The Bag Man Reviews the Camsafe Z15 Anti-Theft Camera Bag From Pacsafe

There’s an old saying that locks only keep honest people honest. If you ask me, that’s some BS spin a locksmith cooked up to explain why thieves cut through his deadbolt like it was licorice. If a lock cannot deter a bad guy, what’s the point?

This isn’t about a lock, it’s about a safety system—a full set of intelligent protection built into a camera/notebook computer bag that’s stylish, roomy, well padded and damn secure. The Camsafe Z15 Anti-Theft Camera Bag from Pacsafe looks like a regular DSLR bag and accommodates my Nikon D800, three lenses and a flash, plus my 13-inch MacBook Air, charger and cables. And I still have room for a multi-tool, water bottle, pen, steno pad, etc., etc., and thanks to a pair of integral lash-like straps, a small travel tripod like my Flashpoint 3Pod.

The inside is soft and plush and lined with velvety-smooth brushed Polyester. It features removable, padded, Velcro dividers. The configuration provides plenty of protection against impact. There is a zippered front compartment that’s constructed in the traditional “organizer” fashion which frankly I normally abhor—but this one is different. This organizer pouch has an RFID blocking pocket.

Credit cards, recently-issued passports—even hotel room keys—now contain an RFID chip. This chip stores your personal information, enough to make identity thieves salivate. Now, think about this. All of the information you need to withdraw cash, buy an airline ticket, leave the country and check into an expensive hotel is stored on microchips that broadcast indiscriminately. Ready for a shock? Identity thieves can access this information from up to 10 feet away with a readily available RFID reader.

The insulating material Pacsafe uses in the RFID blocking pocket prevents your data from being compromised by blocking out virtually all transmissions between 10 MHz and 3 GHz, which covers the radio frequencies used in e-passports, credit cards, debit cards and shelter key cards.

The Camsafe Z15 is easy to carry—and carry safely—by way of the top-mounted haul handle or the removable padded shoulder strap. This adjustable strap attaches using double-lock snaps that are made of sturdy metal and hard for bandits to open casually. It’s also filled with a flexible, lightweight steel wire that makes it virtually impossible for a bag slasher to cut and run.

The zippers are likewise heavy-duty and feature integral locking hasps that allow secure closure. By the way, none of this security technology gets in the way of comfort or function. In my normal working mode, this bag is as quickly accessible and easy to use as just about any bag I own. And when I button up to weave my way through a throng of strangers, it’s anything BUT accessible.

The last bit of hidden safety is truly remarkable. The outside fabric panels are lined with eXomesh Slashguard, a light but strong metal fabric that prevents malefactors from cutting their way into your bag with a box cutter or knife. Again, the added safety doesn’t detract from the convenience or the cosmetics, but it’s there to protect you.

Available in charcoal or slate green, the Camsafe Z15 Anti-Theft Camera Bag has an MSRP of $250. For the same price, backpack fans can opt for the similar Z16 configuration.

(Earlier this year I reviewed another product from Pacsafe: the Strapsafe Luggage Belt, which is designed to keep your photo bags protected during travel. You can read that review here.)

—Jon Sienkiewicz