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Part Luggage, Part Cage: New Rolling Luggage Shields Contents with Internal Steel Mesh

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-resistant zipper.

• Safety reinforcements have minimal impact on weight (6 lbs. 2 oz. for the carry-on Toursafe 21).


Cutaway view shows eXomesh® netting concealed in luggage. (Photo from Pacsafe)

Pacsafe has long been known for its assortment of theft-deterring products, from travel wallets to shoulder bags to lockable security webs for backpacks. Why the move into luggage?

“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.”

Posted on at 10:45 AM

Tagged: Pacsafe, Travel, luggage and security

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