Chrome Kadet Sling Review
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Chrome Kadet Sling
|Price||$95.00 at REI|
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|Pros||Comfortable, compact, intuitive design, easy on/off, reflective panel for higher visibility at night||Spacious, savvy pocket configuration, easy on/off, comfortable, weatherproof||Affordable, durable, weather-resistant, simple but functional organization features, customizable||Waterproof, comfortable, lightweight, highly durable, ambidextrous shoulder strap||Inexpensive, durable, three padded laptop pockets, ample features|
|Cons||Heavy for the volume, not ideal for carrying a laptop, could use more storage slots in front pocket||Heavy, spendy, laptop zipper not waterproof||Left-shoulder carry only, minimal protection for laptop, shoulder strap is somewhat finicky||Tips over easily when set down, doesn't have very many pockets, a bit pricey||Average comfort, tricky closure system, uncomfortable cross-body strap|
|Bottom Line||A compact and comfortable bag for carrying your daily essentials, featuring a seatbelt buckle for easy on and off and a reflective panel for increased visibility||This tech-savvy, spacious, weatherproof, and comfortable messenger bag features ample pockets and can accommodate up to a 17" laptop||This durable, weather-resistant, and simple bag is thoughtfully designed with great pockets and reasonable comfort, all at an affordable price||This sleek, comfortable, and lightweight bag is highly durable and weatherproof with minimal yet thoughtful features||An affordable, durable, and water-resistant messenger bag for bike commuting tech professionals, with three padded laptop pockets, and ample features|
|Rating Categories||Chrome Kadet Sling||Chrome Buran III||Timbuk2 Classic||Arc'teryx Granville 10||Burley Transit|
|Packing & Organization (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Wear & Tear (10%)|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (10%)|
|Specs||Chrome Kadet Sling||Chrome Buran III||Timbuk2 Classic||Arc'teryx Granville 10||Burley Transit|
|Measured Weight||1.20 lbs||2.71 lbs||2.02 lbs||1.15 lbs||1.85 lbs|
|Measured Volume (purported volume)||7L (9L)||22L (24L)||18L (21L)||10L||13L (12L)|
|OGL Volume/Weight Ratio (bigger is better)||5.83||8.12||8.91||8.70||7.03|
|Dimensions||17 x 8 x 4 in||21.25 x 12.25 x 7 in||14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1 in||16 x 10.5 x 5 in||19 x 13 x 3 in|
|Number of Compartments||1||2||2||2||3|
|Number of Large Pockets||1||1||2||1||2|
|Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items)||3||8||5||1||5|
|Number of Zipper Pockets||2||4||3||2||3|
|Reflective Material?||Yes||Yes, on bottom straps||Yes, on bottom straps||No||Yes|
|External Side Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Sleeve For Laptop?||Yes - Tablet Only||Yes - 17"||Yes - 15"||Yes - 12"||Yes - 15"|
|Stabilizing Cross Strap||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Available Sizes||One size||One size||XS, S, M, L||10L and 16L||One size|
|Size Tested||One size||One size||Medium||10L||One size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Kadet Sling is a smaller volume sling for travel, commuting with minimal gear, or meeting friends for a drink. It provides just enough space for the essentials. It is incredibly comfortable, easy to put on and take off, mildly weather-resistant, and in a pinch can accommodate up to a 13" laptop or tablet. For quick rides across town — when you only need your wallet, keys, and a light jacket — this bag is a fantastic option.
With a long padded but breathable shoulder strap, an easily usable (or removable) stabilizer strap, and a padded back, the Kadet is one of the top performers in terms of comfort. We love the feel of this bag for bike commuting and walking around town.
Packing & Organization
Given that the Kadet is the smallest bag in our review, it would make sense that it would have fewer pockets and organizational features. This is why this minimalistic bag ranks in the middle for this metric. It has one front zippered pocket that runs nearly the length of the bag, and the main compartment is essentially a large pocket with a two-way zipper in the back.
In the main compartment, there are three fabric slots or dividers for pens, a journal, your wallet, or any other essentials you want to easily locate. The back of the main compartment is padded, so you can use it to store a tablet or a smaller laptop. We are also keen on the outer straps for attaching a jacket should you run out of space, and we appreciate the dedicated holster for a mini U-lock.
The smaller size of the Kadet doesn't lend itself to the best electronics storage. However, with the padded back of the bag, it can accommodate up to a 13" laptop or tablet. While we prefer a little more padding and support for a naked laptop, it works in a pinch. If you're the type of person who only occasionally commutes with a smaller laptop or tablet, then this could be an ideal option for you.
Ease of Use
This is one of the categories where the Kadet truly shines, due to acute attention to detail. It features a holster on the back of the bag for a mini U-lock, as well as the iconic seatbelt buckle for easy on and off (just make sure to protect the button from your wily friends who may try to de-bag you). It is decently rigid, so the bag will sit upright while you pack or unpack, and the organizational features are such that you won't spend hours agonizing over where you should stash your gear.
Wear & Tear
The Kadet is made from a 1050 denier nylon material and features a reflective panel on the outer pocket. The zippers and shoulder straps are burly and should last for the long haul. Our sole complaint — which is only relevant for the bags with the reflective panel for night riding — is that the reflective panel shows marks from abrasion over time. A minimal trade-off for the extra security of a reflective outer strap, but it could alter the aesthetic rather than the overall functionality of the bag with time and use.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Kadet weighs 1.20 pounds and has a measured volume of 7 liters. This is one of the lower weight-to-volume ratios in our review, likely a consequence of the seatbelt-style buckle and this being a lower-volume sling rather than a full-volume bag. While wearing it, we didn't notice that it was particularly heavy. Instead, we found it to be one of the more comfortable bags, even when it was fully weighed down with all our gear.
The Kadet is among the least expensive bags in our review, but it isn't cheap either. If you're looking for a daily bag to carry your essentials in style, we think it is well worth the price. However, if you need a bigger bag, there are options with greater capacity and a lower price.
We love the Chrome Kadet Sling for being a reasonably sized carry-all with space for the essentials and nothing more. It is easy to use, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and the "Night" option has a reflective panel for higher visibility while cycling the dark.
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