Posts Tagged travel security
Even if you don’t listen to all the scaremongering TV news and your relatives’ warnings about all the dangers “out there” in other countries, some precautions can help you hold onto your belongings. Pacsafe is the leader in making bags that are super-tough to steal things from and this Venturesafe G2 one is a great all-around travel daypack.
This 25-liter pack will hold most of what you’re going to need for the day: camera, jacket, water bottle, notebook—and old-school guidebook and new-school tablet. Heck, it’ll hold a 15-inch Macbook if you want (though there’s not much padding). Plus the chargers of course. The RFID-Safe pocket that Pacsafe is getting into all its new products will shield your passport info and those chip-based credit cards that are finally showing up on U.S. shores.
The magic with any bag from this company though is all the built-in features that keep prying fingers away from that nice camera, phone, or iPad you’re carrying around. This daypack weighs one pound, nine ounces, but it has the eXomesh wire skeleton built in that make the bag nearly impossible to do a slash-and-grab on. Thieves also can’t just slash the strap and run or hop a motorbike with your bag in hand: there’s stainless steel wire going through the straps that will stop a knife dead. And they can’t unhook those straps either without doing a little twist move on the security hooks.
Speaking of security hooks, there are a couple hidden away that you can hook your keys to, plus the zippers can lock in two ways: a TSA lock through the small holes or a little cable lock through the larger ones.
Naturally the fabric itself is tough, water resistant, and will wipe clean. The straps come with a limited waist strap and a sternum strap if your load gets heavy. The pack is hydration equipped, with a flap for the tube to go through at the top.
Last, you get a turtle-shell style padded back that will let some air move between your back and the daypack. I would have liked a few more pouches and pockets on the inside of the small flap, but maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled by the bigger ones I’ve used like the Deuter Giga Office.
Nobody can top Pacsafe when it comes to discouraging theft, however, so this Venturesafe 25L G2 daypack is worth the $130 list if you’re planning on routinely walking around Rome, Barcelona, or Saigon with a grand or more of electronics slung over your shoulder.
I’m a big fan of locks that don’t require a key when it comes to traveling and locking up my bike. It’s too easy to lose a key when you’re on the move. Combinations can be trouble too though, especially if it’s a lock that comes out the garage or closet every year or two and you’re sharing it with others. Have you ever tossed one because nobody could remember the combination? I’m not proud to say it, but I have.
So these Wordlock ones are brilliant. One of their bike locks has gone everywhere my bike has the past few years, including a multi-day ride on the Katy Trail in Missouri. I’m not going to tell you what the combination is, but it’s a four-letter word that’s super easy to remember. In case I go senile, my wife and daughter know it and will remember it too.
Each lock comes with its own combination built in, but if you got “nuts” and want “pink,” you can change it.
Sure, in theory it’s less secure for your combination to be “rats” or “pots” than 2411 or 8946, but I’ll take my chances on that. I’m worried more about a dedicated bike thief using brute force to break/cut the lock than I am in them trying multiple combinations for a half hour to figure it out. They’ve had at least 100 chances now to try, but I don’t live in a bike thief hotspot like New York City or Portland, so I seem to be okay.
These Wordlock bike locks come in varying levels of thickness though, from a basic four-foot one that retails for as little as $6 to heavy-duty five- and six-foot thicker cables with stronger lock mechanisms going for $12 and up. Here’s a link to the six-foot one on Amazon.
If you’re not a cyclist, you can still take advantage of this idea for your luggage locks. Wordlock makes these TSA approved suitcase locks in five colors. They sell for around $9 and they qualify for free shipping at Amazon. You can also get a REI-branded version at their stores or at REI.com.
If you like this concept, you can get one for your shed, your gym locker, or your lawn mower too. See more at Wordlock.com
I hardly ever take a trip without packing a pair or two of travel underwear, so I was happy to try out some new drawers that Scottevest was giving out as samples at a travel bloggers’ convention. I hope they don’t take it the wrong way when I say these are almost just like ExOfficio travel boxers…but with pockets for your cash.
I consider that a good thing. We’ve been pitched on several types of “security underwear” in the past. Most we’ve passed on because they seemed impractical (a credit card pocket right in front of your crotch) or just plain silly. Ramsey did check out these Clever Travel Companion ones though and found them mostly okay, though too snug after a washing.
No fear of that with these Scottevest travel boxers though. These are made from nylon mixed with a bit of Lycra to make them more stretchy. So they won’t shrink when you wash them and in most cases they’ll dry overnight after a sink wash. In my tests they took about an hour longer than the ExOfficio ones to dry, mostly because of the pockets and button fly.
These are quite comfortable against the skin with shorts or jeans and are treated with Aegis anti-microbial for odor resistance. Note that they’re true boxers though, with legs that hang loosely, not “boxer briefs” if that’s what you prefer.
One stash pocket is on the front, one on the back, giving you two under-clothing places to put cash, credit cards, or a smart phone that costs more than the minimum monthly wage. The website talks about stowing your passport there too, but really the pockets are too narrow for that. You could make it fit, but that requires some stretching and will put pressure on the passport.
Overall though, I’m quite happy with this travel underwear option and will make this a staple of my packing list. You get the quick-dry and wicking properties that make packing light much easier and having an incredibly difficult place for pickpockets to get to is always a good thing, even if you just use it for emergency cab money or a credit card that will survive a mugging. It only takes once…
These travel boxers are available direct from the company or from Amazon at the same price of $20 each, which is less than comparable travel underwear from competitors. They come in gray or black in five sizes.
Limited baggage rules by airlines can be a pain especially when they restrict carry-ons by weight rather than size. Many bags are at half the weight limit even when empty. Add a camera, laptop and chargers, and you max out without even considering clothes, reading material, and other items.
I am a huge fan of multi-pocket clothing for both its practicality on travel days and when sightseeing. The Otigear line of products was new to me, but I quickly enjoyed discovering all of the pockets where I could stash heavier items when passing by the airport counter and boarding gate where eager agents can be waiting with their scales.
Traveling with both the jacket and the pants gave me even more space. The issue for the style-conscious is whether you will be bulging in all of the wrong places as you swagger (or stagger) through the airport. The fabric on these products stretches with a Spandex stretch material to fit to what you are carrying and looks sleek at the same time. There is a great zippered pocket in the front of the pants and within the shirt for important documents like a passport or credit cards.
The shirt and pants each have a pocket for a pen while the pants have an opening to store a cell phone or camera securely. In the back, the pockets are intentionally off-center so you are not sitting on a thick wallet or pointy-edged camera. All of the pockets have a solid lining to keep them from developing holes.
In the jacket, it was a nice surprise to discover a hole for your headphones to loop through so that you can listen to music as you walk with your iPod tucked safely into a pocket.
The Crossover is a casual traveler line, but there are other design lines including one that caters to athletic pursuits when an iPod or cell phone may accompany you and another that is more formal. Otigear is available online at www.Otigear.com with price points that are more competitive than other similar jackets on the marketplace making this an ideal gift for those who multitask when they travel. Pants can retail for $95 while jackets are a bit more at $129.
For now anyway, these products are nearly impossible to find anywhere else: think of Otigear as another Tom Bihn or L.L. Bean – you’ve got to seek them out to cross over. Skipping the middleman usually keeps costs lower though, so take advantage of the good values.
We’ve sung the praises of comfy Sanuk shoes on this travel gear blog a few times. They epitomize “kicked-back and comfortable,” like a Jack Johnson song on your feet.
This new Rasta Pouch style I’ve been trying out is no exception. They’re loafers great for loafing, with a comfy cushioned sole that keeps your feet from getting tired no matter how many trips you need to make to the store to buy more beer.
Part of their Sidewalk Surfers line, these Rasta Pouch shoes feature the usual emphasis on comfort, with a thick “foam pit” sole that has plenty of give, plus an embossed footbed made From recycled TPE. The environmental efforts don’t stop there. The upper is make of hemp, the liner from recycled PET, and the sole is 48% recycled rubber. No animal products used, if that’s important to you.
What’s important to us is, are they good for travel?
Yes indeed. They weigh in at only 11 ounces, despite all the cushioning, and the upper compresses down easily when you’re packing. They’re comfortable enough to wear around all day without your feet getting fatigued. The insole is patterned in a way that puts a little air between it and your feet, which is especially useful for going sockless in hot places.
But here’s the secret weapon that vaults them above many others for travelers: the “pouch” in that Rasta Pouch name.
This pouch, located in between two layers making up the flap that goes over the top of your foot, is so well hidden that nobody would suspect you’ve got cash stashed in there. So for an emergency twenty dollars (or emergency dong, rupiah, or pesos), these shoes provide a good backup plan for if you get robbed while strung out at a full moon party on Ko Pha Ngan. Or if you’re worried about pickpockets in Rome or Rio, it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t be pawing your shoes.
See more reviews of travel shoes.