Columbia Urban Assist 28 ReviewMay 11, 2016
- Lots of pockets
- Tie-down loops
- Easy to maneuver
- Small to size claim
- Only in black
The Columbia Urban Assist 28 scored squarely in the middle of the pack among the bags tested. It has lots of pockets for keeping gear organized and it rolls along well. It’s heavier than most of the bags in this test and runs small compared to the manufacturer's internal volume claim.
The Columbia Urban Assist 28 is made with bomber 840D Ballistic Oxford 100% polyester and has great reinforcement at all of the corners and potential wear spots. The zippers held up well to over packing abuse and the wheels survived our long and intensive testing period. While this bag only comes in black with blue highlights, the dark color does great to hide dirty spots and the exterior fabric resists picking up scuff marks.
At 10.1 ounces the Urban Assist 28 was on the heavier end of the spectrum of the bags tested. This is probably due to the the strong materials and bomber zippers used to make the bag and is part of what makes it so durable. Nevertheless, its volume to weight ratio was above the average for the bags tested at 604 cu in per pound. Still, that doesn’t help much with the capacity concern mentioned in the Packability section below.
Testers complimented how easily the Urban Assist 28 rolled with them. The relatively narrow 16” wheelbase combined with its slim 10” depth kept the center of gravity low enough to keep the bag stable while rolling. One tester said “It’s easy to move around, pick up, and go over curbs.” The dual stem, single stage retractable trolley handle is comfortable to grip and worked flawlessly for the entire testing period. When not being rolled, this bag has handles on three sides to make it easy to grab and lift.
The big feature set on this bag falls into the Organization score below with all of its pockets. Aside from that testers appreciated the wide wheelbase, the protective skid plate between the wheels and tie-down loops. The reflective hits add a touch of safety awareness.
This is where the Urban Assist 28 really stood out. Along with the standard book style opening two-compartment main body, the bag has lots of pockets to keep gear organized. One tester said “Lots of pockets but not too many you begin to lose things. It felt organized but not overwhelming.” At first, one tester did feel a little overwhelmed but later admitted it just took getting familiar with the bag. On the other hand, although all of these pockets may be part of what adds up in space to give this bag the total claimed volume of 6,102 cubic inches (100 liters), it did not feel like it was that big of a bag. While I had to sit on the Urban Assist 28 and fight the zipper closed to fit all of my stuff into it, the other 100 liter bag in this test, the Osprey, easily held the same amount of stuff with room to spare.