Spring Break travel season is here, and if you're looking for an edge to keep belongings protected while in transit, you could consider new luggage items rolled out by travel-security specialist Pacsafe.
The Washington state-based company has produced its first line of wheeled luggage, and REI offers 2 models: the Toursafe 21, sized for carry-on, and the larger Toursafe 29.
Pacsafe points to 3 key attributes that distinguish its Toursafe line:
• The soft-sided exterior and the cinchable interior liner are reinforced with a stainless-steel netting called eXomesh®. It's designed to inhibit knife-slashing.
• It features a patented puncture-resistantzipper.
• Safety reinforcements have minimal impact onweight (6 lbs. 2 oz. for the carry-on Toursafe 21).
Cutaway view shows eXomesh® netting concealed in luggage. (Photo from Pacsafe)
“In recent years, the No. 1 request we get in feedback from Pacsafe users is, ‘Where do I buy your luggage?’ ” says Pacsafe Head of Design and Development Dan Burman. “We had to reply until now, ‘Well, we don’t make luggage.’ So this has been a consumer-driven decision for us.
“With our heritage in security, people have been looking for a rolling piece from us.” Burman says. “We were just waiting for the right, lightweight security story. The puncture-resistant zipper combined with our existing security technology addressed the most common luggage pilfering concerns.”
Burman says the Toursafe line has been in development for about 2 years. “We’ve done our homework to get it right,” he says. He discussed some of its attributes:
The exterior: 420-denier ripstop nylon (for abrasion resistance) with a polyurethane coating (for water resistance) that is reinforced with the company’s eXomesh® slash-defeating netting, the same material Pacsafe uses for its “security web” products—lockable, external wraps for backpacks and duffels.
The company’s website describes eXomesh® as “a combination of lightweight, flexible, high-tensile 1mm stainless steel cable and crimps.” It has the appearance of a chain-link fence and is intended to deter slash-and-dash bad guys. “You can’t cut much more than an inch before you hit wire,” Burman says.
The interior: An inner liner, resembling a very large backpacking stuff sack with a drawstring closure, wraps around the contents. While soft and pliable, the liner is likewise reinforced with slash-resistant eXomesh, suppling a second layer of protection. It also compresses packed items and guards against zipper-snag.
Determined thieves, Burman says, could potentially puncture small holes in the Toursafe shell and liner. But 2 layers of steel netting should frustrate in-a-rush luggage slashers. “You couldn’t get your fist inside,” he says. “Maybe 1 finger. It would take too much time to get inside.”
Zippers: The Toursafe line’s ToughZip™ zippers are lockable and designed to be puncture-resistant, Burman says. The most common thieves’ tool for cracking open luggage zippers is a ball-point pen, as the dramatized video below from Pacsafe illustrates. “Many standard zippers can be penetrated with a ballpoint pen within a matter of seconds. The ToughZip buys you valuable time against opportunistic theft and hopefully the thief will move on in frustration.”
Here's a promotional overview of the Toursafe line, with Dan Burman as the presenter, produced by Pacsafe:
Other details: The telescoping pull handle drops into the hard-sided back (made of lightweight molded EVA foam). The carry-on Toursafe 21 (the number refers to the item’s height; Pacsafe-reported dimensions are 14.4” wide x 21.5” high x 9” deep) includes a sleeve that can accommodate a laptop (up to a 13” diagonal screen).
Total weight for the carry-on Toursafe 21: a relatively moderate 6 lbs. 2 oz. for 35 liters of capacity. The Toursafe 29 (made to serve as checked baggage at 29” x 19.5” x 10.5” with 90 liters of capacity) weighs in at 8 lbs. 6 oz.
No luggage is failsafe against sophisticated thieves. Yet, Burman says, “This offers a much greater deterrent and more peace of mind than many other products that are out there.”