Chrome bags have achieved near-iconic status because they’re built to last – you’ll probably only ever need to buy one – and the Barrage is no different, it’s a seriously constructed pack.
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It has a welded-seam waterproof tarpaulin liner and the exterior shell is made from abrasion-resistant 1050 denier nylon. The roll-top fastens with the chunkiest buckle I’ve ever seen and there’s an exterior cargo net that can be fastened flat when not in use.
An easy-access zipped pocket sits underneath it for phone, keys and the like, while the side pockets are big enough for water bottles and/or a U-lock.
The ergonomically shaped shoulder straps are padded and mesh-lined for added breathability, while the webbing has reflective detailing.
The pack feels bigger than its 22-litre volume suggests. Fully unrolled it is deep, but the heavy-duty base allows it to stand up, making for easy packing.
There’s a laptop sleeve inside the main compartment, but for the rest of my kit I used packing cubes to make it quicker to access everything.
The cargo net fits a helmet, but can also be used to keep wet kit separate or even carry home the result of a supermarket pitstop.
The downside to this rock-solid construction is weight, but it’s not that much more than similar purpose bags, such as the Ortlieb Atrack CR Urban or Vaude ExCycling Pack, and it doesn’t ride heavy, with the deeply padded back panel holding it in a comfortable position.
The Barrage does feel ‘flat’ on your back for the first few rides, and it takes a good few more to even begin to wear in, but then it has been built to last a lifetime and comes with a warranty to match. On Chrome’s website you’ll find owners who don’t bother to leave a review until after a few years.
How we tested
Commuting on your bike can be more pleasant with the right backpack, but the wrong one could be an expensive mistake.
We’ve reviewed a wide range of commuter bags, from bike-specific packs to more versatile luggage hybrids, to help you decide which is best for your needs.
Regardless of bike size, we packed exactly the same kit for testing: a laptop, a packing cube with a change of work clothes, a shoe bag and a tool roll.
Also on test
- Altura Grid Backpack
- Brooks Dalston Tex Nylon
- dhb Waterproof Rucksack
- Fox Transition Duffle Bag
- Ortlieb Atrack CR Urban
- Osprey Transporter Roll
- Oxford Aqua V20 Backpack
- Rapha Roll Top Backpack
- Vaude ExCycling Pack