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Sometimes the most important consideration when choosing a backpack is whether or not it’s waterproof.
If you’re riding around town with your valuables – such as your laptop – and there’s a downpour on the horizon, you don’t want to be taking any chances.
San Francisco-based Chrome Industries recognised this and have created the Urban Ex range of bags. A collection that is designed purely to withstand the elements – oh, and look awesome too.
Chrome’s Urban Ex Gas Can Backpack is the centre-piece of the range. It’s 100% waterproof and sturdy as hell.
I’ve been using the Urban Ex Gas Can 22L Backpack for the past few weeks – which has been well-timed with some serious downpours in Spain.
Urban Waterproof Cycling Backpack
The Ex Gas Backpack is constructed with an essentialist philosophy. On the front (or is the back) are four sturdy hoops through which you can attach a U-lock while you’re riding. A zip runs around the top of the bag through which you can access the main storage compartment.
Inside is a big open space with no pockets or sleeves built in to the bag. But don’t worry, included with the backpack is a removable organisational panel which you can attach the Velcro inside. This storage section can fit a laptop on the rear, while there is also a large zipped pocket big enough for most tablets. Finally, on the front there is three elasticated pockets, two big enough for A6 notebooks and the middle fitting a pen.
Best Waterproof Backpack for Commuting?
This organisational panel is ideal for cyclists. If you just wanna throw clothes in the bag, leave the panel at home, but if you want to carry more techy objects with you (and protect them), just slip in the panel. The best of both worlds.
There are also two carry handles on the bag, one on the top and one on the side. I like the addition of the side handle as this weight distribution is much easier to carry if you want to take the bag of your back for a while.
- Hoops for U-Lock
- 100% Waterproof
- Removable storage panel
- Padded shoulder straps
- Adjustable Chest Strap
- Reflective detailing
You’ll also find a quick access side pocket which has a key loop inside, with the pocket offering enough space for even the largest of phones. This is a good place to throw in daily items like keys, wallets and phones.
Generally speaking, the bag is comfortable to carry, with nice padded straps (including an adjustable chest strap) – which also boast reflective detailing. One slight annoyance I’ve found, though, and I’m not totally sure why this happens, is that the rear of my tops tend to raise up quite a bit as I wear this backpack. This tends to happen somewhat with other bags too, but not to quite the same extent.
On the rear of the bag is an interesting padded design to minimise the contact area with your back, while also ensuring that it is comfortable to carry. This is a nice idea and works well in reducing the clamminess that wearing a backpack can bring.
Chrome Urban Ex Backpack Options
The Chrome Urban Ex Gas Can Backpack comes in two sizes: 18L and 22L. I opted for the larger 22L version which comfortably fits a 15” laptop and has dimensions of 10.75” x 19” x 6” (27cm x 48cm x 15cm). The bag is available in the grey/black combination (pictured) or all-black.The Urban Ex range also has some rolltop varieties if that’s your preferred style.
All in all, this is an excellent waterproof backpack for urban cyclists.