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Chrome Kadet Sling Review

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
Chrome Kadet Sling
Photo: Chrome
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Price:  $90 List | $80.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, compact, intuitive design, easy on/off, reflective panel for higher visibility at night
Cons:  Heavy for the volume, not ideal for carrying a laptop, could use more storage slots in front pocket
Manufacturer:   Chrome
By Mary Witlacil ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 16, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 9
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Packing & Organization - 25% 6
  • Electronics - 15% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Wear & Tear - 10% 6
  • Volume to Weight Ratio - 10% 5

Our Verdict

As a rule, Chrome makes world-class bags for bike commuting and the Kadet Sling is no exception. It is a fantastic option for when you only plan to carry the essentials and you want to do it in good style. Like other Chrome bags, it features their signature seatbelt buckle for easy on and off and boasts a reflective panel for higher visibility during those late-night rides. While it isn't ideal for stashing a laptop, it can accommodate up to a 13" laptop or tablet, and the storage/pocket features are intuitive. Somewhat heavy for the volume, it more than makes up for this in terms of comfort and ease of use.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Chrome Kadet Sling
This Product
Chrome Kadet Sling
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $80.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Compare at 3 sellers
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$70 List
$62.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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92
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46
Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, compact, intuitive design, easy on/off, reflective panel for higher visibility at nightSpacious, savvy pocket configuration, easy on/off, comfortable, weatherproofAffordable, durable, weather-resistant, simple but functional organization features, customizableInexpensive, durable, three padded laptop pockets, ample featuresHigh quality leather, attractive, good price point
Cons Heavy for the volume, not ideal for carrying a laptop, could use more storage slots in front pocketHeavy, spendy, laptop zipper not waterproofLeft-shoulder carry only, minimal protection for laptop, shoulder strap is somewhat finickyAverage comfort, tricky closure system, uncomfortable cross-body strapHeavy, poorly designed shoulder strap, flimsy and baggy inner liner
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 visibilityThis tech-savvy, spacious, weatherproof, and comfortable messenger bag features ample pockets and can accommodate up to a 17" laptopThis durable, weather-resistant, and simple bag is thoughtfully designed with great pockets and reasonable comfort, all at an affordable priceAn affordable, durable, and water-resistant messenger bag for bike commuting tech professionals, with three padded laptop pockets, and ample featuresThis attractive leather bag is affordable and easy to use, but it has some limitations
Rating Categories Chrome Kadet Sling Chrome Buran III Timbuk2 Classic Burley Transit Komal C Buffalo Hunter
Comfort (25%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Packing & Organization (25%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Electronics (15%)
4.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
3.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Wear & Tear (10%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Volume To Weight Ratio (10%)
5.0
8.0
10.0
6.0
3.0
Specs Chrome Kadet Sling Chrome Buran III Timbuk2 Classic Burley Transit Komal C Buffalo Hunter
Measured Weight 1.20 lbs 2.71 lbs 2.02 lbs 1.85 lbs 2.73 lbs
Measured Volume (purported volume) 7L (9L) 22L (24L) 18L (21L) 13L (12L) 12L
OGL Volume/Weight Ratio (bigger is better) 5.83 8.12 8.91 7.03 4.40
Dimensions 17 x 8 x 4 in 21.25 x 12.25 x 7 in 14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1 in 19 x 13 x 3 in 16 x 12 x 4 in
Shoulder Preference Left Either Left Either Either
Number of Compartments 1 2 2 3 2
Number of Large Pockets 1 1 2 2 2
Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items) 3 8 5 5 3
Number of Zipper Pockets 2 4 3 3 1
Key Clip? Yes No Yes Yes No
Reflective Material? Yes Yes, on bottom straps Yes, on bottom straps Yes No
External Side Pocket Yes Yes No Yes No
Sleeve For Laptop? Yes - Tablet Only Yes - 17" Yes - 15" Yes - 15" Yes - 15"
Stabilizing Cross Strap Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Available Sizes One size One size XS, S, M, L One size One Size
Size Tested One size One size Medium One size 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.

Performance Comparison


Low profile and comfortable to carry, this bag became our daily fave...
Low profile and comfortable to carry, this bag became our daily fave for shorter trips with minimal gear.
Photo: Jared Ross

Comfort


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.

The shoulder strap has a large padded panel with breathable...
The shoulder strap has a large padded panel with breathable material, and the sling wraps nicely around the back, making this one of the more comfortable bags in our review.
Photo: Jared Ross

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.

The front pocket has just enough space for essentials, but doesn't...
The front pocket has just enough space for essentials, but doesn't have any extra dividers to sort your gear.
Photo: Jared Ross

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 back pocket features a two-way zipper, and a padded back panel...
The back pocket features a two-way zipper, and a padded back panel, with three slots for pens, a book, or anything else you need poised for easy access.
Photo: Jared Ross

Electronics


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.

The back pocket can hold up to a 13" laptop or a tablet - though it...
The back pocket can hold up to a 13" laptop or a tablet - though it provides less padding than some of the other options in our review.
Photo: Mary Witlacil

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.

This bag has great features to make it easy to use. We especially...
This bag has great features to make it easy to use. We especially dig the mini U-lock holster in the back of the bag.
Photo: Jared Ross

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.

The reflective front panel makes you safer while riding at night...
The reflective front panel makes you safer while riding at night, but after only a few weeks, it is starting to show some marks and signs of use.
Photo: Jared Ross

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.

For its size, this bag can carry a ton. While it doesn't have the...
For its size, this bag can carry a ton. While it doesn't have the greatest volume to weight ratio, it carries well for its weight and has a surprising amount of storage capacity.
Photo: Jared Ross

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

A compact and comfortable option for carrying just the essentials.
A compact and comfortable option for carrying just the essentials.
Photo: Jared Ross

Mary Witlacil

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