The Osprey backpack
The Osprey Aura 35 weighs only 2.7 pounds and comes in three torso sizes to accommodate shorter-to-taller women

What are the main features to consider in choosing luggage for pleasure travel? Our top three criteria would be that it’s lightweight, versatile and offers high security. We’ve chosen the 24” PacSafe® luggage to check, Osprey daypacks as carry-on bags and a PacSafe® purse and camera bag. Here’s how we came to those decisions.

Carry-On

During 30 years of business travel, I learned to pack light using a Tumi carry-on suitcase as my only luggage for week-long trips. Also, being a frequent flyer, it was never a problem to carry on a second piece of luggage, a soft-sided leather briefcase. It eliminated waiting at luggage carousels and the possibility of my suitcase getting lost, damaged or broken into. Despite flying hundreds of flights covering more than 1.2 million miles on Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners, and many more on other airlines, luggage was never an issue. But the Tumi is a heavy little pig weighing nine pounds with nothing in it, and even when it’s only partially full it struggles to meet the fifteen-pound weight restrictions on some airlines such as Qantas.

Now, for long trips when there’s a possibility of hiking, my carry-on is a 2.6-pound Osprey Strata 34 daypack, freeing up an additional 6.4 pounds of weight. For Spice, it’s an Osprey Aura 35, specially designed for women. Both packs have ventilated trampoline backs, well-padded shoulder straps and excellent distribution of pockets.

Security

With respect to security and peace of mind, it really hit home in Calgary at the celebration of life for a friend we’d known since the late 70s, my buddy for more than 100 scuba dives. After reminiscing about Don, the #1 topic, as it often is when jubilados gather, was travel. During the afternoon we talked to three well-travelled couples who had recently been to Barcelona—they had all been robbed, losing either money or passports to gypsy kids, or entire pieces of luggage at the train station or in a hotel lobby.

Lynn, our daughter, had purchased a PacSafe® purse before she went to Spain, so I checked out the company’s site and examined its products at Wanderlust, our favourite travel shop in Vancouver. PacSafe® has a line of products that have slash-proof, snatch-proof and tamper-proof anti-theft technology, including:

  • Concealed and lightweight stainless steel mesh built into the most vulnerable parts of suitcases, purses, camera bags, etc. to prevent slashing
  • High-tensile straps reinforced with stainless steel wire (If I had this in Bari, Italy, I wouldn’t have had my European purse cut from my wrist and stolen. But PacSafe didn’t exist in 1992.)
  • Turn-and-lock security hooks that will frustrate thieves (and sometimes Spice, too) and enable you to secure your bag to a restaurant chair
  • Puncture-resistant zippers that can’t be opened with a ballpoint pen like most zippers
  • Lightweight and washable products with smartly designed interiors (purse pockets just the right size for a passport, interior mesh pocket in the luggage which works well for dirty clothes…)
  • Interlocking zip pullers
  • Stainless steel TSA master lock and cables to attach the luggage to overhead racks on trains or furniture in hotels

Bonus—PacSafe® products come reasonably priced. I have the Company’s camera bag, Spice has an orange handbag and we each have the 24” 7.8-pound PacSafe® luggage. We supplement them with Eagle Creek’s packing cubes for (almost) wrinkle-free travel.

Don’t let this discourage you from travelling to Barcelona. It’s a marvelous city and on a world scale it’s pretty safe—with PacSafe® products even more so. When it’s apparent that you’re a more challenging target than other nearby tourists, you should be fine.

Po’Boy Wine Carrier

IMG_1152_2On our first trip to Spain, we fell in love with the wine and brought back far more than our limit. It wouldn’t fit in our luggage, so we bought a cheap suitcase at a discount store and a package of two-dozen Pampers diapers to cushion the bottles and soak up any breakage. Everything arrived intact, allowing Canadian Customs to maximize their revenue for the day.

 

Navigation

PacSafe Our favourite travel bags and luggage

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes Simplifies the packing and unpacking process

Osprey Daypacks Well-made and sized for women

Wanderlust Excellent travel store

8 replies
  1. Avatar
    Lorne Sully says:

    Kerry
    Our older daughter Jillian bought me the
    Pacsafe 2 years ago .Great unit!!
    Survived Spain , Mexico City and a few dark corners in the Midfle East
    Will test Veracruz, Chiapas and Mexico City again this winter
    Best regards
    Lorne

    Reply

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