July 16, 2018
Long before I became a backpack guy it was all about the messenger and a Chrome messenger was very much on my wish-list. They were hard to find, especially in the UK, but were everywhere in the US. Working in the web industry work often took me Stateside and many friends and colleagues were owners of the bag with the quick release strap buckle. They seemed the perfect size for laptops, clothes, daily carry and of course ideal for bike couriers.
The Macheto is part of the Treadwell Collection which also includes a briefcase, tote bag, dopp kit, and a duffle bag. The Macheto is the biggest of the bunch and they claim it holds 42–48 litres which should be plenty for a stint on the road (depending on your packing style of course)!
Sadly the Macheto doesn’t feature the famous quick release strap buckle but in its place is the only element of visible branding — a discreet Chrome Industries logo badge on the front of the pack (although in some promotional photos this is red and not grey).
I’m a big fan of the clamshell style opening, which is becoming an increasingly popular style for backpacks, and the addition of pockets within the inner clam covering/divider is a neat feature — one looks big enough to hold magazines and papers while the smaller mesh pocked looks ideal for items like passports, cards, and keys.
Another common feature on packs of this size and nature is a dedicated laptop sleeve and the Macheto features one big enough for a 15” laptop. This sits at the rear of the pack and will rest against your back when carried.
The Macheto is highly configurable. As well as featuring hideaway straps there’s a top and side handle for carrying although I am not sure how comfortable these would be for continued use. I often find these handles most of use when pulling packs out of overhead bins. I’m surprised Chrome doesn’t offer a messenger style strap that would clip to the bag but given the very square box-like shape this might be quite uncomfortable.
You can adjust the volume of the pack with the two thick compression straps and clips which buckle on the side. These look easy enough to use and don’t detract from the overall aesthetic in my opinion.
Other reviews have commented on the distinctly square shape of the Macheto and it’s hard to ignore. I actually quite like it and find it a pleasant aesthetic change from other packs. I do, however, wonder if a full pack would feel uncomfortable given that it will sit higher, and further out, than packs that have a longer length. As with most things I feel this would be fine for some, and very uncomfortable for others.
Chrome has a wide range of products and if you’re a little intimidated by the size of the Macheto and are in the market for a multiple use daypack then you might prefer the similarly featured 15 litre Vega Transit Brief which retails for $160.
I really like the look of the Macheto but would definitely prefer to try it for size before buying. I’m a big fan of its understated branding and the build quality looks high. If I didn’t have similar packs in my cupboard this would probably high on the “to buy” list for the future. Price wise it’s very similar to others I have reviewed already but a lot less than popular packs like the $299 Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag and the coincidentally priced?, $299 Tortuga Outbreaker.