When it comes to variety, Chrome has it. With a product lineup including camera bags, messenger bags, backpacks, travel bags, race day bags and so on, they literally make something for everyone. Personally, I have used both the Soyuz and the Pawn roll top bags with great success. In use currently, and on review here, is their newly released Bravo roll top backpack.
Unlike other offerings from Chrome, the Bravo has a couple of interesting tricks up its sleeve (or in its liner?) Make the jump for the details and my impressions of this unique backpack.
It’s nice being able to carry just what you need, but still have the option to stop off at the store on the way home and pick up a few things. The Bravo accommodates this well with its expandable section. You might expect this bag to expand out (a la Mission Workshop’s Vandal), but it just so happens it expands up. This unique twist allows you to carry all your everyday items, and then drop a grocery bag in when needed.
This change is made possible by the fancy liner Chrome has implemented. The bottom section of the main interior compartment is lined with the now standard truck tarp liner. Attached to the upper lip of the roll top enclosure is a secondary liner that expands upwards to double the capacity of the bag from 20L to 40L.
Besides the main compartment, this bag also features a secondary compartment that utilizes a velcro flap and truck tarp liner. Inside this pocket you will find a laptop sleeve that fits a 15” MacBook Pro (and holds my MacBook Air quite nicely), as well as a couple of organizational pockets for pens and the like.
Just under the velcro flap there is a small zippered pocket that is great for storing items you want quick access to, such as sunglasses, lights, keys, and your phone. This pocket implements a waterproof urethane coated zipper from YKK.
Out front you may have noticed a couple of straps. This is the other trick this bag holds. These compression straps not only help snug up anything inside the bag, but also allow you to carry larger items externally. The new frame you got at your LBS will fit. The spare wheel you just picked up off Craig’s List is no problem either. And they hook onto the side of the bag with Chrome’s sweet stainless hardware.
When it comes to wearing this bag, comfort is no issue. The padded straps attach at the top via a single yolk. For me at least, this design has proven to be more comfortable than straps that are individually attached. To help stabilize the bag, Chrome has included a sternum strap that fastens using a mini seat belt style buckle, and has an included bottle opener on it. The back of the bag is padded using raised sections that help keep the entire padded section off your back, and allows for a bit of breathability. At the top you also get a grab strap making it easy to pick up the bag one handed.
Chrome markets this backpack as a daypack and that seems pretty spot on. I can fit enough stuff in the bag (not expanded) for my daily commute. On a daily basis I carry full rain gear, four spare tubes, a full compliment of tools, headphones, RX sunglasses, first aid kit, pens and paper, a 13” Macbook Air, and still have room in the main compartment for my lunch, coffee, shoes, and a hoodie. Loaded as such, the bag fits well, and rides nicely. As a medium bag, it is very stable, and because of the way the bag is constructed it holds its form nicely.
Should I choose to stop off at the store on the way home for provisions, I can easily expand the top of the bag and fit one bag of groceries. However, because the bag expands upwards, it becomes very tall, and it does tend to be a bit more awkward when riding. So far, this is really the only issue I have had with the bag.
Being Summer in Portland, I haven’t had a chance to test the bags weatherproof abilities yet. But based on other roll top bags I have used from Chrome, and looking at the way the bag is constructed, I have no doubts that the Bravo will stand the test of foul weather commuting.
Chrome has managed to produce (in China) a well made, super versatile backpack that should meet the needs of the masses. At $160, the Bravo is priced right.
Waterproof compact urban daypack expands to double the capacity
Dedicated laptop compartment to fit up to a MacBook Pro 15″ computer
Utility cross lashing straps to secure large haul items
Waterproof external zippered front compartment
Industrial strength Velcro accessory shoulder mounting strap
Reinforced back panel for added support when fully loaded
Ergonomic shoulder strap design with EVA foam back panel for improved fit and breathability
Sternum strap for load distribution
Industrial metal cam lock under arm compression buckles
Weatherproof 1000 denier Cordura outer shell
Waterproof 1800 denier military grade truck tarpaulin liner with bar welded seams
Weatherproof urethane coated YKK zippers
Dimensions: 13.75” wide, 20.25” high, 5.5” deep
Volume: 20-40 L
Weight: 3.7 lb.
Built in: Guangzhou, China