Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission if you purchase something from Chrome Industries.
TL;DR Chrome Kadet Review — we were pleasantly surprised.
When we first saw the the Chrome Kadet, we were skeptical about the usefulness of a bag that is this size/shape. But after testing it, we actually found that the smaller size, sling design, and water resistant construction made the Kadet an ideal ultralight daypack for just about any adventure that didn't require us to carry cameras or laptops around.
For example, it was perfect for carrying the basics like a phone, wallet, passport, etc. while exploring cities as you would expect (all of Chrome's bags are designed for city life). But the Kadet was also the perfect size for carrying all of the things we needed for beach/boat days in Mexico as well (sunscreen, a rash guard, surf wax, and more).
Plus, the Kadet was very easy to pack into our other bags — you could pack this bag into your main travel backpack or daypack and not even notice the weight. Ours will come with us on future trips for this reason alone.
Overall Rating: 9.0
|The Kadet has an urban fueled aesthetic and stylish understated appearance (depending on the color you choose). The crossover between a messenger bag and sling bag does make the Kadet a bit of an awkward size and limits the carry options to only on the back.|
|This pack is surprisingly comfortable to carry and provides a ton of packing space into a compact design. Organization is a bit lacking, but the ease of access to everything in the pack without taking it off easily outweighs the extra seconds spent finding what you need.|
|The crossover sizing of the Kadet makes it a great pack for all sorts of adventures giving you access to more packing space than typical compact daypacks while being far lighter and more comfortable than a full backpack. Plus, ultra durable materials, reinforced construction, and solid hardware means this pack will survive years of adventures.|
Pros & Cons
|Fills a needed gap between compact daypacks and a full size daypack backpack allowing you to carry more of what you need while being lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for days exploring when you don’t need the space or the bulk of a backpack but still have a few items to carry around.||The Kadet is not a traditional looking daypack and offers a unique aesthetic that's not necessarily for everyone.|
|The sling style keeps your back much cooler than a backpack and the stability strap allows you to use this bag even in active situations like biking and hiking.||The pack lacks robust internal organization with only 2 separate compartments and limited division within those compartments.|
|The single shoulder strap allows you to swing the pack around to your chest instead of removing it to access all your gear.||You cannot fit a laptop in this pack which makes it less than ideal for business travelers and digital nomads.|
Who is the Chrome Industries Kadet Messenger Sling Bag Ideal For?
The Chrome Industries Kadet Sling Bag is perfect for travelers looking for an intermediate size between compact daypacks like a purse or fanny pack and a full size daypack backpack. If you plan to be out and about all day and need more than just your travel essentials, but don’t need all of your gear like your laptop or a change of clothes, this is the perfect size.
The Kadet Sling Messenger is not an ideal professional or digital nomad backpack because the main compartment is not large enough for a laptop. Similarly, the 9 liters of packable space are not enough for an overnight stay. This is truly a single day use pack only.
The Kadet is designed for city streets and both the carry style and construction lend themselves to urban exploration. You wouldn’t have a problem taking the Chrome Kadet bag on a hike or other excursion, but you will likely find that it is not the ideal pack for more outdoor focused activities.
Full Review of the Chrome Kadet 9 Liter Sling Bag
Inspired by the energy of the city and dedicated to building durable and useful gear for their customers, Chrome Industries is known for their high quality design and durably constructed bags. Check out the full range of Chrome Industries bags here.
The Kadet Messenger Bag is a perfect fit in this lineup as a versatile and thoughtfully designed daypack, filling a valuable position between a full size daypack backpack and compact fanny pack or purse.
The Chrome Industries Kadet is a messenger style sling bag boasting an impressive 9 liters of packable space into an 18 oz design. The storage area of the bag is roughly 16” x 9” x 2” making it a manageable size for most travelers.
The entire bag is wrapped in military-grade, abrasion-resistant materials (1050D nylon on the traditional Kadets and 22x nylon laminate on the Black/Chrome) that make it tough and durable, but also relatively lightweight. This bag can take a beating without showing signs of use and is easy to wipe clean if you encounter dirt, mud or grime. Beyond being tough, all 4 colorways of the Chrome Kadet look great in their stylish, sleek and modern urban style.
The bag features a single large adjustable shoulder strap. The upper strap is heavily padded, breathable and made mostly from the same material as the rest of the pack. The upper strap is connected to the lower strap using a large seatbelt style buckle for easy release and a secure clasp. The lower part of the strap is made of thick, durable nylon and features several heavy duty adjustment buckles to ensure a secure and comfortable fit. The upper strap also features a velcro pad area for attachment of additional items like a pack pocket or any of Chrome’s strap-on accessories for additional easy access storage. As an added bonus, the seat belt buckle also features a bottle opener.
The bag also features an additional smaller stability strap. This stability strap clips onto the main strap using a traditional two prong buckle and can be adjusted for a comfortable fit. This strap is ideal when using the pack during activities like biking or hiking to keep the bag securely on your back. When the stability strap is no longer needed, you can remove it from the bag by releasing the velcro strip connected to the loop on the main part of the pack and stow it away.
Both straps feature a nylon band that is excellent for strap management.
The back of the bag boasts a padded back panel and also has a built-in luggage trolley sleeve. This back panel is made of the same material as the exterior of the bag and is not designed for breathability. However, because of the narrow profile, the Kadet doesn’t cover a large portion of your back so it won’t get too hot or uncomfortable to carry.
A series of 4 compression straps run the perimeter of the bag with one strap on each side and two on the bottom of the pack. The straps cinch down to reduce the profile of the pack and improve weight distribution. The bottom straps can also be used to carry extra gear, like a light jacket, externally if needed.
The branding on the bag is clean and kept to a minimum. There is a rubberized patch sewn front and center on the outside of the pack that matches the colorway of the bag. Additionally, you can find the Chrome logo on the outside of the primary strap buckle as well as another sewn-in patch on the upper part of the primary strap.
The hardware on the bag is a bit all over the place. The primary strap features a big bulky seat belt buckle, a large two prong buckle for the secondary strap and a large length adjusting buckle. The compression straps, zipper pulls and secondary strap hardware are all a bit understated, making them difficult to adjust on the go and could cause concern for long term durability. Based on Chrome’s high quality reputation and their lifetime guarantee though, we’re confident even the smaller hardware will hold up.
Inside the Kadet
The front of the pack boasts a generous easy access zipper pocket. This pocket is very spacious and offers room for keys, phones, wallets, sunglasses, masks, hand sanitizer and more.
In the main compartment of the pack, you’ll find a minimalist organization panel and a large packing area. The organization panel has a large sleeve pocket for a tablet or notebooks as well as a pair of thinner sleeves for pens/pencils. The main compartment can easily fit a tech pouch, and a larger item like a microfiber towel or light jacket.
The entire interior of the Kadet is covered in a high contrast material that is both easy on your gear and makes it easy to find what you need.
Testing & Ownership
We’ve been testing the Kadet Sling Bag for several months now and find it to be a very enjoyable daypack. The size is a bit awkward sometimes and occasionally we found ourselves wishing for something a little bigger. But it also makes the pack incredibly comfortable to wear and carry all day. And rather than having your full back covered like a traditional daypack backpack most of your back is uncovered and stays cool.
Additionally, the wide, padded and breathable strap is head and shoulders more comfortable than most sling bags for a full day out and about. We’ve even found the stability strap to be incredibly useful when biking through cities with the pack secured to our back so that it doesn’t swing around.
Speaking of swinging around, when you want access to your items, the messenger style is perfect. Just pull the pack around to the front of your body and you have immediate access to all of your gear without taking the pack off. This is an incredibly useful maneuver that will tempt you to ditch your classic daypack backpack. If you do need to take the pack off the seatbelt buckle is huge and always easy to find and unclip even if your hands are otherwise full.
The Kadet does lack in organization having only two real compartments that are both the full size of the pack. It can make fishing out keys or your wallet a bit of a frustration. Additionally, the shape of the bag does not accommodate a laptop, meaning that anytime we’re bringing along our computers we are unlikely to also bring the Kadet.
All in all, we’ve reached for the Chrome Industries Kadet far more than we would have anticipated. As a relatively compact daypack it is great for urban exploring when you’re really planning to spend the full day out and about. Even after weeks of testing and ownership the pack shows almost no signs of wear and tear.
The Kadet is a surprisingly great daypack alternative. If you’re zipping through a city or headed to the beach, the Kadet can carry most of what you need while keeping your back cool and your gear right at your fingertips. Ours has become an essential part of our travel gear.