After my very first solo trip backpacking Europe, I promised myself I would re-design my life so I could keep travelling more often. I have since quit my TV job and now I travel and blog while working as social media and community manager for a travel startup.
I often choose places to travel based on a unique culture and great tasting food! This year, I plan to explore Asia and Eastern Europe more, and volunteer in some of the places I visit. Since I will be taking trips more often, last year, I decided to invest in some new travel gear. I found PacSafe was a great option because of their “smart travel” products.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
This is the PacSafe CamSafe V25. It retails for $200 but I’ve seen it on sale for $140 on the company website.
>> Check for PacSafe CamSafe V25 deals on Amazon. Please note we are an Amazon affiliate, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I got this backpack in the summer of 2014 and so far I’ve travelled to Havana and Haiti with it. It has withstood the extremely hot climate of the Caribbean and the frigid Northern winter I later came home to in Canada. It will travel with me again when I go to Thailand this month then Eastern Europe, and India in the fall.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
Compartments. Last year I finally became a digital nomad and location-independent so I needed a backpack to carry my tech essentials so I could work on the road.
Size. I don’t like the massive oversized backpacker gear. It gets too heavy to carry on my back and I wanted something more manageable. I also travel with carry-on only so I needed something that could pass airlines’ baggage allowance on planes without me having to check it in.
Security. Pick-pocketing is an unfortunate downside to travelling so a backpack with special security features can give you peace of mind.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
This backpack has so many unique features!
Special storage. Since I work on the road I love that it has convenient compartments to hold my 15″ MacBook and extra room to pack must-have items when I’m walking about, like a long sleeve sweater, water bottle, small umbrella, a travel-size first aid kit and small pockets to hide passport documents.
Photographer compartment. I love that it has a special area to store your camera gear. It has a separate section with Velcro dividers to secure a DSLR, two lenses, chargers and a stretchy pocket to hold a tripod. If you don’t travel with a DSLR you can remove the velcro dividers and use this section to store other items.
Easy Access. The top compartment gives you a quick reach to your SD cards, travel documents, and smaller items you might need on the fly. It also has a “sling and shoot” feature – drop one shoulder strap and swing the bag to your side to access different areas of the backpack so you never have to take off your backpack or completely unpack to find things.
Weather friendly. It comes with a handy rain cover built-in for those times when you get caught in a sudden downpour (like rainy Paris). It is hidden at the base of the backpack so it doesn’t take up needed space when you’re not using it.
Anti-theft feature. PacSafe really did have the traveller in mind when they designed this backpack. I love the Smart Zipper security feature. Each pocket has strong zippers with it’s own latch to lock in place. If you’re riding on crowded trains for example, it prevents thieves behind you from trying to unzip your pockets and get access. The shoulder strap also has an anchor that lets you loop your bag to your chair for example, if you get distracted while eating or taking a break.
I think the most innovative part of this backpack is that the entire backpack is made of a special material called eXo-mesh which deters thieves from suddenly slashing your bag open and grabbing the contents.
Size. See next question.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
The backpack fits really snug and I appreciate the extra padding on my back and shoulders because in the past I used terrible-fitting backpacks and those can really wreak havoc on good posture. The size is 25L and there is room to expand the inside of the bag by using the drawstring.
It’s not large enough to carry your tech items plus all of your packing items for a long-term trip. You would need to pack a second piece of luggage. However, if you’re not a photographer or you don’t have a large camera kit to store, you can easily create more space by taking away the removable Velcro dividers. In that case, you could have plenty more room for clothing, shoes or other items.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes! In fact, I only travel with carry-on luggage. I find it makes travel much less stressful when you don’t have to wait for your baggage at the crowded carousel, or even worse, worry if it doesn’t make it. I use a good size roller bag for my main items and my new PacSafe backpack to carry my essentials on the plane. If you don’t carry a purse or handbag, this backpack can be considered your personal item according to [some airlines’] carry-on allowances. (HPL Tip: Check personal item rules and restrictions for your particular airline as they vary across the globe!)
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
This backpack is just right with enough space to add all your travel essentials but if you’re taking a long-term trip you will definitely need to pack a second piece of luggage.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Yes, I would recommend this backpack but, like any product, it may not be for everyone. It is designed for the location-independent, digital nomad who usually needs convenient storage for all their necessary tech gear and travel items for a day of exploring. It’s also great for travelers who want a day backpack, or for people who travel with a carry-on.
>> If you don’t need a tech-specific daypack, we highly recommend the Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII.
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About the Author: Cristina quit her job in TV to travel and volunteer. She has travelled to more than 25 countries and currently blogs about authentic and local travel experiences at Chasing Travel. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.