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For those with security backpacks...travelon, pac safe, etc.

I have been checking my carryon wheel bag more and more lately. I like it. And, on my trip to Greece on the few days I had to carry my cross body/camera bag all day, I found it too heavy for being on only one side of my body...about 6-7 lbs. I am not a backpack person, but I have decided I am going to try it to see if it is easier to carry my camera when it is not in my hand and if I'm getting to the point of always checking my bag, I'll want a change of clothes, which won't fit in my cross body, underseat, camera bag. So I needed to go larger. However, there will be times I might not want to check the bag so I want to fit in BA's guidelines. I try my best to fly British Airways' day flight to Europe, so I want my underseat bag to definitely fit their 16" X 12" X 6". The only bag I found to be the exact measurements is [travelon anti theft backpack][1] So now I'm wondering:
1. If you have a such a 'secure' backpack, do you carry the items you want secure during the day, but with you; i.e., my iPod and credit card, in the backpack? I usually have these items in a small baggallini cross body in front of me, separate from my camera bag/purse. I can bury this baggallini at the bottom back of this travelon backpack, and attach it to the bag, but I'm not sure I'll feel comfortable...but again I'm not a secure backpack person, until now apparently. So how do you address this problem?
2. Has anyone had the security zippers compromised or the bag slashed successfully?

I also don't need anyone telling me that this security is a waste of money. The bag that fit my guidelines has this security, so I might as well use it. Actually, I really like the organization of this bag, and after a trial pack fits everything I could not easily replace should my bag be delayed, etc. Wray

Posted by
630 posts

Hi Wray, I am always on the lookout for the perfect way to travel. And I think I use different bags every time I travel. My current bags (and I'm sure it will change) is to have a backpack with my day items (camera, rainjacket, snacks, etc), but I still use a crossbody for my daily use credit cards, daily money, sunglasses, chapstick, iPhone, etc. I wouldn't feel comfortable having any credit cards in my backpack - even if it's secure. I just feel comfortable having my hands over my purse.

I use this shirt to hold our backup money, backup credit cards, and passports (we travel in October and I wear it as my first layer of clothes). It's not how I travel when I am home, but it's also not a big deal if I lose something when I am walking around my home town. I don't want to lose a day's vacation calling my credit card companies or finding the nearest American Embassy to replace a lost/stolen passport.

Posted by
630 posts

And I like that bag! My husband would divorce me if I bring another bag into this house LOL

Posted by
15997 posts

Wray, we don't have a security backpack but we have had a Pacsafe crossbody bag for years. My husband usually carries it when we change cities/countries and sometime when we're sightseeing. We bought it mostly for the locking zippers and not for the slash-proof feature, although I trust that feature works. It's never been compromised.

I carry a lightweight shoulder bag for the camera and other assorted items, and carry my cash and credit card in a small pouch pinned underneath my waistband. The Husband uses that same method as well on days we don't have our passports and bulk of the cash along, otherwise all that goes in the Pacsafe.

Some people object to the weight of the "security" bags but I looked at some recently and I swear they're lighter than our old model. But "security" features or not, I don't know how comfortable I'd be with my valuables in any sort of backpack.

Posted by
11396 posts

Wray

It sounds like you travel solo(?) so you concern is understandable. Its easier if you are traveling with someone , so each person watches the others back.

A back pack has the advantage of even weight distribution, but is "out of sight"

I would not put my credit/debit cards etc, in my back pack. Those items are always in a money belt

Not sure how big your camera is ( I used to lug a full size 35mm) but now use a 3 yr old version of this --- /Panasonic-LUMIX-ZS60--- Much easier to pack and carry, and had no fall off in photo quality.

Not sure I really answered your questions, but it does look like it offers a level of protection my back pack does not have.

Posted by
3241 posts

Joe, Yes, I do usually travel solo. I'm not ready to downsize my camera. I love it. This spring, I took a larger lens than the prior trip. I took a 15-85 mm lens and loved it. My husband keeps trying to get me to take a smaller Nikon...he has several cameras...but I just can't do it. Hence, looking still for the best system.

Pilgrim...that's my problem also...every.single.time I change my personal item. I really like this bag, although I thought my last bag addressed all my requirements. Sigh. This backpack is lighter and cuter than most backpacks IMO, and fits the BA guidelines perfectly. We'll see if this one sticks.

All of you seem to agree with my gut. I'm just talking about my credit card and iPod when I'm out and about. Except when I'm going through security, I do have a 'money belt' type configuration on me for my backup CC/ATM and passport with me or in my suitcase in my room, so those items are not the issue. Thanks for all your comments. I think I'll stick with my present system of having the small cross body separate from the backpack and more accessible to me. I like to keep an eye on the credit card I use. This plan means I will have my cross body Baggallini, and the camera in a small camera bag that does fit in this backpack, but will usually be on its own. But there are those days I need it all...and thats when my prior purse/cross body bag just got too heavy... Thanks for your opinions! So now to decide where to go...

Posted by
3241 posts

Pilgrim, I've toyed with buying that shirt you use...still am. One women that I met uses this underwear but it looks rather uncomfortable to me.

Posted by
630 posts

I don't think I would like that underwear - looks too heavy and uncomfortable. I'm happy with my Exofficio underwear - they have become my every day choice as well. Unlike my bag situation - I'm actually happy with my travel underwear.

I'm really happy with the tank top shirt. I also have the short sleeved shirts. I bring two when I travel - they wash and dry quickly. If you get them on Amazon, you can return for free. I purchased a few sizes/styles and returned the ones that didn't work. They work well when layering and I feel very comfortable having my backup cash, credit cards, and passports on me so close. I buy them so they are fitted to my body - perfect for layering.

I think you may like them - especially if you travel solo. It can't hurt to try them - you can always return for free 😀

Posted by
4574 posts

I think there are 3 concerns...1. long term security (which the Tshirt addresses), 2. daily accessible small items (ipod, money, tissues), and 3. something to take the weight of your camera. Sounds like you pretty much have a plan - I would definitely separate your small items from your back pack.

Posted by
3241 posts

I wear the leg wallet money belt, when I wear a money belt. When solo, I almost always wear it when I'm out. I don't even feel it. It rests right under my knee...not on my ankle as some people assume. However, I'm attracted to the tee shirt option.

Posted by
2764 posts

Get a Black Rapid strap. Take camera out of bag and carry it on this. Changed my view of carrying the camera completely. It makes it easy to carry and get to and is not that dead weight in your bag pulling you down

Posted by
3241 posts

Carol, My husband uses that type. I can see the value. So far, I hold my camera and use a wrist strap, which is my preferred system. I'm rather a klutz on occasion so his system makes me a bit nervous about the health of my camera. However, I have been eyeing the women's version of his strap and might go that route at some point. I assume you like your women's version then? This bag is really my underseat or in transit bag, or the days when I'm changing to multiple activities. Like a bus bag when on tour, etc.

Posted by
9784 posts

Wray - I'm like the others in that while I put my day things (including camera) in a small backpack, I do additionally carry a small cross-body to have the things I really want to protect. I just wouldn't feel comfortable with my cards and iPod (in my case, my phone) in that back pocket of the backpack as shown in the photo, although it does look handy.

Maybe I am a bit naive in feeling that camera themselves aren't a big theft target for pickpockets/thieves these days - I always figure they are most interested in smartphones, cash, and credit cards, things that they can get immediate use out of or resell easily. Again this is perhaps total naiveté on my part but that's what I feel comfortable with, so it doesn't bother me to have my camera on my back while I do want those other things right in front of me.

Posted by
3241 posts

Kim, I agree. Although I love my camera, it would not be the hassle my credit card and iPod would be if 'lost'.

Posted by
2764 posts

Wray, I do have the women's Black Rapid. I love it. It seriously makes carrying the DSL with a decent lens so much easier!!!! I'll never carry it again without this strap.

Posted by
490 posts

I am not much use for the bag as I use a small backpack worn Euro style, on my front..unless I am actually hiking and not in crowds..

but this item has been on 7 international trips with me...it washes out and dries quickly too!

https://www.amazon.com/Nude-Pocket-Travel-Safe-Wallet/

I do not fasten it on both sides of bra...because then it hangs down and is annoying and can be seen under clothing..I snap both sides of bra stash straps to ONE side of my bra and tuck the pouch into the side/under arm of my bra. I carry my day cash and one credit card in here....everything else goes in a zippered shirt pocket and my under pants passport pouch which I never have to go into in public...need to buy tickets or an item at a store, just reach in for bra stash and it stays attached to your bra, so no one can snatch it away...and you won't even feel it there!

Posted by
3241 posts

Hi JJ, I am a buxom woman so I can't imagine reaching in my blouse and pulling out my daily money/CC. People will be wondering what else I'm carrying in there! Really, I'm only worried about my CC/iPod, so I think I'll make myself a couple of vests with inside pockets. I don't worry about my cash as that can be easily replaced. I do wear a money belt, which is a leg wallet for when I have all my financial items as when I'm in transit. I imagine this little backpack would be secure, but backpacks are not as accessible on one's back and I'll not be carrying it on my front. I met a woman who wears the pocket underwear, but I'm not sure I'll like them. Are the comfortable? They look like they are more like an old fashion girdle my mother used to wear (oh, she'll hate me for saying that).

Posted by
3241 posts

It's interesting that there has been no comment regarding #2...so I guess the security of this bag would actually work. I'm still leaning towards my Bryant Baggallini for my CC and iPod, but it does make me wonder if my CC might be safer in an inside zipper... Spreading around my goods so to speak, although I like to know where everything is and if I have too many places I might lose trace...

Posted by
5258 posts

Hi Wray,

I'm following your thread because I'm always looking for a good backpack.

Last year I purchased a small PacSafe backpack and considered taking it on my trip. However, I ended up returning it because I found the shoulder straps were uncomfortable for me. Anyway, I always wondered about the locking zippers. To me they look like it would be fairly easy for experienced pickpockets to unlock them, so I wouldn't carry anything I didn't want to lose in the backpack.

I wish someone would invent a backpack with a zippered pocket on the back side ( facing ones back).

I think I'll make myself a couple of vests with inside pockets.

You can also add inside pockets to some of your existing vests or jackets. My mom did this when she traveled solo and I have added some pockets to a couple of my jackets and to my fleece vest.

On my most recent trip with my daughter, she kept making fun of me because I had so many pockets and kept forgetting where my money was, especially when I was wearing the vest and the jacket!

Regarding the Baggallini bag you're considering.... I wonder if the removable strap is a possible problem with pickpockets...

I know I didn't answer your question but I do hope someone addresses your #2 question.

Edit to add...
I use these locking S- binners to lock the zippers of my regular backpack. They come in various sizes but I like the #2 and I get them in black to match my backpack. I got mine at REI.

Posted by
173 posts

Priscilla, I have 3 older Vera Bradley backpacks that have zip compartments on the back. My crossbody wallet fits in there and is secure against my back, holding cash, phone, credit cards, and passport. For added security I clip the crossbody strap to the inside of the pocket. The crossbody wallet acts as a lightweight "purse" and fits under a jacket. This combination works well for me, but I don't travel with a separate camera, only iPhone and iPad.

The new VB bags are lesser quality and do not have this wonderful feature. Amazon and ebay may still have some of the older models.

Posted by
73 posts

Priscilla, there are backpacks out there that are entirely accessed from back facing zippers. Here are a couple:

https://www.xd-design.com/bobby https://www.amazon.com/Shockproof-Lightweight-ScanSmart-Friendly-Resistant/dp/B01FJJUHFE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497144237&sr=8-2&keywords=Kopack+Business+Computer+Backpack+Anti+Theft+Waterproof+14+inch https://www.amazon.com/Backpack-JOYELIFE-Resistance-Lightweight-Backpacks/dp/B01NBU8YPM

I discovered them a few months ago when I began wondering why something like this doesn't exist!

Posted by
227 posts

I recently purchased a Travelon medium size cross body purse after reading lots of reviews. It has three compartments with zippers that you can lock if you want. The middle compartment is the least deep and holds money, credit cards, ID cards and passport. The largest compartment has compartments for glasses, cosmetics, small camera, etc., it actually holds my old iPad which I won't be taking anyway. I am keeping my iPhone and travel kleenex in the front compartment so far. There are two small outside pouches, one with a zipper and a net holder for a water bottle. The other has a velcro flap and could hold an iPhone, regular iPhone 7, I don't think it would hold the plus. There is an attached mini flashlight in large compartment. So after I purchased the purse, I have started using it all the time to get accustomed to it. At first I had a difficult time getting used to the three zippers and knowing where I had put everything. But after carrying it for a week, I am getting to know my compartments and liking it more and more. So for me, having the item far enough in advance and using has made all the difference since our trip is not until the end of August. I think I could easily carry my husband's wallet as well but he will probably get one of those waist pouches that fit under a shirt for his things.

Posted by
5258 posts

Thanks Sandybwb and Thousandsofkates!

I knew someone must have thought of adding a zippered pocket on the back of a backpack! I will into the those, thanks again! ;-)

Posted by
1117 posts

Here's my two cents worth of secure camera and day trip luggage:

I currently use this camera backpack. What I really like about it:

  • Its main access is from the body side, so I will at least not make it easy for thieves to get to the camera.
  • It has a very good padded waistbelt, so it's great for hiking.
  • I have never had any issues getting it on a plane. Fits either in the compartment above the seat, or sometimes I just put it under the seat.

What I don't like about it:

  • It does not have a notebook compartment.
  • There is not a whole lot of room for other day trip stuff.

I am currently thinking of getting this one instead which hopefully has all the advantages of the other one plus a notebook compartment.

.

And here's a side note on camera security straps: I got one of those one or two years ago; can't remember the brand. It got attached to the camera with some sort of wire.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I picked up my camera -- and almost dropped it, suddenly holding only one end of the strap in my hand. One of those wires was broken!

I couldn't believe it. The device that was supposed to protect my camera from theft was actually responsible for me almost dropping and breaking it!

Posted by
169 posts

My wife travels with a Pacsafe purse/pack. It is annoyingly hard to clip closed, but it can be worn in many safe ways. I travel with the rolling carry on, locked with padlocks, and a backpack - in front of me when in streetcars, etc. ever since Sarajevo, when a well-dressed drunk rifled the pockets as we were wedged in. Wife noticed, pickpocket left. I now use locks on the zips when in public.
As for cameras, after years of everything, I too have switched to a Panasonic DMC ZS50 with a Leica zoom lens. It fits in my pocket.
When using it, the wrist strap is very practical. It meets the criterion of usually being on me when I want to take photos. Awesome zoom lens really works. It is insignificant, and does not attract much attention. Tilt screen allows cafe table candid shots.

Posted by
2529 posts

A Patagonia backpack is my kit during the day and if need be can be stashed into my main bag. There are various compartments, nice curved straps, can carry two water bottles, etc. Functional and comfortable. Pickpockets never been successful. Straps never slashed. Me never mugged, knifed nor kidnapped. Your mileage may vary.