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The Chrome Tensile Ruckpack is light, durable and practical, with plenty of storage options. It's not as structured as some, but I found it comfortable for carrying a variety of loads.
The Tensile collection is, Chrome claims, its attempt to explore the lightest and toughest bags it could. Alongside the Ruckpack it has also released a hip pack. I can't speak for the hip pack, but it certainly seems to have achieved that with this bag, which is both light and tough.
It weighs 873g which is fairly light given how much space there is and how robust the materials are. By comparison, the Camelbak H.A.W.G Commute 30 that Liam tested recently was 1,000g, and the 20/26-litre Vulpine City Backpack that Tass tested was 1,070g. The 100% Transit Backpack I tested back in March was lighter, 820g, but the Chrome feels much more durable.
There are other bags that weigh less – messenger bags with one or two compartments, for instance – but not many that combine light weight and this number of storage solutions.
How many? Well, on the exterior there is a large through-pocket at the front that can be accessed from either side, plus a drinks bottle holder on either side. Inside the flap at the top is a small zipped pocket, which I found most useful for keys and phone. Inside there is a padded laptop sleeve, another smaller zipped pocket, a zipped mesh area, and the main compartment which is 25L.
Expandable areas on the sides, both for the bottle holders and the main bag, help to keep everything in place nicely. I found it was consistently big enough for my daily needs; all my kit for commuting fitted in and there was enough room for a supermarket run too.
The top flap is secured with a seatbelt-type buckle that Chrome has become synonymous with, together with a drawstring that keeps everything inside safe and secure.
It's comfortable to carry thanks to some well-ventilated and sensibly padded straps – with reasonable loads, anyway. It's not as padded as some, and can sometimes do a little morphing to your back, but I didn't find it caused any particular heat build-up as a result.
This may be because of the material used, a "recycled, lightweight, laminated ripstop nylon along with our trademarked Truss 5 Bar Construction' says Chrome. I'd describe it as the kind of material you'd find used for a sail or parachute. The "Truss 5 Bar Construction" is essentially five strips of seatbelt material that secure the contents of the bag so it keeps its shape as you would expect.
There are no claims about how waterproof the material is, but I used it in heavy rain several times without anything getting through. It feels rugged and unlikely to rip or be damaged easily. The only issue is that it's white, so over time it's likely to show wear and marks more than a darker colour.
Although it's not cheap, the Chrome's RRP of £168 is about what I would expect for a bag of this quality. The Camelbak H.A.W.G I mentioned earlier is about the same size with broadly the same qualities, and is cheaper at £150, but it's heavier and less waterproof.
The Evoc Commuter 18L is cheaper still at £130, but about a third smaller and heavier.
Overall, I think this is a really good bag that is practical enough for commuting, shopping, or just everyday use. It's reasonably light, seems durable, and it's practical, which is pretty much all you need from an everyday bag. The only minor complaints are that it might get dirty quicker than a darker colour, although I haven't see that so far, and some people might like a bit more structure. Aside from these, there is little not to like.
A very good light but durable bag with plenty of storage and compartments for everyday use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chrome Tensile Ruckpack
Size tested: 18.5 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?
Chrome says, 'The Tensile Collection is our exploration into making the lightest and toughest bags possible. Taking inspiration from the heavy duty construction of our cities, our Tensile Ruckpack is all about structure and strength. Built from a recycled, lightweight, laminated ripstop nylon and finished with our Truss 5 Bar Construction for continuous reinforcement, the Ruckpack is built to withstand the wear and tear of the daily mission. Guaranteed for life.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Chrome lists this spec:
18.5" H | 11" W | 6" D
1.98 lbs | .9 kg
3-layer recycled laminated nylon & polyester, lined with 210D nylon ripstop
up to 15"
It is minimalist with little padding, but still robust.
Loads of practical features combined with storage options, plus it's comfortable on your back.
Strong construction combined with durable materials. It's also guaranteed for life.
It's light but feels durable – impressive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's practical, easy to use for commutes and everyday life, and seems likely to last.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The amount of storage options.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Camelbak H.A.W.G is about the same size with broadly the same qualities, but heavier and less waterproof at £150. The Evoc Commuter 18L is about a third smaller and weighs more, but comes in at £130.
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
It's very good: light but built to last, the material choice is excellent and it has loads of options for storage, to keep everything separate and secure.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 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,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.