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Review: Chrome Pawn Roll Top Backpack

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I have come to the conclusion that I am a backpack person.  I tried messenger bags for a while.  In fact, I have two in my closet still.  There is just something about a backpack that feels more secure.  A while back I posted a review of the Chrome Soyuz laptop bag.  Shortly after that, a Chrome Pawn roll top backpack showed up.  I swapped all my goodies to the new bag and went forth testing it out.  After a couple of months of daily use its time to share my thoughts and opinions on this bag with you.  Jump past the break for the full story.

Contents: u-lock, coffee, lunch, DSLR bag, rain shell, rain pants, umbrella, and three spare tubes

The Pawn is Chrome’s small roll top backpack that intends to keep your stuff dry no matter what the weather brings.  It’s fully waterproof and seam-sealed to keep the wet stuff out.   I have been in many a downpour with this bag, and not once have I had an issue with water getting where it shouldn’t.  The main compartment is lined with an 18 oz. seam-sealed truck tarp liner, and closes water tight with a nice roll top and Velcro flap.

The Pawn is listed as the “small” version, but I find it holds anything and everything I need on a day-to-day basis.  Occasionally, I find I need to transport a package that won’t fit, but for daily commutes this bag is more that capable.  If you are the type that needs the largest bag you can get, try stepping up to its big brother, Ivan.

Once unrolled, the Pawn reveals both it’s main lined inner compartment, as well as a zippered, unlined pocket.  This pocket is in between both the lined main compartment, and lined outer accessory pocket, making it a great place to stash a wet rain shell, as it won’t soak the rest of your belongings.


In front of the roll top there are three accessory pockets.  The first is a seam-sealed, truck tarp lined, zippered pocket, with a flap covering the zipper.  It is just right for carrying my iPad and a few odds and ends.  I prefer to keep anything electronic in here, as it is really well shielded from the elements, and easy to access.


Beyond that, there are two flap covered pockets that are lined with the same truck tarp liner, and are perfect for holding tools and a flat pack.  They close with a really nice, laser cut, stainless steel latch.  It’s the same latch Chris loved so much on the Chrome Yalta.  That system is one of my favorite things about the bag.  It just looks really cool, and it’s easy to use.  In between the two outer most pockets you will find daisy chain lash points that are great for clipping a light to.  I find that my favorite tail light, the PDW Danger Zone, fits perfectly.


When it comes to wearing the bag, I find it to be one of the most comfortable bags I have used to date.  Whether loaded, or not, it always sits well on my back, and under big efforts on the bike, it doesn’t rock side to side.  The shoulder straps have just the right amount of cushioning, and include a Velcro strap for attaching accessories to.   The chest stabilizer strap is a nice addition (although a removable waist strap would be preferred).  And, the back of the bag has a nice bit of padding, arranged in a pattern that helps keeps the full bag off your back for a bit of cooling.

The only beef I have with this bag is that, after adjusting the straps (both chest and shoulder) there is nothing to retain the excess material.  I always find myself tucking it in somewhere trying to keep it from flapping about when riding.

This bag has become my go to bag for daily use.  Heck, I even used it as my carry on last time I flew.  It easily fit under the seat, and since the pocket where I keep all my electronic toys is accessible from the front of the bag, it was also easy to get into while on the plane.  I have been very happy with the Pawn and I would highly recommend it.  The price of ownership comes in at $160.

Weight: 3.7 lb

Fabric: 1000 denier Cordura outer shell, 18 oz. seam-sealed truck tarp liner

Product Source: Chico, CA, USA

Flat Dimensions: 18” wide, 19” high, 6” deep

  • Weatherproof 1,000 denier Cordura outer backpack
  • Fully waterproof seam-sealed main chamber
  • Watertight roll top closure
  • Laser-cut unbreakable stainless steel hardware
  • Weatherproof urethane coated YKK zippers
  • External wet-dry pockets
  • Haul loop handle and daisy chain lash points



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12 years ago

I found that the straps secure nicely in the velcro tabs provided on the shoulder straps. Just bought mine a month ago and I love it. I am trying to figure out what the little pocket on the outside that has the gear loops is for. I guess by the photo here, that it is for pens?

12 years ago


Loved the review of the Pawn and Soyuz. I was hoping you could give a pro vs con of each of them. I’m deciding between the two and would really appreciate it.


10 years ago

I’m sure you guys have received this feedback already, but the Pawn is the medium size, not the small. The Orlov is the small, Pawn is the medium, and Ivan is the large. I just ordered the Pawn, and I am so excited to get it!

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