Pacsafe Vibe 28L Anti-Theft Backpack Travel Backpack Review
Loads of anti-theft protections—but could be better organized and easier to heft
The Pacsafe Vibe 28L Anti-Theft Backpack is one of 10 travel backpacks I evaluated for qualities including organization, comfort, and sturdiness as part of CR’s Outside the Labs review program.
Where to buy: Pacsafe.com; Amazon
Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.2 x 8.3 inches
Weight: 2.3 pounds
Claimed capacity: 28 liters
Tuckable pack sleeves: No
External bottle sleeve: Yes
Shoulder carry: No
Waist strap: No
Eyeglass sleeve: Yes
Extras: RFID protection
Here’s My Review
The Pacsafe Vibe is big enough to make a decent overnight bag, and it has no equal here for its baked-in security measures. Its zippers have integrated protections that make it harder for bad actors to breach, and the main section can flat-out be padlocked. There’s an RFID sleeve that blocks wireless transmissions to prevent hackers from scanning your credit card or passport data, and internal cables in the straps that allow you to secure it to a stationary object. A hidden stainless steel mesh construction beneath its nylon shell makes the Vibe resistant to slash-and-grab thefts by crooks.
All this stuff is nifty, but operating some of these compartments can foil its frazzled owner—like me. I was seriously flustered walking down a Manhattan avenue just trying to dig out a stick of gum.
Organization is also a mixed bag (get it?). The whole pack clamshells open, yielding access to the main compartment, but good luck not having all your stuff spill out all over your seatmates. The solution would be to stow all your smaller items in the rear envelope (the side opposite the pack straps) but it only has a top zip, so you’d be searching hopelessly for what’s inside.
The Vibe is comfortable, with one important caveat: You need to slot a rigid object into the back panel laptop sleeve, because unlike some other packs I evaluated, the body lacks any sort of exoskeleton—it’s more wearable duffel than backpack, with a soft, ripstop nylon shell. That softness has an upside, as it stuffed relatively easily into our ersatz underseat storage cavity, but with all the weight I wanted to hump around, it lacks the structural chops needed for comfort.