- Buyer's Guide
Unbox Therapy X Pacsafe Anti-Theft Briefcase Review
Any readers of my reviews know that in my top five of any EDC is a good briefcase. They can class up the joint (or your outfit) and enable you to fake it ’til you make it. (Welcome to the Bay Area, friends, but I digress.) So I was eager to give the Unbox Therapy x Pacsafe Anti-Theft Briefcase a run.
A quick step back before we get started though. Readers of Carryology will be familiar with Unbox Therapy as he is a popular voice in the tech and EDC community. He even was kind enough to review the Z400 Pacsafe x Carryology collab. And after years of having his own bag, he decided to put his own spin on one of his favorite bags.
And the honest answer is that I never quite vibed with this bag for a variety of reasons below. This bag was truly meant for those quite literally on the go and while I commute a whopping five miles to the office, I’m not battling security lines at the airport nor packed like sardines worrying someone is going to slash into my bag.
Who It Suits
Someone who lives or travels to high pickpocket areas and likes peace of mind. The consultant who has PreCheck or Global Entry and more hotel points than they know what to do with. That or a lawyer who wants to go with the casual yet professional look.
Who It Doesn’t
The maximalist who packs their lunch, brings all of their work files/folders home with them, and generally prefers more to less. Someone who likes things ‘easy’; the security features here do add a few extra steps to your interactions.
With the word “anti-theft” in the name, let’s be honest, those are some big shoes to fill. I have to hand it to Pacsafe, they nailed that aspect. There’s a barrage of wires everywhere hidden below the surface to prevent any cutting, slashing or tearing. The shoulder strap, THE SHOULDER STRAP!, is reinforced so no one can slash and run and so it can safely be anchored to stable objects when you’re having coffee or working in a public place. The fabric has an “eXomesh slashguard” or put into English, a hidden stainless steel wire mesh to again prevent any theft attempts.
Have you ever YouTubed anything about breaking into people’s bags? Me, never. But a friend told me that zippers, it turns out, are pretty terrible at keeping intruders out. A pen or a flathead can be all it takes to get into that compartment. (Side note, Carryology did a great article on this here.) Thankfully Pacsafe and Unbox Therapy saw said videos and added puncture-resistant Toughzip zippers to minimize tampering.
Last but certainly not least (for now) on this anti-theft train is the RFID-blocking outer pocket which prevents any unwarranted scans. This is important for a variety of reasons, one of which is: big brother is always watching. If you’re interested to learn more about RFID, Carryology has you covered.
Let’s talk self-healing. No, this isn’t a recommendation for an app or self-help book. It’s this incredible technology that with the aid of a heating device (like a hair dryer) lets you remove scratches from the surface of your bag. The result, a bag that has found the fountain of youth and refuses to age. I would like to have reported that I’ve tried it but the honest answer is that the canvas is so durable that despite my best attempts, I haven’t been able to scratch the damn thing!
All of these things make you feel comfortable carrying this bag. But a few other details help take it to the top. The classic passthrough for luggage ensures it never leaves your side and fits in with that executive mindset we laid out earlier. The handles are comfortable in hand should you decide to go that route. Even better, there’s a snap to keep them together!
Also once you get the bag open, its near full clamshell design does give you an insane amount of access to the interior. Once inside, you’ll notice not one but two padded sleeves and just the right amount of organization to keep cables, external batteries, Field Notes, pens and the like nice and handy. There’s even a “hidden” pocket that is placed closest to you to ensure any essentials you wouldn’t want touched, like a passport, stay out of harm’s way.
Not So Good
Upon the unboxing, the first thing that stood out was the noise. This is a weird and very particular gripe, I know. But one of the first things I do when I get a bag is pore through the details, open and close every pocket, touch the fabric and get a feel for what I’m about to embark on. And immediately like a baby crying on a plane, I came upon the loudest sliders on a zipper I’d ever experienced. Worse yet, the only way to tone them down was to connect them to the Roobar locking system which we’ll get into next. Exaggeration alert, but it felt very George Costanza and the squeaky suit. I hate being that guy.
Aside from all the hidden steel and tamper-proof zippers, a key feature to the bag is the Roobar locking system. It’s what your strap connects to. It’s where your loud sliders slide into to help ensure you’re safe. Overall the locking mechanism is easy on and off body. It is a quick tug and slide and you have access to whatever is on the slider. Again, nitpicky, but the overall mechanism is big and bulky against the rest of the bag. It adds an extra step or two every time I want access to something inside. It’s a great idea, perfectly executed. But again, just not for me.
Another item that I loved was the shoulder strap which was truly one of the best I’ve worn for any type of briefcase or messenger. That said, despite being pulled as small as possible, it still sat lower on body than I wanted with the bottom half of the bag always hitting my rear with every step. And that back hidden pocket we loved so much? Unfortunately it’s that zipper with each stride saying “hello world”.
The last thing that stood out to me was that despite the clamshell and internal organization, you couldn’t fit a lot of items in the bag. In fact this is one of the only bags I found myself constantly having to reach for a second bag to put my lunch and snacks in because between my laptop and book (sometimes I go old school), there wasn’t much room along the spine to add a whole lot else. I had to be very deliberate and conscious about what I was packing and how. Thankfully a real executive and big wig will eat out all the time and charge it back. That must be nice.
If you are someone who travels a bit light with just the essentials, this bag will truly ensure your gear is as safe as whatever’s locked in the vault of the NSA. The operative word for me is travel. The details of this bag are made for someone both comfortable (i.e. the airport) and uncomfortable (i.e. a new city) with their environment.