Chrome Industries very kindly sent me one of their Barrage Cargo pack packs to test and I’ve been using it for the last month or so for various uses, not all of them bike related.
Coming in at £189 this bag isn’t exactly cheap but is the quality and versatility worth the RRP?
First off I can tell you that this bag is absolutely bombproof! Chrome claim the bag is their most durable pack and that it is 100% waterproof. It has a waterproof liner and an abrasion resistant nylon shell. After 5 weeks or so of use the bag still looks brand new and it has not been handled with kid gloves
the bag has a roll top design allowing you to expand the bags capacity for when you under estimate the amount of stuff you need to carry, it has wide shoulder straps that help spread any weight you might carry and a foam channeled back for comfort and to help airflow to reduce the chance of a sweaty back. There is a cargo net big enough to carry a mtb (not full face) or road/gravel helmet easily. You can cinch this down to keep things secure with adjustable straps. the bag sides have two pockets for water bottles or maybe a lock if you are commuting. The sternum strap has a very secure metal catch that is easy to do up and undo.
The dimensions are 20″ High 11.75 wide and 6″ Deep (50.8/30/15cm approx) and weighs 3lbs(1.36kg) the capacity is 18-22L depending on how you roll the top. It has an internal sleeve that will easily swallow a 15″ laptop.
Over the time I’ve had this bag I’ve used it for commuting to work with a change of clothes and my lunch in, for carrying beer back from the shops and delivering UKgravelCO T shirts to the post office. Once the fit is dialed in it is very comfy over this distance, initially i found that the top of the bag touched the back of my cycle helmet when going down anything steep but this was solved by rolling the top down tighter but it is something to think about if you intend to carry something bulky. You could also adjust the shoulder straps so the pack sits lower but i prefer the bag to sit just in the middle of my back rather than lower. The clasp on the sternum strap works perfectly and can be released by just pressing the centre but having used a magnetic lock on one of Chrome’s other bags I’d really like it to work like that as re attaching it could be achieved without taking your eyes off the trail ahead.
The pack has a zipped rear side pocket which is perfect for items you need quick access to such as phone, keys etc. The two side pockets designed for bottles or a “D” lock are great except that the bottom cinch strap for the cargo net helmet carrier covers the entrance so it can be a fiddle to insert anything, certainly not something you’d want to do on the move. My only other gripe is that the strap ends have to be tucked under themselves to prevent them flapping about, not a major issue but if it irritates you it could be. The rear foam panel seemed stiff at first but after a few hours wear it moulds to your shape and becomes much more comfortable
I’m not the only person to test this bag I must add as my partner keeps stealing it to take her kit to the local open water swimming spot where the waterproofness was fully tested as it has rained the last two times She’s been and her swimming cozzie has stayed dry every time….until she got in the water! You could also keep wet kit separate from you dry stuff as the waterproof inside obviously keeps wet stuff inside too.
When riding and the straps are properly adjusted the bag doesn’t move around even with a heavy load. This is the case over rough ground too, other bags I’ve used give the feeling that they are trying to overtake you on tight bends or descents but the Barrage did not do this. The channeled foam back is good but on a long ride your back will get sweaty the same as any other bag but because of the foam softness I didn’t get any uncomfortable hot spots or the edges of the bag digging in.
In use there is no getting away from the fact that this bag is pretty big, no wonder it is used by a lot of cycle couriers. This size combined with the indestructible nature of the bag means it probably isn’t the bag you are going to use on a week long bike packing trip. Also figure in the weight, to be this waterproof and indestructable the pack materials do mean it’s quite hefty.
If you use the Chrome Barrage Cargo for a short commute, shopping or general use every day both on and off the bike this bag will probably outlast the rider. The pack has a few design quirks but is very well built, very adjustable, waterproof, has a large capacity and the roll top gives easy quick access to the inside so given all this and the fact it’ll probably last forever (chrome offer a lifetime guarantee too) I think the pack is worth the money.
The pack is available in 8 colours and more details can be found on the chrome website here- Chrome Barrage Cargo
But you could win a brand new Barrage Cargo thanks to Chrome Industries by entering the give away on UKgravelCO’s instagram channel here @ukgravelco good luck!
As with all my tests, this is a real world review. I’m not sponsored and I’m just an average rider like most of you reading this. companies sometimes send me things to test but i always let them know it will be an honest review good or bad