REVIEW OF CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack

Camel HAWG Hydration Pack Review

Last Updated on October 26, 2020

If there are two words for the CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack, they are; Lightweight and Perfectly Balanced Compartments. In this review of CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack; we are going to look at different features of the backpack. HAWG stands for Holds Alotta Water and Gear. And this pack kind of stands true for that acronym.

The Hydration Pack from CamelBak is capable of storing 3 liters of water with 23 liters of gear storage. This is a design specifically made for Mountain Bikers and one day hike trips. Adventurers who like to go for one day hike with just the essentials; this is the pack for them. Though it is a small bag, Camelbak has loaded way too many features which make it a hiker’s delight. And to much of the surprise of many, this is a military spec backpack which makes it even suitable for any type of mission. Yes, it is that durable.

REVIEW OF CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack

Speaking of durability, the brand has put all that they have into the production of this bag. Years of research and development put in a bag; this makes it a perfect option for one day hikes. We, at Gone Camping, have reviewed this product for you. Here we will talk about the different features of the CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack. And then further move onto the list of features you should look for in an ideal backpack (apart from this). We listed some very important points for you in the buyer’s guide. Make sure to read it till the end.

Now let’s start with the review part.

CamelBak HAWG Hydration Pack

The brand has tried to put everything they have in this medium sized backpack. Looking from the outside, we found the pack to be sturdy, comfortable and premium. Though, it could have been more comfortable as there is a lot of room for improvement. It weighs only 1.2 kg/2.7 lbs. considering the amount of water and gear it can hold. The lightweight is best suited for hikers or bikers. Adding to the weight saving, the semi-rigid NV back system saves around 31 percent of the weight. The bag doesn’t use a conventional padded back.


· Two compartments

There are two full length compartments featured on the bag; one of which houses the hydration bottle while the other is used to store the gear and other things. These compartments help in keeping the things organized.

· Extended Mountain MOLLE

A MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, which are provided on the front of the back to make secure attachments like a pouchesand gear. The MOLLE helps in modular attachment to the bag, which gives an ability to the carrier to carry more things.

· Padded Harnesses

There are plenty of harnesses on the backpack which help in keeping things secure and tight. The padding on the harness helps in providing a really good feel of comfort. These harnesses also account for structural integrity of the bag. Inside of the bag you can find a few more harnesses for excellent weight distribution and keeping the gear in place.

· Air Director

It is a trademark name for the air mesh system employed on the back of the pack from the brand. It does its job excellently and keeps the back ventilated. It is really very helpful in keeping the sweat out.

· Shoulder Straps

As like the other harnesses, the shoulder straps are also padded. The padding is such that there is not a lot of sweat development. Apart from that the shoulder strap is very durable. The materials used are premium quality resistant to scratches. Design also helps in rapid release of the bag when needed, a trait of mil-spec bags.

· Hydration Compartment

With many of the backpacks, you would have to carry the hydration bottle in compartments where you could have stored your gear. But CamelBak has designed a dedicated hydration compartment inside the backpack which can store up to 3 liters of water. So, this totals to 3 compartments on the bag. This compartment also has its own reservoir hang loop.

· Removable Waist Belt

The waist belt on this bag is removable; a feature not found on many packs. This is good for the versatility of use of this bag. So if in case you need to remove the waist belt, you have the facility to do that too.

· Compression Strap

Again, a feature not found on many backpacks. There are two compression straps on the bag; upper and lower. A compression strap helps in customizability of a bag according to one’s comfort. The bag thankfully has two of them, which is a really good thing.

· Space for second reservoir

Extra features are the best thing to crave upon. The main compartment of the bag also has space for a second reservoir if needed. This added compartment can be used to keep the gears but can also hold the extra reservoirs if needed.

· Drink Tube

The drink tube routed from the bladder (reservoir) to the shoulder strap and then towards the side of the arm. This ensures the easy accessibility of tubes when needed. At the one end of the tubing, there is an Ergo Bite valve, while on the other end it connects with the Omega reservoir (Both of them are still best in class).

· Adjustable Sternum Strap

This is a feature which is common for almost all the backpacks of this class, but still it is worth a mention. The sternum strap is what keeps the weight of the backpack distributed and helps relieve some weight from your shoulders. The tighter it is, the more relaxed your shoulders will be. This bag features an adjustable sternum strap which is just what is needed.

· Material used

We saved this part for the end because the materials used are something which makes the backpack so special. The pack uses 500D Double-rip Cordura Fabric which is one of the best fabrics available. It provides the perfect blend of strength and durability and therefore the bag is so good at scratch resistance and tear resistant.

These were all the features that you would find on a CamelBak Hydration Pack. There are some other quirky little perks about the pack like; the strap management system is a hook and loop type while the brand also provides top webbings for hanging loops. The bag is also claimed to be BPA/BPS/BFA free; which is a good move towards making things nature friendly.

Our verdict

The Pros

CamelBak has made this bag by keeping the focus on a mountaineer or a biker or a person who goes for hikes of one day. Here’s what we like about the bag:

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Good design with well thought use of space
  • Feature loaded
  • Dedicated compartment for reservoir
  • Removable Waist Belt

The Cons

  • Although the bag is light, this also makes it very small. Therefore sometimes it is hard to fit in all the gears.

Buyer’s Guide

You have read the review of CamelBak Hydration Pack and you have also heard our verdict. Now it is the time for the buyer’s guide. We have curated this part for an average buyer and listed our top picks of what you should look for in a hiking backpack.

Mind that, this buyer’s guide is made keeping in mind about all the backpacks available out there. So, even if you are looking for something else of different specs other than this particular model, you can take some points from this guide easily.

Now let’s start with the guide part.

There are some specific things you should look for in every backpack. These features are common for all of them and will greatly help you to decide which one fits you perfectly. Take a look below.

· Volume

The volume of a backpack decides the capability of the backpack in terms of the number of days’ hike it is suitable for. A typical 20-35 liter bag is capable of day hike, and increasing the volume will increase the number of days of hike. This maxes out at around 75 liters for a hike of a week or two.

· Materials used

The type of materials used decides whether the backpack is able to take on the load that it is put through. For example canvas bags are not so durable compared to synthetic bags in the long term.

· Number of Pockets

Ideally a bag should have plenty of pockets inside out which significantly help in storing more things than normal. A good manufacturer will try to induce pockets in the minimalist of areas.

· Number of Compartments

Apart from the pockets, the number of compartments really helps in determining the true size of a backpack. Larger bags usually have only one big compartment which can store large gears.

· Hydration Capability

Hydration capabilities simply indicate towards the water holding capacities of a pack. Some packs have a dedicated compartment to store water while others don’t have. Look for a bag with a decent sized reservoir; it will greatly help while hiking.

· Waterproofing

The materials used for the construction of the bag can resist water easily. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide waterproof material then go for a rain cover. It can save you big time.

· Size

Some people might confuse between size and volume. They both are two different things. Consider this; a bag can hold X amount of a volume but its size is Y. While another bag can also hold X amount of volume but is bigger than the former one. Here, you don’t want to go for the latter one as it is much bigger but stores relatively less volume of gear.

· Frame

Bags upwards of around 50 liters in capacity come with frames to support. There are different materials used to make these frames. You should always go for aluminum or any metal.

These are all the key features you should look for in every backpack that you buy. Try to get the best in your budget range.

Final thoughts

CamelBak Hydration Pack is one of the best and affordable backpacks you can take from the brand. They have designed it to be a military spec bag which makes it more durable than its competitors. The added features are a desirable addition.

We hope you took some good information from this post. Do read our other post for more information related to camping and hiking.
Best of luck for your adventures.

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