We have used a number of Pacsafe products in our time. This one, the Toursafe EXP 21″ Wheeled Carry On Bag, is the new title holder for “most awesome Pacsafe travel product ever”.
This 21″ model is 37cm x 55cm x 23cm and weighs 2.8kg when empty. Presumably the weight of the bag is due to the combination of security features and the wheel/handle apparatus. It has a volume capacity of 35 liters. There are larger models available, specifically 25″ and 29″ models but we went for the 21″ as it can fit in the overhead compartment on an airplane. Truly carry-on luggage sized.
As with all Pacsafe bags the Toursafe comes with an array of security features. Most importantly there is eXomesh in the bag's lining so it is resistant to being cut open and its specially toughened zippers resist tampering. The whole thing can easily be locked up with a small padlock or combination lock.
We have used these bags on our last four flights and we did have a lot of trouble keeping the weight under (or at least close to) the airline's 7kg limit. Luckily we were only asked to put our bags on the scale once and it was suggested to perhaps move a couple of things around. Phew.
The Pacsafe Toursafe EXP 21″ Bag is the first bag with wheels we have used on our travels. We have always had backpacks before. All of a sudden we are no longer backpackers. Instead we are Flashpackers! Or as we like to say “post-backpackers”. It was a very strange feeling leaving Western Australia without a backpack on our back although, truth be told, Andrew still has to carry a small backpack containing our electronics. The lack of large heavy backpacks however is a pleasant change.
Carrying the wheeled bags up and down stairs is annoying. Luckily for me, Andrew finds it more comfortable holding both bags rather than only having a single bag to carry. This apparently keeps him balanced. Win Win!
Once the bag is on flat and level(ish) ground having a wheelie bag instead of a backpack is just too awesome for words! I am no longer complaining about a sore back, or shoulders, or knees, or ankles, or that my back is really sweaty… Going from a backpack to a wheelie bag you lose a little maneuverability but gain a lot of comfort.
The extendable handle feels quite fragile but has survived thus far without incident. It is apparently sturdier than it seems. Andrew has repeatedly picked the full bag up by the extended handle and it has not broken yet.
What do I really like about the Pacsafe Toursafe EXP 21″ Bag?
- The material is water-resistant. I have not left it sit in pouring rain but I have walked though a light shower for about ten minutes and nothing was wet inside.
- eXomesh protection. Throughout the whole case, eXomesh can be felt between the fabric layers. This makes it harder for bad people to slice your bag open and take your stuff. The mesh covers the whole surface area of the bag and ends at the zip.
- ToughZip. Apparently with most bags you can open the zips with a pen. You cannot open this bag in this way. The zips feel super sturdy.
- Carry on size. I can fill it up completely with all of my stuff and it will still fit in the overhead compartment on a plane. It also fits between my legs on a train or bus ride.
- The wheels. The wheels are very sturdy and I have driven it across gravel, grass, cement and tiles with no problem.
What do I not like about the Pacsafe Toursafe EXP 21″ Bag?
- The weight. Airlines commonly specify that hand luggage should be 7kg or less. This bag weights 2.8kg even before you put anything in it. That is a lot of your weigh allowance taken up just by the bag itself.
- Not quite enough space. I really wish the bag was 40 liters. That is the perfect amount of space for all of my stuff including some of the electronics gear.
- The extendable handle is very prominent within the interior of the bag. Not only does it take up space but it makes me nervous about putting a laptop in there. Instead of a flat surface there is a raised rigid pole running down the length of the bag that your laptop could potentially be bent or broken against.
- The front pocket is too hard to get into. As soon as you fill your bag up even moderately full it becomes hard to get into the front pocket. They promote this as a space to put your laptop but I feel as though it would get very squashed in there. Once the bag is full even retrieving a pack of tissues from the front pocket was difficult.
- The wheels. I really wish there were four wheels instead of two. It would be nice to be able to roll the bag next to me instead of behind me all the time.
Here is a video where I go through the various features and give you a good look at the bag.
All in all I really like this bag! I would love to see the added option of a convertible backpack harness, a less prominent internal handle structure, an extra two wheels, more space inside and it should be lighter. I know I am asking for a lot. Probably the most important issues out of that list are the handle structure within the bag and the weight.
If you are planning on checking in a bag anyway or if you know your hand luggage will not have much in it and just want a handy bag with some great security features this could be the bag for you. If you are planning on traveling with carry on only however you are probably better off looking at the Pacsafe Venturesafe 45 liter backpack which is only 1.3 kg.Click here to get the current price for the Pacsafe Toursafe 21″ EXP