You may have never been mugged. You may have never gotten lost in the woods. You may have never been bullied. But you can’t trust your luck forever.
So here’s an insurance policy you can wear on your back: The Urban Crew bag from iSafe is a backpack with an alarm system built in. When you get into trouble, just trip the alarm by tugging on the grenade-like pin hidden in the left shoulder strap. The pair of 125-decibel sirens will fire off their piercing tones and a set of flashing strobes will stun and annoy anyone close to you.
Urban Crew originally developed the bag for school kids to serve as a defense against bullying and in-school crime. But it’s also useful for us non-children who want to surround ourselves and our valuables with an extra layer of personal protection.
At just three pounds, the rip-stop nylon bag itself is surprisingly light, with the alarm mechanism (and its two 9-volt batteries) contributing just 8 ounces. I found the Urban Crew to be decidedly spacious. It has four main compartments loaded with pockets or pouches. The padded computer pocket can hold a laptop up to 15.6 inches. The alarm system, located in the small front pocket, is wedged in with Velcro straps with wires to the trip cord, the alarms and the strobe lights concealed in the bag’s lining.
It’s a backpack with an alarm system built in. When you get into trouble, just tug on the grenade-like pin hidden in the left shoulder strap.
To the test the alarm, I dared a colleague to come at me with menacing force. I let him get close, and then I pulled the pin and gave him an earful. The sirens are loud enough to cause hearing damage, and painful enough to make you spin on your heels and run the other way. The alarms are positioned on the rear of the backpack facing outward, as are the strobe lights. While this positioning keeps the user from suffering serious harm, the sound is so completely obnoxious, you want to shut it off almost immediately. Sticking the pin back in the control switch does exactly that. The twin batteries will power the sirens for two hours, and the strobe lights (which are quite feeble, but still nice to have) can continue for 36 to 60 hours.
It’s not the best backpack ever made, but it’s one of the only ones that will protect you against a possible assault — or save you from starvation if you happen to be wearing it when a big earthquake leaves you trapped under 10 feet of concrete.