The Chrome Mazer Vigil Pack is an excellent choice for commuting, with a large capacity, a design that sits well on the back, and a huge number of storage options so you can organise your stuff. It looks good too, though it is pretty expensive.
The Vigil's carrying capacity is listed as 26 litres, but its innovative use of space means you might be able to fit more in than you think.
First off, it has a large main compartment with a robust zip that comes down very low, letting you open up the bag much more than some and making it easier to get things in and out.
Inside the main compartment there are two large pockets that are perfect for things like keys, phones, iPads, spare lights, repair kits and so on. When you have somewhere dedicated to keep this kind of kit, it makes it so much easier to find anything on the go – so particularly useful for commuting.
Across the bag there are several very useful pockets, with a large sleeve at the back large enough to fit a 15-inch laptop comfortably, a small pocket at the top of the bag and another small pocket midway down, so you can be really organised with where your kit goes.
The only slight downside I found with these pockets was that when the bag was particularly heavily laden the laptop sleeve became difficult to do up. On the sides of the pack are more pockets you can use for bottles, a lock and other smaller objects.
The bag is claimed to be water resistant rather than waterproof, but in reality the only place a little bit of water came through was at the zip, and even then it was during a particularly heavy downpour. This water resistance is down to the material choice of nylon and tarpaulin, with the area that would get the most rain – the top and bottom – made from the more durable tarp, the rest being the not-quite-as-water-resistant nylon.
The front of the pack has dozens of reflective attachment loops cleverly hidden behind folds in the fabric, giving the bag a cleaner look while maintaining that safety element that is essential for city riding.
When worn, the backpack is very comfortable thanks to the adjustable straps and EVA back panel. The straps have a decent amount of padding without making your shoulders too insulated while riding, with webbing on the inside of the straps to help dissipate any excess heat. They are easily adjustable, even when wearing thick winter gloves, which allows them to be quickly changed based on the load. The adjustable chest strap in the centre has a magnetic clip, which can be fastened or unfastened quickly, even in winter gloves.
The back panel isn't as well ventilated as some packs I have used, but certainly stands up to scrutiny, and with the thick EVA pads air can flow fairly well, so even if it's not as good as something like the Osprey Escapist, for example, it's still pretty good.
At £160 it isn't the cheapest bag, but given the quality of the build and the elements included it's about what I would expect.
The Shimano Tokyo 23 urban daypack, for example, is around £30 cheaper and offers some of the same elements, but it doesn't look as good, in my opinion, or offer the huge range of pockets.
Overall, I was very impressed by the Mazer Vigil Pack. It looks great, lets you organise your kit brilliantly, and keeps it safe from the elements. There is no doubt that it's expensive and it's a little bit difficult to do up the laptop sleeve when it's very full, but these are the only small issues I could find in what is otherwise a great bag.
Great commuting bag that offers tons of storage, looks good, and sits nicely on the back
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chrome Mazer Vigil Pack
Size tested: 26 litres
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is a commuting bag for city riding.
Chrome says, "The new Mazer Vigil Pack is a water-resistant urban expedition pack ready for anything."
This is an accurate description of the bag. There wasn't ever a time where I wished I had more space or a different bag.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Chrome lists these features:
Water-resistant urban expedition pack
Padded laptop sleeve fits 15" Macbook Pro
Hidden reflective attachment loops for extra gear
Adjustable ergo straps with EVA back panel
Durable nylon & tarp shell w/ ripstop nylon liner
It's a very well made bag that's likely to last for a long time.
Did everything I needed for a commuting bag, there were very few elements that I would change.
Early days, but Chrome has used a tarp material on the areas that should see most wear, and the hardware used throughout the bag is good quality.
It has a good amount of padding on the back, and the straps are easy to adjust.
Pretty expensive for a backpack. Shimano's Tokyo 23 is around £30 cheaper and offers some of the same elements, though not the same aesthetics or huge range of pockets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable on and off the bike, fitted everything in that I needed, and its tons of pockets meant I kept everything well organised.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The storage options around the bag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a great commuting bag with loads of storage, the ability to organise everything really well, and it looks good off the bike to boot. Yes, it's expensive, but it still rates a 'very good'.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.