Pacsafe Backpack Protector.


The Pacsafe bag protector is an essential part of any backpackers basic safety kit. I have used one of these since I started backpacking over ten years ago and have never regretted it.

Basically the Pacsafe backpack protector is a high tensile, stainless steel net that wraps around your backpack and secures it to any solid object via an attached stainless steel cable which effectively prevents it from being tampered with or taken away.  The protector also comes with a carry pouch and a padlock. This is a good, solid padlock and there is no problem with it, but it does come in a standard size so can easily be replaced with one of your own if you prefer.

They are cumbersome, and they do add a little weight to your pack which can be a problem if you are trying to save every little pound and ounce, but overall you have to weigh these minor issues up with how essential  you consider the item to be.

I have heard one of the main criticisms of these backpack protectors is that they are overkill. Well, yes in many circumstances they are and there is certainly no need to walk around with it attached to your pack as you walk from place to place. Which generally you wouldn’t be doing anyway. I certainly don’t use them all of the time when travelling as frankly there is no need to.

Where they are invaluable however is during transit. From the very basics of checking your pack during a flight to the old backpacker endurance tests of sleeper trains or overnight buses, the Pacsafe protector makes it easy to ensure your pack is secure, and the peace of mind you get from doing so is well worth it.

If you are travelling on a sleeper train or long distance bus, particularly in South America, India or South East Asia for example, a backpack that is wrapped in a steel net and attached to the seat itself is far more secure than one that isn’t. Frankly outright thefts of bags, or scams where thieves will hide in the luggage compartment of buses and rifle through your belongings are rare, but they do happen, and staying safe on your travels is all about reducing the potential risks to yourself so why not make it as hard as possible for someone to tamper with or steal your pack?

On a practical level, the Pacsafe protector is a little difficult to get on and off your pack at first and until you get used to it, it is an absolute pain to do if you are hurrying for your bus or train. This does get a lot easier with practice though and after years of using mine I can slip it on and off relatively quickly. If you are in a rush though you may want to save folding it back into its carry pouch until you have a few minutes where you can do it away from prying eyes.

Available in a range of sizes from a tiny 25 Litre to an excessive 140 Litre net, there literally isn’t a backpack you can buy that one of these sizes will not cover. My own backpack is my old military bergen, which is larger and a slightly different shape than most standard backpacks, and the net even manages to cover it with the side pouches attached without any problems. So if you are on an extended trip and have sleeping mats or bags, old trainers or whatever else it may be strapped to the outside of your pack, you can be sure that the net is versatile enough to stretch around it, just be sure to buy the correct size for your pack.

There are very few essential pieces of kit that every backpacker should have on their travels, but in my opinion, this is one of them.

Ready to buy? You can purchase a Pacsafe here.


No incentives were offered or given in return for this review. The views and opinions expressed are the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias. Affiliate links have been used in this review and I do get a small commission on every click which helps pay for the upkeep of the site, but these in no way affect the outcome of the review. 

29 comments on “Pacsafe Backpack Protector.
  1. HelenB says:

    I have been debating whether to get one of these for my upcoming trip, this review has definitely pursuaded me! Thankyou!

  2. alicesgapyearadventures says:

    I really wish I had seen this review and known about this before I started traveling! I definitely would have got one! I’ve been using an old bike chain and padlock to tie my pack to things, but it is quite heavy in my backpack and this seems much better.

  3. antonette says:

    Never heard of any of those before and not seen them either. We’ll just keep on using the old school flightbag though as we can also use that as a rain cover for hiking…

  4. Calli says:

    Interesting, I hadn’t heard of this type of protector before. We’ve had mostly good experiences traveling, our bags haven’t been stolen or broken into, but a bag of mixed coins did go missing on a flight in Europe. This would definitely provide more peace of mind. Although I wonder how it would work in airports. I’ve heard people having their expensive locks cut off their bags so airport security can go through their bag and I’d hate to have them break this trying to get into my bag legitimately.

    • It works fantastically well in airports, I always use it when storing my main pack in the hold and I have never had any problems. You can replace the standard padlock that comes with the pacsafe with a TSA approved padlock which legitimate security personel can get into if they need to. The padlock is a separate piece from the protector.

      And I need to reiterate I have had predominantly good experiences too, the risk of anything happening to you or your stuff is relatively low, but staying safe and keeping your kit safe is all about reducing any risk to manageable levels, and using this is one great way to do that. Thanks for the comment Calli.

  5. emilyluxton says:

    I’ve been using a couple of PacSafe products on my trip and they are awesome. I didn’t get a backpack protector, though – now I wish I had!

    • It really has been useful for me over the years, there’s always your next trip! ;D What products have you used?

      • emilyluxton says:

        I have a lock down sac thing to store or my valuables, which is super handy! Also a nice anti theft hip pack, but I’ve hardly used it – only in crowded places!

      • Sounds awesome! Never used a hip pack myself, but I think I know what you mean by the lock sac. It’s always good to have that peace of mind by taking reasonable safety precautions without going overboard into full blown paranoia.

  6. jslivingthedream says:

    We went back and forth with getting one of these and ultimately decided against it because of the weight. Thanks for the review and glad its worked for you

    • It does add a little weight to your pack, that is one of the downsides I agree, but it is not all that much. I personally think the balance between the weight and space and the extra security and peace of mind was well worth it.

  7. Bob R says:

    I haven’t been ripped off while traveling since 1992 so am fairly careful. But there have been a times when peace of mind was missing. These would certainly help fill that void.

    • Thanks for the comment Bob, I completely agree, and peace of mind is a factor many people overlook. Your pack may well be perfectly safe in the hold of a plane for example, but that extra peace of mind you get by reducing the odds of anything happening is completely – if you will excuse the expression – priceless.

  8. Samantha says:

    We ordered one of these for our recent trip to Myanmar, afraid of our bags being broken into while on overnight sleeper trains etc but we didn’t use it. Plus it took over an hour for my boyfriend to figure out how to use it! 🙂 But it is a great product and very useful!

    • Apart from when i put my pack in the hold during a flight, overnight sleeper trains and buses tend to be when I use mine the most too. It does take a bit of time and practice, I’ve been using mine for years now so I have it down to a fine art, but persevere and you will get used to it. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

  9. Glen says:

    I need one of these!

  10. Krista says:

    Hi! I have a question for you. I’m traveling SE Asia and considering one of these pacsafes. the only thing that is stopping me is that, could it possibly attract attention? Could it lead people to believe the contents are highly valuable? I know they are on such a trip but my pack can’t be much different then the rest in a pile. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Krista, don’t worry. It depends how you use it! If you put it on your pack when you are carrying it and look all defensive, then yes it is likely to attract attention to you! Don’t do that, that isn’t how it’s meant to be used. If you use it to simply secure your pack to something in your hostel dorm while you are out or to your seat on an overnight coach for example, then it won’t attract attention, but it will deter opportunistic thieves. They’ll just go for the easy unsecured ones instead. 🙂

  11. Arefa Tonny says:

    Interesting stuff for Backpack. And also thanks for the awesome review 🙂

  12. Ann says:

    I so need to get one of these! Can you confirm that the net has a cable lock on it too?

    • Yes it does, it has the net and then a separate cable that you can use to either wrap around the bag and secure the net even more or wrap around a fixed object (such as a luggage rack or fixed seat leg).

  13. Matt Zed says:

    The mesh aperture on these bags is large enough to fit your hand through, so it won’t prevent someone rummaging around in your bag through the mesh, and won’t stop camera lenses and similar sized things being stolen if the thief has time and is un-observed. It will only help prevent opportunistic bag-swipes and maybe deflect the thief to easier pickings.

    • Agree to disagree on that one Matt, a tiny hand MAY be able to get it through (my own hand certainly can’t) but would be very hard pressed to get anything through it. I agree that there is actually very little that will stop an extremely determined thief, but 99.9% are not that determined to rummage through my dirty laundry.

  14. Rob says:

    Ideal for use on a motorbike. Mine covers my large soft luggage pack 35lt) that sits on the rear seat.
    It means I can keep wallet/passport/camera/glasses with me (used a bumbag for years as it’s convenient for me), it means my main bag can be left on the bike without fear of it growing legs and walking off while I’m doing a bit of sightseeing.

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