Chrome Industries MXD Fathom Backpack – Review [Lightweight Laptop Bag]

For a while, I’ve been looking for a lightweight backpack that I can use to carry my laptop and some other daily essentials. Not a chunky bag that can carry all my gym gear and what not, just a slim light bag for when I go out to work.

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I’ve been a big fan of Chrome Industries for a long time. They just get what it takes to produce cycling clothes and accessories for urban commuters that look great. I’ve reviewed lots of their backpacks before, so when I saw they’d just released the MXD Fathom Backpack, I knew I had to try it…

Discover Cool Cycling Accessories

Another reason a skinny backpack like the Chrome Fathom appeals to me is because I travel a lot (okay, maybe not right now).

For trips under five days (but sometimes much longer – such as when I took a trip to Georgia for nearly 3 weeks) I tend to use the Nomatic Travel Backpack to carry all my gear.

There are a few reasons why I choose to travel with such a relatively small backpack for these trips: 1) it’s a lot easier to travel with a backpack than lugging around a suitcase 2) I don’t have to put it in airplane holds (which saves both time and around £60 for a round trip) and 3) it makes me pack much more consciously and therefore carry only true essentials.

Anyway, the reason I want a light and slim backpack, therefore, is that I can also squeeze it inside my larger backpack (as pictured below) and then just use that for day-to-day work use, rather than carrying around my bigger rucksack when I just to carry a few bits.

The MXD Fathom inside my larger Nomatic backpack

Chrome MXD Fathom Backpack: Lightweight Laptop Bag for Cyclists

The MXD Fathom Backpack is part of Chrome’s MXD collection – a range of lightweight bags with an almost “building block” style, with each having pop-out external pockets. They look cool.

After first getting to grips with the MXD Fathom Backpack, I was impressed by how small and lightweight it was. There’s really not much too it – but that’s a compliment in this instance.

The main interior has been simply designed so that it has just one large pocket inside which comfortably fits a 13” laptop inside.

On the front of the bag you get two large exterior pockets. These are 25cm long, 13cm wide and 3.5cm deep (although they’re quite flexible). I had hope that my Bluetooth keyboard would fit snuggly in one of these pockets, although sadly it is just a bit too long (28cm x 13.5cm) – so, unless I’m happy to leave the pocket unzipped at the top, this isn’t a goer. That said, there’s plenty of space to put a travel keyboard inside the bag with your laptop.

On the plus side, these pockets are also the perfect size for most 500ml reusable water bottles.

LARQ bottle size compared to Chrome MXD Fathom Backpack

The two exterior pockets do, though, have some nice functionality. The pocket on the right features soft-touch lining, with a built-in sleeve pocket – making this pocket ideal for things like cameras, phones, sunglasses or anything else that would susceptible to scratches. The left pocket, meanwhile is a bit more rugged – featuring a mesh sleeve pocket and also a loop at the end of a piece of ribbon on which you can easily hook on your keys.

Chrome Laptop Bag: Cycling Features

On the exterior of the bag, you’ll also find another loop, which again could be a convenient place to attached your keys. Below this is a long vertical reflective strip, punctuated by the Chrome logo, which will help make sure you’re seen by bright lights in the dark. You’ll also find another vertical reflective strips on the two should straps.

Wearing this bag is also extremely comfortable, thanks to the mesh backing that ensures your back won’t get too sweaty when wearing this Chrome laptop bag on warm days. There’s also an adjustable chest strap if you want it, although as this is a small bag, there shouldn’t be too much need to spread the weight of its contents.

Is This a Waterproof Chrome Bag?

This bag is made from an impressively named 1680D Ballistic Nylon exterior. This provides a lot of durability and a good level of water resistance, but sadly it’s not completely waterproof. This bag will certainly be able to withstand drizzle and even moderate rainfall, but without waterproof zippers, it won’t be able to guarantee the protection your precious cargo in a heavy downpour.

Review Summary: Chrome MXD Fathom Backpack

All-in-all, this is a really excellent lightweight laptop backpack.

Chrome always do a good job of combining style and functionality and the MXD range is certainly no different. This will be my go-to bag for commuting when I just need my essentials.

It’s a bit disappointing that it might not be able to withstand a storm, but it is a tough and sturdy bag that will do a good job of keeping your gear safely in place.

As always, quality comes at a price, with the Chrome Industries MXD Fathom Backpack costing at pretty £110 / $120 / €130 (although it is currently on sale for under $84 in the US at the time of writing).

If you’re after a lightweight laptop backpack for cycling, you’ll struggle to beat this one.

Chrome Industries MXD Fathom Backpack

£110 / €130 / $120
8

Fit

9.0/10

Function

8.0/10

Style

9.0/10

Value

5.0/10

Quality

9.0/10

Pros

  • Extremely light
  • Comfy mesh back and straps
  • Well organised pockets

Cons

  • Not 100% waterproof
  • Pricey

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