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Review: Rab MUON women’s ND 50 pack

Written by Fiona

June 14 2024

The new Rab MUON range of packs includes a 50 litre, in both ND (narrow dimension) and standard fit, as well as a 40 litre in both ND and standard. The ND is aimed at women, or slimmer men.

The packs are designed for “fast-moving hikers pounding out the miles”.

Features include:

  • Fabric: 100D Cordura nylon (85% recycled) that has a woven grid of Spectra® fibres, that are claimed to be 15 times stronger than steel for their relative weight
  • Volume: 50 litre
  • Dimensions: 72cm x 35cm x 30cm
  • Back length: 43cm 
  • Back System: TRI-FLEX™
  • Shaped lumbar pad and supportive hip-belt 
  • Removable lid with internal and external pockets
  • Drawstring closure
  • Top compression to stabilise the load
  • 2 harness pockets and 2 large side stash pockets
  • Large front stash pocket
  • Straps that allow for carrying kit and compressing the volume 
  • Compatible with Z-folding pole carry
  • 3 litre H2O bladder sleeve with dual exit option
  • Weight: 0.985kg / 2lb 3oz
  • Price: £220
  • Buy: Rab women’s MUON 50k pack
Men’s version of the Rab MUON 50l pack.

Men’s version: Rab MUON 50l pack

Read on to find out my thoughts on the shoulder straps and sternum strap system.

My thoughts: Rab MUON ND 50 pack

It’s great to have a pack that is the same volume – 50l – as the male equivalent but designed to fit a narrower body. Too many times, female packs are 5l smaller volume than the men’s versions but not with this pack.

I like the weight – it’s lightweight – size and shape of the pack. The main compartment is big and fits all I need for a multi-day summer backpacking trip. If you do not have the pack full, it’s easily possible to reduce the volume with compressions cords. 

There is also a large zipped pocket on the top of the lid. The lid can be removed if you want to reduce volume and the weight of the pack. The only problem with removing the lid is the wet will get inside the top of the pack it is rains. 

The stretch outer stuff pocket is great. More packs have this feature these days and I find this pocket useful for carrying the bits and pieces of kit that I want easy access to, such as spare clothing layers and a map.

There are two large size pockets on the outside for carrying water bottles or similar. I am not a fan of the shape of these and if you want to stop a tall water bottle falling out you ned to secure with a cord. This is a hassle and not quick and easy to do. I’d rather see simpler and narrower bottle holder pockets here.

There is a another useful zipped internal pocket for keep smaller items, such as keys and a PLB safe.

In use, there are a couple of frustrations. The clips are quite small to very small in size. The smallest clips are very fiddly to use. I am not sure I trust them to be long-lasting either.

The clips that secure the sternum straps are shaped like hooks and they are annoyingly fiddly to clip and unclip.  The latter is the most frustrating and I wasted quit a lot of time trying to unclip one of them. 

This section of the pack is designed like many smaller running packs. It is a system that works fine on smaller pack but not so well with the fully loaded MUON. The set up doesn’t feel robust enough and it is not comfortable against the chest.

I am small chested so I asked a friend with a larger chest to try the pack for comfort and fit. It really didn’t work for her. The set up leaves the pack less supported on the body and unbalanced.

Added to this, there are two zipped pockets on the shoulder straps that only add bulk in the wrong area. I think Rab need to rethink the design and return to a more traditional sternum support with two straps, one higher on the chest and one lower.

The zipped pockets on the shoulder straps are made of mesh and I can just about fit in my large iPhone. I wish brands would think about the people who have larger sized phones when designing pockets. In this case, I’d prefer the zipped pockets were located on the hip-belt and that they re large enough to fit an iPhone Max.

Aside from the shoulder and sternum straps issues, the pack fits well on my back, including the length and around the hips. However, the length is not adjustable and my friend, who is shorter than me, felt the pack was too long for her.

I found the pack quite comfortable to use when walking but the, when I needed to bend over to cross a fence, I felt it slip about on my back. I stood up and readjusted the pack, which did help to keep it a bit more secure but I would not say this is the most secure pack I’ve used. The straps need to be very tight to stop the pack moving about on the back.

The back system is fairly minimalist and while it has decent padding it may be better with a bit more of a figure-hugging design. On balance, I prefer a back system that is a frame and mesh design. While the latter is usually heavier, it means it fits well against the back and there is less potential for sweat. 

The material in the main part of the pack appears durable. I like that is is part made with recycled content. I am fairly sure the material will stand a great deal of rigour but I wonder if the straps and clips, which are rather minimalist, will start to fail. 

Conclusion: Rab MUON ND 50 pack

I appreciate the lightweight design of the Rab MUON ND 50 pack. There is plenty of space for kit, too. The main fabric also seems robust. However, there are a few irritations, such as small and fiddly clips, a strange design in the chest ares and how the pack moves about on my back. I suggest you try this pack for size and fit before you buy. It’s quite pricey for a lightweight pack, too.

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