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protecting your backpack - Pacsafe ?

Travel Forums Travel Gear protecting your backpack - Pacsafe ?

1. Posted by tijl (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

Was looking for shoes today (tried in total perhaps 50 pairs, it's great to have size 13...)
and saw in one store Pacsafe 85-120 basically it's a metal sort of net that you wrap your backpack in,
lock it and connect it to leg/metal pole/whatever.

I liked the idea (especially while travelling alone - busses, bustop, taking nap on train etc.)
but the thought also hit me that if people see you use it they will automaticallly assume you've something valuable ...
and will focus MORE attention on your backpack. offcourse if there's more easy stuff to steal they might go for something else but ... to much buts :)

+: - light (weight) protection (548gr's for 85, but I probably will be able to get smaller size so 500g)
- quality product (looked like)
- not having to clench backpack on long bus/train trip(, additional security while in inn?)

-: - might make me a "target"
- expensive (60euro's approx)

so any experiences/thoughts ?

thx in advance

2. Posted by tcalley (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

i bought the 85l size pacsafe for my trip in 07.

Its a fantastic concept but not so good in practice.

1. For one it takes a good 3 minutes to put it on properly, and a little longer to pack it up. It may not seem like long but the minor hassle of setting it up/packing it up means you will use it a whole lot less. We found a wire cable secured with a cable was far more practical as it takes seconds to secure your bag. Obviously pacsafe is much more secure as it prevents your bag straps from being slashed and the bag taken.

2. it is quite heavy. Every kg counts and at 450gms it is not lite.

3. Even with the pac safe on, if your zips are not padloacked, someone can still go thrugh your bag and pull out almost everything. They couldnt do this very quickly, but in alone in a hostel dorm they would have ample time. If your zips are padlocked they can still slash the sides of your bag and remove thigns.

4. It's expensive, but you could always put it on ebay when you get home to recoup some of the cost. They seem to wear pretty well.

If you were travelling by yourself would be very useful for when your at a train station buying tickets or something, you can secure your bag to a pole or bench etc. When not travelling alone one of you can lok after the bags while the other buys tickets.

5. For the 2 weeks i was travelling solo, i decided to leave my bag, pacsafed to a bench in the main train station in munich. I was only stopping there for 4 hours and i was feeling to poor to hire a locker. I retruned to the station to find my bag gone. The police had used boltcutters on the lock, and taken my bag, thinkning it was a bomb. You cannot leave any baggage unattened in any train, bus station or airport so that negates some of the benefit of a pacsafe.

The pacsafe is expensive, its a bit of a hassle to set up/pack up, but if you are travlling with expensive equipment, SLR camera/laptop etc then it may be a good idea. I would definately get a simple cable lock as well to use for the times when a pacsafe is a bit of overkill.

Hope this helps,

Regards Tom

3. Posted by tijl (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

your suggestions make me think just a cable will probably be better idea

4. Posted by Schof26 (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y


I just want to add my two cents to Tom’s post.

First, much respect to Tom and his post. He makes some good points, but there are a few things I want to point out to you.

To start, PacSafe is a good product, but, as Tom mentioned, it is not the perfect solutions for every situation.

The folks at PacSafe want you to believe it your bag will be slash-proof and impossible to steal. As Tom pointed out, all you need is a good set of bolt cutters and the bag would be pretty easy to steal.

Still, there are a few things I would like to add.

1) If you’re using a PacSafe or a cable, its only real benefit is a deterrent. If someone wants your bag badly enough, they will get it.

2) Tom points out, “Even with the pac safe on, if your zips are not padloacked, someone can still go thrugh your bag and pull out almost everything. They couldnt do this very quickly, but in alone in a hostel dorm they would have ample time. If your zips are padlocked they can still slash the sides of your bag and remove thigns.”

That’s not necessarily accurate. If your zips are padlocked and you are using the PacSafe, they can’t (or shouldn’t be able to) slash the sides. That’s why you have the PacSafe in the first place!

I agree, PacSafes are expensive and heavy. Also, they can take some time to put on your bag and put away. They also catch on the straps and zippers when you are putting in around your bag. However, I would rather have the PacSafe to use than to not have it at all.

When I was spending the night in Gatwick Airport, I was glad to have my PacSafe. I wrapped everything up and chained it to the bench I was sleeping on that night. And I didn’t worry about it. Without the PacSafe, someone could have slashed the handles on my bag and more easily stolen my bag.

I’m not saying it’s the perfect security device – far from it, but I have a few tips that may come in handy.

- As Tom pointed out, “You cannot leave any baggage unattended in any train, bus station or airport so that negates some of the benefit of a pacsafe.”

Very true. Security is tighter everywhere these days. Be prepared to carry your bags with you everywhere you go, lest they are stolen or quarantined by security.

Good times to use your PacSafe:
- When your bag is on the roof of a bus.
- When you have to sleep on an overnight train (or, for that matter, anywhere) and want to secure your bag and no lockers are available.
- Extra security if your bag is in the back of a car with no trunk (pickup truck, Jeep, SUV) or a car with a broken trunk lid.

Bad times to use your PacSafe:
- When checking your bag in on an airline.
- In a hostel, or any place where your bag will be unattended for a long period of time when there is a locker available.
- Public areas, such as train stations, airports, etcetera, unless you are with your bag.

GOOD PACSAFE TIP: Because the wire mesh can get caught in the straps, zippers and other parts of the bag, making the PacSafe difficult to put on and remove, put a rain cover over your bag first. This will cover all the straps, zippers and everything else. It will be a lot easier to put on and remove later.

Some people bring two rain covers; one to go over the bag and the other to go over the PacSafe, so it doesn’t stand out as much.

The main issue, though, is what you are protecting. What is really important when you travel? Yourself, of course, but let’s look at a brief list of things that are important on the road:

- Yourself
- Passport
- Money/Credit cards
- Medication
- Pictures
- Tickets
- Lucky Tuba

Those things – lucky tuba notwithstanding – should be in your day pack (or on your person), which should be with you all the time, aside from the pictures, which should be uploaded on online storage or E-mailed home as you travel.

So really, as long as those main things are protected, you should be okay, though it is awful to have your main pack stolen from you on the road. And I speak from experience. Any my bag theft had nothing to do with not using a PacSafe! It was from leaving my bag in a trunk-less car in San Francisco overnight. Someone smashed the window and took my bag (and my rolls of film)! It seems the best form of bag security is common sense and not being overtired.

All in all, I think a PacSafe is a good investment, having used mine in a variety of places and circumstances. It protects in ways a cable can not.

However, if you’re going to use one, use it with discretion, patience and a little skepticism.

Have fun out there and be safe!

5. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 8y

I've never used a pac mesh deal so I can't speak to it directly. That said, I have talked to a number of people who have had the thing, and they don't take it on their second trip. If you have to be with the bag anyway, it's a waste. Sure, you can use it on the top of a chicken bus. Try to do this with a maelstrom of people carrying other bags are trying to throw their stuff up. And I've seen folks laboriously trying to put this thing on, which doesn't look fun.

Bill is clearly experienced with the item. It works for him, and I bet dozens of others. But it really is only the ILLUSION *doug henning* of security, in my view.

I do like keeping the rain cover on all the time though. It does discourage nimble fingers.