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Backpack Review: Pacsafe Vibe 25L

While the Pacsafe Vibe might be the perfect backpack for the safety-conscious traveller, it's lacking when it comes to space and convenience

This summer I had wanted to travel to Europe to celebrate entering the last year of my undergrad, but as we all know a certain virus derailed those plans. During my planning to go to Europe, I had done my research and found a company called Pacsafe that makes travel-oriented bags aimed at university students.

Pacsafe Vibe 25 litre backpack
Photographer: Alexander Cheung

I decided to purchase a Pacsafe Vibe 25 litre backpack for my original flight to London, but instead I ended up taking the bag 1600 kilometres west of Edmonton for a trip to Vancouver Island. 

While on my trip I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Pacsafe Vibe travel backpack. Although it wasn’t a perfect bag, it definitely served my needs well.

The Good

The coolest feature of the Pacsafe Vibe has to be the steel mesh underneath the outer fabric, designed to keep your contents safe. This mesh is made from 100 per cent recycled ocean plastics and is cut resistant, which makes it harder to steal from your bag. This feature was great as I sometimes had to leave my bag in hotel rooms with my camera inside and I didn’t always have access to a safe.

Pascafe Vibe tamperproof zippers
Photographer: Alexander Cheung

The build of the bag is also superb and no corners were cut manufacturing it. The zippers are tight and the fabric is sturdy; it is not a flimsy backpack. All the zippers are also tamperproof, so once the bag is closed and locked it cannot be easily opened.

Pacsafe Vibe cut-resistant straps
Photographer: Alexander Cheung

The last feature that I really liked about the Pacsafe Vibe was that since the straps are cut-resistant, I was able to loop the bag around a solid object and know that it wasn’t going anywhere. This was useful because I could leave my bag for short periods of time with the shoulder strap around a seat and not worry about it getting easily stolen.

The Bad

The biggest issue I found with the Pacsafe Vibe was its sizing and shape. The bag is shaped like a shoebox, which is great if whatever you’re putting in the bag is shaped that way too. If you need to put objects into your backpack that aren’t shaped like the backpack, the Pacsafe Vibe is not for you.

Due to the bag’s steel mesh there is very little room to expand, meaning you’re likely not gonna be able to stuff it like the bloated monster you might want it to be. The Pacsafe Vibe 25 litre gives you exactly 25 litres of space and not an ounce more. The laptop sleeve is also tiny and will not carry a laptop larger than 15 inches.

Unfortunately, the Vibe 25 also has no areas where you can attach things to it. If you want to hang on a pair of sneakers for example, you’re gonna have to get creative. I was able to get around it somewhat by attaching a carabiner to a backpack strap, however his wasn’t an optimal solution as my sneakers would constantly dangle and swing into me when I was at the airport.

Pacsafe Vibe laptop sleeve
Photographer: Alexander Cheung

In Closing

I have absolutely no regrets picking up the Pacsafe Vibe 25 litre backpack. I really liked its security features including its cut-proof mesh, tamperproof zippers, and its ability to lock to solid objects. However, it has some issues regarding its size and shape, lack of attachment points, and it can only hold small laptops. If you want the security features I described, perhaps for a sense of comfort when travelling, I would definitely recommend the Pacsafe Vibe. However, if you just want a normal backpack for travelling and don’t need tamper-proof zippers or cut proof fabric, there may be better options out there. 

Alexander Cheung

Alex is a writer and photographer with the Gateway. He is a senior contributor and specializes in tech and travel.

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