Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: PacSafe CitySafe 400 GII Hobo Bag

Stated specifications:

Dimensions: 14.6" W x 13" H x 6.7" D (37 x 33 x 17 cm)

Volume: 884.8 in3 (14.5 L)

Weight: 1 lb 4.5 oz (580 g)

Strap length max: 33.1 in (84 cm)

Strap length min: 19.7 in (50 cm)

This is my fifth security travel bag and third from PacSafe, the other two being the CitySafe 200 shoulder bag and the StashSafe 200 waist pack. I wanted a cross-body bag and for it to be cavernously large for carrying my usual assortment of travel items like my notepad, camera, mini tripod, monocular/binoculars, water bottle, folding umbrella, and pareo plus air travel comfort items such as lumbar and neck pillows in addition to my small travel survival kit that fits into a waist pack like the PacSafe StashSafe 200 or Mountainsmith Nitro waist pack or about half of a gallon zip bag with the top half folded down. Because some museums and stores require large bags to be checked, I also bought a Baggallini Everything Bagg to easily take my wallet items, camera, and cell phone with me. It all fits!

Designed to foil pickpockets, slash-and-run, and slash-to-dump thieves, PacSafe anti-theft travel bags feature security closures as well as cut-proof straps and panels.

This particular hobo bag, which I got with a standard water-repellent jet black exterior and celadon interior (it's supposed to be lemon yellow) that makes it easier to see items inside, has an outside back pocket with a zipper at the bottom edge to allow the extended handle of wheeled luggage to slip through; there is an interior band to stabilize the bag.

The generous pockets at either end of the bag have cord locks to make the openings smaller so contents won't slip out and are more than large enough for a 1 liter bottle. The pocket that would be out of sight at the rear when it's carried as a shoulder bag has a D-ring inside at the top and at the bottom to secure items using my own utility carabiners or other fasteners to thwart pickpockets.

The padded strap, that has wires inside to prevent slash-and-run theft, may be detached at one end to secure the bag temporarily to a fixed object to foil a bag snatcher. The snap hook has a locking collar as an additional deterrent. The other end has a snap hook to secure the zipper pull of the bag's main compartment to stop a pickpocket from opening it.

The strap may be snapped up to make it shorter to convert the bag into a shoulder bag or left long to use the bag as a hip-length cross-body bag.

Because I tend to heavily load my travel bag and because the wires of the unpadded CitySafe 200 strap dug into my shoulder painfully, I went ahead and attached a removable Timbuk2 Gripster strap pad over the CitySafe 400 GII's too thin-looking shoulder pad without even first trying it by itself. YMMV.

Inside the main compartment is a variety of pockets. Along the front wall, that is the inside wall of the front of the bag, there is a zippered pocket, 7" W x 14.5" L, with a press hook fastener to hold anything like a key ring.

Below the zipper of that pocket is a line of:

1. A split key ring to which I attached a mini key ring LED to help me see what's inside the bag.

2. A pocket, 4.5" W x 5.25" L.

3. A pocket, 3.25" W x 5.25" L.

4. A pocket, 4.25" W x 5.25" L, labeled "RFIDsafe" to hold passport and credit cards containing RFID chips to prevent identity theft.

5. A fat pen pocket, 0.75" W x 5.25" L.

6. A fatter pen pocket, 1.25" W x 5.25" L, that will hold a standard highlighter if inserted cap down.

Those preferring the pockets could be closed can put their own self-adhesive Velcro coins or strips available from stores selling sewing notions.

Along the interior rear wall, there is one large pocket, 10" W x 15" L, that the enclosed literature says will hold a 13" laptop and an iPad or similar tablet. I found it holds my 15" laptop snugly. There's a strap that snaps over the top of the opening to ensure it doesn't slip out.

The bag's front, back, side, and bottom panels are all lined with eXomesh to prevent thieves from slashing the bag to let the contents fall out. The included literature has a diagram of the eXomesh rising to just under the top edge of the side pockets. On the front and rear panels, I can feel the top edge of the eXomesh about five inches up from the bottom, about three inches lower than in the side panels. I appreciate this sensible weight-saving design since gravity prevents items from falling up.

Overall, I'm exceptionally pleased with this bag. Purchased in January for travel to cities known for pickpockets and purse snatchers and slashers such as Barcelona, I've expanded its use to ordinary weekend getaways and other domestic travel.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Time No See

It's surprising how quickly time has passed. Busy with other things, I've had thoughts about a variety of posts, but no time to see them through by writing them up.

A few of the posts I haven't done are about:

1. An air travel survival kit. Substituting TSA-compliancy for a knife turns this into a small kit ideal for day-hiking.

2. A few states still legalizing marital rape. I thought the U.S. was a leader in women's rights but it turns out wives in those states are not much better off under the law than wives in certain Muslim countries.

3. The direction of my writing. I always thought to write novels in the thriller genre, but I've been reading Hemingway and find my desire turning to more literary prose.

If it's true that one doesn't die until one's life work is done, at the rate I'm going, I'll live forever.

Fortunately as a Christian, it's already guaranteed in writing.

Until next time.