CamelBak H.A.W.G. NV®

Lots of water. Plenty of storage. But that’s not all. If you’re a big guy, especially across the shoulders, you may have been a bit disappointed in some of the smaller CamelBak hydration packs. The H.A.W.G. NV® aims to fix that. So not only do you get a reservoir that holds up to three liters (100 ounces) of water, and 854 cubic inches of whatever gear you need to bring with you on your next epic ride, you get excellent fit, without limiting your range of motion.

CamelBak H.A.W.G. NV

Unlike some hydration packs and backpacks that stitch the straps directly to the top of the pack, the H.A.W.G. NV® incorporates their D-Fit straps that use durable plastic loops with a slight curve, which allows for a bit of articulation. This lets them to settle into place whether you’ve got a scrawny geek neck, or are built like a linebacker. And as you raise and lower your arms, steer, brake, and wave to your buddies, the pack moves with you. That alone would normally be enough to sell me on a pack like this, but CamelBak took things a step further on this redesign, and gave it the NV™back panel, which utilizes four strategically-placed strips that are the backbone, so to speak, or their “Integrated Ventilation”. A combination of high and medium density foams, plus nylon and mesh, they allow for maximum airflow to keep you cooler, and also conform to your back as you ride.

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Sounding more like a weekend backpack than a hydration pack, you’ll also notice cargo pockets on each side, a rain cover tucked into the zippered compartment at the bottom, compression straps, and a media pocket. But it’s really for cycling, as there’s a helmet hook and pockets for keeping your cycling essentials organized. It also goes without saying that CamelBak didn’t skimp on the hydration part, with their 3 liter Antidote reservoir that has a Quick Link release system, and a Quarter Turn Cap covering a mouth bigger than Rush Limbaugh’s. Easy fill, easy clean.

Throw it on, adjust the shoulder straps, sternum strap, and waist belt, and you’re ready for a long day on the trail. Once upon a time, you could count on carrying a spare tube, patch kit, keys, and maybe a Clif bar or two in your pack. Now you can bring that, plus your multi-tool, phone, wallet, separate MP3 player, an extra (waterproof) layer, and a $5 foot long, complete with a bottle of Grey Poupon if you’re into trailside snootiness. In all seriousness, the H.A.W.G. NV® really will carry just about everything I would want for an all day ride. During our test, we traded it off between different riders, and there were no complaints about the weight, thanks to effective distribution, and nothing but praise for that NV™back panel. Storage pockets on the waist belt were appreciated for their ability to hold a phone or gels, although they were a bit too small for bulkier digital point & shoot cameras.

All the hardware and finishing shows the attention to detail that CamelBal lavishes on their products these days. Zippers all have corded pulls that are easy to grasp with wet, cold, or gloved hands. Buckles are accessible without being too prone to snagging. You’ll find a drawstring in the main compartment, and a soft lining in the media pocket. If there is a minor gripe to be had, it’s with the stitching. After you’ve looked at hundreds of shoes, backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags, and been lectured by Italian shoemakers, you start to notice stitching. Although there’s a ton of it, it’s all single row, where we’d probably prefer to see some double stitching. Up close, we found that some of it is a bit uneven. That shouldn’t have any effect on function or durability though. Time will tell how well it holds up, as the rest of the pack is pretty durable.

Verdict? If you’re looking for a hydration pack that offers high capacity for both water and gear, at the same time offering plenty of cool comfort, the H.A.W.G. NV® should be at or near the top of your list.

– Brian

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Your place can be valueble for me. Cheers!…

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