Bag Week Review: The Chrome Yalta Backpack

What is it?
If you’re planning on taking a semester off and fly to Europe just to clear your head and get over “her” (or “him”), you’re going to need a backpack. That’s why Chrome made the Yalta, a backpack that looks like a cross between an Weimar-Era bondage truss and something the Good Soldier Švejk would carry through the trenches of World War I.

This is not to say that the Yalta is only for those who browse army surplus shops. This “duffel” style backpack has a large top opening and a rear pocket designed to allow for a laptop (no bigger than the Macbook Air) and/or a tablet. There is also a front pocket. To close it, you simply roll up the lip at the top and connect the chromed metal hook into one of the loops sewn to the back of the backpack. The hook, it should be noted, can double as a bottle opener.

The Chrome Yalta

Type: Backpack
Dimensions: 14x21x6 inches/29 liters
Pockets: Main body, rear laptop/tablet pocket/front accessory pocket
Features: Weather proof shell, clasp doubles as a bottle opener
MSRP: $120
Product Page

Style-wise the Yalta is stark and utilitarian. I was able to fit quite a bit of kit into this thing, however, and it’s roomy enough for an weekend trip, along with all the electronics necessary for said trip. The laptop pocket is set low against the back should be protected in various situations it was quite secure even when I threw the bag around on the plane. The only complaint is how deep the thing is. Once you fill it up, getting to the bottom takes a while and you can feasibly lose things in its deepest recesses.

Who is this for?
Folks going on semester abroad. Businessmen with an edge going to Scranton for a three-day assignment. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. Folks on a train who only have 24 hours to fall in and out of love.

Do I want it?
If you need a weekend bag, you could do worse. Many of the online reviews talked up the waterproof fabric and I think that’s the Yalta’s real draw – the sense that you can have a heck of an adventure with this thing without your laptop getting wet. While I think it’s a bit small for a longer trip, it’s more than sufficient for a bit of urban exploring and at $120 it’s a well-priced, roomy bag for folks who want a bit of rubber clad excitement.