An Excellent Urban Alternative to Your Standard Dry Bag
I wanted a dry bag that looked a little more sleek than your average sports outlet offerings. I’m glad Chrome came out with a the Rolltop Excursion because it’s a hell of a bag. The materials are top notch, it’s lighter weight than a lot of the laminated and plasticky feeling bags out there on the market and it looks so sleek. You can kayak in style with one these, this isn’t just a waterproof bag to get you through those downpours on your bike. Let’s take a look some of this bag’s features.
The main weight saving feature this bag has is the knurled Welded seams which truly makes the bag water tight even at the seams where most bags suffer from water penetration. With Knurl Welded seams, it looks like the sides and edges of the bag aren’t sewed together, but pressed together extremely tightly with an interlocking pattern which utilizes the 50% more surface area between the 2 meeting fabrics. This saves material which saves weight, but also creates a bong between the two fabrics that’s 1.5x stronger than your usual seams. I guess the saying “becoming undone at the seams” will never apply to this bag. As Chrome says, this bag is bombproof, waterproof and overall, life proof. I would have no qualms taking this bag to go kayaking and even dropping it in the water because I know nothing inside will get wet. Additionally, the inside of the bag is lined with a rubbery material.
Here’s a closer look at what Knurled Welding looks like. There are 2 types of fabric used to create this bag. One is your standard 600 Denier Cordura fabric that is also TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) coated. This treatment makes the back more abrasion and heat resistant than non-TPU treated bags. In other words, you can drag it across the ground and it will be really hard to to tear this type of fabric. The Cordura makes up the upper half of the bag. As you can see from the photo, the bottom of the bag is made with a different type of material with slightly more sheen to it. This is Hypalon which is a really cool water proof, heat proof and UV resistant material that is used in US Coast Guard life rafts, kayaks and even in roofing. It stays a deep black no matter how much you’ve used it or exposed it to sun. You can let the bottom sit in water for years and water will never get through. I really like the feel of Hypalon because its texture is smooth with just the right amount of roughness to give your finger some resistance if you slide it along the fabric. It’s a little bit tacky to the touch. I can’t really explain it, you’ll just have to try out the bag yourself. In a way I wish the entire bag was made out of Hypalon, that’s how cool the material is.
We’ve got the iconic Chrome logo at the bottom for good measure the white on black is a very sharp and gives a the bag a nice edgy look to it. It’s a lot cooler than some dry bags out there that have really bright colors and the name and logo of the company splashed across the entire bag. Chrome Industries is subtle and understated, giving it just the right amount of cool.
The back of the bag is padded and it seems like there is a sheet on the back which keeps the bag flat and items from poking into you. The padding on the back is comfortable and the raised areas on the padding I assume are for airflow to prevent my back from getting too sweaty. I hiked a few miles to the location I needed to be with the bag fully loaded and the straps were relatively easy on my shoulders. I wish the straps were slightly more wide, they just seem a little bit narrow for a bag this wide and large. The miniature seat belt buckle for the chest stabilizer works like a charm as well and adds a really cool artistic touch to the entire set up. Even the adjusters for the shoulder straps are metal. I forgot to take a picture of them, but they sort of resemble a metal claw clamp that bites down onto the fabric in order to prevent it from moving at all.
I think the only gripe I have about this bag are these wannabe “MOLLE” loops in the front. I’ve used real military MOLLE loop bags before and I don’t know how this even resembles one of those legitimate tactical MOLLE systems. A true MOLLE system has interlocking straps that let you cross weave other MOLLE system bags very securely together with the existing bag. I don’t know how these supposed MOLLE loops on the Chrome Roll Top Excursion are to work with existing MOLLE bags. These are just some random loops where you can put a bike look through or something. There is no way to attach another bag onto the Rolltop Excursion via these loops. They do seem pretty strong though so putting a bike like into between them and perhaps a carabiner with your keys is an effective way of using them on this bag. Other than that, they are just for show. I guess they needed some texture in the front to break up the front of the bag a little bit. If Chrome is planning to develop some smaller bags that will allow you to use the Roll Top Excursion like a modular bag, that would be awesome!
So what can it carry? This thing is a beast and will swallow your kitchen sink and a couple small children. The bag can hold a whopping 37-43 liters worth of gear. There is also a slot inside where you can fit a 13inch laptop, a notebook and some pens/calculator. The top of the bag rolls down and on the sides of the top, there are 2 plastic fasteners that let you pull the top tight once you’ve rolled it down to ensure maximum waterproofness. So what did I decide to put in it?
An entire reflecting telescope system that weighed 35lbs. The Chrome Roll Top Excursion was able to hold the tripod, counterweights and the main telescope easily. That’s how incredible this bag is. I only wish they made a size that was in between the only 2 sizes they currently offer which is a 18L and a 37L. The one that I bought for this review is much to big for my daily purposes. It’s not like I go camping in the woods every single month or need to carry this much gear on a weekly basis. Perhaps this bag is good for someone who does that, but until then and for the price, I’d be better suited to the cheaper 18L version, which I’ll be returning this one for! I hope this review helps you make a decision in your quest for a dry bag. Give the Chrome Roll Top Excursion a try, you won’t be disappointed!