Summit County Gear Guide: Iconic bike backpack from Chrome
July 6, 2015
Made in the USA and used by bike messengers and commuters around the planet, the Warsaw backpack from Chrome is an iconic piece of gear.
Built to last with industrial-strength materials, the pack has an iconic price tag, too — more on that below. First, some accolades:
I've been testing the Warsaw for five months, riding almost daily with the pack and toting loads ranging from a laptop and lunch for work to massive hauls from the grocery store. The pack is bomber all around, starting with its heavy-duty materials and stitching made to support 50-plus pounds.
The exterior is a handsome gray Cordura nylon. Under the face fabric, Chrome adds a waterproof tarpaulin liner that neither rain nor road spray can penetrate. There is no frame, so heavy loads can be hard. But the pack's padded shoulder harness, metal-cam strap adjusters and foam back panel let you haul serious weight, when needed.
My rides are far lighter. Ten to 15 pounds is about the max for a common day, and the Warsaw holds that weight with ease. Its capacity is huge. The bag gives about 55 liters (about 14½ gallons) of storage space — that's equivalent to an internal-frame backpacking model.
A single buckle closes the main lid flap. Inside, pockets and organizer slots abound. I keep my keys and phone in the outside pouch, which sits near my hip, for quick access.
Overall, the pack is nearly perfect for a city bike rider. It sits large across the back at 21 inches wide, but it is comfortable and supportive as you pedal. That iconic price tag I mentioned? $280. Yep, a lot of cold cash for a backpack. Chrome justifies the cost with a lifetime guarantee. You also get a markup with the "made in the USA" status. Chrome builds its bags in Chico, Calif.
Durability is a hallmark of the pack. The Warsaw, I can tell, will last for many years. Its tough, thick fabric, strong stitching and metal strap buckles are unlike anything I've seen in the category. You can spend $100 less on other brands and find a great pack for riding. But if you want the best — waterproof, comfortable, functional, durable and good looking — the Warsaw is the complete package.
Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.
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