Pacsafe Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Bag Review
Review of the Pacsafe Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack. Is this slash-proof, pickpocket-proof bag ideal for protecting your gear?
Pacsafe have been around for more than 20 years and are trusted by thousands of travelers worldwide for their well-thought-out security features built into lightweight carry solutions.
They create security-orientated bags and accessories for the everyday user as well as the style-conscious, avid traveler; products that’ll help protect you from the would-be thieves, bag slashers, and opportunist pickpockets hidden in crowds all around the world.
Now, there’s no denying that there are a lot of great camera backpacks on the market.
But a lot of camera bags out there just scream, “I’m a camera bag! I’m carrying expensive gear!”– and I dare say there are clued-on thieves who can recognise certain bags as camera bags from the branding.
Keep your precious gear safe and sound thanks to anti-theft technology.
So if you’re concerned about your gear and you’re after a discrete black backpack that doesn’t scream for attention, take a look at the Camsafe range of products by Pacsafe.
They currently feature three different sized carry solutions for photographers as well as two camera inserts that can be simply dropped into any other suitable sized bag.
In this article, I’ll be taking a look at the middle of the three different sized bags on offer in the Camsafe range, the Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack.
Pacsafe Camsafe X17 Specs
- Lightweight and plenty of extra accessory pockets for added convenience
- The great security features and considerations!
- Feels well made, durable, and built to last
- They may be light, but some of the inside materials feel a bit cheap
- There is a bit of a space dead zone around the camera pack and hard-to-access space inside of it
- Some of the strap materials are made pretty rigid and of a hard compound (though no doubt this is also a security measure)
Weight: 1.07kg (2.6lbs)
Dimensions: 46 x 26 x 22 cm (18.1 x 10.2 x 8.7″)
Backpack Strap Length (Max – Min): 92-50 cm (36.2-19.7″)
– PopNLock security clip
– Carrysafe® slashguard strap with Dyneema
– eXomesh® slashguard (embroidered method)
– Roobar™ Sport locking system
– Zip clip
– System for hydration pack
– Padded camera insert with modular Velcro® dividers and side access point
– Adjustable sternum strap
– External Compression straps
– Fits a 13″ laptop
– Memory card pocket
– Attachment points on shoulder straps for small items such as pouches or water bottles
– Internal pockets to keep your gear organised
– Internal attachment point for wallets and keys
– Pen loop
– Water bottle pocket
– Camsafe X25 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack
Build & Appearance
At first glance, the Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack could just be another black backpack that you could easily look past in a crowd.
It doesn’t beg for attention: it just blends in with whatever else surrounds it. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t an ugly bag by any means. It has a simple, sleek style to it that I genuinely find quite nice.
It’s a little sporty, it’s a little stylish; it has nice tidy lines, but is still functional in many ways without looking bulky.
The X17 is made from lightweight materials and there are discrete little hideaways for a few of the hidden clips too. So they’re not on show – they generally tuck away nicely out of view when they’re not in use.
I find this incredibly appealing when it comes to a bag that I want to feel safe using while travelling to destinations where I may be more of a target than in my everyday life.
For example, I might be roaming through the tight, crowded streets surrounding a popular tourist destination, where somebody may look to try and swipe my personal possessions while I gawk at the towering cathedral or historic monument.
I don’t want to have a flashy attention-grabbing backpack which may catch the wandering eye of an opportunist looking for a quick snatch and run.
Upon picking up the Camsafe X17, you may not immediately notice that the entire under-layer of the bag is wrapped in eXomesh® slashguard.
This is specially designed to prevent pesky thieves from quickly slashing open your backpack causing your belongings to spill over the streets.
It’s something you can feel if you run your hands over the outside of the bag but not something that you can see thanks to the bag’s outer layer materials.
The bag doesn’t feature a rigid bone-like structure and is a rather soft bag to deal with during your day to day usage.
It won’t sag under the weight of being loaded up but it’ll squish down nice and flat if you need to pack it into your suitcase or wardrobe when it’s not being used.
Many of the notable exterior features of the Camsafe X17 are security features.
There are two discrete zipper clips attached to elastic material which pulls them back into their hiding holes. These are included to secure three of your zippers closed, preventing people from opening your bag without your say-so.
One clip secures the laptop pouch, and the other secures both the front pocket and side camera access lid closed.
The main compartment can be locked using the Roobar™ Sport locking system at the top, which has a small hole designed into it that can also have a padlock attached for added security.
I’ve only ever seen this type of lock on Pacsafe products, and I have to say, it took me a little while to work out how to open it. So I can’t imagine that somebody on the streets who’s never been faced with it before is going to be able to figure it out!
The zippers also interlock to add one extra layer of security to it.
The Pacsafe Camsafe X17 features Carrysafe® slashguard shoulder straps wrapped in Dyneema, which is lightweight and quite durable. This helps protect you from people trying to swiftly remove your bag from your person.
One of them also features a PopNLock security clip which gives you the ability to tie the strap around a pole to stop a snatch and run happening while you’re stopped somewhere distracted and appreciating some company or just doing that photo thing you apparently enjoy doing.
The shoulder straps also come with a detachable sternum strap to help spread the load when the bag is packed full of all your daily gear.
Be mindful that as a standard all of these features are mostly deterrents and will likely only cause more of a delay for opportunists who may make for a quick attempt to steal your things.
Anyone with some extra time or complete undetected access to your bag will be able to open it up.
Still, Pacsafe seem to have taken extra locking capabilities into consideration: the zippers have large enough holes to allow for a padlock to be fitted.
If you find yourself caught in unpredictable weather conditions, waterfalls or sea spray, you can rest assured that your Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack will be OK, as Pacsafe have included a rain cover stuffed into the bottom of the bag.
It’s easy to remove from the pouch and fit over the bag, detachable to hang out and dry, and just as easy to tuck back away when you’re done!
The single side bottle pocket stays flat against the bag but very easily stretches to the size of whatever you try and load into it – whether it be a water bottle, umbrella, or a travel-sized tripod folded up nice and tight.
It’s a deep-set pocket to add plenty of carry support and is meshed to keep the materials lightweight and to not hold any water that may find its way down into the pocket.
If you’re placing a longer or taller item into that pocket you can secure it to the side of the bag by utilising the included expandable strap.
Inside the Camsafe X17 is a removable internal camera pouch that’s very simple and features nice thick padding.
The design and arrangement are similar to many other camera bags, so it’s also a very familiar experience to deal with.
The camera pouch is only accessible through the side and is therefore side-orientated and subject to the laws of gravity. All of your gear will fall to the base of the pouch, so the way in which you arrange your dividers definitely needs to consider that.
I found that these side-orientated camera pouches can often leave unused space and tend to sag as well. Fortunately, this one is based at the very bottom of the bag so you don’t end up with wasted space underneath.
To suit my camera and lens combination, I have mine set up in an L shape. This takes up 3/4 of the pouch, however, I’ve ended up with a block of dead space inside. In order to access that area, I need to first remove my camera.
This is fine if it’s used for chargers and home-orientated camera accessories, but if you need to quickly access anything in this case you’ll have to have a little patience!
The side access lid of the X17 has two small pouches built into it to store memory cards and the front pocket features numerous other great little accessory compartments.
Built into the middle of the bag is a pull-cord cover that holds the main contents secure and separate from the camera pouch area. This prevents all your smaller items from falling into the dead section surrounding the camera pouch.
This was a problem I had with another bag that contained a side access removable camera pouch, so it’s great to see a solution for that.
It also means that if you remove the camera pouch you can still have a degree of separation from items within the backpack. But if you want to have an open cavernous bag you can release the cover and open it right up like a normal style bag.
The Camsafe X17 Backpack gives you plenty of nice ways to sort out your troublesome little widgets, gadgets, pens, cables, and more.
There’s an assortment of small zipper and velcro sealed organisational pockets littered throughout the inside of the bag.
The front pocket includes an RFIDsafe™ pouch preventing scammers from ripping off your cards and details while they’re securely stowed away.
Coming in at a 17L carry capacity, the Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack is not a large bag by any means. It’s definitely a convenient small daily commute size and is not designed for somebody to load in a ton of camera gear.
The upper pocket is best suited to daily items that you may want to have easy access to on your adventures or while on your way to work.
The internal camera pouch will easily fit a DSLR or Mirrorless with a lens attached, such as my Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 attached, or my Sony a7 III with Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 attached.
Depending on how you’ve set up the dividers you can easily slip in another lens of similar size or some other goodies such as chargers and other bulkier accessories if required.
Situated on the body side of the backpack is a laptop sleeve that’ll fit a 13″ laptop through the side entry point, or you can easily use that section to store printed travel documents and papers if you don’t want them squished up with the rest of your goodies.
I don’t have a 13″ laptop to prove how cleanly they’ll fit there, however, I tried to jam my gaming laptop into it, and I can assure you that a 15.6″ laptop does not fit…
The front pouch on the Camsafe X17 is great for dropping in a whole lot of random goodies and cables as well as important cards and documents.
You’ll find an RFIDsafe™ pocket built into the front pouch that can be easily stuffed with your valuable debit or credit cards.
The interior pockets will conveniently stow your small camera batteries, cables, USB chargers, memory cards and all the other random smaller items you want to pack.
If you’re a DJI Mavic user, I found that the drone, controller, and spare batteries fit nice and easily into the main top compartment of the bag while my Canon 5D Mark III sat parked in the side access camera pouch.
To keep the main compartment clear I stowed away the chargers for both devices in the same camera pouch as well. I figured I didn’t need convenient access to the chargers so I tucked them away comfortably in the covered section of the pouch until I was done for the day.
Ease of Use/Comfort
Being a very lightweight bag from the get-go is a huge benefit when travelling or using the Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack for a daily commute.
Not having to worry too much about the combined weight of your camera gear along with the backpack itself is great. When dealing with a light daily load the already-lightweight backpack feels quite comfortable to use.
I dare say many of the materials used are more function than form, which does help in shaving off a bunch of unnecessary weight from overly complicated fancy materials. That does definitely add to the overall experience of having a highly functional and useful travel bag.
Shaving off the extra grams here and there make a difference when you’re using a bag like the X17 for many hours at a time. Those fancy materials you find on other bags will become more of a negative than a positive experience, believe me on that one.
Although, personally I feel as though the straps connecting the main shoulder straps to the bottom of the bag are rather hard and aren’t as soft or malleable as I hoped they could be.
They’re probably a tougher material to assist in the prevention of people trying to slash them, but they can be a little uncomfortable to deal with both while wearing and when adjusting the strap lengths.
They feel rigid, strong, and rather sturdy so I wouldn’t imagine they’d fail their purpose, but they can feel a little rough.
The little security features of the Camsafe X17 can be rather fiddly at times, especially if you need to quickly access something, or if you’re constantly accessing your bag while on the move.
That said, they’re well worth it if they prevent theft at least once – since all it really takes is just one attempt being thwarted for the bag to pay for itself.
Value for Money
I believe the Camsafe X17 is well justified in the price that Pacsafe have listed the bag for. It’s lightweight, relatively durable, and can carry enough for a day wandering the streets of whatever city or village you may be visiting.
If you’re not one to always carry huge amounts of gear, but tend to keep it to just a camera and a lens or a fold-up drone, then it’s definitely comfortable enough to use as a travel backpack, or simplified down to a daily commute bag.
But if you require multiple lenses or bodies, or generally carry a lot more gear on your adventures, maybe look at the Camsafe X25 for that extra space.
The security features of the Pacsafe Camsafe X17 definitely bring up the value of the backpack. All the bag has to do is protect you once from an attempt, or at the very least deter just one opportunist and it has rightfully paid for itself!
Pacsafe is a very large and popular brand, so they have a reputation to uphold regarding their products. I’m sure they’re living up to their customers’ expectations with their entire range.
I feel that this bag is definitely worth the asking price and I will happily recommend Pacsafe bags if somebody asks for a safe carry solution.
Pacsafe Camsafe X17 Review | Conclusion
I was first introduced to Pacsafe a few years ago when I travelled to Europe with some friends of mine.
I had heard of the brand before but never really looked into their bags myself and I was not even aware they had a camera-specific range. I didn’t really consider the need for little security measures on a backpack because I never felt that I would be a target.
But once I took a closer look at the bags my friends purchased, I quickly noticed just how clever the numerous little deterrents and security features built into it were. I suddenly felt that my own bag was going to be rather inadequate for the trip.
After adding the Pacsafe Camsafe X17 to my collection, I quickly realised how valuable peace of mind can be. The fact that so often throughout my trips over the last few years I’ve been worried and paranoid about something happening… had I been using a bag like this instead I could have at least alleviated some levels of concern.
As long as you maintain a level of caution and don’t place your valuables in harms way, you should be relatively fine with any backpack. But with the added security features of the Camsafe X17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack, you really can feel a lot more at ease.
Keep your precious gear safe and sound thanks to anti-theft technology.