Roomy, organized compartments
Slashproof shoulder straps and material
Too bulky to double as a day bag
As I planned my bucket-list trip to Munich during Oktoberfest, I knew I needed an ultra-secure bag to help me keep my valuables safe through the city’s massive crowds. I planned to keep my passport (not to mention wallet and cameras) with me at all times, so I was on the hunt for a bag to protect these valuables from thieves and pickpockets.
That’s when the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag caught my eye. This travel purse is so secure, it has its own multi-page instruction book—for a purse! I was instantly intrigued by the variety of zippered pockets, not to mention a locked shoulder strap and a host of other anti-theft features. I decided to give the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag a go on my trip to a busier-than-usual Munich. Here’s how it went.
Design: Pockets, pockets, pockets!
The Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag has a plethora of diverse pockets (there are more than a dozen!). The two main compartments were great for keeping my items organized: I placed my laptop (up to 15 inches) and notebook on one side and toiletries on the other during the flight. While out and about in Munich, I readjusted to have my camera bag with chargers and two cameras in one compartment with my wallet zipped safely in the side pouch and my water bottle easily accessible in the exterior side compartment. Beyond these larger pockets, the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag has a number of smaller open compartments to easily access pens and notebooks.
I didn’t get this bag to be ultra-stylish; that’s not what it’s about.
And that’s just the inside. There are even exterior pockets to choose from: I used the main exterior pocket to store smaller items like lip gloss, although it does have even more built-in tiny compartments for small items like business cards. While the roominess and organization is great, the only thing I would say is that, given its large size (it’s about the equivalent of a travel backpack in terms of capacity), it gets a bit cumbersome for walking around town. It’s long enough to stick out behind me and get caught on subway doors, and it’s tougher to squeeze it into small restaurant booths.
In fact, it almost looks like it’s part diaper bag. Multiple friends asked me if I was carrying a diaper bag, but they were blown away when I showed them the functional, thief-proof build. Of course, I didn’t get this bag to be ultra-stylish; that’s not what it’s about. I used it first and foremost for the safety (more on that next) and functionality, although I did like that Pacsafe offers multiple color options like black, ikat coral, kombu green, and navy. Beyond color, this bag is pretty simple in style, but I think that’s actually a perk. Flashy or expensive-looking bags may catch a thief’s eye first, which is why I was all about this modest-yet-mighty bag.
Performance: Ultimate theft protection
Beyond functionality, the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag did exactly what it promised in terms of security. The comfortable, lightly padded, and adjustable shoulder strap locks with a TurnNLock security hook so thieves can’t unsnap it and run. This cut-resistant shoulder strap doubles as an anchor strap; you can wrap it around a secured object to keep it safe while dining, watching a movie, or grabbing a drink. The longer shoulder strap is also detachable for those who’d rather carry the bag closer to the body with the two shorter (and non-detachable) top straps. I went with the cross-body shoulder strap while biking across Munich, but I felt more comfortable with the tighter fit of the top two straps while walking or on the subway.
The shoulder strap locks with a TurnNLock security hook so thieves can’t unsnap it and run.
The interior zippered pockets make it easy to stow valuables in secure, hidden spots, and I found clipping the shoulder strap’s hook through the top zipper tabs gave me an extra sense of security (no one was unzipping my bag on the subway!). The bag also comes with RFID-blocking pockets and materials. The jury is out on whether or not products like RFID-blocking wallets are even necessary—less than 5 percent of U.S. credit cards are RFID-enabled, and of those, there have been zero RFID crimes in the past 10 years—but either way, the blocking technology worked when I tested it on my hotel keycard. I placed the keycard in the RFID-block pocket since I don’t have RFID-enabled cards, and when I put the pocket up to the keypad sensor, it didn’t even slightly pick up the signal.
Durability: Tough through travel mishaps
During my Munich trip, we had more rain than I’d expected, including one shower while I was actually out on a bike—with the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag in the basket. I pedaled quickly to shelter to make sure my belongings were okay; I was pleased to find this bag kept them almost 100 percent dry.
The Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag’s cushioned lining also adds a layer of durability. If fragile items like my cameras get jostled around in transit, I could rest assured they’d stay safe and sound. And, for extra peace of mind, the bag’s Carrysafe slashguard strap and eXomesh slashguard exterior guaranteed thieves wouldn’t cut and run with my belongings.
The Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag’s cushioned lining also adds a layer of durability.
Ease of Cleaning: A low-maintenance purse
The Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag went through quite a bit of wear and tear in Munich, but it stayed in great shape. I was able to easily clean off the small stains I noticed from dining out at restaurants, although I could’ve missed a stain or two because I went with the darker kombu green color to get ahead of stain issues.
Price: A smart investment
At around $110, the Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag is a little pricey (especially for those of us who don’t spend a lot on purses!), but it’s a smart, long-term investment that’s worth it for the peace of mind while traveling.
Pacsafe Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag vs. Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote
The Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Tote offers many of the same features as the Pacsafe bag—think hidden zippered pockets, slash-resistant shoulder straps, and an RFID-blocking pocket—and it comes at about $20 less. Unlike the Pacsafe bag, though, it lacks a divider for organization in the main compartment, and it’s not nearly as roomy, at 13.5 x 13.5 x 5 inches compared to the Pacsafe’s 12.99 x 19.69 x 7.09 inches. That said, this isn’t all bad, as it may work better for toting around the city. However, I loved how roomy the Pacsafe bag was because I didn’t have to bring the purse and my backpack.
- Product Name Stylesafe Anti-Theft Tote Bag
- Product Brand Pacsafe
- UPC 688334051761
- Price $109.95
- Weight 1.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13 x 19.7 x 17.1 in.
- Color Black, ikat coral, kombu green, and navy
- Warranty 5 years
- Volume 14.50 L