It’s been nearly two months since I published my review of the Pacsafe Metrosafe 350; I’ve used it every day since as a daily bag, and have also traveled with it a couple of times, so I thought it’d be worth taking a quick look at the bag as well as report on how it’s performed and held up.
First, for the uninitiated, what is the Metrosafe 350? It’s a smallish backpack with two main compartments (one of which sports a padded laptop sleeve), a small zippered compartment for odds and ends, and a couple of expandable side pockets for water bottles and the like. As with all Pacsafe products, the Metrosafe 350 features several noteworthy security features: tamperproof zippers, slashproof walls and backpack straps, and one backpack strap which can be anchored to a seat leg or similar object.
So: how’s it held up? Any new insights? Let’s take a look…
A couple of basics
A factor which several readers questioned me about is the bag’s weight. Older Pacsafe products have a reputation for being heavyweights, but that’s hardly the case with the Metrosafe 35o. It weighs a mere 1½ lbs., and can be tossed over a shoulder with ease.
The other thing that’s worth noting is that the security features don’t get in your way or impact your use of the bag in any sense. They’re totally unobtrusive, but available when you need them.
One tiny mod
I have no idea what Pacsafe’s intent is with the little high visibility yellow and black rubber sleeves which identify the tamperproof zippers and the “snatchproof” shoulder strap (left), but I took them off after my initial review. Why call attention to security features?
Perhaps new users need a little assistance in locating these features, but after that, these serve no purpose other than to draw attention to something that ought to be as discreet and covert as possible. So, they’re history.
As mentioned in the original review, the Metrosafe 350 can hold a lot despite its relatively diminutive size (32 x 42 x 13cm / 12.6 x 16.5 x 5.1″). I typically have a ~2″ thick stack of folders and magazines in the main compartment, plus my T42 ThinkPad on occasion; there’s room left over. One practice I adopted early on: the ThinkPad is a tight fit in the laptop sleeve (best suited to a netbook, Kindle, or iPad), so I now simply put it in the main compartment, not bothering with the sleeve:
The bottom of the bag is padded, and it’s much easier to simply put the T42 into the main compartment. This particular ThinkPad model measures 12¼” x 10″ x ¾”, by the way.
Perhaps eagle eyed readers have spotted the Red Oxx luggage tag at the bottom right and are wondering what it’s doing on a Pacsafe product. There’s nothing odd going on here: I simply took it off my Red Oxx Metro, as it holds my ID badge/electronic pass – which, despite the entreaties of our HR department, I refuse to wear. Hanging off the right side of the bag, it’s handy for swiping the pad for the electronic door locks on our building.
Although you can’t see it in the photo above, I also had my iGo charger in the bag, as I’ve been using it while traveling and occasionally use it at work to recharge my iPod Touch & BlackBerry.
Below, the 2nd compartment. On the left rear, loyalty/frequent flyer cards; to their right, a highlighter and my Canon S90 in one of two small padded compartments; its mate is next, with a few pens and a small magnifier. Beyond these items, a few data CD’s, my iPod and Ultimate Buds, and (barely visible) a Field Notes notebook. Peeking out of the expandable bottle pocket on the right is an eyeglass case.
The zippered pocket on the bag’s front (not shown here; see original review) has a small bottle with some aspirin, some antiseptic wipes, and a couple of bottles of eyedrops.
Packed with these items, the bag weighs 12 pounds. The T42 is a relative heavyweight, of course. All in all, I wouldn’t want to carry much more in this bag, although it shows absolutely no signs of wear, with all the stitching and hardware in excellent condition.
Using the MS 350 for a couple of months as a daily bag has reaffirmed my initial reaction to the bag: it’s surprisingly commodius, well made, and has understated good looks. I like it quite a bit.
I’ve used in on a couple of trips as for carrying my onboard “stuff,” and it’s worked just fine for that purpose. My only reservation about the bag is that the top loop handle is a bit of a perfunctory affair: you would not want to carry 10-12 pounds in this bag while using that handle. It’s best for occasional use, and nothing more. But this is a minor detail; the bag is otherwise very well thought out and well made.
At $79.99, the Metrosafe is a very solid value, particularly when you consider the built in security features. Is this a permanent replacement for my Metro as a daily bag? Probably not, but at present I’m not yet inclined to switch back – this bag is that good.
You can see the Metrosafe 350 at the Pacsafe site: Pacsafe Metrosafe 350.