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Ever since I started Discerning Cyclist (over seven years ago now, crikey!), Chrome Industries has always struck me as a brand that just gets urban cycling.
They understand that commuters and other city riders don’t really want to carry a spare set of clothes around with them. They get that their bags need to be sturdy and will protect against rain, but also look on point as you go about your business around town.
And over the past year or so, I’ve finally gotten around to actually reviewing some Chrome gear. First I took a look at the Ex Gas Backpack, before trying out their cool urban cycling shoes/boots, the 415 Workboot, while most recently I tested the Vale Sling Messenger Bag. I was very impressed with all three – with the commonality being that they were all tough as hell and looked good.
One of the most recent additions to the Chrome Industries line up is the Mazer Vigil Pack. And as soon as I saw it, I must admit I had a crush on it. This is a sexy bag.
Chrome Mazer Vigil Pack
The Chrome Mazer Vigil Pack is a spacious and durable backpack designed for daily use. It features a large main compartment, front zippered pocket, and padded laptop sleeve. The bag is made with weatherproof fabric and has reflective accents for visibility.
- Good pocket options
- Padded laptop section
- Not the most secure side pockets
Stylish Cycling Backpack
While the Ex Gas Backpack was built to essentially be as waterproof as possible, with a simple inside ‘bucket’-like design that featured only a removable storage strip for your laptop and other bits, the Mazer Vigil Pack is a touch more graceful – and practical for tech workers – while still retaining that rugged look and feel.
I see the Mazer as more of an office-friendly backpack, or even an overnight bag.
So just what does the Chrome Mazer Backpack offer?
Well, it’s got quite the spec sheet. As you can see below:
- A wide mouth tombstone zip entry into the main storage
- A top pocket for your bits (easily fits your phone)
- A front middle pocket (again fits a phone)
- A stealthy 15” laptop pocket (side zip entry)
- Two inside mesh pockets (Velcro seals)
- Reflective daisy chain loops which can attached a D-lock
- Two side bottle pouches with elastic mesh*
- Chest straps with magnetic clips
- Padded back
- 26L storage
- Dimensions: 19.7” x 12.2” x 9”
A couple of design touches I really like about this bag are the chunky zip and the gold handle, which nicely offsets the rest of the all-black look.
The interior also has this gold-coloured fabric, which may sound menial, but by avoid a dark colour, it can help find what you’re looking for a little quicker.
I also love the laptop pocket built separately into the rear of the bag. This means that youdon’t have to open your whole bag to access your laptop (which can be a perilous exercise if you stuff your backpacks as full as I do!).
On the side of the bag is also two mesh pockets, ideal for water bottles or even smaller D-locks. However, I should note that if you have a larger bottle – and especially a metal one, like I do – you should take great care on uneven surfaces. The reason I say this is that a few weeks ago I was speeding down a hill on my way into town, wearing my backpack with my prized LARQ bottle in the side pocket. At the bottom of the hill is a hefty speed bump. I took it at quite a rate of velocity (there’s a hill to climb just after it), but on this occasion after I hit the bump I heard a horrible metal-on-concrete sound bouncing down the road. I didn’t initially realise what this was, only to see my bottle continue to roll past me. It killed my bottle.
Is the Chrome Industries Mazer Vigil Pack Waterproof?
“Water resistant” labels also cause me concern. I just don’t know whether to trust them. On this occasion, though, I can say that Chrome are erring on the side of caution by labeling the bag as water resistant rather than waterproof. Okay, you can’t through this bag in the sea and expect to keep your innards dry, but you can certainly cycle through heavy rain without any great concern.
There are lots of other cycling-friendly features on this backpack too. There are discreet reflective strips on both the front (i.e. the side facing away from me) of the backpack, plus on the shoulder straps, while there are also several loops on which you can attach locks and other bits while riding.
At £160, this is not a cheap backpack. But it is an excellent, rugged, yet good-looking backpack that is ideal for every day urban life on and off the bike.
There’s also some good news re: Chrome delivery, as they now offer free delivery to the UK for orders on over £200.