The CamelBak Hawg
A while back I was gifted with a CamelBak HAWG. and, just like I do with every other hydration system I receive, I had to rinse it out, fill it up, and go for a walk. I live near the Chesapeake Bay and the five-mile (round trip) walk would be sufficient that I'd appreciate having some drinking water along. The HAWG actually holds 100 ounces (or 3.0 Liters) of liquid, and since I don't like to scrub out my hydration bladder every time I use it, I tend to stick with plain water rather than anything flavored or sugary. Given that the HAWG also has 1100 cubic inches of storage capacity, I felt compelled to take along some snacks for myself as well. Off I went. Now a gallon of (fresh) water weighs about 7.5 pounds. 100 ounces of water is not quite a gallon, so I'm guessing I had about 6.5 to 7 pounds of water. Throw in the snacks (maybe another pound) and I was carrying about eight pounds in the HAWG. The system itself, when empty, has a published weight of 2.6 pounds, so that's about 10.5 pounds on my back, give or take. Not a great amount to carry around--especially if you've gone any distance with a 55 pound ruck on before. The HAWG's shoulder straps are adjustable for fit, as is the waist band. If you don't care to use the waistband, it tucks away into two little pouches (one on either side) to keep it out of your way. There is also an adjustable chest strap and this is amazingly helpful in keeping the shoulder straps from digging into your upper arms.
Wearing the HAWG is effortless. How well does it move? Pretty well. No discomfort arose. As I moved along, the bite-valve swung back and forth across my chest, dangling, banging and bouncing around. It didn't leak at all. The on/off switch is easy to use and secures well in either position. Further, the bite-valve cover that came with the HAWG keeps the bite-valve itself covered and clean. The pack has some useful features that should be noted. Easily seen in the picture are the tube guides on the shoulder straps. There is one on either side. They come in handy for hanging flashlights, hooking other gear, etc. Farther down each shoulder strap is a D-ring for clipping on equipment as you see fit. The chest strap can be positioned higher up or lower down as is necessary according to your body type. The nylon strap that adjusts your shoulder strap length is captured at the bottom by a piece of hook-and-loop strap--so you don't have loose nylon dangling. There is a sturdy nylon handle at the top of the pack for those times before you put it on/after you've taken it off, but you still have to move it around. The pack consists of a large storage compartment and a smaller outer pocket that combined equal 1100 cubic inches of storage space. The larger cargo compartment has two covered slits at the top--one on either side--where a radio antenna could stick out if that's what you're humping. Both cargo compartments have easy-pull zipper tabs and open in a semi-clamshell fashion. Cinch straps--two on either side--help to keep your load tight so it doesn't move around on you, changing your balance at potentially awkward times. The entire back of the HAWG is covered in MOLLE-compatible webbing. If you need to carry more than the cargo space allows, attach some MOLLE pouches and keep on going. The bottom of the pack has an integrated drain-hole (so the only water you're carrying is what you intended) and there are four attachment points--double-stitched nylon webbing--for a sleeping bag, etc.