In the last few years we have seen reports of violence on college, high school and even grade school campuses. The Virginia Tech and Newtown shootings aren’t necessarily a confirmation of increasing crime on school campuses, but they certainly serve as reminders that we can’t always be with our kids to protect them. While the iSafe Urban Crew backpack will not protect your loved one in overtly violent incidents such as a shooting, it might be helpful in other threatening situations by creating a significant amount of commotion, calling others to you or your child’s aid. How? Simple, the iSafe Urban Crew backpack has a built-in alarm system!
The attractively designed iSafe Urban Crew backpack’s integrated alarm system consists of a pair of speakers and a light module. The batteries and trigger that turn the alarm system on are built into the right strap on the backpack. To activate the alarm, you flip the flap open and pull the pin out of the trigger. The speakers are then activated along with a strip of LED lights. The sound that the backpack makes is so loud that I got scolded by my wife for “playing” with it. In addition, the alarm drove my pets crazy! If something this loud and obvious doesn’t draw attention in a tough situation, then I don’t know what will. And when you need to clean the backpack, the system is designed so you can remove the electronics.
I am amazed at the number of pockets in this backpack. My daily driver bag is a Swissgear Cobalt, which has abundant pockets, but the Urban Crew has even more. I almost think it has too many! I took the bag with me to my brother-in-law’s for dinner on Easter Sunday, and when I got back I had to search all the pockets for about 20 minutes to make sure I got everything out. The alarm system actually makes it a little harder to find everything, as you can feel the electronics through the various pockets. This made me think I had left something in a pocket several times, only to realize it was actually the speaker or battery pack. My wife used the bag over the weekend to carry her laptop, and when we got home we had to dig through all of those pockets to find everything; it was annoying, but I am sure if you carried this backpack everyday you’d likely get used to it and not have an issue.
You can carry up to a 15″ laptop in this bag, but my Dell XPS 15 was a tight fit. The laptop pocket is well located and well padded, so I didn’t worry about the laptop getting damaged during my daily commute to work by bus. The Urban Crew lacks one feature my Swissgear has that I have come to love. The Swissgear bag has a velcro strap that secures the laptop in its compartment. This strap has saved my laptop from slipping out while I was digging in the bottom of the bag looking for a cable. The Urban Crew doesn’t have this feature, but its tight fit around my Dell did hold it in place well enough. Without the strap to secure it, I would use a little extra caution when I leave that compartment open. Obviously, I would prefer to have the additional security of a strap to secure my laptop.
Although I still prefer my Swissgear’s styling and pocket system, the iSafe Urban Crew bag does hold its own. The alarm system is nice, but I am not convinced that I need it. If my son or my wife used this bag, it would certainly make me feel better when they were out. I usually have a phone and one (or more) of my handheld radios with me, so if I had an issue, I would alert someone with one of them. The iSafe Urban Crew does offer some peace of mind, but in a time where car alarms go largely ignored, I am not sure how effective an alarmed backpack would be.
What I Like: Lots of pockets and an alarm system
What Needs Improvement: Just not my style
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample