OR -Camelbak H.A.W.G. Hydration Pack - Gail S
- In response to the OR call for August - Please except
my new Owner Review for consideration:
August 27, 2007
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
For the last 18 years, backpacking has become a
passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an
off-trail navigator. Although I normally take yearly
trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority
of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight
varies considerably, but my base weight is under 18 lb
( 8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages
over 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of
weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow
and sub-zero temps.
Year of Manufacture
Red (2007 colors are: black, blue or coyote)
100 oz (3 L)
1020 cu in/16.7 kg, 801 cu in/13.1 L (2007)
2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg) for both the empty pack and
The Camelbak H.A.W.G. is one of many hydration packs
offered by Camelbak. It is one of their largest
fluid-capacity packs with a reservoir for liquid of
100 oz oz (3 L). Camelbak does make larger volume
packs for gear but the H.A.W.G. is still quite roomy
at over 800 cu in (13.1 L). Some of its features
include a sliding-sternum strap, a waistbelt, two
side-compression straps, reflective details, and a
mesh outer pocket. The manufacturer has updated the
model a bit in the last year or so by including a MP3
pocket and a reduced cargo volume (about 220 cu in
(3.6 L less).
I purchased the Camelbak H.A.W.G. several years ago
when I was planning to make a trip to Havasu Canyon in
Arizona. It was an 8 mi (13 km) trek into the canyon
where I was to spend two nights at lodging in the
canyon. Although I didn't need to haul a shelter or a
sleeping bag, I still needed to carry some clothing,
toiletries and food. My hydration needs were
significant as the temperatures were hot and dry. I
would also do significant day hiking while I was
there. The capacity of the H.A.W.G. for both hydration
and gear was perfect for that trip and it has been my
favorite hydration-based pack since that outing. I've
worn it on all my long day hikes especially when I
know that I am going to need to carry a significant
amount of water. Besides Havasu Canyon, I have worn
the H.A.W. G. in many national parks including Arches,
Zion, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands. In addition, I
have used it for various hikes in Flagstaff, Sedona
and the Superstition Mountains all in Arizona, plus
for local dayhikes and outings in the Upper Peninsula
I have worn the pack in all types of weather including
temperatures up to nearly 100 F (38 cm). I have hiked
in sun, rain and even snow in Utah and Michigan while
wearing the H.A.W.G. When temperatures hovered around
the freezing mark (32 F/0 C), I didn't have any
problem with water freezing in the tube. However,
during excursions with temps below freezing, I
normally instead just use water bottles inside my
pack. I don't like having to keep the tube of the
hydration bag inside my clothing or using neoprene
tube covers to keep the water flowing.
The H.A.W.G. is an extremely well-designed hydration
and daypack. The padded-mesh shoulder harness is very
comfortable even while carrying over 20 lb (9 kg) of
water and gear in it. I normally always use the
integrated waistbelt to distribute the load. The belt
also helps the pack stabilize and stay close to my
body when I'm bouldering or rock hopping. The sternum
strap can also be adjusted up or down to find the
The H.A.W.G. is equipped with a 100 oz/3L (OMEGA
wide-mouth) hydration bag with a Big Bite valve
mouthpiece. The mouthpiece has a HydroLock valve that
shuts off the water flow when needed.
I've never had the hydration system leak either from
the screw-on cap of the reservoir, the end of the
drinking tube or from the mouthpiece. I really like
the HydroLock valve that shuts off the water flow. I
keep the valve shut when I am transporting the pack to
or from the trail head in a vehicle. Because I've had
previous experience with valves that haven't had this
feature, I can relate that many of them will leak if
any pressure is put on them by other gear or related
items. I have not only lost drinking water with those
systems but they've also leaked water on items that
were supposed to stay dry.
The hydration reservoir fits into the outside padded
back panel of the pack so that it can be accessed
without disturbing the cargo's contents. This easy
access panel has one continuous zipper all the way
around the top and one of the sides. A full reservoir
of water is quickly placed into it without having to
struggle. There is a top loop inside this panel so
that the reservoir can hook into it. This prevents the
reservoir from slipping downwards, especially when the
water supply is low inside the pack. The drinking tube
is then funneled through an opening in the top of the
pack and can be drawn through a loop on either side of
the front harness.
The front of the pack features a roomy internal pocket
for gear. It has additional pockets for smaller items
and there's also a clip to fasten my keys. The outside
of the pack has a roomy mesh pocket that Is quite
handy for quickly-needed items. I usually stow my rain
jacket, compass and maps there. The cargo volume of
the pack can be compressed by using the two handy
compression straps that run horizontally across the
back and sides of the pack. There's also a handy haul
loop located on the top edge of the pack.
The OMEGA wide-mouth reservoir with a circular opening
of over 3 in/8 cm wide in diameter is very easy to
fill, and more importantly -- dry. When I know that
I'm not going to use the pack for several days at a
time, I remove excess drops of water from the
reservoir by inserting a few paper towels into it to
absorb the moisture. I take the mouth piece off of the
tube and then let both parts air dry.
Otherwise, I have done little maintenance to care for
the pack. Usually surface dirt brushes off quite
easily on the exterior and as I've already described,
the hydration system is quite easy to care for. The
entire hydration system has HydoGuard technology. It
is embedded with an FDA-approved silver ion compound
to inhibit bacteria growth.
The only demerit to the pack is that it is rather
expensive. Although Camelbak does guarantee their
packs for the long haul, I think it's still pricey at
$100 US. However, the construction and design is
superb. Prior to buying the H.A.W.G., I used two other
hydration packs by different manufacturers. They
weren't nearly as nice and definitely not as
comfortable. Their hydration systems often leaked,
were hard to fill and were unsatisfactory for my
needs.This could definitely be a case of "you get what
you pay for" as those packs were not nearly as
In conclusion, the Camelbak H.A.W.G pack has remained
my favorite hydration-based pack through several years
of use. The fully-loaded hydration pack is extremely
stable while wearing it and I often forget that it's
even on me. Since I purchased this pack, I have not
even considered replacing it as everything has
remained in fine shape. That includes the materials
that the pack are constructed of plus the reservoir
and the mouthpiece.
* Large water capacity
* Packs easily, not bulky when transported
* Leakproof valve on the drinking tube
* Extremely comfortable with heavy load
**There is a pleasure in the pathless woods** - Lord Byron
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- Hi Gail,
Thanks for the Owner Review. I have a few edits for you after which
you can upload to here;
***It is one of their largest fluid-capacity packs with a reservoir
for liquid of 100 oz oz (3 L).
EDIT delete extra "oz"
***The outside of the pack has a roomy mesh pocket that Is quite
handy for quickly-needed items.
EDIT: lower case "is"
***The entire hydration system has HydoGuard technology.
***Their hydration systems often leaked, were hard to fill and were
unsatisfactory for my needs.This could definitely be a case of "you
get what you pay for" as those packs were not nearly as expensive.
EDIT: need space after "needs."