A couple of weeks ago I managed to get a chance to sit down and have a cup off coffee while Magnus McGlashan was in town. Magnus is the Managing Director & co-founder of Pacsafe which was established in 1998 by his friend & himself after they had sailed most of the world’s oceans and clocked up visits to more than 80 countries around the world. Their own experiences and those of other travellers convinced them of the need for no-nonsense travel security and from that their eXomesh® anti-theft technology was born and formed the first-ever, award-winning Pacsafe® anti-theft backpack protector.

We were able to chat about the future of travel security, how Pacsafe can help you when travelling and their environmental conservation projects.

Paddy Pallin: What are the current International trends of safety for travellers?

Magnus: In-flight theft is on the rise. It’s being targeted more frequently as a new place for thieves to operate, as travellers often have their guard down and are lulled into a false sense of security on airplanes. For example over $300,000 (USD) worth of items were stolen on inbound flights to Hong Kong in 48 separate incidents in 2014.

RFID and identity theft has been an issue since 2010 and continues to increase every year as the threat that cannot be seen. For example every 2 seconds there’s a new identity fraud victim.

For those who don’t know, what is RFID and why is it so important to be RFIDsafe when travelling?

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification which refers to small electronic chips / devices that store personal data and allow data to be read by scanners for example passports, credit & bank cards and identity cards. All items that are essential to have on you when travelling.

Each chip emits radio transmissions which can also be unfortunately read and downloaded by thieves without you knowing by using a hand-held RFID-reader / scanner from up to 10 ft away. These scanners are easily purchased on ebay or amazon for as little as $25USD.

They can access information such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Digital photograph
  • Issue and expiry dates
  • Account name
  • Account number

Once thieves access this information they use it to:

  • Open bank accounts.
  • Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits.
  • Order goods in your name.
  • Take over your existing accounts.
  • Take out mobile phone contracts.
  • Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name.
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Recent statistics from Javelin’s annual 2014 identity theft survey shows:

  • 7 million US victims of identity theft and fraud in 2014
  • Every 2 seconds there’s a new identity fraud victim
  • Students are 4x more likely to be victims
  • 35- 44 year olds are at the most risk of identity theft

Store RFID cards and documents in an RFIDsafe blocking wallet, bag or travel organiser. The unique material blocks transmissions and stops RFID readers from scanning and downloading personal information and data. Pacsafe’s RFIDsafe™ award winning RFID-blocking material blocks radio frequencies ranging from 10MHz – 3 GHz (medium to ultra-high frequencies).

Extra information on our material:

  • The material we used is FIPS approved and our custom RFIDtec 25 back in 2011 was certified / approved for use by Government agencies as successfully blocking out unwanted RFID readers .
  • The RFID material is a unique, conductive and copper & nickel weave. The conductive material basically creates a Farraday cage that prevents transmissions from being emitted.
  • The RFIDsafe 50 anti-theft blocking passport protector won the Outdoor Industry award in 2011 and won for its design as well as its soft hand feel (previously RFID blocking products were stiff utilizing aluminium or steel properties)

What is the current relevance of Pacsafe in the travel market?

A global study of CNN consumers’ travel perceptions and behavioural trends has revealed that safety and security is the greatest concern when choosing an international travel destination with 67% of respondents citing this is the key decision factor.

Photo: Dave Casey

Photo: Dave Casey

As more airlines drop fuel charges and the increase of the low cost carrier, air travel becomes more and more accessible, not only are more people travelling, but more of us are taking our electronic gadgets with us. For example 87% of global travellers use smartphones while travelling then factor in laptops, cameras, and bank & credit cards and you’re looking at a lot of expensive equipment and gear that travellers cannot afford to lose for financial and sentimental reasons.

Top 3 tips about out smart thieves and to keep safe while travelling? Especially for those who travel with electronic gadgets to developing countries.


Be aware & Be prepared. Know your scams and pickpocket hot spots when travelling e.g. markets, public transport when getting from A-B or restaurants & bars . These are the places you need to be extra vigilant in and ensure you wear your bag cross body and if it’s not locked down with security features, then you need to have it within eye sight and reach at all times.

For example pickpocket top 10 cities are: Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Paris, Florence, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Athens and Hanoi.

Always have a digital or printed photocopy of your ID / passport should the worst happen and you need to prove your identity to embassies or banks.


If you don’t need it. Don’t bring it. When travelling take only what you need to. Don’t bring all your credit cards & cash out at once. What you do take, ensure you have it split in different pockets / compartments and places on your body.  That way if you are in robbed, you won’t lose everything at once and be stranded. And what you do bring make sure it’s out of sight. If they can’t see it, you won’t be seen as a target.



Buy a Pacsafe that suits your travel needs. Every Pacsafe has been designed to help prevent all types of opportunistic theft from pickpockets to bag slashing and bag snatching to identity theft and luggage pilferers.

Our range covers travel accessories and adventure bags to bags specifically designed for camera equipment & laptops, as well as urban & leisure pieces & handbags to luggage.

If you can only buy one then the award-winning Travelsafe is a must-have. It’s a portable , mobile, fold-down, slash resistant safe made with our 360 degree patented eXomesh® locking system.  It’s perfect for travellers staying at places like Air BnB, hostels and even hotels. Hotel safes all have a master access key or code so any hotel staff member could access that safe if they wanted to.  Other times safes are so small in hotels they can’t store your laptop or camera.

The Travelsafe is also perfect when you’re attention is on living in the moment and enjoying outdoor pursuits while travelling day like playing sport / going swimming / surfing. You just need to attach the safe to a secure fixture and lock it down.

Some Pacsafe fans even use the safe inside their Pacsafe backpacks or luggage for extra security and peace of mind.

Paddy Pallin and their customers are very environmentally aware. Can you tell us more Pacsafe Turtle Fund?

The fund was launched in 2014.  It supports the conservation efforts of endangered sea turtles globally by providing annual grants to local and reputable initiatives working on turtle conservation projects. The Pacsafe Turtle Fund will be directed towards projects that conserve the most endangered turtle species on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list, such as the leatherback, loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles. Seeing these critically endangered species come off the ICUN red list is part of Pacsafe’s long-term vision.

For Pacsafe, the sea turtle symbolises the intrepid, itinerant global traveller with nothing but his protective home on his back. This majestic, ancient creature is not only an inspiration for the brand but it has been embodied in the brand’s logo since its inception in 1998. Pacsafe is therefore committed to supporting a world with healthy oceans and coastlines where all marine turtles, can travel and flourish in a safe environment, and are not threatened with extinction.

The new 2016 project will support Te Mana O Te Moana in French Polynesia and Funds will go towards:

  1. Much needed Medical equipment
  2. Creation of a new pool for turtle rehabilitation
  3. Field missions
  4. Protection & relocation of nests
  5. Research and data collection
  6. Educational booklets
  7. As well as 4 awareness videos

Background on other projects for reference – Since its inception we have also supported the following projects:

The first project supported, in conjunction with EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association), The Latin American Sea Turtle Initiative (LAST) in Costa Rica.

Turtle_Fund_1This project achieved :

  • A total of 146 leatherback, 19 green and 18 hawksbill turtle nests were recorded for the sponsored season.
  • Across the 2014 – 2015 sponsorship period educational activities totaled: 41 sea turtle workshops (272 students) across 12 schools, 2 public events, 3 school visits (89 students, 27 teachers) and one Caribbean teacher workshop held with SEEturtles on sea turtle conservation and education.

The Rio Oro Project 

  • Establish a new field stationand volunteer
  • Protect over 80% of nests, characterize nesting populations, implement environmental education, and engage with local communities to emulate the success of the community-led conservation activities achieved in Drake Bay.
  • Support the development of community infrastructure, community-based tourism enterprises, and the implementation of best environmental practices.
  • Engage with local sea turtle conservation and development associations and provide training and resources in order to educate local communities.

Sea Turtle Conservancy. Tour de Turtles

  • Garner a better understanding of migration routes and foraging grounds
  • Improve local community outreach in three different locations: Nevis, Costa Rica, Panama. The annual turtle race launch attracts thousands of people
  • Educate the public about sea turtles through the Tour de Turtles website, free multimedia resources, online maps, games, educational activities and lesson plans. Education is an important tool in the conservation of sea turtles because so many of the threats they face are man-made.
  • Deploy satellite transmitters on post-nesting adult females in Panama, Costa Rica, Nevis and Florida.

Pro Fauna Baja. The Turtle Research App 

Pro Fauna Baja is a society of researchers dedicated to promoting conservation of endangered and endemic species in Baja California Sur, Mexico this project is to build a Smart Phone application to report sea turtle sightings. It will be the first of its kind to combine data collection with public outreach.

  • Educate the international boating community and get them to be ambassadors for conservation in their own communities.  This group can have a global impact as they travel the world connecting conservation efforts with coastal communities they visit.
  • Act as an anonymous tipster site which will let people report on groups or places that are selling sea turtle meat & eggs or where sea turtles are being poached.  This will  help strengthen efforts to “crack down” on poaching and help marine managers protect known areas of high density turtles.

The Turtle Fund sounds like a great initiative, thanks for all the travel tips and your time.

Not a problem at all.

Win with Pacsafe & Paddy Pallin!!

Head to the Paddy Pallin Facebook page for your chance to win some amazing Pacsafe prizes by giving us your top travel safety tips!!

1st Prize Pacsafe Venture Safe 15L Anti-Theft Daypack

2nd Prize Pacsafe Coversafe X75 Money Pouch

3rd Prize Pacsafe Womens Coversafe S25 Secret Bra Pouch

The top 3 tips chosen by Paddy Pallin will be announced 5pm AEST on the 12/04/16.


About The Author

Dave Casey

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking.

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