Sunday, October 9, 2011

Camelbak HAWG 500

Breaking-in the Camelbak HAWG 500
I picked up a Camelbak HAWG 500 from Keong of Outdoor Gear Malaysia last week and have been breaking-in the pack ever since.
This is a 'nice-sized' pack with 20 cubic litres of real estate space to store all my junk. In short, its a tactical school bag.
There were a few factors on why I wanted another hydration pack. 
First, its rotation carry.
My experience with the Camelbak Octane 24 pack convinced me about Camelbak's quality.
Their tactical hydration bladder: called the waterbeast, is second-to-none.
As a matter of fact, I've been eyeing this for a long time, just never got around getting it.
The bladder was actually for my Kifaru Scout.
So, quality-wise, how did the HAWG 500 fare? 

Overall built and construction
To sell this pack for active servicemen in the US, all suppliers are required to produce them in the USA. 
So, are we assured of the top-notched Uncle SAM's quality? 
I used my Kifaru Scout as a benchmark and compared side-by-side, the HAWG is nowhere near. Not even close to my S.O.Tech mission Go-Bag.
But, for the price-point, one cannot fault Camelbak's effort in making it affordable by 'assembling' it in the US with parts made in foreign countries.
The cargo space is adequate to pack some of my daily-carry stuff.
What I totally dislike: is the zip pulls.
Instead of the high-quality 550 paracord, Camelbak uses some cheap foliage green nylon cord. This can be easily rectified.
I find that the 'Hydrate or Die' slogan printed on the pack's padded back a bit cheesy.


Conclusion
The HAWG would make a good daypack if you are a light traveler.
Its actual purpose is to house small arms munition and light ordnance like a fragmentation grenade or smoke bomb.
Some of the compartments like a stationary field organizer is way below par compared to established tactical nylon makers in the US.
I have no grouse with the bladder as it is top-notched in terms of quality.
And this is certainly not my first tactical hydration bladder since I have owned and evaluated the MULE back in the years..
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