In preparation for upcoming travel adventures I picked up the PacSafe 45L GII, a multipurpose carry-on size bag which is light weight and is convertible to a backpack carry bag. (Related article HERE) My plan is to travel light and fast, with only a carry-on and a day pack for my camera gear. This bag has lots of neat features and seemed to be a great possibility for my general carry-on.
I just returned from a quick outing to Los Angeles which provided a great opportunity for me to give the PacSafe a test run. I discovered many advantages and a few disappointments.
The PacSafe carry-on can hold a lot of stuff. I wanted to test it’s limits and so probably over packed for a weekend outing. My packing list included 2 pair of pants, 6 shirts, 1 light weight sweater, 3 boxer shorts, 3 T-shirts, 1 pair of shoes, 5 pair of socks, 1 belt, 1 shaver and beard trimmer, a small bag of toiletries, and 1 sport coat. All of this was stowed in the main inside compartment. There is an external zippered compartment on the bag which, with my load, would have still held some flat items but I really had no need.
What you can fit into any bag of course depends on how you pack. I went with laying the pants in first with the legs hanging over the end. Then I filled the interior with my other items, using a packing cube for the shirts to help keep them orderly. Once all the items were loaded I then folded the pant legs which had been extended outside of the bag back over the top of the loaded items. It all worked fairly well. If you “roll” you items, that would likely work as well. I rolled some of the items placed in the center of the bag such as socks, boxers, etc.
The bag does have a set of adjustable internal restrains which are there to keep things from moving around during travel. These proved to be a problem, however. The straps are configured in such a way that they unnecessarily limit the width of items you can place within their confines. The straps are anchored at the bottom of the bag at points 11 inches apart while the bag itself has an internal width of almost 14 inches. This doesn’t seem to make much sense. If you use them it actually seems to increase the chances that your clothing will be squished together ending up more wrinkled than needed. As a result I didn’t use them at all. Fortunately, the bag was fully packed which limited the shifting of items. Also, the bag does have external compression straps. I tightened these up which I imagine limited internal shifting of items as well. Still, the internal restraint straps need to be improved.
The PacSafe carry-on is a great size and weight. It’s easy to handle and maneuver through crowded airports. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t attract attention. It can be stowed easily into crowded overhead storage on aircraft. It can be carried easily with the handle on the upper end or side without problem. (There are also backpack straps. When not being used they fold away into the back. They stayed put and did not dangle or hang out – which could be a problem if they were to catch on something) After using the bag I do wish, however, that there were a way to carry the bag with a shoulder strap. It’s always nice to have your hands free to deal with issues which might arise. A shoulder strap could easily be attached if there were anchor points on the ends of the bag. Unfortunately there aren’t any anchor points.
I found a “work around” for this problem by attaching a shoulder strap from an unused photography bag to the top and side handles of the PacSafe using climber’s carabiners. Not the most elegant solution, but it worked, giving me three alternative ways to carry the PacSafe.
Overall I am very pleased with the PacSafe 45L GII. It does what I want it to do and I look forward to more travels with it in the future. I’ll give it 4 out of 5 stars. It would be a 5 star item but the internal strap system really does need to be redesigned and adding an eye ring anchor point to each end for a shoulder strap would be nice touch.
Travel Light …………………And Enjoy The Adventure!
Dr.B, The Photo Trekker