Theft-proof and tough to boot, we put this sturdy roller through the hold to see just how well its rugged credentials hold up. Click here to buy the Pacsafe Toursafe AT25 from Amazon
WORDS & PICTURES BY CHRIS ROWLANDS
If there’s a word for the satisfaction of finding a great piece of luggage, I’m yet to learn it. Sackcitement? Perhaps not.
That doesn’t take away, though, the unbridled joy I gain from discovering some satisfyingly smart piece of baggage in which to pack my particulars. And it’s not about a sac being crammed full of nifty features, either.
Just as hygge is more than cosiness, so a good bag is a heady blend of simplicity, reliability and some intangible sensation that makes passers-by say, “ooh, look! What a great bag.”
So it is with Pacsafe’s Toursafe AT25. An understated roller with a 73L capacity, this flap-opening tough duffel has rapidly become my hold bag of choice – so much so that I’ve opted to use it for our 6-month venture to Sri Lanka, over my trusty Osprey rucksack.
What makes it so appealing? For me it’s the useful combination of subtle styling, practical design and a vast capacity in a suitcase that doesn’t actually look all that big.
With just a single, main compartment (accessed by a zip-opening lid), most might assume that the AT25 lacks the versatility of many a rucksack or split-opening suitcase.
Whatever is lost in the lack of divided space, though, is more than gained in the uninhibited ability to access and pack in that voluminous area.
Internal compression straps make handy helpers when you’re trying to squash in those last extra bits, while a mesh compartment in the lid and a small zippered holder make good for your less packable items.
Once all of your bits are inside, there’s a drawstring compression closure that neatly covers and contains all of your luggage, meaning that the lid itself doesn’t have to do quite so much work.
Not that it would mind, mind, as the Exomesh-lined exterior feels tough as old boots. Sure, it doesn’t have a hard shell – but after one trip through the airport you’ll be pretty convinced of the AT25’s rugged credentials.
Closed with the puncture-resistant zips and packed down with the external compression straps, the Pacsafe seems sturdy and, more importantly, safe. There’s just the right amount of padding to reassure, and, while the exterior is soft to the touch, you can’t ever imagine this thing ripping.
That goes for the build quality, too: grab handles on the side and top are padded, and feel truly bolted on to the bag. Even loaded up with 23kg of long-haul gear there was no give or stretch in the fabric, and I had every confidence in the AT25’s ability to stand up to baggage handlers.
Thankfully, that belief was born out by its surviving two check-in experiences – London to Tokyo and, later, London to Larnaca – without a single scratch. In fact, judging by the shape of things on the baggage belt, it held up better than a lot of the hard-shell suitcases.
Once you’ve collected it from baggage reclaim, the AT25 also happens to be a pleasure to wheel. Big, solid wheels make for easy rolling, while the single, aluminium T-bar handle fits perfectly in the palm and manages weight without a hint of wobble.
In short, the Pacsafe Toursafe AT25 feels like the full package. While most will know the Pacsafe brand for its fleet of theft-protected gear (of which the slashproof AT25 is a member), this foray into the world of check-in duffels proves that it knows more about travel than fending off would-be Fagins.
Eminently practical, the AT25 is as useful for living out of in the hotel room (with its large main flap and easy-to-access central compartment) as it is for travelling, and I always had every faith that its reinforced construction would hold up to the harshest of airport belt experiences.
Better yet, while its capacity and build quality make it ideal for long-haul adventures (provided the roads are smooth), the black-on-black styling wouldn’t look out of place as part of a business entourage – and it does a great job of blending in and avoiding inquisitive eyes.
Want a more versatile alternative to your ailing suitcase? The Pacsafe Toursafe AT25 is a versatile, practical and rugged duffel that’ll go the distance in understated style – and is ruddy hard to steal.