Chrome Industries Kadet: Review

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Since 1995, Chrome Industries has been a pretty iconic company when it comes to bags. Especially noted for their messenger bags, custom work, and the use of dual-role old school seat belt buckles/bottle openers, Chrome has continued to make bags that are tailored to cyclists and people who commute and spend time out and about in the city. While I’m a bit too clumsy to ride a bike, I do appreciate that Chrome continues to make apparel and equipment that provides comfort and utility while being at home for use in the city or on the road. With my necessity to not always carry a backpack for more minimal everyday carry, the Kadet seemed like a good idea try out.

Tech Specs

MetricImperial
Length43.18 cm17″
Width10.16 cm4″
Height20.32 cm8″
Capacity9 L550 cu. in.
Weight0.68 kg1.5 lbs
Primary Materials1050D Ballistic Nylon, YKK Aquaguard zippers

Quality and Comfort

chrome industries kadet review front of pack

The Kadet lives up the manifesto listed on the Chrome website with solid construction. The bag boasts a 1050D ballistic nylon construction on the outside providing excellent structure and abrasion resistance, as well helping have a slight weatherproofing due to the nature of the fabric. The pack is accessed by YKK Aquaguard zippers with some simple cord knotted pulls, further keeping weather out of the bag. Additionally, the plastic hardware on the outside of the bag is from Duraflex, and the compression straps are a thick webbing with a rubber strip for locking. While certainly not its intended purpose, the compression straps with the grippy rubber inlay also help in carrying a water bottle, especially if not perfectly cylindrical like the Camelbak Eddy. There is a small tab by each side compression strap that can attach a carabiner or some cord that can aid in securing items.

chrome industries kadet review on body strap

The main quick release buckle is Chrome’s signature metal seat belt buckle in a satin black finish that positively locks into place, but adds a significant amount of weight to the bag. Additionally, the buckle does clink and rattle around when not fully secured or on-body. The main strap is lightly padded with airmesh at the shoulder and chest area to provide some comfort, but is not over built. The shoulder and chest portion above the buckle has a broad hook and loop strip that is used to attach Chrome’s phone or accessory pouches. On that same portion of the strap there is a female buckle that connects to a strip of webbing and corresponding male buckle that goes under the left armpit to help stabilize the load and secure the bag onto the wearer. Due to Chrome using seat belt buckles, the strap following the main buckle is thin seatbelt material, but still comfortable.

chrome industries kadet review strap buckle

Organization

The organization is simple but effective. There are two usable pockets and a rear sleeve for U-shape bike locks. The main pocket features two pen/tool slots and a tablet/document sleeve made from a contrasting, light gray nylon fabric with orange trim. The sleeve is a bit roomy as it fits my iPad with keyboard case along with a small sized Magpul DAKA or other envelope sized item. The sleeve is slightly raised, helping protect electronics. Between the main pouch and the lock pass through, there is a good amount of padding that keeps the user from feeling their contents on their back while being carried, as well as providing padding for any sensitive items.

chrome industries kadet review main compartment open

The front pouch is just one large pocket with only the gray lining on the back side. The rather simple nature of the organization is on purpose as the bag is designed to be a for minimal carry, therefore it will require some extra pouches in the event one has several small items to lug around like chargers, spare contact lenses, etc. The main compartment does feature a small d-ring hanger for keys or anything needing to be hanged or clipped on.

chrome industries kadet review front compartment open

What’s Perfect

  • Robust, weather resistant materials and zippers
  • When swung around, there’s very easy access to all contents
  • Simple layout perfect for adding own pouches and organization
  • Stabilizing strap keeps bag tight to body when active
  • Padding is minimal throughout the bag, but still very comfortable
  • Designed for city bike use while still being utilitarian to non-riders
  • Side compression straps can be used to hold a water bottle in a pinch due to rubberized strips

What’s Not

  • The main quick release buckle is heavy and loud when unsecured and when activating
  • Zipper pulls are thin and could greatly benefit from being modified by either longer and slightly thicker pulls, or giving it the shrink tube treatment as seen on the tested bag
chrome industries kadet review side of bag

Wrap Up

The Chrome Industries Kadet is a robust, weather resistant option for those who want a sling bag to have as a minimal carry or to supplement their pockets when out and about in the city, exactly as I have been doing for the past months. The bag offers decent built-in organization that plays well to those of us that keep our gear in dedicated pouches, making it easy to move from one bag to another. The 9L size makes it ideal for simpler day trips out with friends and family where one wouldn’t be home all day, but don’t exactly need to carry that much with them. The bag’s ability to carry a tablet makes it great for the boba shop commando days of writing pack reviews and sketching. While most things on this bag are streamlined, the iconic seat belt buckle is pretty bulky and loud; but quickly remedied when worn against the body. The zipper pulls are a bit thin, but it’s nothing some heat-shrink tubing can’t fix. All in all, the Chrome Industries Kadet is an excellent companion to every day shenanigans without being too bulky, especially at a retail price of $80 with free shipping and the somewhat often sales and coupon codes.

chrome industries kadet review on body

Disclaimer: the Chrome Industries Kadet was purchased privately and used subsequently for this review. The content of the review was not shared with Chrome Industries prior to publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never edited to keep brands happy.

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