Camelbak set out to create a convenient work and travel bag designed to be carried for everyday transportation of a laptop or a few days of traveling. They intended to produce a bag that eliminated the need to carry a laptop bag, a toted carry-on or small ruck, and assorted bags for equipment, water or other travel necessities. The Urban Assault has accomplished that goal and more.
Offered in two sizes, the Urban Assault is 1850 cubic inches, while its bigger brother the Urban Assault XL is 2601 cubic inches. We only received the smaller Urban Assault for our review, but it offers more than adequate space for 2 days worth of clothes and necessities in its main compartment. The Urban Assault is perfectly sized for overhead compartments or even stashing in the under seat storage. Both sizes of the Urban Assault are only offered in black.
Constructed from 500D cordura the Urban Assault is light and rugged enough to withstand the torments of traveling and everyday use in an urban environment. The bag uses authentic and sturdy YKK zippers and the cord pulls are sheathed with a rubberized tube that provides solid gripping and durability. The Urban Assault is outfitted with ITW Nexus hardware for all the SRBs (side release buckles) and uses Woo Jin Duraflex for the other hardware. The shoulder straps are padded with 15mm EVA foam providing a relatively comfortable ride with heavier loads. A plastic sheet internal frame keeps the bag ridged on your back when empty. The back panel is equipped with Camelbak's Air Director breathable mesh pads. Their ergonomic design keeps the weight away from your spine while delivering good ventilation and air flow. Â The Urban Assault also comes supplied with removable waist and sternum straps for additional support while transporting heavy loads. All of the webbing on the bag is outfitted with hook and loop strap keepers that allow you to secure the excess when everything is cinched down.
Starting from the rear of the bag the first pocket is the padded laptop compartment. Furnished with an L-shaped zipper this compartment is large enough to fit an average 17 in. laptop comfortably. I did have problems fitting the thicker 17 in. Dell XPS laptop. After a applying a little elbow grease I was able to get the pocket zipped up. There was a lot of stress being applied and I was worried about the long term integrity of the zipper. I would not recommend this bag for a thicker gaming rig.
The laptop compartment can also double as place to store a hydration bladder and is supplied with a slot at the top to run the tube over your shoulder. You can also comfortably store a weapon in this compartment but it would need to be modded with some loop tape and a modular holster to be secure. On the top of the bag, next to the laptop compartment, there is a small padded and felt lined electronics pouch. This pocket is a great place to toss a cell phone or MP3 player while moving through security at the airport.
The main compartment is pretty straight forward offering an elastic cargo net style pocket on the back panel for some basic organization. On the other side there is a felt line glasses pouch that fits an Oakley M Frame case perfectly. This compartment offers a lot of storage space and easily fits a couple days worth of clothes and toiletries. When rolled, I was able to fit two pairs of pants, two polos, two undershirts, two changes of underwear and socks and my shaving kit with room to spare for extra goodies.
Next is the organizational pocket. This compartment is large enough to accommodate magazines, books, and newspapers. The bottom of the pocket is also a good place to store laptop accessories, such as a charger or spare batteries. The back panel of the compartment has a zippered pocket to stash multitools, flashlights, and other larger items that may not fit into the organizational slots. This pocket also comes equipped with a clip for keys. The exterior of the pocket is covered with additional organizational compartments and pockets that offer tons of storage for pens, battery holders, notepads, etc. Opposite the panel is an additional see-through mesh zippered pocket. This a great place to put anything that needs to be high visibility and is accessed a lot like my Larue Dillo.
The outer most compartment is a large overflow pocket that is secured by two Fastex buckles or a wrap-over hook and loop flap. This is an extremely flexible pocket and is a great place for a spare jacket, additional books or magazines, laptop accessories, rope, whatever your mission calls for. The Fastex buckles can be tucked away for a more streamlined look or can be used as compression straps. The outside of the securing flap is supplied with loop tape and is the perfect size for a nametape or your favorite moral patch. There is an additional hook and loop secured pocket inside the overflow pouch that is perfect for your secret squirrel travel documents.
On the sides of the bag there are two water storage pockets that accommodate 1L Nalgene bottles. As an added bonus the Urban assault comes with a Camelbak .75L BPA free (bisphenol A) "Better Bottle" that also fits perfectly in these side pockets. These compartments are also great for storing additional laptop accessories or equipment.
After receiving this bag from Camelbak at ShotShow it quickly climbed the ranks to become my go to pack for everyday use. It's durable, adaptable, well organized, and slick looking. After several months of use the bag shows little wear. Despite its name this is not an assault pack and I would recommend using this bag for its intended purposes. Occasionally comfort is an issue when transporting heavier loads as the sternum and waist straps do not offer a lot of additional support, but overall I have been very happy with the Urban Assault.
The Camelbak Urban Assault gets two thumbs.
Review by: Evan C.