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review

Chrome Industries Tensile Sling

7
£110.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Compact, versatile, rain resistant and very well made, though the iconic buckle seems a bit overkill here
Very well made and hardwearing
Zips provide some rain protection
Versatile
Reflective detailing
Useful size
Clunky, heavy buckle
Material not seriously waterproof
Cheaper version available with a less bulky buckle
Weight: 
378g

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The Chrome Industries Tensile Sling is a great civilian bag for holding tablet-sized extras around town. It's versatile and functions over one shoulder or round the waist. It's not going to keep your possessions totally dry in prolonged downpours, so it's most at home on less adventurous trips. It has numerous different well-constructed pockets and straps, and the 'iconic' buckle – though unnecessarily heavy, noisy and bulky in my opinion – is part of an easy-to-adjust strap system.

With a 7L capacity, the Tensile Sling was ideal for trips around town where I was on and off the bike and wanted to keep my pockets empty. It can take a small bike lock or a small tablet – things of that size. (If you want something bigger, check out our guide to the best cycling backpacks.)

The outer feels very plasticky, almost shiny and waxy to the touch, which seems to encourage water run-off. Chrome says the bag is highly water resistant and I think that's pretty accurate. When I got caught in the rain for a few minutes here and there everything was fine, but when it came to riding around with a decent amount of rainfall and some splash from the road, there was some dampness on books inside. I wouldn't consider this a huge problem, but it would make me look for something more adventure specific if I had that in mind.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling - 4

The ripstop fabric used really is as tough as old boots. I gave it a few grazes on some sharp corners and it batted them all off without blinking. There is some small reflective detailing too.

On the inside

The bag has two main compartments, with an additional long zipped pocket on the front. Inside the rear compartment is a small zipped wallet and a key ring on the end of some material. There's also an easy-to-miss little hook for a pen.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling 3.jpg

The other compartment is a similar size (big enough for a hardback book), but empty except for a series of three fabric rings that you might tuck bike tools or other things inside.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling 4.jpg

Both compartments and the flat outer pocket are guarded by tough PU-coated zips, with red strings attached, making them very easy to use.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling 5.jpg

The combination of flat zippered compartments and more capacious ones provides a variety of options to hold bulkier items and smaller valuables. I'm a bit of a sucker for bags and I found it enjoyable designating different areas for different possessions. Sure, it's not very James Bond behaviour, but it's satisfying all the same.

Positives & negatives

There are lots of positives in the construction and placement of straps, pockets and zips. Two small tightening straps at each end allow you to slim down the bag if it isn't particularly full, and the main strap is about two fingers wide, with half of it made up of incredibly strong Velcro that helps you select the right length for your needs. This is all very intuitive and secure.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling - strap detail

I'm not a fan of the 'iconic' seatbelt buckle, though. It's gigantic, and while there's no doubting its security when clicked to lock, thanks to its metal parts it clinks quite annoyingly at all times and, in my opinion, detracts from the modest looks of the bag. And it adds considerable weight. Handily, if you agree, there's an identical version of the bag bar the buckle (it has a Slide buckle instead) that's £25 cheaper.

2024 Chrome Industries Tensile Sling - strap and buckle

The bag hangs nicely on the back when cycling, and I found it easy to get it into a comfortable position on the diagonal over one shoulder. Equally, when wearing the strap horizontally, around my hip, it rested in the right places without much adjustment.

Value

The price of £110 is okay considering its size and how hardwearing it is – I imagine you'd get a good few years' use for your money, plus it has a lifetime warranty, so long as you don't damage it yourself. You are paying £25 extra for the seatbelt-style buckle, though; the Chrome Tensile *Slide* Sling is £25 less and aside from the buckle is identical.

There isn't much directly comparable that we've reviewed recently. Josh tested the Apidura City Messenger last year and that's cheaper at £91 and offers more laptop-sized storage.

> 15 easy ways to carry stuff on your bike

Looking elsewhere, the Bellroy Venture Sling is 6L and costs £119. As its name suggests, it's designed for adventure, and is claimed to be water resistant too. Or there's the smaller Bellroy Sling Mini for £85, with a capacity of 4L.

There are cheaper and smaller hip pack options out there, such as the 2.5L Apidura Backcountry Hip Pack (£76) and the 2L Rapha MTB Trail Hip Pack (£70), or for £90 you can find something totally waterproof like the Loop Dry Hip Bag, and it's only 100g heavier.

Or veering into the world of the backpack is the 8L Patagonia Atom Sling bag for a very reasonable £55. As per Patagonia, it has good eco credentials and offers some DWR protection.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a versatile day bag that looks after the smaller essentials with a reasonable amount of protection against the weather, the Tensile Sling is a good option. The seatbelt buckle is a bit overkill in my opinion – diehard Chrome fans will probably love it – but you can buy it with the Slide buckle instead and save yourself some money.

Verdict

Compact, versatile, rain resistant and very well made, though the iconic buckle seems a bit overkill here

road.cc test report

Make and model: Chrome Industries Tensile Sling

Size tested: 7 Litres

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Chrome Industries says: "This updated 7L sling is all about structure and strength. Lightweight ripstop sailcloth finished with our signature 5 Bar webbing for continuous reinforcement along with swappable buckle technology with MD (1.5") buckles makes the Tensile Sling a great choice to keep your daily essentials within reach. Guaranteed for life."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Chrome Industries:

* Highly water-resistant materials and PU coated zippers

* Three external pockets for staying organized

* Multiple internal organizer pockets keep the little things at hand

* Iconic seatbelt buckle and 5-bar webbing reinforcement

* Swappable buckle works with all MD size 1.5" buckles

* Lifetime warranty against material or workmanship defects

Volume: 7 Liters | Swaps with MD 1.5" buckles

Strap circumference: 30"-52.5"

Height: 7" | Width 10-11" | Depth: 4"

Weight: .82lbs (0.4 kg)

Materials: recycled nylon and polyester with a recycled polyester liner

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Sturdy as anything and the ripstop fabric feels just that: pretty much unrippable. The metal buckle is cumbersome and almost too sturdy... I can't argue that it works well, but seems to me like slight overkill, though it is 'iconic', I guess.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Great to use and worked really well during the test period.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Cannot envisage this breaking any time soon. Every part feels really strong. There is a lifetime warranty against defects, so Chrome is clearly confident!

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Could be lighter with a different buckle, but the material is very hardwearing too, which adds some weight. While 378g doesn't feel like much in day to day life, it might make itself felt on longer outings.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Comfortable in almost all carrying scenarios, but the buckle doesn't have any padding and is quite noisy.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Not cheap at £110 but offers a good range of spec, and costs less than some. If you're happy to forgo the big buckle, though, the Tensile Slide Sling is £25 less.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Good for organising possessions when moving around town. The limited waterproofing means I wouldn't necessarily use it for bigger adventures.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I found myself using the Tensile more than I would have imagined. It's not big enough for a shopping bag or for a laptop, but I transferred keys, phone, book and water bottle in there, still leaving enough space for smaller items. Frees up pockets nicely and is pretty comfy to carry.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The buckle; it's just a bit overkill here. I'd go for the model with the Slide buckle, for less money.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There isn't much directly comparable that we've reviewed recently. Josh tested the Apidura City Messenger last year and that's cheaper at £91 and offers more laptop-sized storage.

Looking elsewhere, the Bellroy Venture Sling is 6L and costs £119. As its name suggests, it's designed for adventure, and is claimed to be water resistant too. Or there's the smaller Bellroy Sling Mini for £85, with a capacity of 4L.

There are plenty of cheaper and smaller options out there, such as the 2.5L Apidura Backcountry Hip Pack (£76) and the 2L Rapha MTB Trail Hip Pack (£70), or veering into the world of the backpack is the 8L Patagonia Atom Sling bag for a very reasonable £55. As per Patagonia, it has good eco credentials and offers some DWR protection.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It does a lot of the main things I require of a day bag really well and strikes me as incredibly hardwearing. I certainly enjoyed using it, but for the overall score I'd say it's good, whereas if it was the lighter and cheaper Slide buckle version it would be very good. That big buckle just adds weight and money, and seems OTT here.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 34  Height: 187cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Pearson Hammerandtongs  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra endurance

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
ktache | 1 month ago
0 likes

I was gutted when too late to order a ReLoad bag, they are moving on to better things. So already a couple of other manufacturers suggestions for custom messengers, timbuk2 no longer doing it for me. Any others?

Avatar
wtjs | 1 month ago
0 likes

I can't see the point of all this stuff: too small and expensive. Alternative plan: any old rucksack will do it better. Waxed cotton: no thanks! It's taken Carradice decades to move to big Cordura saddlebags on the QR seatpost bracket. Hooray!!

Avatar
Owd Big 'Ead | 1 month ago
0 likes

Having been a messenger on and off for near on 3 decades now nothing beats a Pac Designs bag, hand made in Canada.
Not cheap, but infinitely better than massed produced Chrome Industries offerings.
https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064306441241

Avatar
peted76 | 1 month ago
0 likes

That seems like a lot of loot.. even the cheaper one seems like a lot of loot.. I'd actually really appreciate a backpacks/slings roundup review.. for sizes up to a maximum of say.. 20L.. 

My current 12L backpack is starting to look v v shabby (/possiblyabitbacteriallydangerous)..  kinda the right size.. I couldn't go smaller but could go up a little..

If my fellow forumites have any preferences or ideas.. might help.. my critera.. sternum strap.. lightweight.. fits a small laptop (ideally).. bottle holder.. easy access for phone/wallet..  that's about it. Not too keen on the roll top ones.. kthxbai:) 

Avatar
andystow replied to peted76 | 1 month ago
0 likes

Aerostich is primarily in the motorcycling market, but their messenger bags are handmade in the USA and look really nice. They come in four sizes. The waxed cotton one looks really sharp.

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