9 anti-theft travel bags to give you peace of mind while on the go
When you’re traveling, chances are you have a lot on your mind. Between getting to and through airports, navigating new cities and keeping your group together, there’s enough competition for your attention without adding in concerns about your valuables getting lifted when you’re not looking. Fortunately, you can (at least somewhat) eliminate those concerns by packing the right gear. Whether you’re visiting a bustling tourist attraction, dining at a crowded restaurant or resting your eyes at the beach, these nine anti-theft bags will help keep your valuables secure so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
This simple bag can fit all of the essentials — like your phone, wallet, small camera and sunscreen — for a day of exploring or a dinner out. “I travel around the world with this crossbody bag,” said Kirstin Addis, CEO of Be My Travel Muse. “The straps and the material itself are strong enough that they’re tough to slash. The bag has a wire running through the strap and [is] lined with Exomesh, which is the material used in Pacsafe bags that makes it slash-proof.” The bag also has an RFIDsafe pocket, to help guard against thieves scanning your bag to pick up key personal information from your credit cards and passport.
These backpacks, from London-based High Spirit Bags, definitely don’t sacrifice style (ultra-chic, minimalist leather designs) for anti-theft function (a genius zipper placement that would require thieves to get very close to you to access it). “The backpack has a hidden zipper in the back of the bag,” said Alex Tran, who runs the travel blog, Love Eat Travel. Tran has the Midnight Ostrich style, but the bag is also available in plain black (for the large and mini sizes) and jewel-tone (for the mini size) leather options. “[I] get compliments all the time,” Tran said. “It’s much more exciting than traditional, plain anti-theft backpacks.”
When you’re out and about all day, a good backpack really is the best way to carry everything you need — from water bottles to extra layers and souvenirs that you pick up as you go — but there’s also a security concern that comes with out-of-sight zippers and compartments. And an anti-theft bag like this popular Pacsafe option is a far better solution than wearing your backpack on your front (oof). “For trips where I’m taking a backpack, I swear by the Pacsafe Venturesafe,” said Stephanie Kempker, a blogger at Joy And Journey. “It’s like traveling with a stylish, lightweight safe. It locks to anything permanent ([like] a heavy wrought-iron bed or even bathroom pipes or a chair while [dining] al-fresco) and has slash-proof insides.”
If you carry a large camera, Katie Diederichs, a travel blogger at Two Wandering Soles swears by Pacsafe’s (slightly bigger) anti-theft backpack made just for that purpose. “With RFID blocking technology, smart zippers that lock in place, fabric that is ‘slash-proof’ and a locking cable that allows you to secure your bag to an anchor point, we’ve always felt really secure with our Pacsafe bag,” she said.
When Kempker goes backpack-free, she opts for smaller handbags from Travelon. “For anti-theft travel bags, it doesn’t get better than Travelon,” she said. “They are tamper-proof and lockable, making them the ultimate choice for any journey or crowded space.” Kempker uses both the Anti-Theft Classic Crossbody Bucket Bag (a “roomier” purse, she said) and this waist pack, which has the added bonus of being easy to conceal under a jacket or bulky sweater. If you’re carrying little more than cash, cards and your phone, you can go with the even slimmer Anti-Theft Classic Light Convertible Crossbody and Waist Pack.
If you need something more polished, this convertible bag from Royce Leather certainly fits the bill. While it doesn’t come with quite as many anti-theft bells and whistles as some of the others, it is equipped with RFID-blocking technology to help keep your personal information safe.
This compact backpack is just the right size if you need a little more space than a purse offers but don’t want to carry a bulky pack all day. Jennifer Aspinwall, a travel blogger at World On A Whim, uses it on all of her trips, including her recent three-month stint in Europe. “I have a ruptured disc in my back, and traveling with a crossbody bag usually contributes to increased lower back pain,” she said. “With [this bag], I can disperse the weight evenly across my back, eliminate any fears about potential pickpockets and have both hands free for my phone and chocolate croissants! The backpack has RFID-blocking card and passport slots, slash-resistant body panels and shoulder straps and locking capabilities.”
This bag is plenty roomy without adding too much weight (just under 4 pounds without the optional accessories, including a mesh laundry bag, a nylon shoe bag and a stowable daypack), which is key for long days on the road. And the design keeps the possibility of a quick-grab or zipper opening to a minimum: When you’re not wearing the bag, you can tuck away the loose hip belt and shoulder straps in the slotted back panel and tuck the zipper pulls into the sewn-on anti-theft webbing, making it difficult to unzip stealthily.
The anti-theft market isn’t limited to purses and daypacks; you can also protect your larger luggage. Ryan Raskin, the category director at RECREATIONiD, uses this backpack/duffel hybrid that’s equipped with slash-proof material, a locking cable, and lockable and puncture resistant zippers. “I really like this bag because it’s very versatile,” he said. “I can use it as an overnight bag or as a carry-on item when I travel. It packs like a suitcase with tie-down straps, but it also has a side handle to carry like a duffel. It has shoulder straps so you can carry it like a backpack; but I use the side handle and carry it, which just feels easier.”
This bag makes it easy to not only carry your various devices, but also to charge them (via an internal power bank and external USB ports) and keep them safe. The water-resistant backpack is equipped with burst- and puncture-proof zippers, as well as a durable metal coil and TSA-approved combination lock that you can use to lock the bag to any other object.