Camelbak HAWG Commute 30L - full of neat ideas and great touches; possibly more bag than you need, though

Really it comes down to whether you are a light and fast traveller or you like to have that extra capacity 'just in case'...

Camelbak HAWG 30L Commuter Backpack
(Image credit: Paul Grele)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

This is really nicely made bag full of great ideas and neat features. It should last a long time too. The harness system is one of the best that I've ever used. I love its comfort and stability especially. The waterproof laptop sleeve and plethora of pockets are really well thought out. Really it comes down to whether you need 30 litres of capacity or whether its smaller sibling (MULE with 22 litres) might suit better. What a choice to make!

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Comfortable harness system

  • +

    Good stability when cycling

  • +

    Great selection of pockets

  • +

    Handy strap tidy-aways

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Helmet carry was fiddly and didn't suit my helmet strap system

  • -

    Possibly too big?

Camelbak has designed the HAWG 30 litre backpack to allow you to accommodate everything that you might need in your daily routine or commute. Regardless of whether you travel by bike, on foot, by train, etc. We take a look whether there is a place for this bag in your life.

If you'd like to check out the best cycling backpacks, we've got you covered there. Alternatively, for advice on choosing the best bike for commuting, you can find our advice over here. Otherwise simply read on for our thoughts and experiences of the Camelbak HAWG. 

Construction

Camelbak HAWG 30L Commuter Backpack

'Command Center' harness system with tidy-aways

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The HAWG 30L is a well made and sturdy bag constructed from a tough coated Cordura N330D fabric, it has a capacity of 30 litres, weighs 975g (Camelbak states 1,030g) and retails for $160 / £150. If my previous experiences with this Cordura fabric are anything to go by then you should expect a long life from this product.

There is a plethora of pockets and sleeves to aid organisation of the bag, including a weatherproof sleeve to hold a laptop, side pockets for a bottle and/or a U-lock, several reflective zones all around the bag and a light loop. The main compartment is accessed via a clam-shell lid and the harness has two pockets that could hold your phone and keys securely.

There are many similarities with its smaller sibling the MULE 22L, as well as a few differences too. In brief, the similarities are as follows: The harness and its pockets, a removable waist band, the back panel, top carry handle, one flexible side pocket, outer rear sleeve, helmet carry loops, three of the zipped internal pockets and the weatherproof laptop sleeve.

The differences are the zipped side pocket, having two sections inside the bag (instead of one), the clamshell lid to access the main compartment and a couple of extra sleeves inside the compartments. The HAWG is physically bigger, as you'd expect a 33% larger bag to be, with the back being longer as well as it being deeper too.

A small feature that I really like are the strap tidy-aways. Once you set up the harness to fit, the loose ends can be folded away and tucked under an elastic loop. Very neat!