Product Geek reviews the Chrome Kadet sling bag

The Kadet by Chrome, a company based in northwest Portland.
(Photos: James Buckroyd/

James Buckroyd is our resident product geek. See his past reviews here.

I have been slinging this guy around the city for a while now. Mainly on small in-city runs to and from meetings where I needed a few essentials but not a massive bag full. Here’s what I found:

Chrome’s Welterweight Kadet bag ($100) is a single strap low profile “sling bag” – this particular one has been weight-reduced by using aluminium buckles and selective use of lighter materials. Regular versions can be purchased with steel buckle and many spicy fashion-forward colour options.

What it carries well: a u-lock, notepad, can of beer, a few pens, keys, phone, and a wallet really well. If you omit the can of beer, you can squeeze an iPad in there (I fit the 9.7-inch version during the test), but I’m not so sure I recommend it, as it feels a bit too large and rigid. It can also accommodate a lightweight rain shell folded with care.

What it doesn’t carry well is a medium-sized camera. Think of this Kadet as carrying slimmer things well. Beyond that, I struggled either with not being able to zip it up all the way or had to make do with lumps. Maybe a pocket-sized point and shoot but not a small mirrorless or DSLR. My smaller camera is 5″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ and it was just a bit too awkward which is a shame really (even though on the Chrome website it shows a camera in there, they have obviously not tried to zip it up and ride).


So, why would you want this bag? A few logical reasons:

  • Smaller than a backpack, less bulky, more convenient than a larger bag.
  • Sling style swing around accessibility for on the go-ness
  • A single strap look without the played out messenger fixter look
  • Available in other colours in the regular models
  • You want a fresh look for on or off the bike

Consider this:

  • How much stuff you need to carry, this bag has a specific niche.
  • Chrome should lose the Chrome badge off the front. You don’t need it Chrome, you own this market. Have some confidence and make a design statement.
  • Not really for riding with a camera, Chrome should make it fit a compact mirrorless camera, the “sling around feature” is a sell for this – riding and shooting.

Read the full story about this bag over on

If you’re in the market for a full-featured camera bag, check out Chrome’s new Nike F-Stop Backpack.

— James Buckroyd –

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James Buckroyd (Contributor)

Hello, Im a designer and passionate cyclist. I run my own design company - JDBDESIGN - and I channel my product design knowledge into my reviews. I ride bikes a lot, mainly commuting, road and gravel rides. I also document bike stuff at

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6 years ago

The messenger fixter look is played out? How come no one told me. What am I gonna do with the 70’s style track bike I just built?

6 years ago
Reply to  bikeninja

1. Fixed gear riding is fun–been doing it since 1971. 2. Sling bags like that are very handy; my wife uses one as a traveling bag and can fit a knitting project, iPad, and sheet music she’s studying into it.

John Liu
John Liu
6 years ago

You could come show it off at the Velocirque bike show …

lila dallas multipass
lila dallas multipass
6 years ago

Chrome generally makes good stuff (if worse off when they were just USA before they turned to sweatshops) but the seatbelt aesthetic has *got* *to* *go*. its not just outdated and cringey 90s, its also a weird way of encouraging car culture while avoiding it…

6 years ago

Glad to be reading about new gear from this company. Thanks.

This is a very small bag. The way it’s shown being worn by the model in the picture accompanying this story, doesn’t look like it would be comfortable for most people walking around and biking. Because it’s comparatively lighter, the choice for aluminum rather than steel for this bags seat belt style buckle, sounds good. More commonly used high density plastic buckles, which I’m more familiar with, work great though, but since we’ve got more than enough plastic in this world already, aluminum for buckles, if it can hold up for that use, for it’s superior recycle-ability, appeals to me.

I’ve got a number of messenger style bags I use…all larger than this one, all different brands. Standard sized: a cheap no-name bag from freds…bulky, heavy,too light strap but works…a lightweight bag I got discounted from Old Navy for five bucks…nice bag, has held up well.

Timbuktu…nice thing is that this company makes the basic messenger bag in about four sizes…s,m,l,xl…I’ve got the small, which is too small for me, but steadfastly holding true to the company’s heavy duty ethic, though not exactly ideal for use, the straps and buckles on this bag are heavier than it seems to me they need to be for the weight the bag’s volume is likely to have its owner carry in it.

Most recently, I got a Jansport messenger bag, not too old I don’t think. Size is probably standard size or xl. Heavier, because of padding for laptop carry, and more zippers and compartments than a normal person can keep track of the location of. Nice bag though, comfortable to use. Buckles, plastic, proportionate to the bag’s use.

The best, most comfortable, lightweight sling bag I have, is an old design, no longer in production, from the company, Eagle Creek. It would be comparable to a small size. Not a rectangular messenger bag style, but more oval shape. Slung over the shoulder, it’s designed to follow the body’s contour. Wish it was still made.

6 years ago

I wonder if this bag would be comfortable for women riders, with the strap right across the chest? If not, that would appear to be a rather large CON to this bag, unless the bag is explicitly designed for men.

6 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

Good question, Carrie. I wonder if it’d fit that differently from messenger bags in this regard?