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Pacsafe Bag Protectors- Worth Purchasing?

Posted by cheeco on 13/7/2009 at 23:00

My husband and I are really one the fence as to whether to purchase two PacSafe bag protectors or not. They will be $84.99 each (CAD).

We will be traveling for 6-9 months throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and are planning to take advantage of AirAsia's cheap flights instead of the bus/train (as much as we can).

We were a little turned off by how big the spaces are between the wire cable, as it seems like this definitely makes it easier to slash.

Should we feel condident buying two of these, or just opt for locks for the zippers? Your opinions are really appreciated!

Thanks!!

#1 cheeco has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 29

Posted by amazon_blonde on 14/7/2009 at 00:00

Cheeco,
I've been travelling for more than a decade with various pacsafe products. i think it really depends on your travel style and the kinds of places you are staying. IMHO, i think pacsafe products are pretty bomb-proof. i've never heard of a pacsafe product being broken into or slashed, and it certainly hasn't happened to me.
Having said that, I don't usually put my pacsafe on my backpack when I'm moving from point A to point B, whether on a bus or train or plane or whatever. (Exception - really dodgy buses where you know theft from the undercarriage is a concern.) I know this is what they are designed for, but I subscribe to the theory that it actually makes your bag more of a target because it stands out and makes it look like you have something to protect. In Bangkok maybe not an issue, but out in rural places, you don't want your gear to attract attention. And there's nothing the pacsafe can do on a bus to keep someone from walking away with your whole pack and breaking into it at their leisure.
What I love my pacsafe products for is using to secure my stuff when I'm at a guesthouse. If you stay at mid-to-high end places that have in room safes, then you don't really have a need for this. But otherwise, how to keep your stuff safe while you wander about all day/evening? Sure, you can use the hotel safe, but I never feel very good handing over all my cash, passport, camera, iPod, etc. to someone I don't know. Then you're also at their mercy if and when you want to retrieve it. Instead, we usually have just one pacsafe between us (whether I'm travelling with my sister or my partner) and we lock up one bag to something secure and put the valuable stuff in that.
This most recent trip, we had colossal backpacks (only because we had serious climbing gear) and we couldn't use a regular pacsafe wrapper because it wasn't big enough. So we got one of their "travel safes" which is a small pouch that you stuff your valuables into and then is then secured to something in your room. A travelling personal safe. It was awesome and small and not heavy or cumbersome and will now be my security item of choice. You may have some trouble locating one in Canada (I couldn't find it in Toronto at all and had to pick up one from Wanderlust in Vancouver), but I highly recommend it. At $50 Cdn, it's also cheaper than a regular pacsafe. Definitely cheaper than buying 2 pacsafes. So if you're on the fence, this might be a good option.

#2 amazon_blonde has been a member since 20/12/2008. Posts: 116


Posted by cheeco on 14/7/2009 at 12:48

Excellent advice! Thanks a lot amazon_blonde!

#3 cheeco has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 29

Posted by ariesdude82 on 27/8/2009 at 07:21

What do you do with your money belt and pack when your planning on swimming?

ariesdude82

#4 ariesdude82 has been a member since 17/8/2009. Posts: 10

Posted by busylizzy on 27/8/2009 at 10:00

Hi cheeco,

Like you, I considered the pacsafe idea, and in fact, even bought a second-hand one on an online auction. Once I got it, I reconsidered it - then sold it for double what I paid! (That's another 2-3 nights accommodation paid for!)

Anyhow - I reconsidered bringing it as I had similar concerns that were mentioned by Amazon. I just ended up buying a 20litre travelsafe (made by Pacsafe) which arrived last week. It's big enough to hold my laptop and camera gear, plus passports, etc. When moving between locations, it will fit nicely into my daypack, and when staying in one place, I'll take it out keep stuff locked up in the room.

It is slightly heavier than I had hoped (950g) and slightly bigger than I needed, but the next size down (Travelsafe 100) would be too small for the laptop and camera. It just means I will have to take 2 items of clothing out of the pack to compensate. But at least I will feel comfortable about leaving things in the room.

In answer to Ariesdude82 - I would leave money and passport in the Travelsafe when swimming - or maybe leave some hidden elsewhere in the pack as backup - in toiletry bag for example?! On all other occassions, money would be split between locations (daypack, travelsafe, money belt - as appropriate).

Hope that helps!

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by busylizzy on 27/8/2009 at 10:03

PS - link to Travelsafe product that I got: http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=118

BTW - it isn't available for purchase in NZ, and I tried to buy it via the pacsafe website and Amazon, but they had policies about not shipping to NZ (and presumably other overseas countries).

I contacted Pacsafe directly, and they shipped me one from their Hong Kong office. I found them extremely helpful in organising this!

#6 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by smkuchta on 27/8/2009 at 10:04

I debated the pacsafe for our trip (5 months through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia & Sri Lanka) but the extra weight made me think it wasn't worth it as we were traveling light, 35L & 45L Packs and One 20L Daypack.

Daypack had all valuables, moneybelt, passport, SLR, netbook etc. We'd keep that with us when traveling and lock it up in the room when weren't. We were staying in nicer places for the most part so that probably helped our feelings of security. Most of our hotels were in the $20-30USD range. If I was staying in the $5/night places I may have felt differently.

What I did buy was a Targus Defcon Lock (http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=PA400U) It is a laptop lock but I would wrap it around our bags in a hotel and if anyone started poking around it would beep, if they poked around for too long it would set off the alarm. Excellent piece of mind. It wouldn't stop a determined thief but would stop an opportunistic thief in our hotel room which was my main concern. Never felt too worried on buses/trains as I always had the valuables with me. If someone stole the big backpacks they would just get toiletries and clothes for the most part.

#7 smkuchta has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 72
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Posted by cheeco on 27/8/2009 at 23:17

Excellent info everyone! Thanks!

#8 cheeco has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 29

Posted by christay2009 on 28/8/2009 at 02:26

i deliberated pacsafe products for ages but then decided against it. I didn't have the funds for the pac protector thing and i thought, although the 'travelsafe' seems like a good bit of kit, i don't think i'd want to leave my valuables unattended somewhere for a period of time even if secured inside the safe. Similarly, if i didn't trust the guesthouse owners then why am i choosing to stay there? I'd hope i was never in a position where i had no choice but then again, i'm sure for one night i could bare being extra cautious. One situation where i think the travelsafe would be really useful is on long train journeys. You could attach it near your head when you slept, safe in the knowledge that its secure. Also, no need to take your valuables everything you go to the toilet etc

i hope my on-page deliberations help! even a little!

#9 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
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Posted by fliplap on 18/9/2009 at 20:10

While I've never been to Asia, I have traveled all over southern and eastern Africa with a 20L Pacsafe stuffed inside my bag. I keep my SLR camera and just about anything I value in it.

Thing about the Pacsafe "safes" is that they don't pack up very well, so you have to know how to pack them. When I'm on the move I stuff EVERYTHING that I'm not going to need until I reach my destination in the Pacsafe, with my SLR on the top of the pile just in case I want it. I basically treat it like a top loading pack, that fits in my front loading pack. This also help keep things from spreading out in my pack. I then run the security cable out of the hydration hole on my bag, around a pole and back in. The bag isn't going anywhere and I can goto sleep.

Just my too late 2 cents!

#10 fliplap has been a member since 16/9/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by think87 on 13/10/2009 at 07:29

I was debating on the pacsafe 55, and actually still am i guess.

does anyone know how strong the steel wire actually is? would a box cutter or wire cutters cut it with ease?

I'm really only debating it for overnight trains and keeping it locked to something inside my guesthouse while im out. just curious how easy someone could cut the wire and get the bag even if it was attached to something.

#11 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by somtam2000 on 13/10/2009 at 10:03 admin

A box cutter wouldn't -- no way. A heavy set of wire cutters, yeah probably -- but they probably could with a flamethrower too ;-)

#12 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,706
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Posted by think87 on 13/10/2009 at 11:04

lol.... great now i have to go to home depot and buy fire retardent spray for my bag.... :-P

yeah i guess your right. I'm just looking for something that i feel safe leaving my bag in my room while walking around town. I have the most awful habit of carrying my full bag and everything cuz i feel safe having it all with me, although im not out at night much.

i think having it wrapped in steel and chained to something solid might ease my mind... maybe lol

#13 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116
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Posted by busylizzy on 13/10/2009 at 12:37

As per my posts above, I had bought a small Pacsafe Travelsafe bag to take on my trip, but had a last-minute change of heart and left it behind - primarily because of the extra weight.

I tend to leave my backpack in the room with all compartments padlocked with a combo lock. I also carry a small one to use on my daypack. I have found that I feel fairly comfortable about leaving things locked in the pack in my room. If I ended up at a place where the vibe wasn't quite right, then I would just bring the valuables with me in my daypack.

At times where I have done a snorkelling trip or swam from the beach, I carry minimal cash and leave everything else locked up in the room. I then try to find a local warung /restaurant, buy a drink then ask if they can look after the daypack (padlocked) while I'm in the water. I also have a small wire that I could use to chain the pack to something if I felt so inclined, but haven't done so yet.

It's not 100% obviously, and it doesn't eliminate the risk of someone walking off with my pack. But I have found it reasonably easy to relax about this.... so far, anyhow!

Caveat: I tend to get a room to myself rather than a shared dorm. That would be a different story!

#14 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by jendo on 15/10/2009 at 04:58

If its any help, you might want to check out the Pacsafe Wrapsafe (I just ordered one after seeing other folk reccommending them) :

http://shop.packyourbags.com/acatalog/PACKSAFE_WRAPSAFE.html?gclid=CK_nzavBvZ0CFUxs4wodEnVzkQ

can pick them up online for £20 and a good bit less (amazon), it allows a cable to be wrapped around your bag and then it can be attatched to a bedpost or whatever, so 1) its that bit harder for people to get into your pockets, especially if you shove your pack in a rucksack carrier before wrapping it 2) its gonna be pretty hard to shift it from the place you've chained it to!

other folk have said theyve used them to shove motorbike helmets etc in and locked them to their bikes, so its quite versatile!

my main concern wasnt as much folk getting into the pockets, in which the immediately accessible items will be dirty laundry and plastic bags (although I have a toploading Opsrey bag, which cannot be properly locked as the top is a drawstring and the others are single zippers and so cant be locked together.. so it is a niggling concern but I wanted a lightweight comfy pack..) but someone making off with the whole thing - which although not life threatening, would be a pain in the arse having to replace the bag/clothes/shoes/toiletries.


I was going to get a normal cable lock, but then clicked that a thief could just cut the strap you've looped it around and take the lot :(

I would really just use it when leaving it in hostels, and possibly for securing it in the bus if I'll be there for any length... its a fine lne of making it look like theres valuables in it and attracting thieves, and looking secure enough to be sufficiently troublesome to enter, and so move them on to an easier steal!

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Posted by bedu on 12/3/2010 at 17:35

The Pacsafe Travelsafe is a really good buy.

It is a little bulky when packed (though it can be folded in half when not in use), but on the whole, it does the job.

I like the fact I can use it and go out of the room without worrying about being screwed.

The downside is that it isn't cheap.

#16 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58

Posted by thatvaletguy on 30/10/2010 at 02:37

I'm interested in hearing more about the travel safe.

Has anyone been traveling with one recently? Worth the money?

Would it be a stupid idea to put cash and passports in a travelsafe in a guest house or hostel and tie it around the bed or pillar, etc?

I mention it because it would seem annoying to have a travel belt/case on for 4 months straight, but it seems to be the safest option, unless you're mugged.

I've seen numerous replies about "If you don't feel like its a good place, why are you staying there?" Well, I say "Because I want to save money, meet backpackers like myself, and just travel simply."

There has to be a middle ground somewhere, I guess.

#17 thatvaletguy has been a member since 25/10/2010. Posts: 14

Posted by bedu on 30/10/2010 at 17:26

Not really a stupid idea.
I locked mine to the hotel bed, and unless they could dismantle the bad, the Travelsafe wasn't going anywhere. You can hide it under the bed, so it is not noticed.

I'd rather leave my passport secure and then travel outside with a photocopy, than keep it in a waist belt to get stolen, sweaty, wet or bent out of shape.
In addition, you can limit the amount of cash you have on you if you get mugged/pickpocketed.

Also, someone mentioned about what to do when swimming, well you could try the AquaPac keymaster. You can keep a few valuables inside whilst swimming and the rest in your Travelsafe back at the hotel.
BTW the Travelsafe I ordered had a slight defect, they sent me a new one and when I offered to return the damaged one, they said not to worry, so my Dad got a free one!

#18 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58

Posted by SAPWanderer on 8/8/2016 at 10:58

I have been reading this thread. What does not appear to mentioned by anyone is there are different circumstances that on one hand warrant a Pacsafe and on the other hand do NOT warrant a Pacsafe.
I am currently on a 7 month long Overland Trekking Tour and many of the countries we pass through are 'known for petty theft'. A tourists backpack is an easy target and hostels are easy places to do 'easy opportunity theft'.
Before this Overland Trekking Tour travelling across Asia (and 31 countries in the process) we had home exchanges 53 times primarily in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, many countries in Europe, etc.and at no stage have we considered a Pacsafe product in those countries.
If l was travelling around Europe for example in hotels (what most travellers do) l would use the hotel security facilities. Travelling through Asia or Africa staying Hostels and backpacking communal rooms are so 'insecure' l would use a Pacsafe every time.
Both instances are 'travel' but in one instance l would use a Pacsafe and in the other instance l would use Hotel provides security facilities.
The key issue is there are no 'all encompassing situations' and in each instance you must ask yourself what is your 'acceptable level of risk' versus 'cost'. What is a great pity is the Travel Insurance cost does not drop regardless of how much security you use. If travel insurance costs dropped then maybe the Pacsafe or similar product would pay for itself. Sadly, there is no financial incentive from travel insurance companies.

#19 SAPWanderer has been a member since 8/8/2016. Posts: 1

Posted by TerroirTravel on 11/8/2016 at 23:20

I travel with a 45L pack and a messenger bag. On my first foray in the big world, it was always a problem for me to be able to go for a swim- because I would usually keep the iPad, etc. in the messenger bag, which I carried with me after checking in. But I can't leave that on the beach, and I'm alone, so... What do I do?

Most theft is crime of opportunity. Stuffing the messenger bag inside the pack, and encompassing all inside the PacSafe made the contents inaccessible. Obviously some pack contents (clothes) were removed to accommodate the messenger bag. The spaces in the PacSafe are pretty big, but not so big as to be able to get into a bag inside a bag, attached to a fixture. Bathroom sink is a favorite.

Did it deter crime? Maybe. I never had my valuables stolen. Did it give me peace of mind when I went out? Absolutely.

#20 TerroirTravel has been a member since 1/2/2014. Posts: 67
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