Safe Sacks

Friday, March 6, 2009

I occasionally poke around in a few travel forums like Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree and the Boots 'n' All Network. Each has areas for discussions about different destinations, but they also have areas specifically for discussing long term RTW travel. One of the topics that seems to pop up regularly is the debate about Pacsafes.

Pacsafe is a company that makes theft-resistant bags and accessories. Bags range from small pouches to camera bags, daypacks, messenger bags and ipod safes. But the item that generates the most controversy is the Pacsafe itself - here's what it's all about, as quoted from the website:

Featuring patented eXomesh® Ultimate security technology, the PacSafe is an adjustable high-tensile stainless steel locking device, designed to cover and protect a variety of bags and packs from tampering, pilfering and theft. Throw it around your pack, secure it to something fixed and get on with your adventure. Four sizes mean there is one to fit almost every type of backpack, soft-sided wheeled luggage or duffel bag... The PacSafe 85 has the distinction of winning Backpacker Magazine's coveted Editors' Choice Award.



There are two sides to the debate about the Pacsafe - one side says that it's just safer and more reassuring to lock everything up all the time. The other side says that such an obvious anti-theft device makes your bag scream, "I''m full of expensive stuff. Do everything you can to steal me!"

Not surprisingly, I'm torn. I'd like the peace of mind of knowing that my bag and its contents were as secure as possible, but it's also just another damned thing to haul around. Even the smallest one - the Pacsafe 55 - weighs just over a pound and packs into a 5-1/2" x 4" x 2" pouch. Also, lots of the people who comment on this topic say the device is a pain to deploy and an even biggger pain to re-pack into its little pouch. I think the slickly-produced video may not be telling the real-life story, and the preponderance of opinion among people who post on travel forums is that the Pacsafe is more trouble than it's worth.

I've decided to skip the Pacsafe. Instead, I invested in another product from the same company, the Retractasafe 200. It's a retractable cable lock that I intend to use to attach the Aeronaut to an immovable object when I leave it behind. The device has a resettable combination lock, a 3 foot long cable, and weighs about 3 ounces. I'm also going to secure the three zippers on my bag by padlocking the zipper tabs together. It won't be a completely slash-proof solution, but I feel like it's a reasonable compromise. As a bonus, I've discovered that the Retractasafe doubles quite neatly as a padlock for gym lockers.

As always, I'd love to hear opinions on this topic, especially from anyone who has actual real world experience with this stuff.

3 Comments:

Gillian said...

Hi Pam,
We purchased a PacSafe daybag to securely store our laptop and electronics because it is slashproof and has a kind of inner removable 'safe'. In the end though, we are not taking it with us. It is just to big and bulky for regular use. We are, however, going to take the removable 'safe' to put into our regular daypack. It will serve the same function as the lock you have described which I think is a good compromise.

I do know that Sean and Dawn from WanderingWhy.com are using the PackSafe and it has saved their a$$.

ClearlyEnlight, said...

I have a small coil lock and highly suggest buying one. The one I bought is ultra light.

I have used my coil lock at night for hostels that don't have lockers I lock up my daypack to the bed. On overnight boats while I was sleeping on floor, and on trains.

A small lock to lock up your daypack zippers is essential, too.

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