The Barrage Cargo is an expertly constructed backpack for urban riding and commuting that protects items perfectly in the rain. It's expensive and fairly heavy, but it should be a backpack that just lasts and lasts.
Rugged and hard wearing
Lack of exterior zip pockets
Not as comfortable for long commutes
For those of us who commute by bike, there's a few things a backpack has to have: enough space for your stuff, to be waterproof and to be reasonably comfortable for your ride to work.
Urban biking bags and apparel brand Chrome Industries (opens in new tab) designed the Barrage Cargo backpack for all conditions use in the city. With a 22 litre capacity with a roll top and buckle closure, the bag also features an inner sleeve for a max 15 inch laptop as well as an outside zip pockets, two side pockets and a cargo net.
At around £170, this backpack is at the expensive end of the market, but you can tell straight away that this is a well constructed, rugged and hard wearing bag.
I carry shoes and clothes as well as my laptop for commuting and the Barrage Cargo has plenty of space for both with the laptop sleeve at the rear of the inside. I never struggled to find space for something extra in the bag.
The interior has tarpaulin constructed in and this proved extremely effective when riding in the rain. There's no outer rain cover here, but it's not needed for items inside the bag which stayed completely protected.
On the outer of the bag is one zip pocket. It's a decent size and provides a space for things you don't want to get lost in the main space of the bag, but it would have been ideal for it either to be compartmentalised or for the bag to have a second, similar pocket. I felt like I was having to throw all my valuables in one jumble in the pocket, and because the zip is vertical, it didn't feel as secure.
The outer also features two side pockets, which were very useful for storing water bottles or inner tubes that could be secured the straps of the cargo net.
For me, the cargo net is the major sell of this bag. Rather than having to have my helmet dangling from one of the outer straps, you can strap the helmet into the cargo net out of the way on the outside of the bag. You can also put shoes in there for when you're riding if you want to save space inside. The material of the netting is tough and felt secure with four adjustable clips to hold items in place.
The straps and the back panel were very comfortable when walking around with the bag and felt good on short journeys on the bike. I found that 10km or less was the ideal for the Barrage Cargo, the back panel (especially with a laptop) is quite rigid, so some extended rides of 30km didn't feel as comfortable.
It's not light either, but that's the trade off for the metal buckled chest strap and adjustment clips as well as the fully waterproof material, which should make this backpack a lot longer lasting than most.
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Follow on Twitter: @richwindy
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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