The Best Way To Lock Your Bag – with industrial designer Luke Ritchie

One of the best ways to protect your valuables while traveling is by locking them inside your bag. With the right option, it basically means you have portable security on your back at all times. At Pacsafe, we’ve researched and tested the best way to make lockable bags for two decades. One design we keep coming back to again and again for a higher level of protection is our patented Roobar.

To figure out why it’s so good and what it does that other options can’t, we sat down with our in-house industrial designer and inventor of the Roobar, Luke Ritchie.   

How did you come up with the idea of the Roobar in the first place, Luke? 

I came up with the idea around 2014 when developing some school bags. I wanted there to be a central locking point where multiple zippers could be locked at a single point. This later evolved into the Roobar system that also incorporates interlocking zip pullers and a ‘lock and leave’ attachment point. 

What problems does the Roobar solve when it comes to anti-theft security?

It has several functionalities. The core function is securing the interlocking zip pullers to prevent entry to the main pockets. By making the pullers interlocking, it means you can’t leverage things open like you can with other lockable bags. 

Next, the Roobar can lock two sets of zippers to a single point. That means less hassle for the user but added security by being able to lock multiple compartments at once. You can even add a heavy-duty padlock in one spot for yet more security. 

Finally, the way the system is designed means you can fix your bag to an anchor point using either a cable, or a built-in tether strap on the bag. This is the ‘lock and leave’ element. The end of the tether essentially slides onto the Roobar mechanism, which is then shut tight. Great to lock your bag to a cafe table while fully relaxing with a coffee on a busy street. 

What were some of the biggest challenges in designing the Roobar for lockable bags? 

There are several competing goals that need to be in balance to provide a satisfying experience to the user. First, it needs to provide practical security. Then, it needs to be simple to use on one hand but at the same time not be easy for a thief to figure out. This is one of the more difficult aspects. It also needs to look good while doing it. There’s also the manufacturing side of things to balance – it has to be efficient to produce while being high quality and reliable.

What evolutions has this anti-theft tech seen since it came out in 2014?

The core functionality hasn’t changed but we have several versions for different bags and market segments. There is the original Roobar that’s very robust and is suited for high security or larger bags. Roobar Sport version is more streamlined and suited to active type bags. There’s also the ‘Style’ which is designed for women’s bags that have more of a fashion element. We’re always looking at ways to adjust and improve the design, so we can continue to deliver top security with function to suit how people use the bags.

To check out which lockable bags have the Roobar on them, head to the Pacsafe online store here.

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