Stealth and Hydration: The Unexpected Versatility of CamelBak’s HAWG Pro 20

in Accessories Misc., Authors, Clay Martin, Gear Reviews
HAWG Pro 20
Blends in a way nothing tactical will.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you read my columns, you already know I am a fan of CamelBak in general. We have reviewed several of their tactical packs, and I have spoken highly of them from my time using them in the military.

But today, we are looking at CamelBak in a different light. Specifically, the new H.A.W.G. Pro 20 bike hydration pack.

Front view of CamelBak and the author’s lack of cardio.

H.A.W.G. Pro 20 Purpose

The HAWG Pro 20 was purpose-built as a bicycle pack, to keep bike types hydrated on the trail. There are all kinds of awesome new features, like mesh straps, a magnetic straw holder for hands-free drinking, and a helmet-holding strap system.

It also has a high airflow back panel, which keeps an air pocket between the ruck and you, a huge gain in heat reduction. It has reflective material built in as a safety measure, and does any of that sound like it belongs in the GunsAmerica Digest tactical column?

No. Which is the point.

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    HAWG Pro 20 magnetic tube holder
    Magnetic tube holder.

    I like this HAWG Pro 20 for exactly that reason. It is the lowest profile option I have seen yet, for being able to carry a reasonable amount of “stuff” under the radar.

    The reflective bits alone rule it out as being seen as “tactical,” and we chose the color Gunmetal specifically over the color black. This ruck is fantastic for two semi-tactical tasks, without drawing attention.

    Held in place.

    What I Like: Low Profile

    The first reason I like this option is for a bit of low-profile ruck training. Everyone in the audience knows they should be doing at least some walking with their bug-out bag to get muscles accustomed to the load.

    Not to mention, fitness will likely be a factor in the next three years of supply chain/COVID/ Kyle Rittenhouse trial/ lizard people whatever shenanigans. I’m not saying you need to be commando fit. But I am saying it helps in ANY kind of crisis to have a little cardio and be capable of moving.

    READ MORE: Grey Ghost Slimline Medical Pouch

    HAWG Pro 20 mesh straps
    Mesh straps.

    The HAWG Pro 20 lets you carry a little bit of weight, anywhere, without looking like a fruit loop. Training with your real bug-out bag is maybe fine, or maybe not, environment-dependent.

    But if you want to fly under the radar, this little guy is exactly what you need. It has onboard already a 100 oz hydration pouch, which weighs about 6 pounds. It easily has room for another or an equivalent in whatever you have laying around.

    Fifteen pounds or so might not be ideal “prep for Elite Forces selection via cross country orienteering” training, but it is enough to make a difference. And a very good starting point if you are not accustomed to carrying a ruck.

    HAWG Pro 20 with all of its cargo space
    MSRP is $170.

    CamelBak or Holster?

    The second reason I like the HAWG Pro 20 also has to do with its ability to be stealthy. Everyone knows what a CamelBak is, and the big blue straw sticking out the front should clue them in if it doesn’t. Particularly where it is hot, a CamelBak seems a reasonable accessory for anything you are doing outdoors. Flea market, county fair, outdoor concert series- it doesn’t look out of place. And most people are not going to give a second thought to what else might be in that bag.

    And since those same events are also potential targets for crime and terrorism, it might very well be in your interest to have some more than normal gear on hand. With the 100-ounce hydration bladder, the HAWG Pro 20 is still capable of carrying a legit amount of spare cargo. Our test model easily took 6 pistol magazines, a Blue Force Gear IFAK, and our own large first aid kit, and still had room to spare.

    Additional mesh-sided pocket.

    HAWG Pro 20 Conclusion

    The HAWG Pro 20 is as grey as it gets and covers a wide variety of roles. This is one that should be on your radar, even if it flies below everyone else’s.

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