Full Disclosure: This bag was given to me as a gift by someone who works there. Reviewing the product was not expected or requested by PacSafe. The color of the bag in this post is not available on production versions of this bag. Ever since I got my first laptop, I’ve been searching for the perfect bag. Because I’m also a photographer, the perfect bag also has to fit a DSLR. I’ve been able to find great laptop bags, and great photo gear bags, but so far nothing that really works with both.
A buddy of mine works for PacSafe, and asked if I wanted to try one of their camera bags. I chose to check out the sling pack, and have been using it for about a month now.
First, the most important question: will it carry my DSLR and my laptop? If I hadn’t just bought a 15″ MacBook Pro, the answer would be yes. My old 13″ MacBook fits, but it’s been re-assigned to server duty in my office. I’ve been doing more writing on the iPad, and it fits perfectly. There’s even room to slide the bluetooth keyboard in the same pocket. Those of you familiar with sling packs know that there’s a side pocket that holds your DSLR and a lens or two (depending on the size of the lens.) So the camera requirement is met. There is a small front pocket that holds my Evernote Moleskine notebook, and a pen or two, and a surprisingly large top pocket that holds my flash, miscellaneous equipment, and a sandwich. The rear pocket that holds the iPad and keyboard has room for my LiveScribe notebook, as well. Stuffed into an almost hidden pocket on the bottom of the bag is a weather-proof cover that pulls up to cover the bag in case you find yourself trekking through a downpour. Of course, living in Pacific Northwest, I’m sure I’ll never need it. There’s also a pouch and strap on the side so you can carry a small tripod or water bottle.
So it covers all the basics, and does so quite well. From there, PacSafe goes a bit above and beyond to make sure your expensive equipment stays safe.
The shoulder strap has metal wire running through it to prevent anyone from slashing the strap and stealing your bag. Every zipper has a matching clip to make it difficult for a thief to simply unzip a pocket and grab your equipment. And the entire bag is wrapped in what they call “Exomesh”–described to me as a layer of chicken wire type stuff that prevents anyone from slashing into the bag itself to grab your gear. The shoulder strap unclips from the bag to make it easy to wrap around a table leg or something similar, but the clip itself requires two hands to detach it from the bag. There’s even an RFID-safe pocket in one of the compartments. They’ve thought of everything. The back compartment (which holds a laptop, etc.) can even be used to house a CamelBak water bladder–there’s a hole at the top of the compartment for your water hose.
I’ve been toying with the length of the shoulder strap to find the most comfortable position, and I’m still working on it. Maybe it’s my beer gut, but it doesn’t seem to sit quite right. That aside, it is very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and like most sling packs, getting to my camera without removing the pack is simple. That’s really my only complaint, and I’m not sure I can even call it a complaint. I just need to experiment more to find the perfect length setting on the strap. (And get rid of my beer gut.)
Would I recommend it? Yes. Keep in mind, the laptop pocket maxes out at 13″ laptops. Definitely not a deal-breaker for me, as the iPad camera connection kit allows me to review/send photos if I really need to do so before I get back home.
I’ve browsed through the PacSafe website, and it looks like they have a bunch of cool stuff. If the other bags are built like this one, they probably rock.
You can get more details about the Venture V16 bag on PacSafe’s website, and check out a few more photos (and a video from PacSafe,) below.
Cool video showing some of PacSafe’s security features: