Review: CamelBak H.A.W.G. Commute 30l pack

First published at FionaOutdoors

Camelbak is encouraging people around the world to take their love for the outdoors to the next level. Instead of leaving the bike trips and hiking paths for the weekend, there is the possibility to get exercise, fresh air, and outdoor time in your daily commute. 

For that reason, they are developing a new collection for bike commuting. They surveyed bike commuters from New York City to Portland, Austin to San Fransisco. The results led to incorporating key qualities into their Commute Bags.

Here is what I like about the H.A.W.G. bag, and some aspects to consider if you are looking for the right one for you.

Features include:

  • Exterior: 330d Cordura(R) Nylon with PU coating (lightweight but weather resistant)
  • Sormproof laptop sleeve with taped seams for extra weather resistance
  • Air-Support back panel to keep air moving and the heat off your back
  • Command Centre pockets for easy access
  • Helmet carry
  • Light loop for added safety
  • 360 degree multidirectional reflectivity
  • Large side pockets
  • Removable waist strap
  • Up to 3L/100oz CRUX® reservoir compatibility (Reservoir not included)
  • 30L capacity (H.A.W.G) or 22L capacity (M.U.L.E.) 
  • Price: £150 at Camelbak.

What’s good about the H.A.W.G. Commute 30?

I like this pack. The H.A.W.G. Commute (and also M.U.L.E) addresses important issues when it comes to using an everyday pack for commuting to work. 

Whether you are biking, walking or on public transport, you never know when the weather is going to turn and you will be out in the elements, soaking your expensive electronics. That is the key feature. 

The H.A.W.G. Commute has multiple layers of keeping your “don’t-get-wet” items dry. 

First, the exterior is made from the 330d Cordura(R) Nylon. This keeps the bag water resistant, but more flexible than what you think of with a waterproof bag (that gets really brittle in cold weather). 

Second, there is the PU coating (standard with what you think of with your waterproof tents). 

Third, you have the coated zippers to keep any pooled water from leaking in through your access points into the bag. Fourth, inside where you store your laptop, or iPad, there is a special stormproof sleeve with a roll down flap and taped seams so no water seeps in.

The next aspect I like about this bag is the straps. There are some easy access pockets on the shoulder straps which Camelbak calls, “Command Centre”. This is a great place to put keys, earbuds, or even your phone if you want to keep those out of your pockets while riding, but yet accessible. (The phone pocket fit my iPhone 11, but if you have an iPhone max, I don’t think it would fit. Also, those pockets aren’t waterproof.) 

There is an optional hip belt as well, which may or may not be necessary. 

Some general parts I like about the bag include the air venting on the back. It isn’t overly aggressive, but it still keeps some airflow going over your back which is helpful if you are on your way to work.

I like the side pockets which are big enough to carry the MultiBev bottle which is a great accessory. One is zipped and the other is mesh.

There is a front open pocket for a jacket, which is nice especially if it got wet and you need it to be able to drain out.

There is a small felt pocket, where I generally keep my phone if it isn’t in my pocket.

There is the large main pocket with a laptop sleeve, two zippered compartments, and enough space to keep an extra set of clothing for the gym, my headphones, and a lunch.

The last compartment is where there are two sleeves. One is the dedicated laptop sleeve which has taped seems and a roll down top to keep water out. The second is where you can keep your hydration reservoir if you decide to add that in. I personally wouldn’t use the reservoir and the laptop sleeve at the same time, just in case, but that is why they provided the extra sleeve in the other compartment (I think!).

The extra safety features are nice, such as the reflective strips, the light attachment, and even the helmet clasps. 

What’s not so good about the H.A.W.G. Commute 30?

The first is the size. For me, I love this size because I have been using it for work, but also for weekend work trips. It is big enough to take an extra change of clothes, toiletries and other essentials. 

But if you are only going to be using it during the day to get to your office, or remote location, the smaller M.U.L.E might be best for you.

The interior compartments are nice, but if one of them was divided up into three, that would help me to better separate everything.

This is primarily a commute bag, so don’t buy this if you are thinking of a long bike trek. For that reason, the shoulder straps aren’t as padded as they might be for hours and hours of use. I haven’t had a problem with the straps, but if you were to wear this for hours on end, with a heavy load, you will feel it.

See my video review:

Conclusion: This is a great pack if you are commuting to work. Camelbak has created a bag that is weather resistant, comfortable and versatile. There are two sizes, so see which one would best fit your needs. And hopefully this helps you take the bike more often!

  • I received this pack free of charge in exchange for an honest review.