Pacsafe Vibe 40L Anti-Theft Backpack Review

The Pacsafe Vibe 40 has a host of travel related security features which makes this pack the perfect option for those who can get worried about losing their gear.

Pacsafe Vibe 40 Verdict
  • 9/10
    Features - 9/10
  • 7.5/10
    Price - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Durability - 8/10
8.2/10

Summary

There’s an argument that when you head off travelling you shouldn’t take anything with you that you could afford to lose. However we appreciate that vloggers, business travellers and other tech heads may want the piece of mind that a Pacsafe bag can bring. Plus at this price point you aren’t paying much more than rival models without the security features.

KEY FEATURES

  • Padded laptop that can hold up to a 15″ laptop
  • Water bottle side pocket and zipped top accessory pocket
  • Comes in three colourways and includes both chest and waist straps on the back system for stability
  • Back system can be hidden away when needed
  • Endless amount of security tweaks

Dimensions: 50 x 35 x 18cm
Weight: 1.19kg
Construction: 100D Robic nylon (main material) 150D Recycled polyester (lining)

PROS

  • Ultra robust and secure with its internal slashproof mesh, RFID protection
  • Recycled materials being used for the inner
  • Fully featured back system with chest and padded waist strap
  • Looks great with its smart streamlined design

CONS

  • Not much accessory storage with no internal organiser like other models in range
  • Needs a more detailed instruction manual to work out all the security features

RRP £130

Pacsafe are a company born out of the need to secure your gear whilst travelling and over the years they range has grown exponentially from a single mesh protector to a dazzling array of packs, wallets and accessories. The original slash proof concept is still a core design feature but every year they come up with another little tweak that will make a pickpockets life that little bit harder.

A Stylish Yet Secure Pack

A 100D robic nylon makes up the exterior of the pack with a recycled polyester on the interior. It great to see companies starting to make use of recycled materials in their packs. (The new Econyl range makes use of plastics found in the oceans around the world.)

One thing we love about the Pacsafe bags is how darn good they look. Because they cater for the business as well as independent travel market their bags are sleek and streamlined and the Vibe 40 is no exception. Of course if security is your selling point you don’t want your bag standing out like a sore thumb. So the original black version is unassuming but we love the Granite Melange Grey as the two tone material adds something. You can also get a blue camo version if you want to stand out a little more.

A nice little design touch is the colour matched bottle pocket on the outside which is invisible when you don’t need it but undo the snap fix and it stretches out without breaking the fluid lines on the pack.

Inside the Pack

The main section of the pack has a clam shell opening style which makes it much easier to access your belongings quickly. On opening up the pack you get to see things have been kept pretty simple. There is just one main compartment in this pack for all your gear. A small mesh zipped pocket and cross compression straps are all you get to play with. Fine for a weekend away or the simple packer but otherwise this bag is just screaming out for some packing cubes to help with organisation. On the lid is a simple laptop compartment which can take up to 15″ model. A tablet or similar would probably just slide around in there so you may need an additional case for it.

It’s a shame to see no other organisation pockets for chargers or accessories as putting them in the laptop compartment could open up the risk of scratches and damage. What’s strange is the Pacsafe Vibe 28 has some great little storage pockets but this has been omitted for this model. The big sell of course is the slash resistant mesh embedded in the outer of the laptop compartment which means in crowded areas you won’t be constantly double checking your kit.

Key Security Features

You may be looking at this range of packs because of their security credentials so lets go through them in a bit more detail…

Carrysafe® Slashguard Strap – both shoulder straps house a slim but slashproof wire which stops criminals from cutting off your pack and making a quick getaway

Exomesh® Slashguard – this diamond shaped wire is embedded inside the outer of the pack to stop criminals from slashing and gaining access to your pack

RFID Blocking Pocket – inside the top zipped compartment a small accessory pocket has in-built RFID protection to stop illegal scanning of your cards and passport

Secured Zip Tab – the top zip pocket has a simple but clever little material loop that sits over the zip when closed which makes it very fiddly for an opportunistic pick pocket to gain entry

Roobar Locking System – this main zip housing is quite simply a work of art. The two main zips on the pack interlink together like some ‘Transformer-esque’ magic. They are then inserted into a fixed housing on the side of the bag which then has a metal slide which fixes them in place and reveals a hole to pass a padlock through. I don’t think a criminal would know where to begin.

PopNLock Security Clip – one of the clips that secures a shoulder strap to the main pack has a special clip that can be padlocked. So you can unclip, wrap around a table or bed frame and secure.

And just for good measure the zips are puncture resistant – of course they are!

Fully Featured Back System

It’s great to see a fully featured back system here with both chest and waist straps included. The back length isn’t adjustable and it only comes in once size (unlike the Farpoint 40) but at this size it’s not a concern as the pack load will never become that significant. All straps and back section are padded and have diamond foam cut-outs to assist with breathability. The waist strap is fairly flimsy but it wont be used to take any weight just stop the bag from bouncing when you move.

Another great travel feature is the option to remove one shoulder strap to carry cross body or hide away all the straps in the hidden pockets in the back section. This makes for a very streamlined pack for lifting into the overhead lockers. The use of pockets rather than a zip over cover helps save on weight which is an important consideration for carry on packs.

Will it Qualify as Carry On?

Pacsafe that the bag meets most airline carry-on standards but how does this shape up with the some of the UK’s popular airlines? The dimensions of this pack are 50 x 35 x 18cm. British Airways have a current size restriction of 56 x 45 x 25cm, Easyjet’s is 56 x 45 x 25cm, Virgin Atlantic’s is 56 x 36 x 23cm and Ryan Air is 40 x 25 x 20cm. So there are no problems with it meeting the requirements apart from Ryanair but we all know that it wasn’t going to happen! As always check with your airline before you fly and make sure your pack will be allowed on!

Good Alternatives

Eagle Creek Global Companion 40

Eagle Creek have a feature filled offering with their Global Companion 40 which also comes in a womens version. We love the twin mesh compartment in the main section and the separate dirty section in the base however the £170 price point means it may be more than you are willing to spend. Read our full review here.

Lowe Alpine Lightflite 40

If weight is your key consideration you won’t get much lighter than the Lowe Alpine Lightflite 40. At only 760 grams its comes in 530 grams lighter than the Farpoint. It does also have a very simple internal design.

Osprey Farpoint 40

A time tested carry on backpack that has more organisation and accessory storage options including two main compartments. This does make it a bit heavier though.

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