Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling Bag Review
As a travel photographer, one of the biggest issues I face is keeping my camera bag safe from loss, damage and theft.
Although, as I mostly travel around Japan – one of the safest countries in the world – I don’t have to worry too much.
Regardless, it’s a photographer’s priority to return with their full kit intact. And to achieve that, you need a camera bag built specifically for safety without ignoring comfort.
The Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is just such a product.
Whether you’re traveling the world or out and about in your local hood, the Camsafe X9 has some robust security measures to prevent even the most daring pickpocket from getting to your kit.
What’s more, this bag is a perfect size and design for travel. It will stow overhead or under the seat in front of you – regardless of if you’re in a plane or on a Shinkansen.
Let’s take a closer look at this camera sling bag to see how well-suited it is for travel.
Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Camera Sling Bag Specs
- Safety overload
- Perfect size for travel – planes, trains and automobiles
- Secure camera storage
- Fiddly fixtures
- It does not self-destruct in the rare event someone does snatch it
- Dimensions: 40.1cm x 25cm x 15cm (15.8″ x 9.8″ x 5.9″)
- Weight: 088kg (1.76lbs)
- Volume: 8L (2.11gal)
- Material: Exomesh SlashGaurd Nylon
- Water-Resistant Rain Cover: Yes
Build & Appearance
The Pacsafe Camsafe X9 has the look of an everyday sling bag and in no way announces itself as a camera bag. This is a big win for Pacsafe, in my book, as I dislike camera bags that are covered in branding.
As with a lot of Pacsafe travel products, the materials are either woven with a fine mesh or there’s a separate mesh cage inside the bag. Some bags come with steel cables and padlocks as they believe you can lock your bag up to a solid fixture and it can’t be stolen or tampered with.
The Camsafe X9 is constructed from their Exomesh SlashGaurd nylon which has a fine mesh weave to make the bag slash-proof.
Further to this, the main straps are also slash-proof thanks to reinforcement, while the zips are puncture-proof.
It’s a tough gig not to go to town on this bag and really try to cut it up and break into it just to test its mettle – but I resisted the urge.
The sling can be worn in all sorts of weather thanks to the included rain cover. (To be honest, I’m a big believer that with modern materials rain covers should be a thing of the past – but it’s better than nothing.)
On the whole, the X9 is a good looking bag that’s unobtrusive – not too big and not too small and sits comfortably on an adult back.
The Camsafe X9 is very minimal on the outside to ensure that your goodies are locked up, out of sight, on the inside.
Starting on one side, there’s a good-sized water bottle holder that’s made from a flexible mesh. This could also fit a small travel tripod like a Manfrotto Pixi.
The front of the bag is just a single panel with a zip that runs up one side and across the top. This gives access to an accessory pocket.
The other side of the Camsafe X9 is the business end for photographers. It features a large zippered flap that gives access to the inside of the main compartment and the padded camera dividers.
I like this sort of access in a camera bag as you can keep the bag on your shoulder and sling it around to your front to grab your gear.
The top of the bag features a slightly padded carry handle and a nylon loop to hang the bag on a hook.
The base of the bag has a thicker style of material for extra protection when you put the bag down. There’s also a hidden pocket for the rain cover.
Finally, the back of the Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling has a single padded strap that’s also protected with the Exomesh material. It’s adjustable in length to either have it hang loose or snug up against your back.
The bag panel is well padded and has a single zip that runs down the length of the bag – this is perfect for up to an 11″ tablet or documents.
There’s also an adjustable strap that runs from the main strap to the side of the bag to secure it in place – great if you’re on the move or on a bike.
Now let’s talk about some of the Camsafe X9 safety features, beginning with the zippers.
As mentioned, the zips are puncture-proof so there is no way someone can easily gain access to any of the internals via the three large zips.
There are two camera access zips with a unique design that allows them to lock together (Step 1). Mounted on the top-side of the bag there is a point where you can loop the joined zips over an anchor (Step 2).
Next, you can slide a toughened plastic sleeve over this anchor – effectively preventing the zip from being opened (Step 3). Then, you push a slide-in button that prevents the toughed plastic sleeve from sliding back away from the anchor (Step 4).
Finally, if you are so inclined, there is a hole in the anchor where you can attach a small padlock to prevent any of the above coming undone – you’ve come this far so why not! (Step 5).
There you have it, there are no less than five steps to lock up or open the camera compartment making it super secure. Of course, you don’t have to go to all this trouble and can opt just to zip the bag shut.
Keep in mind that if it’s fiddly for you, it’s going to be extra fiddly for a thief who is not familiar with the system.
The other two external zips close next to small metal clasps that are hidden within the fabric of the bag. Thanks to the use of elastic, these retract out of sight.
As a further security feature, the Camsafe X9 Sling has a pin lock at the base of the main strap. This lock allows you to disconnect the main strap, loop it around an immovable object and then connect it back up.
The lock also has a solid metal loop that you can attach a small padlock to – they don’t muck about with security do they?
The large front pocket on the Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is a slim pocket with a bunch of great features.
On the inside of the flap, there’s a pen loop, a large mesh pocket and a key chain loop.
There are two additional pockets both with velcro closures. One is divided inside to hold two SD cards; there’s also a slip pocket directly behind it. The other pocket is an RFID-safe pocket for keeping your credit cards.
I found this front pocket perfect for carrying my spare SD cards, spare battery, house keys and my wallet.
The main belly of the Camsafe X9 is the camera storage compartment accessed via the side pocket. This whole area is padded with velcro positive material.
Included with the sling are four padded camera insert dividers with velcro ends so that you can organise your gear.
I love that when you open the wide side-access pocket you have access to your camera but also another lens if you set it up correctly. A lot of camera access pockets like this only allow for a camera to be grabbed quickly.
Of course, you can opt to remove the camera inserts completely to open up the full capacity of the bag with whatever you want to carry.
Finally, the long zippered pocket on the back of the X9 gives access to a well-padded tablet pocket – this could also be used to store a passport and documents.
I found that the Pacsafe Camsafe X9 was a great size for carrying my street kit.
It would also make a great travel kit bag – although for me they are pretty much one and the same.
Of course, you can remove the internal camera dividers and just load it up with your daily carry gear including a tablet, books, a hoodie and a packed lunch.
But for the purpose of this review, let’s take a look at what I chose to carry in it:
- Fujifilm X-E3
- Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2
- Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2
- Cura Cleaning Kit
- 2 x Spare Batteries
- Water Bottle
Ease of Use/Comfort
The Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is very comfortable to wear for both short and long durations. Even with a decent amount of camera gear on board, it’s comfortable and not at all a burden.
The back support is well padded as is the main shoulder strap – plus being fully adjustable is of great value.
As I mentioned earlier, I love that I can swing this bag around on its strap to access any and all pockets – most importantly the one with my camera.
What’s more, you can carry this bag on your front when you are in especially dicey locations.
The carry handle on the Camsafe X9 Sling is well padded for those that like to grab and run with their bag.
All zips glide smoothly, however, I did find the zip security system to be quite fiddly. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it is intended to prevent theft – after repeated use, I’m sure you would become a pro at quick access. The pin lock was much the same.
I’m not sure how likely I would be to secure my bag to an immovable object via the pin lock system however if you were in a pinch it would be better than nothing.
Personally, when traveling, I don’t let my camera bag out of my sight… ever!
Value for Money
The Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is an essential tool for those travelling rough (or otherwise) with their camera gear. If you’re heading into shady territory, having a bag like this is invaluable.
Speaking of value, at around US$120 (check here for the latest price), the X9 Sling is amazing. This is a small price to pay for a quality camera bag and is a small price to pay for insurance to keep your gear safe.
When you think of the amount of money you spend on camera gear every year, then add to that the cost of travel, the price of this bag is insignificant!
Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling Review | Conclusion
If you’re planning to travel abroad and visit some of the most culturally rich locations, you always need to consider your safety – and that of your possessions.
Fortunately, Pacsafe design and manufacture a large range of travel goods fit for purpose. The Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is an excellent addition to their line-up and provides travel photographers with a way to safely store and carry their kit.
If you’re waiting for a train in Jakarta, but there’s no locker to be found, you could always lock your X9 Sling to a fixed object. The bag should survive any attempts to break into it, slash it open, or even steal it.
I say “should” as personally I would never recommend that anyone leave their camera gear unattended in a train station in Jakarta – or anywhere else for that matter.
Rest assured that the Pacsafe Camsafe X9 Sling is one of the most indestructible and secure camera bags I have ever come across. What’s more, it meets all the practicalities of a great camera bag for everyday use.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.