Well what a deceiving pack this one is. I wasn’t supposed to be testing this, it was sent in for Chipps, but late one day in the depths of winter I found myself needing to ride home with a lot more than I rode in to work with, and he suggested I try it out.
When this pack is empty it looks as though it would only fit a small pile of books in. It’s very rectangular and doesn’t look deep. There’s a cargo net on the front with adjustable straps, some very stealthy side pockets (I didn’t realise they were there for over a month) and internally there’s just one pocket, perfect size for a laptop. The pack features a roll top closure with a large plastic buckle to secure it, and a seatbelt style buckle on the sternum strap.
I was sceptical about how this pack fastens up. Being a roll top I just didn’t expect it to feel secure, but the weight of the material makes it quite firmly closed once it’s been folded over itself. This is one of the best features in my opinion, because it allows for such varied loads without the pack bulging out and causing a weird weight distribution.
My only negative would be that I never empty it, my load is ever growing, and I fear there might be a gone-off Trek bar at the bottom.
The height of the sternum strap can be adjusted so us girls don’t end up with QuadBoob™, and the seatbelt style buckle is a really efficient little detail that makes this pack feel top quality. It clips together with ease and you simply push the button to release it.
Internally this pack is huge. Given the shape of it, there doesn’t seem to be a way Chrome could introduce more pockets or divisions inside, which means the bulk of your stuff is all in the same, vast area.
There have been a few times this has been annoying but it’s often the times when I have overfilled it. You need to be disciplined with yourself when using this pack, and make sure you don’t just continue to add to it without removing the things you don’t need anymore.
With most backpacks you don’t have access restricted to just the very top – the zip goes down the sides, so having one main area is rarely an issue. That is not the case here.
The pack is constructed of an abrasion-resistant nylon outer, and welded-waterproof tarpaulin liner. It’s not the lightest of backpacks thanks to this weatherproof design, but it’s possibly the only pack I have used in recent months that I fully trust the waterproofing on, because the fabric is just so thick and the lining feels almost rubbery it’s that dense.
Other details worth mentioning are the reinforced base, for both durability and further waterproofing, and the reflective strips on the closure belt.
There’s a headphone hole in one of the outer pockets, which to be honest I haven’t used because my iPhone sticks too far out of the pocket for it to feel secure.
Considering I have crammed this pack to full capacity on many occasions, not once has it been uncomfortable. The weight distributes so evenly that there’s no pulling on my neck/shoulders and when riding it doesn’t feel like I’m overdoing it. It is honestly surprising the moment it’s on your back – it’s almost as if the weight disappears.
The padded back is designed for breathability, which I can’t say I noticed, but it certainly aided comfort.
I personally wouldn’t use this pack on the trails – it’s just too bulky. And if I needed to carry this many items I would guess that some of them might be urgent (like a first aid kit), and if that were the case I would like to have easier access to them.
However, I would highly recommend this for commuters that carry a large/heavy load quite frequently. For that purpose, it is a very tough and cavernous pack.
|Product:||Barrage Cargo Backpack|
|Tested:||by Amanda for 3 months|