The US retail division of luggage Samsonite Corp. has sought bankruptcy protection from creditors. The retail division, Samsonite Co. Stores, has 173 store fronts in 38 states with 650 employees. The parent company has not filed for protection, just the division that operates the retail stores. Details at Bloomberg.com.
Today I'm reviewing the Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 anti-theft secure shoulder bag with Exomesh. A bag with several interesting features that sets it apart from other shoulder bags. Pacsafe has put a lot of energy into making their bags very difficult to steal or otherwise compromise. In many parts of the world crimes against tourists are a sad reality that every traveler should consider. Bag snatchers are a major problem in some areas.
What could be easier, a scooter passes near you on the street, a passenger on that scooter grabs your shoulder bag, cuts the strap and takes off. In a matter of seconds they are gone! Another reliable tactic is cutting the bottom of your bag. While you stand waiting for a street light, or pause to watch a performer on the street, several criminal surround you. They may distract you, ask you a question or bump into you. As they continue the interaction their buddies come in close slice the bottom of your bag with a knife and steal your valuables as they fall to the ground or into a shopping bag they have strategically placed.
On the outside the Pacsafe bag looks pretty much like any other shoulder bag. But don't be fooled, inside it has been upgraded with several features to keep your belongings safe and secure. The bags design has two minor and two major anti-theft features. First two are pretty simple. First, the shoulder strap is permanently attached to the bag at one end and attaches with a clip at the other end. This allows the user to easily secure the Pacsafe bag to an object. For example you could attach it to a stationary object in a rail car if your going to take a nap. A thief would have to come in close and unsnap the strap to snatch your bag.
Many shoulder bags have shoulder straps that are sewn in at both ends making looping it around fixed object impossible. The second feature is that zip pullers that open and close the front storage compartment can be clipped together making opening the bag a time consuming two handed task. A hassle that I think most bag owners will avoid. Especially since the fabric flap that covers this area is held closed with velcro and opening the flap creates that unmistakable velcro sound. The two major Pacsafe anti-theft features are a steel "Exomesh" mesh in the bottom of the bag and two steel cables in the strap. Below you can see photos of two bags straps being cut. First a standard bag then a Pacsafe bag.
Here you see a standard shoulder tote bag. Watch how easily the strap can be cut.
Once cut "our thief" and your bag are gone in seconds.
Here is the Pacsafe bag as a thief tries to cut the strap with a box cutter.
No way is this guy going to cut the steel cable that reinforces this strap.
Below we see the same two bags again, this time the bad guy is cutting open the bottom of the bags.
Here is a standard shoulder tote bag. Slicing open the bottom of the bag is simple.
Items fall out and are gone in a flash.
Same guy as above with same box cutter tries to slice open the Pacsafe shoulder bag.
Knife cuts cover but stops at the white fabric with the woven steel cable mesh.
UPDATE: Sep 14, 2009 - See additional photos of the internal Pacsafe Bag security mesh.
I'm very impressed with this bag and so is my Sister and her husband. Before I cut it up I loaned her the Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 shoulder bag for a recent bird watching trip. See Photo. She liked the fact that she could easily and securely stow her very expensive Swarovski birding binoculars inside. Her only comment was that one of the zippered pockets on the back of the bag wasn't deep enough to hold a standard bird watching guide.
My wife likes the pocket layout and design of the bag but thinks it is heavy. Well...I guess she is right, the security features do add some weight to the bag, but I think it is well worth it. Pacsafe makes a complete line of anti-theft travel gear. Much of which is available for sale at Magellan's online store. CLICK HERE.
Time to check your luggage tags. Not just that your luggage has them, but that the information on them is correct. And in today's age of identification theft you may want to consider changing some of the current information.
Reduce the personal info. First use your first initial, B. Murray, rather than Bruce Murray. Second use your cell phone number rather than your home number, and maybe add your email address. Third, use an address other than your home address. Rather than telling baggage handlers that your out of town, you can use your work address and phone number, or better yet your your travel agents address and phone. Who better than your travel agent to help you reconnect with your luggage.
If your address is held in a protective sleeve with a transparent window place your name and cell number so it can be easily seen through the window, but place other info on the back side of the paper. My luggage tags say "B and P Murray / Over for contact info". This requires that someone place some effort into getting to your address.
And for extended trips don't forget to place a piece of paper inside your luggage with your home contact info, and your trip itinerary. NOTE: You should also add luggage tags to your carry-on luggage.