2011 Camelbak H.A.W.G. NV Review

Oct 22, 2010
by Tyler Maine  
The 2011 Camelbak H.A.W.G. NV (Holds A lot of Water and Gear) hydration pack showed up here a few months ago and I have been using it on every ride since. New and lighter materials are used in its construction, the N.V.I.S(TM) back panel allows even better ventilation, overall it's a refined pack from its 2010 brother.

Read on,

Camelbak H.A.W.G. NV


Description:

CamelBak’s H.A.W.G.® NV is the perfect choice for an all day mountain bike ride on the most extreme terrain. The redesigned H.A.W.G.® NV now features an N.V.I.S.™ Back Panel for additional ventilation. Also offers over 900 cubic inches of storage, 100 ounces of water, plus dual side compression that raises the bar over any other cycling hydration system. An included rain cover allows for all-weather excursions in the saddle or on the trail.


Camelbak H.A.W.G. NV details:

  • Reservoir capacity - 100 oz (3 L)
  • 100oz / 3L Antidote Reservoir with Lifetime Warranty
  • Insulated reservoir pocket keeps liquid cool for hours
  • Cargo space - 1120 CU IN (18 L)
  • Carries: Shed/Extra Layers, Gear, Tools, Pump, Patch Kit, Spare Tube, Food, Essentials, etc.
  • N.V.I.S.™ Back Panel for additional ventilation
  • Easy-to-access MP3 pocket with weather-resistant zipper
  • Integrated Rain Cover included in its own bottom pocket
  • Dual side compression with Hypalon® anchors
  • Weight: 2.18lbs / 0.99kgs (claimed)
  • Color Options: Red/Charcoal and Black/Charcoal
  • MSRP $129 USD


You may be wondering about the name, H.A.W.G. NV, well it suits this pack well, with its ample amounts of storage space and the all new Antidote 3L bladder. 3L of water and almost enough storage room for an overnight trip, the H.A.W.G. NV sure does hold a lot of water and gear. I'd like to see a little more thought put into the the gear layout, ei. sleeves for pumps or tools that simply don't fit well into the outermost "tool area". The new insulated, bladder expansion area expands in to the storage area and while this makes for a more comfortable pack on your back, it takes away from nice storage lay out to a small degree.

I first tried an N.V.I.S.(TM) equipped Camelbak M.U.L.E. NV (2010 model) back in the spring time and I was instantly impressed with the comfort on my back. The 2011 H.A.W.G. NV is a revised version that ventilates noticeably better than most hydration packs on the market and the six points of contact are properly arranged to fit amazingly well on your back, providing great comfort. The 2010 M.U.L.E. NV and 2011 H.A.W.G. NV rank among the best feeling packs, in terms of comfort on my back, that I've worn over the past 6 seasons. The minimal amount of contact points keeps my back breathing and reduces the sweat build up that you get from some packs.

The integrated rain cover works well to keep water, mud and other debris off of the pack, but could use a cynch or something of that effect to keep the top of the cover in place like the bottom is secured. I have become very accustomed to using packs with rain covers due to the wet climate on the coast and I find this to be a big personal draw when seeking out packs for cycling - both commuting and trail riding. It is nice to see it as a standard feature on the H.A.W.G. NV.

While the H.A.W.G. NV is not aimed at the armor wearing sector of the sport and does not have any armor cynches, the abundance of cargo space (1120 cubic inches) always allowed me to carry my knee armor on rides that involved long climbs and more rugged, sustained descents. Simple as firing them in the pack and tightening down the side lashes (Dual side compression with Hypalon® anchors) to reduce swing weight on the way up, fire on knee pads at the top and get loose on the way down.

I was able to carry anything I needed for all my rides and always had a lot of water too with the H.A.W.G. NV, you just gotta pack accordingly so as to not over/under pack for a given ride. I'd say that I was easily "prepared" for pretty much anything as I filled the hydration pack with everything from a First Aid kit, plenty of tools and some snacks on all my rides.

N.V.I.S.(TM) back paneling
N.V.I.S.(TM) back paneling
Main storage area with no slots for tools/pump, just open storage.
Main storage area with no slots for tools/pump, just open storage.
Tool area with compartments, fits lots of small items, but would like to see more  <br> layout in the larger storage area.
Tool area with compartments, fits lots of small items, but would like to see more
layout in the larger storage area.

Antidote Reservoir details:

  • 100oz / 3L Antidote Reservoir with Quick Link System
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Largest cap on the market
  • Quick-snap cap that tightens in just a ¼ Turn
  • Low-profile fit for unmatched stability
  • Air-light fillport cuts weight
  • 19% lighter than Omega and 28% lower profile
  • Fold Out Integrated Dryer Arms
  • Baffle reduces sloshing, rolling, barreling and helps with integration in and out of the packs.
  • Baffle also reduces the stack height (profile) of the reservoir by 26%
  • Quick Link: Auto Shut-Off hose – allows user to leave the tube routed in the pack when filling. Also allows the user to integrate accessories with Quick Link to customize their hydration system
  • Weight: 3L/100oz. - 194 grams and 2L/70oz. - 181 grams
  • MSRP 2L/70oz. - $33 USD and 3L/100oz. - $35 USD


New for 2011 is the Antidote bladder and it gets top marks from me for the center split (Baffle) that reduces the sausage effect that plagues most hydration bladders on the market. The baffle makes the reservoir sit more flat inside the pack and on your back - aiding in the comfort effect I was talking about earlier. The new closure is a simple 90 degree turn from full open to full close, no more forcing the bladder closed or a bit of a struggle when opening it. You now have a reservoir that sits better inside your pack (more comfortable), as well as being easier to open and close!

The feed hose un-clips from the reservoir without spilling thanks to the Quick Link: Auto Shut-Off = yeah! The Bite valve has an on/off lever that is really easy to use.

Antidote valve pictured top, Omega valve pictured lower.
Antidote valve pictured top, Omega valve pictured lower.
19% lighter than Omega and 28% lower profile.  Omega Reservoir pictured on the Left and Antidote on the Right.
19% lighter than Omega and 28% lower profile. Omega Reservoir pictured on the Left and Antidote on the Right.
Quick Link allows for easy reservoir removal thanks to the Auto Shut Off hose.
Quick Link allows for easy reservoir removal thanks to the Auto Shut Off hose.
The Antidote reservoir has the largest cap on the market - easy to add ice cubes or even to clean.  The cap also features a whole new closure that only requires a 90 degree turn to take it from full open to full close.  The older Omega reservoir required several full turns to seal it.
The Antidote reservoir has the largest cap on the market - easy to add ice cubes or even to clean. The cap also features a whole new closure that only requires a 90 degree turn to take it from full open to full close. The older Omega reservoir required several full turns to seal it.
Me out riding in Vernon at Silver Star Mountain resort in the rain - integrated rain cover doing its job.
Me out riding in Vernon at Silver Star Mountain resort in the rain - integrated rain cover doing its job.

Please visit www.camelbak.com to learn about all their hydration products

I liked the comfort of the H.A.W.G. NV pack, but would like to see better tool and storage lay out inside the pack. The all new Antidote Reservoir is the best hydration reservoir I have ever used. Have you used a pack with N.V.I.S.(TM) or the new Antidote Bladder? Tell us about your experience below.


30 Comments

  • + 2
 Good finaly I can see the back of Camelbak NV. I don't have any clue why they just don't show it in their sale materials. I'm pretty sure that would convince many to choose this one over Dakine products, which doesn't seem to have the best back ventilation out there. While gravity oriented riders might find it a "whatever" case (especially those wearing back protection), then those who pedal hundreds of vertical feet up might see an issue there.
  • + 1
 You're spot on Waki. Back ventilation is very important. I have a Camelbak M.U.L.E. that is 10 years old. People think Im full of it, but Im not. Its 10 years old, not a busted stitch to be found. Zippers are still work great, no tears despite many crashes and abrasions. I want a new pack every year for awhile now, but can never justify it. Looking at this pack and the improvement in storage and water over my MULE- I might do it this year.
  • + 1
 I have a Consigliere, slightly smaller than MULE, and I am super happy with it both function and ventilation wise. On top of what we wrote about thers is another thing I learned from having mountaineering backpacks. An important factor is the possibiility to attach lots of stuff to the bakcpack. It's good to have stuff hanging out of it all over. One day you attach a tripod to it, another day: shin guards, FF helmet or a rain jacket. Small Consigliere does that pretty well. Never had this HAWG but it looks as it might need some more of that "attachability" factor, especially as it is pretty big.
  • + 1
 True, actually now that you mention it, my MULE has a bungee type cord that weaves through it, with a slide clamp/clip. Under that is a mesh type flap. You can put anything there and the pack is going to hole it. Ive strapped shovels, saws, jackets, whatever you fancy- under there and been able to secure it with that cord. This pack has no such devices. On the other hand, its much larger. But it wouldnt have killed em to include that feature.
  • + 5
 Some pix of the pack opened up and showing the internal storage would be helpful.
  • + 1
 THanks for the feedback Gnar, you were reading the unfinished draft, but now those pics are in there and I hope that they help you out.
  • + 2
 awesome thanks a lot, and yes v helpful. Liking.
  • + 2
 How well did the pack stay in place? my drawback on backpacks is how they bounce around over rough terrain or jumps
  • + 2
 Looks quite similair to some of the Dakine packs, although the build quality is nae doubt much better.
  • + 1
 Pjrmtb31 - If you use the waste and sternum straps, most packs stay pretty well in place. I also learned a few years ago that the side lashes are really important to be snugged down to help your gear from shifting within the bag while rippin it up.
  • + 2
 I havr the same m.u.l.e that darkstar was talking about, with the bungee on the front. that pack is the balls. I used it for hare scrambles, day rides on MTB and day hikes. The absolute best pack ever the bugee held everthing and I never lost anything from it. I bought a newer M.U.L.E last year because if the back ventilation and I am very happy with it( wish it had the bungee though). Long story short, camelbak is expensive but they are all worth every penny. CAMELTOE for lifeSmile
  • + 2
 This looks like just the ticket for when my MULE is not big enough (like on self-supported enduros and epic rides).

BTW, I've had great experience dealing directly with Camelbak in Petaluma (or is it Santa Rosa?), and these days warranty and aftersales service is just as important to me as the product. I am a Camelbak customer for life (which doesn't mean too much since their packs last for many years).
  • + 2
 I have the 2010 MULE and love it. It looks like there have been some decent improvements. I agree about the need for the tie downs though. My older Camelbak packs have this feature and I was able to carry just about anything. Mind you, the 2010 MULE has the lower center pocket that cinches up and the amount of crap I can stuff in there is ridiculous (shirt, jacket, first aid kit, camera, GPS, battery for light, whatever). I chose the MULE over the HAWG based on some reviews I had read about how poorly balanced the HAWG felt vs the MULE. I'm sure I would have been happy with either one. Camelbak makes solid gear - their podium bottles rock and my kids have a few bottles as well. All my CB shyte still looks and performs as brand new. The raincover is pretty cool too and it keeps a phone or camera nice and safe there also. My 4 yr old wears my wife's old Camelbak and he loves it also. Smile
  • + 1
 I'm liking the 2011 line up.
Bummer that I bought a 2010 Rogue, but I couldn't wait as I needed one for my first full-time riding season. And it's tooo small so I think I might upgrade to the Dakine Nomad.

The bladder got a hole in it not even after a month of riding, Cammelbak DID replace it with no questions ask. But it did take 7 weeks to get a replacement. In the meantime I picked up a replacement from Crappy Tire and I'm loving the bladder!!! Outbound I think is the name and I like how the on / off for the value is push / pull. As your sucking out the water you can push it in to prevent any backwash! Excellent!
  • + 1
 Has anyone tried this bag while wearing their leatt? It looks like it shouldn't be much of an issue if not fully packed. I switched from a MEC daypack to my small Camalbak because I found the top of the MEC bag would constantly push up on the brace. Barely notice the smaller Camalbak. I like this HAWG, awesome write up and photo's, thanks!
  • + 1
 This is a massive bag, I have the 2009 version and it's fantastic. Only thing I don't like is it's to big for XC riding and I like to have a smaller bag so I barely recognize it's there. I use a 2L camelback instead whilst saving the H.A.W.G for freeriding/trail building and all-day rides.
  • + 1
 I've been running an older version of the HAWG since 2006 and still use the same pack everyday for both commuting and trail riding. Thousands of miles covered and its still going strong. Looks like I need to treat myself to a the new version.
  • + 1
 i have a 2008 version of the NV... cover has worked well many times on rain soaked Welsh mountains. reservoir looks good! little grab handles on the zips have a tendency to fray through and fall off after a fair bit of use - not great if trying to open them wearing gloves. otherwise its a brilliant bit of kit. NV version 'air gap' is well worth the extra money too.
  • + 1
 I want to use a backpack for mainly day hiking and biking. I want this big to hold my DSLR, I know it can hold that, but can it hold a tripod? somehow, may be attached to a bungee or sort.? Anyone got any idea..?
  • + 1
 HUGE bag...!!

The only thing great about this "new" bladder is that all the "older style" ones will get cheaper Smile
  • + 1
 Wrong, it will be a lower profile. Not a big deal unless u pack way full though. Ride ride ride!!!
  • + 1
 Great review. I'm in the market for a new pack and this write up has helped alot!
  • + 1
 I got a 20099 DAWG and its totally tits. But I may need to upgrade to this new reservoir.
  • + 1
 Awesome!! I was looking for a new pack and this looks sweet!
  • + 1
 i am really liking the red
  • + 1
 How do theses compare to the Vaude packs, e.g., Northshore?
  • + 1
 Great review!
  • + 1
 Nice Review
  • - 2
 man is Camelback's crap overpriced
  • + 1
 It's costly but hardly crap. I got my first classic Camalback 7ish years ago and it hasn't let me down, zero tears, multiple crashes (saved my back, literally), zipper still works, and the reservoir has yet to leak. I replaced the bite valve due to growth of black stuff, cheap fix. You get what you pay for, and top quality is what they offer. If you want something less expensive, perhaps stick to the old water bottle on the frame trick?

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