High-Capacity Hydration Packs|
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
Hydrapak Ammo vs. CamelBak H.A.W.G. - High-Capacity hydration packs.
If you're looking to carry more than the bare bones essentials and some water on your next ride, you will want to read on.
There's no shortage of companies making hydration packs now days but when it comes to high-capacity packs, two rise above the crowd. The CamelBak H.A.W.G. and the Hydrapak Ammo tout enough cargo space and hi-tech features to keep you happily trekking in the backcountry for short and long rides alike.
The CamelBak H.A.W.G. (Holds A lot of Water and Gear) has been completely redesigned for 2001. This wasn't a redesign simply for the sake of a redesign, but rather they pulled off a lot of cool ideas to make a really versatile pack.
At 1,020 cubic inches, the H.A.W.G. is clearly the larger of the two. It's two internal storage compartments, large reservoir pouch and exterior cargo pocket provide enough room for enough clothes, tools and food for any epic day ride or even a light overnight trip.
Often times, the weather can make drastic changes during a ride so there is ample room for foul weather gear, extra insulating layers, or whatever you need. Even with a change of clothes, you'll still have room for extra tools, a first aid kit, etc.
The H.A.W.G. is quite advanced. It features individually adjustable shoulder straps, a waist strap, a sternum strap, a molded back panel, compression straps, and ample padding. This all results in a very comfortable and stable pack. Another nice touch is a shut off valve for transport. Gone are the days of leaking water because you inadvertently stacked gear on top of the bite valve when loading the car.
Despite all the innovation, I was disappointed to see the bladder is still the same impossible to clean design that CamelBak has been using for years. They've designed a new bladder that is found in their other packs, but for some reason the new design hasn't been included in the H.A.W.G.
The H.A.W.G. sells for $100 and delivers a lot of pack for the money.
For some, the H.A.W.G. may be overkill. If you're looking to carry a little less, then the Hydrapak Ammo is a solid option. The Ammo is significantly smaller at 585 cubic inches, but it uses this space well. There is less room for bulky clothing, but still ample room for a rain jacket, tights, etc.
The pack's styling is fairly futuristic. At first, I thought it was just for the sake of style. But there is also function. The pack makes liberal use of reinforced plastic which looks cool, but the plastic also offers water resistant protection for the pack. There's nothing worse than pulling out your change of clothes to find them dripping wet.
The Ammo has fewer gizmos and features than the H.A.W.G, but rather offers an efficient and practical design. The straps offer the typical adjustment options, thick padding, and sturdy buckles.
One very unique feature of the Ammo is the trap door access to the water reservoir. If you've ever struggled to get a full bladder down into the provided pocket of standard packs you will love this. The trap door gives easy access to the bladder to check how much water you have left or to fill it.
The Ammo offers numerous compartments of various sizes. There's a large compartment for clothes, mid-size compartments, smaller pockets for tools and food, plus a mesh exterior cargo pocket and a bungee harness system.
A key feature missing on the pack is a top handle. When fully loaded with gear, it is easier to just grab a handle to move it rather than a shoulder strap. All the Hydrapak provides is a small loop used to hang the pack.
The bladder uses Hydrapak's roll-down closure which makes the addition of ice a breeze. This also makes cleaning a snap as you have full access to the inside of the bladder. The bite valve, however is a bit cumbersome requiring the user to push a button with their tongue.
The Hydrapak Ammo is significantly less expensive than the H.A.W.G. At $84.99 it still isn't cheap, but it is money well spent.
Buy the Hydrapak Ammo Now.