Helikon-Tex Urban Courier Bag L
Back in 2018 I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Helikon-Tex Urban Courier Bag M. Already back then, I mentioned that there are two sizes, which is plainly visible in the designations M and L of the bags.
Having the Medium sized bag in good use for quite some time and being really satisfied with it (despite the over-engineered strap, which leaves heavy sweat marks in summer), it was time to look at the Large version as well. As always, Helikon-Tex was quite helpful in this regard and as some followers of my social media channels might know, I received an Urban Courier Bag L in Helikon-Tex’ urban colour blue melange some time ago.
The Helikon-Tex Urban Courier Bag L is the larger version of the Urban Courier line up. It gives users the option to upgrade the bag with optional velcro based accessories. It features a detachable and contoured shoulder strap, which is interchangeable with other products by the company, as well as a detachable stabilizing strap. This helps if you need more stability while carrying the bag. The main compartment features a laptop sleeve, a zippered mesh compartment and two sleeve pockets. Externally you will find two pockets on the sides with elastic openings, and a zippered compartment to the front and back as well as one within the flap. As you can see, the bag is built like the medium version, but in a larger scale.
- HxWxL: 32 x 13 x 38 cm
- Materials: Nylon, Woojin buckles, YKK zippers
- Volume: 16L
- Weight: 900g
The Urban Courier Bag L
As already mentioned, the Helikon-Tex Urban Courier Bag L is the larger companion to the M version. So it makes no sense to go through all the features over again. If you are interested in a thorough description of the features, you can find them HERE.
Generally speaking, the Urban Courier Bag L is almost double in volume, having 16l instead of 9l. The Nylon version featuring the colours Blue and Black-Grey Melange are also made of a normal Nylon fabric, instead of the Cordura commonly found on Helikon-Tex’ gear.
Pictured here is the Blue Melange, which resembles somewhat of a Denim look. What follows is a quick run-down of the features in the form of pictures, since a description would be a repetition of the previous review. Afterwards, you will find some comments on quality of manufacture and user experience as always.
As with most products of Helikon-Tex, the quality of manufacture leaves not much room to complain. When it comes to the gear, Helikon-Tex improved quite a lot over the last few years. The combination of decent materials and clean manufacture leaves an overall good impression.
On this bag the seams are straight, and I could not find any loose threads. As far as I could tell all the stress points are reinforced with bartack stitching, while the rubber tubing on the zippers gives the whole bag an additional clean look. According to the manufacturer info, this bag was put together in Vietnam and in my opinion you can see the rise in quality as a result.
Just like the Medium version, the front compartment features a bellow style pocket. The option to have an expanding feature to the outside prevents having an uncomfortable “ball” when being full. This is welcomed, but just like the M version, the larger one has the same issue with the velcro having not enough attachment space. As a result the flap does not fully attach sometimes, so you have to rely on the buckles.
The overall size makes it a true courier bag. However you cannot carry it as such, because of the bulky design of the padded shoulder strap and the inability to wear it closer to the upper back. Said strap also has the same issue as the one from the M version. It features no mesh on the area close to the body, creating a heat trap and resulting in huge sweat marks in summer.
Other than that the carrying comfort is there, having in mind the even weight distribution of the strap. And this is needed, considering the large size of the bag. When fully loaded you are reaching the point where a backpack might be the better choice, but this is up to the user and his intended field of use of course.
The huge size of the bag makes it sometimes too bulky to handle and especially the compartment in the flap tends to become a black hole for items placed in it. The laptop compartment (34cm x 25,5cm x 2cm) features enough room for a 16” laptop, so you can imagine the size.
Coming to the main fabric: The Nylon itself is a topic of its own. While it did hold up until now, it has a cheap touch and feel to it, sounding like a noisy plastic bag. This might irritate users, who are used to the distinct stiffness, touch and noise of Cordura, with its prominent texture. Checking back with friends confirmed my personal experience, that it does hold up despite its initial cheap impression.
When it comes to size, the Helikon-Tex Urban Courier L is quite the beast in comparison to the Medium version:
Just like its smaller companion, the Helikon-Tex Urban Courier Bag L is a good balance of the KISS principle. It gives the user plenty of options to organize items and gear in a thought out design of several pockets – but also additional features to modify it to personal needs.
The bigger size is something to get used to, having in mind that there are several backpacks in this volume ballpark. In any case the “bang for the buck” aspect is amazing, having in mind the features, and size. Just like the smaller version, Helikon-Tex should consider offering optional shoulder straps for people not needing this huge padded strap.
With that being said, I want to thank Helikon-Tex for giving me the chance to write this review. Many thanks to you as well for reading.