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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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Daypacks are certainly comfortable and convenient to wear when traveling, but beware carrying anything valuable. You can’t see what’s going on behind you, and pickpockets know this. Which is why we typically opt for anti-theft packs like the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 adventure backpack.

The trouble too with many daypacks suitable for travel — and certainly most anti-theft backpacks we have reviewed — is that they aren’t so good at playing many roles – on urban streets, rural trails, and mountain peaks – i.e. from urban exploration to outdoor hikes. HI Travel Tales demands versatility from is goods to ensure lighter travel. Either that, or we end up packing along a separate backpack for those more adventurous days. Not ideal in our minds.

Which is why the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 is a winning design (awarded a HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence) and one that accompanies us on nearly every trip now.

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

Versatile and safe for a trail pack

First, as a travel daypack, it excels at the basics, meeting many major airline carry-on size standards (be sure to check with your airline to verify) while providing secure protection for valuables including a laptop (it has a padded sleeve that holds up to a 15-inch MacBook), RFID protection for both wallet and passport, and sufficient internal and external pockets to keep life dang organized. Schlepping your carry-on load (which let’s face it, can easily weigh 15 pounds or more) is made relatively comfortable with an aluminum-supported back panel, a stowaway hip belt, and padded mesh shoulder straps. (Check on carry-on weight restrictions for your airline, especially on domestic European flights.)

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 organizer pocket.

Then Pacsafe added a plethora of security details that will thwart all but the most persistent of criminals. It starts with the eXomesh Slashguard, a flexible, stainless steel wire mesh built into the bag’s fabric that is designed to prevent a knife from easily slashing the fabric. Next, there are turn and lock security hooks that allow you to attach the pack to a secure fixture to prevent someone from snatching the pack and running off in a crowded environment. Zipper pulls have additional security hooks that will stop anyone from casually opening a zipper and gaining access to your pack. Even the straps on the bag are made with Dyneema, which is a ridiculously hard-to-cut webbing designed for the most extreme climbing and adventures.



Be safe with Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

As an added bonus, the pack is compatible with Pacsafe’s Travelsafe X15 water resistant portable safe insert. (Check out our Travelsafe X15 review here.) Combined with the Travelsafe, the Pascafe Venturesafe X30 provides as good a mobile travel security system as you can get, short of packing along your own steel safe.

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 side view.

For all-round use, the addition of a hideaway rain cover as well as the frame and well-designed suspension system make the HI Travel Tales Seal of Approval for Travel Product ExcellenceVenturesafe X30 a suitable companion on almost any daylong adventure. Is it an ideal adventure pack? No, but then we have yet to find any travel daypack perfect for it all – urban wear to hiking, biking or scrambling. There is always compromise in the design. For example, the hydration pocket in the Venturesafe is the same pocket used for your computer – if you get a leak in your hydration bladder, be sure to dry out this pocket well before restowing your computer!

Also, because the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 is focused on security and protecting your belongings, it doesn’t open as wide as one might like to rummage around for things that migrate to the bottom. Also, this bag is lacking any formal way of securing an extra piece of apparel to the outside (although one can jerry-rig a lot!). It would benefit from a few external attachment points on the front pocket – simple and subtle to not clutter the clean design.

Quick HITT Features:

  • Built-in rain cover
  • Stowaway hip belt and padded shoulder straps
  • Padded computer Sleeve (fits up to a 15-inch computer)
  • Zippered main compartment with RFID-protected pocket.
  • Quick-access front pocket with organizer.
  • eXomesh Slashguard
  • Designed to fit Travelsafe X15 portable safe

Quick HITT Specs:

  • Retail Price: $169.95
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 53 x 30 x 16 cm / 20.9 x 10.6 x 6.3 in
  • Weight: 1.3 kg / 2 lbs. 11.2 oz.
  • Volume: 30 L / 1831 cubic in

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