Gear Review: Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

*Full Disclosure – This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. 

After traveling through Europe with my Venturesafe 150 GII and an old Oakley backpack. I decided to combine the two and pick up a Pacsafe backpack. Pick pocketing is a prevalent crime in large cities and I wanted a more secure backpack for an upcoming trip to Manila and Japan. The Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 looks good and doesn’t scream “anti-theft”.

Backpack Specs

Main Material: 210D Nylon Double Ripstop
Weight: 2.7 lb
Volume: 30L
* Specs taken from Pacsafe Website.

Backpack Features

The appeal of any Pacsafe bag is their anti-theft features and this bag has a lot of them. The bag has four outside pockets with two side pockets to hold other items like water bottles.


This bag comes with two types of zippers designed to prevent theft, the zip clip and the secured zip tab. Both zipper types make it harder to pickpocket which is a plus when you’re on a crowded area. The zip tabs are easy to use but the zip clip is a bit harder. Trying to get both zippers to clip is a bit difficult and takes a minute. It’s a great system that could be improved upon in the next version of this bag. The main compartment zipper has holes for a travel lock as well for extra security.

Slash Guard and Straps

Another anti-theft feature is the eXomesh slash guard. The slash guard is a metal net that is between bag fabrics. The net doesn’t cover the whole bag, just the bottom half of the bag. This stops thieves from cutting your bag open and running off with what’s inside. The bag straps also have metal wires which prevent cut and run theft. The strap also comes with a turn and lock security hook which can be attached to a fixture. This helps prevent snatch and grabs.


The bag comes with an RFIDsafe pocket for credit cards and passports. This pocket prevents RFID skimming. Most passports have RFID chips as well as some credit cards. My cards do not have an RFID chip so my passport was the only one that needed to be safe.

Rain Cover

This is very convenient and would have come in handy in recent trips. My camera bags have rain covers but I haven’t seen many regular back packs with them. I had to use this once while in the Philippines and it was easy to pull out and cover my bag.

Bag Support

This bag comes with an aluminum support which helps with load transport as well as a hip belt. The hip belt can be stowed away when not in use. Their is also an adjustable sternum strap. If you load up your bag with some heavy stuff this support can take the load from your shoulders and transfer to your hip, making long walks not too bad.

Other Features

Like most bags on the market, this one comes with a organizer pocket, a laptop sleeve and side pockets for drink bottles. The laptop sleeve also doubles as a hydration pouch.  Side compression straps are also available for when your pack is not full and you need to slim your bag a bit. The bag will work with the Travelsafe X15 Anti-Theft Portable Safe if you want another level of securtiy.

Final Impressions

I love this bag. It’s a bit pricey with a MSRP around $170 but the peace of mind is worth it. Nothing beats being aware of your surroundings but this bag surely helps. The durability is great as well. I’ve used it on two trips and it’s holding up very well and looks brand new. I had a minor complaint when it came to the zippers but it’s not a huge issue. It’s also comfortable for long trips with a full pack. If the X30 is too big, they make a smaller model Venturesafe X22 (22 L). Overall, I would recommend this bag for people who want extra security when they travel.

Check out the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 on Amazon if you’re interested.

Lift Heavy and Level Up!


The 2018 CrossFit Games Open: 18.4 – The Standard Strikes Back

Ace Ventura making a second appearance in this years Open.

18.4 – This Standard Gives Zero F*&@!

18.4 – For Time, 9 Minute Time Cap21-15-9

Deadlifts (225 lb.)
Handstand Push-Ups



Deadlifts (315 lb.)
50-ft. Handstand Walk

Initial Thoughts

The last time I did Diane was three years ago. I did it scaled and finished in four minutes. With the weights being heavier and the handstand push-up standard being a little harder, this is going to be interesting and I’m shooting to at least finished Diane under time cap. I’m not even looking at the 315 lb. deadlift or handstand walk. If I make it to the second deadlift, it will be icing on the cake.

Game Plan

After watching a bunch of tips on Youtube and Instagram, I decided I was going to try to keep a steady pace and try not to go hard out of the gate. I’m going to break up the deadlifts and handstand push ups into a few sets enough to not go to failure on either movement. The new handstand push-up standard is going to be an adjustment and I’m not sure how that’s going to go.

The Workout

I warmed up with the deadlifts and was very comfortable with 225 lb. I tried out the new standard for the handstand push up and realized how hard it was going to be. My upper body was going to be tired before the end of the first round. During the first round, the deadlifts were easy. I broke it up into sets of five and finished at 1:12. The next seven minutes were a struggle. I started strong and finished disappointed. A few friends recommended that I break up the handstand push-ups into sets of three. The first six reps were good but I could feel my shoulders and triceps start to fatigue. A few reasons were I was trying to make sure my feet were above the line at the top of the rep and when I finished. I would hold this handstand position for about three to five seconds each rep which takes a toll.

As I completed more reps, my form started to suffer. I would arch my back and I wouldn’t be able to press out to my fullest. That’s when the no reps started to come in. After my first no rep I was about half an inch below the line. I tried my best to get my heels up but I was holding a handstand for about 10 seconds by this time and my arms gave out. A few more reps and no reps and the time cap hits. I was only able to finish 17 handstand push-ups.

Final Thoughts

Without a judge, I would have did great in this workout. However, it’s this kind of thinking that is holding me back. Instead, I should be trying to “hold the standard” as Logan from Deuce Gym would say. A lot of people were able to get through the first half of this workout and with a lot of work, I will be able to get through it as well. I wasn’t defeated by the standard, I was defeated by myself. At least their is a way forward and with some time, I’ll be able to complete these handstand push-ups without a problem.

What’s Next

We have four movements that have not been used in a workout but has been featured in every Open: chest-to-bar pull ups, barbell snatch, thruster and wall ball. We also haven’t seen a repeat workout yet but I can’t see any workout that has all four in it. The movement that is definitely going to be there is the thrusters and not sure what else, probably wall balls. This last workout is going to be fun and it’s probably going to hurt.

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The 2018 CrossFit Open: 18.3 – Hello Ring Muscle Ups, We Meet Again

18.3 – Eight Minutes of Muscle Up Attempts

18.3 – 2 Rounds For Time, 14 Minute Time Cap

100 Double-Unders
20 Overhead Squats (115 lb.)
100 Double-Unders
12 Ring Muscle-Ups
100 Double-Unders
20 Dumbbell Snatches (50 lb.)
100 Double-Unders
12 Bar Muscle-Ups

The ring muscle up is back! If you have them, awesome. If you don’t, its going to be a few minutes of ring muscle up attempts (if you do not scale). We haven’t seen ring muscle-ups since 15.3 and I haven’t attempted them for at least a year and a half. I have done one ring muscle up but I haven’t been able to complete a second one. I hope I can make it two during this workout.

Initial Thoughts

This looks like an interesting workout with some technical movements. The double unders and the muscle ups are definitely going to give people issues. The overhead squats and dumbbell snatches are the easier parts but you have to get to it.

Game Plan

The plan going in was to get to the ring muscle-ups as quickly as possible. The tie break time for this workout is when you finish a set of double unders. I’m going to be in a group of a lot of people if I can’t complete a muscle up but I should be able to get through these movements quickly. Once I get to the muscle-ups, I was just going to try and go for it. I know I can get out of the dip but I have to get into that position first.

The Workout

I started the workout with 60 unbroken double unders. I then completed the last 40 reps and moved on to the overhead squats. Since 115 lb. is not too bad I broke it up into two sets of 10 reps. Instead of snatching for the first rep I decided to use a snatch balance. This would allow me to set my hands closer together which is a better position for me. I would rest the bar on my back during my break instead of dropping the bar. I finished the squats and moved on to the second set of double unders which I finished in two sets of 50 reps. I took some deep breaths between sets but I was able to get to the muscle ups under six minutes.

I was not able to complete one muscle up before time cap. I had a lot of attempts and each one was better than the last. I tried to adjust certain parts of the kip as well as my grip but I wasn’t able to pull it off. It was disappointing but it reminds me that I have a lot of skills I need to work on. If you were able to get your first muscle up, congrats! Hopefully next year, I will able to get at least one.

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The 2018 CrossFit Open: 18.2 – Burpees, Why Did It Have to be Burpees

ace ventura - spear in the leg

My legs after 18.2

18.2 – Burpees, Why Did It Have To Be Burpees

18.2 – 12 Minute Time Cap for 18.2 and 18.2a

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps of:

Dumbbell Front Squats (50 lb.)
Burpees Over Barbell


1RM Clean

Initial Thoughts

Burpees is a movement I hate with a passion! Mainly because my cardio sucks and I take forever to finish large sets. The dumbbells should be okay but I know it will get heavier in the later rounds. The workout looks fun but I know I’m going to start dying in rounds nine and ten. 55 reps of each are going to suck.

Game Plan

My plan for this workout was to keep a steady pace and not go too crazy in the first few rounds. The burpees are going to suck but I would just have to power through it. My first weight for the clean was going to be 185 lb. just to get a score and I would try to push for 225 lb. or more.

The Workout

I set up my first clean at 185 lb. and warmed up to 205 lb. The cleans felt good but I knew I would feel different after the workout. The first few rounds were great and felt too easy. This workout is deceiving because you only get to halfway at round eight. I kept my pace and felt okay up to round eight. I started to feel the burn in my legs at that round and I had to concentrate to control the breathing. The squats were okay but the burpees were killing me, especially since they changed the standards. I could feel the fatigue setting in but I was determined to finish under time cap and get to the cleans.

As I finished the last two rounds, I felt like I was going to throw up. My breathing was erratic and I tried to focus and breathe after each burpee. I finished at 11:25. I would have liked to have finished under 10 minutes but I had to catch my breath and at least complete one clean. With 15 seconds left, I completed the clean. I was disappointed in my performance but at least I finished. I hope 18.3 will be better.

Lift Heavy and Level Up!

The 2018 CrossFit Open: Damn You Toes to Bar!

18.1 – Can’t Feel My Abs or Hands

Raise your hand if this was you this past weekend. That’s a lot of bandaged hands! After a week in Tokyo and not working out at all, I knew this was going to be rough. Even if I did workout last week, it was going to be hard. 20 minute workouts are the worst but I’m up for anything.


8 Toes to Bar
10 Hang Dumbbell Clean and Jerks (50 lb.)
14 Cal. Row

The Dumbbell is Back

Like last year, we’re starting off the open with a new movement, dumbbell hang clean and jerks.I would have preferred the snatch but the open is about pushing yourself and being uncomfortable. The dumbbell weight wasn’t going to be the problem since it’s not too heavy of a weight. The toes to bar and row however were going to kill me.

Game Plan

I wanted to complete the toes to bar in sets of four and keep going until I would have to start singles. I was sure I could handle the dumbbell clean and jerks and go unbroken for all reps. It’s a new standard and I would have to be mindful of all the points of performance. The row was going to be a grind. I usually die out on long rows and 14 cals. was going to be rough. I didn’t want to start out with a crazy pace but I wanted to stick around 800-900 cals/hr.

The Workout

The workout started off well. I stuck to my game plan and it worked up until round four. At the start of round four, my abs started to cramp. I had to take a few deep breaths and stretch but I had to start doing singles. I also had to take a few moments in between reps since I couldn’t recover fast enough which slowed me down considerably. I was getting no repped on the dumbbell clean and jerk transitions because I wasn’t standing up fully for the first rep. It was an extra rep but I wasn’t frustrated with it. The row was a grind. First four rounds went well. I was able to keep a pace of 900 cals/hr but had to drop to a pace of 750 – 850 cals/hr in the later rounds.

It was a tough workout. My hands ripped slightly but it wasn’t bad. I was able to complete six rounds at the end of 20 minutes. It’s not a great score but I gave it my all. In the coming weeks I’ll pray for a heavy workout. A clean and jerk  or snatch would be awesome. I hope your 18.1 went better than mine and good luck in the coming weeks.

Lift Heavy and Level Up!

Philippines 2017: Boracay & Manila Video

Philippines 2017: Boracay & Manila

I finished this video a few months ago but I had to finish the write up first. Like my previous videos, I used a GoPro Hero 3 and a Feiyutech G4 gimbal. I had a great time on this trip and I will be going back to Japan this month! Let me know what you think in the comments or like and subscribe my YouTube channel.
Music: Walk the Moon – One Foot
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Philippines 2017: Boracay & Manila

Diniwid Beach

Philippines 2017: Boracay & Manila

We traveled to Boracay and Manila over the Thanksgiving holiday. This was our first trip with friends and it was a great one. My wife was the only one that spoke the main native language dialect (Tagalog) which helped us out immensely.

Cell Phones

Getting a SIM card for your phone is easy and free. Globe Telecom and Smart are the two carriers that we found outside the airport terminal. If you travel with Philippine Airlines they give you a voucher for some free data and minutes. I have used Globe before so I went with them. We spent about 1000 for 8 gb of data and about 15 minutes of call time. We were going to be using WhatsApp as our main communication app and decided to go with more data instead of call time.


We had to take multiple airlines to get to Boracay. We flew into the Philippines on Philippine Air, purchased a one way from Manila to Boracay (Caticlan Airport) on Cebu Pacific Airlines and purchased another one way from Boracay (Caticlan Airport) to Manila on Air Asia. All airlines were great and we had no issues.

Getting to your hotel or villa in Boracay can be difficult especially if you do not speak the language. The company that we used to transport us was Southwest Tours. Cebu Pacific Airlines had a promo for ₱ 500 for drop off and another ₱ 500 for pick up. This covered your ferry ticket as well. The employees walked you through the whole process making this part of the trip easy. If you want to book with them, they have a small kiosk office outside of the Caticlan Airport. Travel time from airport to our villa was about two hours. 

Getting around Boracay is not bad. Their are no taxi cars, instead they had tricycles. They were everywhere and not hard to hail one.  It’s very inexpensive about ₱ 60 a trip. If you’re in a large group try to get one of the electrical tricycles. These seat six to seven fairly comfortably. 

In Manila we used the Grab Car/Grab Taxi app to find rides. Uber is also available in Manila but it was a bit more expensive and didn’t use it. 


View from Mosaic Towers

Our Boracay home was the Hayahay Villa on Diniwid Beach Road. It was a nice place with a lot of room for our group of seven. It was very quiet at all times of the day.  It is not on the famous White Beach but it is a short commute to any of the stations. Also Diniwid Beach is a short walk away, about five minutes. 

Our Manila home was a flat in Mosaic Towers. The location was great (Makati) and our host was very quick with responses to our questions. This area felt very safe and even had a small coffee shop on the first floor. 

The Fun Stuff in Boracay

White Beach  is the most famous beach in Boracay, with a length of about two miles. This beach has very fine sand and clear blue water. You can find some sand sculpture artists and a bunch of tourists walking the beach. Their are a lot of restaurants lining the beach and a lot of small food vendors as well. At night the beach changes and becomes a party scene. 

The downside of this beach are very few. Their are a lot of people trying to sell you something everywhere. You can’t walk 10 ft. without someone trying to sell you hats, sunglasses or a tour. The other downside is how crowded it can be. 

Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach is a small beach north of White Beach. It’s the closest beach to our villa so we decided to check it out. This beach is a bit more secluded and less crowded than white beach. A few restaurants are in the area as well as a few bars. This is a great beach if you want to get away from the crowd.

Boracay PubCrawl

The Boracay PubCrawl  introduced us to the the Boracay night life. The tour costs ₱ 1000 and consists of five stops at five bars and five shots on the beach. You also get a shirt, a rubber bracelet and a shot glass attached to a necklace. The group of participants are separated into teams and go through some bonding games. The tour lasts from 7:30 pm to 1:30 am so bring your energy, it’s going to be a long night!


The great part about food in the Philippines is that it’s very inexpensive when compared to the US. We tried a bunch of stuff but my favorite restaurant in Boracay was Gerry’s Grill. It’s a Filipino restaurant with others spread throughout the Philippines. We tried a variety of dishes. My favorite dish was the crispy pata.

Our spread at Gerry’s Grill

We also tried a few other places like Wokeria and McDonald’s. We would get small snacks and desserts that are along the beach. My wife and friends would stop by Starbucks every day to get some coffee and we stopped by a fruit shake stand called Jonah’s. The fruit shakes were awesome and they have a huge variety of fruit drinks available. 

Mango shake from Jonah’s

If you’re looking for alcohol, just pop into a bar or a local market. Most drinks are very cheap about  50 for a bottle of San Miguel or Red Horse. Some bars even offer happy hour specials. We drank a lot during this trip. 

The Fun Stuff in Manila

Their is no shortage of shopping malls in Manila. We were only able to visit a few. We stayed across Greenbelt Mall and Glorietta Mall in Makti. These malls would take a few days to walk through with each being three to four stories each. Other malls fairly close by were Uptown MallMall of Asia and the Venice Grand Canal Mall. All these malls have the same stores and are quite large. The Venice Grand Canal Mall also has an Italian gondola ride!

Main entrance to Mall of Asia

Their was so much food on this trip, I’m pretty sure I gained 10 lb. We drank a lot of Starbucks and ate plenty of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and J. CO. Manila also has a lot of choices if you’re willing to brave the crazy traffic.

Tim Ho Wan

We stayed near Glorietta and had to try out Tim Ho Wan, a famous Dim Sum restaurant from Hong Kong. It has been called “the cheapest Michelin-starred” restaurant in the world and it did not disappoint. The menu is printed on paper that also acts as your place mat. Most items have a picture and you order by writing down the menu numbers on a pad next to your table. We tried a bunch of items on the menu and loved everything. We would have ordered more but we were stuffed. There are five other restaurants in the city if you’re not near Glorietta.


Bacon Steak

cafe and bakery was a top suggestion by friends who frequently go to Manila. They recommended their pastries, especially the Cronuts. I’m not a huge pastry person but I was interested in their other breakfast options. Everything tasted great. The bacon steak, fried potatoes and eggs were tasty. The pastries were delicious as well.

CrossFit and Games Stores

CrossFit 1229 was around the corner from our AirBnB. They were out of t-shirts in my size but I was able to pick up a shirt for my wife. It’s a small box but it looks like it had everything you would need to train. Next time I’m in Makati, I’ll do a workout.

Neutral Grounds window display

Neutral Grounds
 was also near our AirBnB in Makati. Located in Glorietta 4, this was a hard place to find. The mall is huge and we had to ask a few people where it was exactly. They had a few board games, some wargaming supplies and Games Workshop times.  They had a good supply of MTG stuff as well.