Review of REI Venus 75 Backpack & PacSafe Backpack Protector

Venus 75 Backpack
REI Venus 75 Backpack


As we contemplated our next overseas adventure we began searching for ways to optimize our travel gear as well as our travel clothing and accessories. We want to travel as light and comfortably as possible. Heidi’s first purchase was the Venus 75 from REI. She tried a bunch of different packs and this one fit the bill. It is light weight at around 4 lbs., has top and side loading, good waist support, bottom area for a sleeping bag if necessary, good back support with ventilation and many other cool features! It should be great for India or wherever our next destination will be! In fact, this pack will hold both of our combined luggage :).

REVIEW OF VENUS 75 BACKPACK: After traveling with it for 3 months

by Heidi.  The Venus 75 was a good size for carrying clothes, medicine, and toiletries for the two of us.  It did get a bit heavy at times, but the waist support is great and really distributes most of the weight onto my hips, instead of my shoulders.  The top part of the backpack has an expandable feature, which was nice when we needed to shove something extra in.  On our 3 month trip throughout India and Eastern Europe we sent some of our belongings home with a friend at one point, to re-lighten the load.  I also loved that it was not only top-loading, but you can also lay it down and zip open the side of the bag, making it much easier to pack and re-organize the contents.  The main disappointment with the Venus 75 was that I didn’t seem to hold up too well after 3 months.  It is starting to fray and wear out much sooner than I would have expected.


We also purchased a PacSafe wire locking cage to go with the Venus 75.  The PacSafe Backpack Protector goes around the backpack, with slots for the waist straps to go through. Then the cable pulls through a locking device, wraps around a stationary object, and the end of the cable uses a pad lock to connect into the locking device.  We switched out the pad lock it came with and used a combination lock, instead. It is a bit complicated at first, so read the directions!  We bought the 85L size, thinking we could fit in an extra little bag with our 75L backpack, but it barely fit around the 75L backpack.  If’ you’re trying to decide which size to buy, get one that is larger than your backpack capacity.  The PacSafe Backpack Protector was awesome!  We could lock our backpack to a piece of furniture in our hotel room while we were out and about for the day.  We also used it to lock our backpack under the seat in the overnight trains in India, so we didn’t have to sleep with one eye open.  The PacSafe Backpack Protector is a bit expensive, but it was one of the best purchases we made for our trip.  Highly recommended!  It may have contributed to the wear and tear on the Venus 75, it but was worth it to not have to worry whether our backpack would still be there in the morning.

REI Venus 75 Backpack in PacSafe Backpack Protector

Heidi wearing the Venus 75 backpack in Goa, India


I will be carrying a camera/computer pack, but more research needs to be done on this before I get a new bag. Right now I am leaning towards a Kata 3n1 – 33. It has plenty of storage for a laptop, dslr, several lens and my light jacket. In all, my pack will probably be heavier that the Venus 75. What I really like about the Kata bag is that it has quick access capabilities. However, that is also its downfall as we will be traveling in places where theft is very high and quick access is also there for thieves, so I would have to attach some locks… We’ll see … I have looked at many other bags, but yet to find the perfect one.

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