Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chrome Ivan Rolltop Backpack (A Review)

Living car-free has the demands of a good way to carry your stuff.  A few weeks ago, I went on a search for the perfect bag.  I've been using a messenger bag for the past few years but I just wasn't satisfied with the way it felt when loaded down.  I've always had great respect for bags that are manufactured by Chrome Bags.  I've already got a pair of their shoes and a hip pack.  Both products have been great.  Not to mention, their bags are manufactured in the good ole' U S of A! 

After reviewing several companies (Mission Workshop, Seagull Bags, ReLoad, Timbuk2 and Wig), I finalized my decision with the Chrome Ivan Rolltop Backpack.  Several of the reasons I made this decision were based on pricepoint, function and size.  Chrome was a little more expensive than the Timbuk2 but cheaper than some of the others.  One of the main components of the bag was that it had to be weatherproof.  The Ivan is lined on the inside with a heavy duty truck tarp fabric.  With the bag's main compartment being sealed off by a rolltop, anything inside the main compartment was water tight.  I got a chance to put it to the test in a downpour ride home one afternoon.  Everything stayed dry in all compartments.  My laptop even stayed dry in the laptop sleeve thanks to the rubberized zipper and over flap.

The pack rides very stable on my back regardless of how much is loaded into it.  I have carried up to 50 pounds of groceries just fine.  The only issue I have had has been with the back panel.  There is a foam panel sewn into the back of the pack that tends to fold into a crease at the small of your back.  It hasn't been too uncomfortable.  However, it has been a little annoying as it keeps the pack from resting flush against your back while hunched over on the bike.  I am still waiting to hear back from Chrome regarding any solutions for this.

The organization of the pack is great!  You have two smaller pockets on the outside with a flap to cover the pockets.  These pockets work great for small items such as a u-lock, phone, wallet, tools and such.  There are daisy chains to separate the two pockets.  These are great for attaching your rear bike light or a carabiner.  The Ivan pack also has a laptop sleeve that zips right above the two outside pockets.  The sleeve is big enough to carry my 13 inch MacBook Pro.  I'm not sure if it will fit a laptop much bigger than a 15 inch.  The zipper is rubberized to keep moisture from getting into the sleeve.  The last compartment is the main one.  The main compartment is massive.  I have been able to fit an entire case of Red Bull in it with a hoody and a rain jacket.  The compartment completely lined with the truck top and closed off with a roll top.

Overall, I give the bag one and a half thumbs up.  It would get two thumbs up if the back panel rested flush against my back.  Again, this isn't too big of a deal.  For the price, $180, you really can't beat it.

1 comment:

  1. jimmy is this the 35 or 47 liter version ?