like Bend and hydration, something to look forward to.

A few days later the Tumalo Pack arrived. Bright blue minimalist design. Nicely featured. Unique reservoir configuration. Reminiscent of a few classic packs from other manufacturers, but with its own sensibilities. Pretty promising. We took it to the roads and trails to see how it would hold up.


The Tumalo Pack from Mazama includes a number of differentiating features. Mazama designed the pack to carry the water low on the back for better weight distribution. There’s two zippered side pockets — the company calls them stabilizer wings. These attached to both the shoulder straps and waist belt and cinch down tightly to abdomen. The company provides a sternum strap and a few other geegaws to keep things well positioned during active sports. We found those features pretty effective. Everything felt secure but still allowed us plenty of freedom of movement on our mountain biking tests.

The reservoir that comes with the Tumalo Pack presents its fair share of innovations as well. The wide mouth opening makes for easy fillage. It’s made from food-grade materials and closes securely with two locking clips at either side. The drink tube is detachable and insulated throughout its entire length. However, we didn’t find much benefit in that insulation. Any liquid in the tube heated up substantially while riding (although the insulated bladder pouch did keep water nice and cool). Bite valve worked well in our tests too.

Materials: Nylon
Pack weight: 1 lb
Liquid capacity: 70 oz (2 L)
Cargo capacity: 5 L

Other features of the Tumalo include a small exterior pocket (located at the bottom of the pack, perfect for keys and wallet. There’s a side entry main compartment that allows for larger items, a repair kit, extra tire tube (if you haven’t already transitioned to tubeless), and the like. Exterior bungees can hold a jacket, helmet or other bits of gear.


Solid. We found the Mazama Designs Tumalo lived up to its goal. The fit is secure and comfortable. No unwanted motion in the pack and plenty of freedom of movement for the rider. We did detect a fair amount of sloshing of liquid back and forth (and a good bit of noise as a result). Overall really happy with the Tumalo.

Final Verdict

The Mazama Design Tumalo Pack presents a sleek and streamlined hydration solution for active sports. We liked the overall design, relatively light weight and innovative bladder. It’s comfortable and secure, and carries just enough for an afternoon ride. Well done.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Mazama Designs and Amy Joyce PR for providing product for this review.