Pacsafe Toursafe 21″ Luggage Review

Pacsafe Toursafe 21Inch Bag In The Airline's Overhead Compartment

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.

Andrew Carrying Up The Pacsafe Toursafe Bags The Stairs

Andrew Carrying The Pacsafe Toursafe Bags Up The Stairs

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.

Tanya and Pacsafe On The Train

Tanya and Pacsafe On The Train

Packing The Pacsafe Toursafe 21Inch Bag

Packing The Pacsafe Toursafe 21Inch Bag

 

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
Lazing About With Our Pacsafe Bags

Lazing About In Bangkok With Our Pacsafe Bags

10 comments

  1. Michael Taylor 10 July, 2013 at 11:01 Reply

    I was never a backpacker – I just couldn’t deal with the weight on my back. But the invention of suitcases with wheels has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, yes, it makes getting them through airports much easier. However, as you mentioned in your review, that leads to a loss of space inside the bag, and it can make packing very difficult. A second problem: the wheels and handle can actually weigh quite a bit! One consideration that people should take into account when buying luggage is how much it weighs – not just how much room it has. I discovered this the last time I purchased a suitcase. I wanted to buy a model with four wheels because they are easier to maneuver. But I settled on the two wheel model because it was lighter weight.

  2. Nancy Compton 11 July, 2013 at 02:42 Reply

    I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying reading your blog. I am preparing for a yr long trip to India and Asia. Doing tha backpack as well and like you selling wverything we own but what we cant live without. I’m planning on getting the backpack version of this bag. Oh and also blogging our trip. Thanks!!!!

  3. Joel Cure 14 October, 2015 at 11:32 Reply

    Your pictures and video do not appear to be of the Pacsafe EXP 21 but rather of a different model, namely the Pacsafe AT21…..could you clarify this please?

    • Tanya 14 October, 2015 at 12:10 Reply

      Hi Joel, The model in both the video and photos is definitely the EXP21 not the AT21.
      The EXP21 was what was sent to us and tagged as.
      However, this review was written in 2013 and Pacsafe have released new versions of the bag.
      Link to Pacsafe EXP21 – http://amzn.to/1VRLkwY
      Link to Pacsafe AT21 – http://amzn.to/1jxBJ27
      I would do thorough research and work out which one is lighter to start off with, which one has the largest Litre capacity and whether you prefer a single handle or a double handle for rolling.
      Love Pacsafe <3

      • Joel Cure' 14 October, 2015 at 21:17 Reply

        We just purchased two of the Pacsafe EXP 21 bags. They look completely different from the ones you reviewed. I guess they are the newer version of that bag. The inner volume is 41.5L according to the Pacsafe web page.

        http://www.pacsafe.com/toursafe-exp21-wheeled-carry-on-luggage.html

        The bags seem quite small internally and the fiddly locking mechanism (“Roobar”) is going to take some getting used to. The handle structure really compromises the inner volume of the bag. The bags still seem quite heavy, too, due to the Exomesh. We will probably only keep one of them as my wife is really not happy with the one designated for her (blue with lime green strap clips). I have two other Pacsafe bags (a messenger bag and a backpack) and really like them.

  4. Jovan 29 March, 2017 at 00:26 Reply

    That picture of the bags in the overhead compartment says it all. Thank you for that. Now I’m confident that I should take this with me to my trip to the UK.

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