Review: Chrome’s Versatile Bravo Roll Top Backpack

 

 

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Front

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Side

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Expanded

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Front Open

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Stainless Hardware

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Back - Straps

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.

My Impressions:

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Expanded Open

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Velcro Side Closure

The roll top pinches closed with Velcro

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Expanded Closed

The expanded liner Velcros shut

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.

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Beagle Approved

And...It's Beagle approved!


Specifications:

 

Features:

  • 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

Fit:

  • 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

Fabrication:

  • 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

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Open Main Compartment

Chrome Bravo Roll Top Backpack Expanded Side View


Comments

Jason - 09/03/12 - 11:32pm

Looks useful and well designed. The way its leaning up against that bike way we wonder why chrome doesn’t have pannier bags yet. Ortlieb has a cool backpack with pannier option http://www.ortliebusa.com/prod-209.htm . I think if chrome made something similar it would be a hit.

Rob - 09/04/12 - 6:50am

The bag is nice, but more importantly, does anyone know what the frame is?

Carytown Bicycle Co. - 09/04/12 - 7:21am

Giant Bowery

Dirtyonethirty - 09/07/12 - 5:47pm

This looks to make the problem with the other roll tops, especially the tsar, that you can’t see when you look behind you, especially with a loaded bag.

Also, it’s a bummer to see chrome not making bags in the US anymore.

Chris Jones - 07/01/13 - 3:56am

Hi,

Seems like a really good bag. Was wondering how the roll-type style compares for waterproof level when compared to other “true” marine roll top bags such as SeaLine and Overboard backpacks ?

Nick Burklow - 07/09/13 - 3:46pm

@ Chris Jones – In normal rain, or even heavy rain this bag will keep your stuff dry. If you are looking to take it on a kayak trip or something of that nature don’t.

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