Review: Chrome Cardiel ORP

Chrome Cardiel ORP
$110 / chromebagsstore.com

The Chrome Cardiel ORP, endorsed by John Cardiel himself—and by all manner of cargo-carrying bike bike-ninjas the world over.i

The Chrome Cardiel ORP, endorsed by John Cardiel himself—and by all manner of cargo-carrying bike bike-ninjas the world over.i

I’m a [smug]gler. My tool of choice, Chrome’s fan-fricken-awesome Cardiel ORP (Operation Readiness Pack).

My cargo? A screw-you attitude and a middle finger to the oppressive car culture found behind the Orange Curtain, otherwise known as the surreal land of Orange County.

Smarminess aside, I’ve had the luxury of carting my crap around in the ORP for over a year now, and while I failed miserably as a Boy Scout, I still try and do my good turn daily, which, today involves me climbing up onto my soapbox (it’s a really big one, I have a dedicated step stool for it and everything…) and telling you that if your commute is on the longer side, you owe it to yourself to give Chrome’s ORP a long, hard look the next time you find yourself in the market for something to shuttle your shit to and from wherever it is you find yourself going.

The minimalist harness does a surprisingly good job of keeping the ORP close to your every curve.

The minimalist harness does a surprisingly good job of keeping the ORP close to your every curve.


Straying away from the monostrap, messenger bag design, the O.R.P. uses the tried and true two-strap backpack approach to great results.

Using simplicity to its advantage, Chrome constructed the ORP from double-coated, lightweight 100-denier ripstop nylon, and taped every seam and equipped the bag with a roll-top closure in order to accommodate awkward loads while keeping everything safe from any undesirable weather—and the river of sweat flowing down your back, because let’s face it, commuting and racing are sometimes the same thing.

Inside, you get one simple divider, but that’s about it. And really, that’s about all I needed. It worked well for keeping a laptop from moving around willy-nilly, and also for keeping a pair of unnaturally-odorous kicks from fraternizing with my freshly-pressed Billy Idol tour t-shirt.

But the feature I grew to love most, was the ORP’s crazy lightness. On my long commute (35 miles, short by OC standards) you really start to feel every ounce strapped to your back, so its nice to not have a pack that weighs as much as all the crap you put into it.

Despite the lack of material used in the ORP’s construction, durability has been excellent, especially seeing as I haven’t exactly been kind to it. And, while how you pack it and what you put in it comes in to play in a big way, it’s surprisingly comfortable despite it’s minimalist straps.

What is there not to love? I’ll have to get back to you on that one…

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