For the most part, I’ve been a backpack sort of guy. I carry a backpack with me on a daily basis to work, I carry one when I travel, and I even carry one sometimes when I’m just out and about on the town. I just like the fact that it allows me to carry my stuff without me having to either hold it in my hand or shove it in my pocket. Sometimes though, a backpack is just overkill when all you want to do is carry around a few things here and there. That’s where something like a shoulder bag comes in handy, though you want one that doesn’t look like a woman’s purse and you don’t want one that looks like a laptop bag or tablet bag. Chrome Industries has something that fits the bill and calls their version a utility bag, based off an old fashioned musette. The model I’m checking out right now is called the Vega and it’s the manliest “it’s not a purse” shoulder bag you’ll ever see.
The Chrome Industries Vega is classified as a musette, which is basically a small knapsack with a shoulder strap. The Vega is far from looking even remote girlish and it doesn’t have the blocky look of a laptop bag.
The bag itself has a squarish profile to it and like a messenger bag, it has a large flap that covers the contents of the bag. It doesn’t use an outer zipper to keep what’s inside secure and instead uses a series of Velcro strips and buckles. The Velcro helps secure the flap into position while the buckles are there to keep the flap from actually opening. If you need easy access, forgo using the buckles, however I would use the buckles if you are traveling long distances and don’t need access to what is inside.
If you look at it from the outside, it doesn’t really seem like it holds much, but once you open it, you’ll see that there are some really nice organizational pockets and then one very large main compartment that will swallow up your gear. On the front, there are three pockets. You can use these to hold a stylus, your smart phone, or a small notepad. Behind that is a zipper pocket that you can use to hold flatter objects like a wallet, map, or something of that nature. This pocket is completely lined in the taraulin material so it’s very waterproof so consider putting something in here that you can’t afford to have get wet. Behind the zippered pocket is another flat pocket, but it’s open this time. I used this pocket to hold my iPad as it’s a perfect fit for it. It can hold an iPad Mini or the larger iPad Air.
The last compartment under the flap is the main compartment which is very deep and fairly wide inside. It doesn’t look it, but it can hold fairly large stuff. Currently, I’m using this compartment to hold a PS Vita in a case and my mirrorless camera and lens. There is plenty of room for both and I still have space to even fit a jacket in there if I had to or a small umbrella.
There is one more pocket on the rear of the bag and that’s mainly a quick access pocket. This is for something like a magazine or newspaper or whatever else you want to put in there that you need quickly and don’t really care if it gets wet or not.
The strap on the Vega will be familiar to anyone who has used any of Chrome industries’ products or to anyone who has driven a car. It’s basically a seat belt strap which means it’s very strong and will stand up to daily abuse. It doesn’t use the iconic Chrome seat belt buckle however and instead uses a metal adjustment system. It works very well and makes it easy to adjust length. The only real complaint about the strap is that on the portion which attaches to the bag, there is a piece that is made out of plastic. It’s a fairly thick piece of plastic but I would have much rather this be a metal piece for more strength and longevity.
Like all Chrome Industries bags, the Vega shares many common features with the other bags in their lineup. For instance, the Vega is built to be tough and weather proof, which is why it is made of the same weatherproof, 1000-denier CORDURA outer shell and military grade truck tarpaulin liner as their larger bags. This gives it the strength to withstand almost any situation and any weather condition out there. Pretty much any item you place in the Vega would be protected from the elements thanks to the heavy duty liner which is a huge plus, especially for those commute by foot or bike.
- Weatherproof, 1000-denier CORDURA® Brand outer shell
- Weatherproof, 18-oz., military-grade truck-tarpaulin liner
- Nylon 69 thread and YKK zippers
- Main compartment fits a 13” laptop (laptop sleeve recommended)
- Easy-access back pocket
- Commercial-grade, five-bar seatbelt webbing shoulder strap
- Easily adjustable tri-glide strap adjustment
The Chrome Industries Vega is proudly made in the U.S.A. and features a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Of course these bags are some of the toughest around so more than likely, you’ll never have to make a claim, though it’s nice to have that lifetime guarantee for craftsmanship.
This is a very good utility bag. The Chrome Industries Vega is the perfect size for day-to-day use if you don’t have to carry a ton of stuff with you. It’s large enough to hold a 13″ laptop, but it never feels like a large bag. My problem with backpacks is that I always feel the need to fill it with stuff, even if I don’t need it. With the Vega, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that I have to really hold myself back and only carry what I need and want.
On a daily bases, I always have my second phone with me, an iPad, my PS Vita and a camera. I also carry around the usual charging cables, extra memory cards, and a couple thumb drives. The Vega is able to hold all of this easily while still remaining light weight and small. Not only that, it’s very easy to get at your stuff inside when you need it which is different from a backpack in which most of the time, you have to take a backpack off to get at your stuff. This saves time thanks to its convenience.
I like the fact that the interior is lined with a weather-proof material which will keep the water out and your equipment dry. The is one of the main features I love about Chrome Industries bags. They are made to be used in even extreme conditions. They look really good and have a style all their own. I didn’t want a large messenger bag nor did I want something that looked like a purse. The Vega hit all the right points and is one of my favorite shoulder bags at the moment and the only one I have continued using without the thought of switching back to a backpack.
I wanted a bag to carry around my daily essentials. Yes, my old backpack did that, but I felt it was a bit much for the amount of stuff I actually carried in it. I like to carry around all my gadgets and gear, but not on a daily bases as I end up not even using half of them. Usually I only carry around my tablet, camera, and my PS Vita so using a backpack to carry those items just felt like I was carrying around something much to large. With the Chrome Industries Vega, it was the perfect size to carry exactly what I needed in a smaller form factor. Not only that, there is still a surprising amount of room left for other essentials you may need.
The Vega is very well made, uses very high quality materials that should last for a lifetime, and isn’t something you’d be embarrassed to carry around. Items you put in it are easy to get to and if you’re creative enough, you can think of all types of uses for it. The Vega also doesn’t cost that much, especially for how well made it is. You can grab your own here on the Chrome Industries site in either the black/black combo or the gray/white combo.