Hi everyone, ill start by saying this is my first review so please cut me some slack. I have been wanting to do reviews for some time now, and finally got around to it tonight. I have tons of gear TAD gear I need to review so hopefully I will get some time in the near future to do some reviews of that stuff (as if TAD really needs to be reviewed)
Anyway, this review is about the Camelbak Urban Assault. I bought this about 2 months ago, but it was on backorder so I was shocked 2 weeks ago when it arrived. I was looking for a backpack that I could take on business trips, bring to customer sites and not look like I was wielding a .45 in the pack. I did some travel with the TAD fastpack light speed (which I love) but was just a bit “aggressive” to bring to a client site and is just a bit small to bring on trips, specifically carrying a 15 inch laptop which you need to remove for security in the airport. So, what I was looking for in a pack was something that looked semi-aggressive, could carry a laptop with easy access and most importantly a “spill over” front pocket or strap (I love that feature on the TAD bags) I also didn’t want to spend over $220. Answer, Camelbak Urban Assault.
Guys, this backpack is great! Pleanty of space, comfortable and looks really good. Its easy to blend in with the pack, but when you actually look at it you can sure as hell tell its no JanSport. Im not going to talk over the specs, but more what I found with the backpack.
When I opened the box I was surprised that the back panel of the bag was stiff, it feels like there is a piece of plastic that keeps the bag upright. Originally I wasn’t sure if I liked that, so my initial thoughts of the bag out of the box was, lame. It was flat, stiff and lacked personality. I just spent a lot of money on this bag so I was going to use it, so immediately I loaded up the bag with stuff, because I was on my way to Toronto the next day. By the end of that trip (3 days) I had a new bag! The bag was completely broken in, and the shape really “matured.” The lines of the bag became more defined and the true shape came out. I was extremely happy and pleased with the bag.
I have been using this bag for about 2 weeks now and I think it may be a very close second on my list of favorite packs of all time. The front spill over pocket can easily carry a pair of shoes or sneakers, or a tightly folded hoodie or jacket. The pocket inside the spill over pocket is perfect for travel docs, like passports or declaration forms. Its hidden enough that people can’t just reach in and grab something out of it, but is easy enough to get to quickly. The “admin” pocket gets an A in my book, big enough to carry pens, pencils, cell phones, cigarettes and some other odd and ends. The great part about the admin pocket is it goes all the way down to the bottom of the bag, so its possible to really load that thing up. The main pocket is big enough to canny any business documents + personal items. I carry a folder organizer with about 12 folders and about ¾ of an inch of paperwork, 1 large notebook, 2 small notebooks and an additional organizer. I could easily fit more things in the main compartment of the bag; I would say I could put about 3 magazines and a text book in there if needed. In fact I think the only thing that would stop someone from loading up the pack to full capacity would be the weight. Inside the main compartment is a small padded zip up pocket (for goggles) I use it for my mouse, and cell phone chargers, it’s a nice extra feature because finding places for a mouse in a packed bag is a real bummer. The computer sleeve is perfect, padded and big enough to carry my 15.6 in work laptop. The section really “eats up” the laptop which is really good. There is also another small pocket behind the computer sleeve, I use that for my keys, once I drop the car off I put the keys in there and don’t open it. Its not the best pocket because it surrounded by the stiff back and the computer, so space is limited, but still quite satisfactory. The last 2 pockets on the bag are the side pockets, perfect for water bottles or computer chargers; they are insulated and sealed so if the bottle sweats it won’t leak into the main compartment.
I am very pleased with the bag, I love the way the bag stands up by itself and the look of the bag when it’s upright. It’s extremely comfortable, the backside and straps are very good and fit the bag well. Once that bag gets on my back it feels 5 lbs lighter, and just feels right.
If you are in the market for a “non-aggressive” pack but still want to stay true to the military style pack, this is the bag for you.
Good job Camelbak!
*Sorry for the crappy pics in a hotel room with an iphone.