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Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack



Easy to love backpack, an adaptive and comfortable means of carrying heavier loads
Comfy for heavy loads
Good number of sensible pockets
Not fully waterproof
1,000g Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to recommends

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack is packed with features that make the daily ride to work a little bit simpler. The large main compartment makes shopping on the way home easy, as well as allowing me to cart around a lot of kit on race day.

In use, the H.A.W.G has quietly done its job without any fuss. There is plenty of space for bulkier loads and I love to see simple, dedicated spaces for the usual commuter clobber of laptop, headphones and keys. Add in side pockets for easy access to your bike lock and very good weatherproofing and this becomes a great investment.

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It's probably best for me to start with a little run-down of the things that I want in a commuting backpack. It needs a large main compartment for when I pop to the shops on the way home, a protective laptop sleeve, an easy-access lock pocket, zippered compartments for laptop accessories, wide and supportive shoulder straps, and finally, a well-padded and breathable back panel for the one week of the year when it is hot in the UK.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - back padding.jpg

If we run through the features on the Commute 30, we find that my wish list is complete. It won't surprise you to learn, then, that this bag works really well for me and I've loved using it.

The one thing I'm always going to be carting around is my laptop. My 13in MacBook Air M1 slides into the dedicated laptop sleeve with room to spare; when travelling for work, I was able to slide a magazine in there as well. I reckon a 17in would go in without any issues.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - laptop sleeve.jpg

The laptop sleeve is positioned where it should be, too, against your back, to help you comfortably carry what is most often the heaviest single item in the bag.

The majority of the bag is made from a tough, water-resistant material, as are the zips. Carrying expensive electronics in the rain wasn't an issue. If that isn't enough, there is a water-resistant internal bag that can also hold a laptop easily.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - weatherproof section.jpg

The main compartment is large and I found that the full-length tongue-like opening makes packing larger loads quick and easy.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - mesh organiser.jpg

In this compartment, there are zippered pockets that I have used for cables, headphones, small items and my computer dongle because Apple is annoying.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - inside sleeve 2.jpg

The shoulder straps that support the load are wide, well padded and easy to adjust, and the small chest strap is a quick way to help spread pressure. The two sides to the chest strap are also height adjustable.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - chest strap.jpg

On these shoulder straps, you'll find one zippered side-entry pocket and one elasticated top-entry pocket. These are designed for things that you need quick access to, which for me is my phone and keys. The zippered pocket, while a great idea, is just a bit too small in height and width for my iPhone 11 in its grippy case. I could just about squeeze it in, but the pockets in my trousers and coat were easier options.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - strap zip pocket.jpg

The top-entry pocket, though, was perfect for dropping my house and bike lock keys into.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - strap pouch.jpg

Speaking of bike locks, I was happy to drop my Kryptonite folding lock into the elasticated side pocket. This is deep and holds quite a bit, so you could get a very large water bottle in there if you were hiking. I stuck to a bike lock and a shopping bag.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - side pouch.jpg

The other side pocket is zippered, offering a more secure hold, but as it uses the space of the main compartment, it's not really usable if your bag is already stuffed.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - sid epocket.jpg

If visibility is a concern, Camelbak has helpfully used reflective material at the base of each side panel. It's used the same material to construct the light loop and there are strips on the shoulder straps too.

2021 Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack - reflective.jpg

Although £150 is a fair chunk of cash to throw at a bag, it is by no means the most you can spend. The Chrome Barrage Freight Backpack, for example, is now £210, though George reckoned it was built to last.

If you don't need so much space, the 17L Apidura City Backpack has come down in price since Lara tested it, and is now £120. It's waterproof too.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling rucksacks

Overall, if you're looking for a well-made commuter backpack that is capable of carrying heavier and bulkier loads comfortably, the Commute 30 does so without fuss. It is well made and backed by a lifetime guarantee, and a brilliant option for the daily ride to work.


Easy to love backpack, an adaptive and comfortable means of carrying heavier loads test report

Make and model: Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 Backpack

Size tested: 30L

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Camelbak says: 'Designed for the long haul, the H.A.W.G.® Commute 30 accommodates all the necessities for your daily routine. With an easy-to-access clam-shell design, you'll never be short on storage with 30-litres of capacity, a separate laptop compartment with a weatherproof sleeve, and side pockets for beverage and U-lock carry. Stay covered from dawn to dusk with 360-reflectivity detail and a light loop for added safety. An adjustable Command Center™ Harness secures at-hand essentials and keeps them thoughtfully organized for quick access on-the-fly. The Air Support™ Back Panel promotes maximum ventilation and keeps air moving to hot zones, while the removable waist belt offers a customized fit and extra stability."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Camelbak:

Laptop Compartment with Weatherproof Sleeve: Keep your laptop organized and protected

Air Support™ Back Panel: Designed with Body Mapping Technology to allow for maximum ventilation on the hottest areas of your back

Command Center™ Harness: Easy and secure access to phone, keys, or any other essentials

Helmet Carry: Stow and secure helmet

Light Loop: Clip on a light for added safety

360 Degree Multidirectional Reflectivity: Reflective material on all sides of the pack add safety in low light conditions

Side Pockets: Large side pockets for water bottle and U-lock storage

Removable Waist Strap: Added stability when you need it

Up to 3L/100oz CRUX® Reservoir Compatibility (Reservoir not included)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Quietly did its job, and did it brilliantly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The space of the main compartment combined with the full-length 'inverted U' zipper entry makes packing big loads really easy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'd have loved to have seen full waterproofing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

It sits in the middle ground of the premium end of the bag market.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's excellent. It made lugging heavier loads and a lot of kit that bit easier. There aren't too many pockets, and the ones that are there are well proportioned.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

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IanGlasgow | 2 years ago

Disappointed with "not fully waterproof" (I commute in Glasgow, EVERYTHING I own needs to be fully waterproof), but tempted by the lifetime warranty.

I'm currently using an Ortlieb Vario which is only marginally cheaper, is fully waterproof and has a 5 year warranty. It's 4 years old and has been repaired once and replaced twice under warranty. The seam has just failed (again) so it'll be getting replaced (again). I wonder if the next failure will be before or after the warranty runs out in 13 months?

brooksby | 2 years ago

"Not fully waterproof"?  For £150??  Well, that's a 'no' from me...

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