As full-time travellers, one of the questions we hear most often is “how do you keep your stuff safe when travelling?”. The answer may be that we have just been lucky enough not to be robbed whilst we are on the go. Or, it may be that we have spent a few years perfecting our collection of the best anti-theft backpacks and travel gear!
Here is our guide to help you understand what makes the best secure travel bags safe for your gear, and to help you choose the best pickpocket proof bag for your own travel needs.
You can use the links below if you want to skip to any particular part of our article:
- Features of the best anti-theft backpacks and travel gear
- Best anti-theft backpacks
- Best anti theft bag for your hotel room
- Best anti theft cross body bags
- Best anti theft laptop bags
- Best anti theft camera bags
- Best anti theft luggage
- Best anti theft ladies bags
- Best anti theft travel wallet
- Other anti theft accessories
- General tips for bag safety when travelling
Most of the best anti-theft backpacks come with anti-slash straps as a standard feature. The bag strap is made from cut proof fabric or can have wires stitched into the fabric. Some bag thieves will try to use knives to cut your bag strap in order to steal it, and this feature is designed to foil them.
Slash proof fabric or mesh lining
Similar to the anti-slash straps, many theft proof bags will be made from slash proof fabric, or contain a mesh lining. This means that if someone tries to cut your bag open, the stuff inside will not fall out.
Zips that clip or lock
The best pickpocket proof travel bags will have anti theft zipper locks that either clip or lock closed. This prevents pickpocketers from unzipping the bag and slipping out the contents when the wearer is not paying attention. Particularly on backpacks, this can be an issue as the zips are far outside of the line of sight.
Some travel safe bags will have a strap that can be undone and clipped or locked around something solid like a table leg. This stops someone just picking up the bag and easily walking off with it. Even an unlocked clip will make it more difficult for someone just to take your bag.
RFID blocking pockets
RFID stands for radio frequency identification. Credit cards and passports may contain RFID tags, which can contain personal information about the passport or cardholder such as name, country of origin or credit card numbers. These RFID tags can be read electronically by anyone who has an RFID reader.
RFID blocking pockets are made from a special fabric that blocks the radio signals, and therefore prevents anyone from being able to use an RFID reader to gain such information. Many anti-theft bags and wallets will come with this feature.
I have been using the Pacsafe Venturesafe 25l backpack for the last months of full-time travel. However, at less than 6 months old, the zipper clip broke off. Also, the detachable waist straps come off very easily, which led to the loss of one waist strap on a train in India a while back. I used to have the same anti-theft travel backpack in a 15l model, but the zip had also broken on that one too.
Although it is very comfortable and has some great features, having these kinds of defects in a fairly pricey theft proof backpack is just annoying. For this reason, I cannot recommend the Venturesafe as the best anti theft backpack for travel and have been researching a new one for the last few weeks. My choice?
Pacsafe Slingsafe LX500 Backpack
I was in the shop comparing this anti theft rucksack with a number of other theft proof backpacks with similar features (including the Bobby backpack below), and this one won out. The Pacsafe Slingsafe LX500 has all the features listed above as being necessary for a good anti-theft daypack including slash proofing and zips that lock shut. It also has an anti theft strap that can actually lock closed around a fixed device, unlike my old anti theft backpack for travel which only clipped shut. It has a roomy 21-litre capacity, with side pockets for water or small items. Add to this, the tweed grey version that I got is just a great looking backpack for travelling or around town.
Bobby Compact Anti-Theft Backpack by XD Design
The BobbyCompact Anti Theft backpack is smaller than the Slingsafe with around 15l capacity, which is the reason I did not choose it right now – I simply need more capacity for my electronics whilst travelling. The Bobby kickstarter anti-theft backpack is nevertheless a great choice for a secure travel backpack and I would have chosen it for my most recent purchase if I was not travelling with so much kit!
One thing I like is that it has the zips at the back of the backpack, so they sit snugly against your back which makes it a great pickpocket proof backpack as the zips are difficult to locate.
It has a shell made out of waterproof, cut-resistant fabric and also features an integrated USB charging port (external battery needs to be attached) and secret pockets. The only drawback I can find is that it does’t have an external pocket to hold a bottle of water. Nevertheless, it is a serious contender for the best slash proof backpack and it is definitely one of the best anti theft backpacks for travelling.
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350
This Pacsafe anti theft bag looks like a normal bag, but it is one of the best anti theft bags for travel on the market. It is equipped with two main compartments and has a volume of 15 litres, which makes him a great theft-proof backpack for day trips. The bigger compartment has a sleeve for a laptop or similar device. The smaller compartment has some internal pockets which are perfect for organising smaller items. A great addition are also the two mesh side pockets which both have enough space to hold a water bottle each.
There is also an RFID zipped compartment in the main bit of this best anti-theft backpack for day trips. The whole bag, inclusive the straps, is splash proof and the zipper of both compartments can be zipped together and locked with an external lock. The strap of the Pacsafe has a closure system to lock it to a stationary object, like for example a chair you’re sitting on. One thing I really love about this backpack as well is, that it is water-resistant. All of this makes him a gret addition for your anti theft backpack travel gear.
Pacsafe Travelsafe GII portable safe
We have been using Pacsafe travel gear for a few years now and this security bag features highly on our list of items that we never travel without. It is a slash-proof bag, made from strong outer canvas and metal mesh lining. This anti-cut bag also has a sturdy wire drawstring that locks securely closed with a padlock.
We use our Pacsafe Travelsafe to keep our electronics, passports and any spare cash locked away securely in our hotel or apartment when we go out during the day.
This cut proof bag comes in 12l, 5l and 3l models. Our 12l model is not the lightest item in our packs at 500g, but inside we can fit two laptops, two iPads, two passports, two cameras and some smaller valuables like credit cards or jewellery.
If you prefer a smaller safe, than you could also get for example the 3l version of the Pacsafe Travelsafe:
Steel Padlock With Keys
The Pacsafe Travelsafe does come with it’s own TSA approved 3 digit combination lock. However, 3 digit locks can be easily opened by someone with enough time and patience, so we use a standard (non TSA) steel padlock and key with ours. (As we only use our TravelSafe in our hotel room, a TSA lock is not necessary). To this day, it has kept all our travel gear safe and secure no matter how long we leave our hotel room for.
Travelon Anti-Theft Urban North South Messenger Bag
When looking for the best crossbody anti-theft bag for travel, we have chosen one that is unisex. This Travelon crossbody bag has all the anti-theft features you would expect, in a style that will work for both men and women.
The Travelon North South anti theft cross body bag comes in both charcoal grey and black. It will also fit a tablet as well as having an external pocket for a water bottle. It is also very reasonably priced, making it our top pick of cross body bags for travel with antitheft features.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 150 GII anti-theft cross body pack
Another great choice for the best anti-theft crossbody bag is the Venturesafe 150 GII from Pacsafe. It is lightweight, secure and durable. This makes this bag the best anti-theft crossbody bag for adventures. The strap is slash-proof and the bag itself includes dual release security buckles so nobody can just quickly undo your bag. The zipper can be secured with the zip clip and your data sensitive possessions are secured through an RFID blocking fabric.
The cross body strap itself is padded, comfortable and adjustable. The whole bag weights about 340g (12 ounces). While it might not be the biggest anti-theft cross body bag out there, it definitely does its job and is great for your valuables like wallet, passport and other small valuable possessions.
Pacsafe Intasafe Z400 Deluxe Anti-Theft Laptop Shoulder Bag, Charcoal
This bag is actually one of my favourites on this list and if I were still in my corporate job, this would be my top choice for an anti theft laptop case. The Intasafe has a shoulder/cross body strap, and a 19l capacity despite looking very compact in size. It has all the usual Pacsafe features, along with the fully lockable zippers, making it the best laptop anti theft bag Amazon sells.
If you prefer to carry your laptop in a backpack, then the Intasafe also comes as an anti theft laptop backpack. The Z500 has all the same features as the Z400 however it is slightly bigger with a 23l capacity, and styled as a backpack.
Pacsafe Camsafe V5 Anti-Theft Camera Cross-Body and Hip Pack, Black
Pacsafe are the only anti theft range we found that offer dedicated camera bags. They have a couple of different ones in different sizes, however our favourite is the Camsafe V5. It offers the versatility of being worn as a cross-body or as a hip pack. Despite it’s small size, it will fit a mirrorless camera with built-in lens plus one additional lens, as well as having a useful front compartment for spare batteries and memory cards.
Pacsafe Camsafe V25
If you, however, prefer to carry your camera gear on your back, then we can recommend you this Camsafe V25 anti theft camera backpack from Pacsafe. While it comes with all the features that make Pacsafe bags so great, this anti-theft backpack comes with an interior that is built with photography equipment in mind. It is durable, comfortable and lightweight as well.
The main compartment of the Camsafe V25 is equipped with modular and removable Velcro dividers, which also can be accessed from the sides. This makes it very handy to get to your stuff (once you undid the safety mechanisms). A second main compartment gives you enough space to store a 15-inch laptop in it. Also, it is equipped with an RFID blocking pocket. The Camsafe V25 comes with an integrated rain cover and is a top contender for best anti-theft camera bag.
Pacsafe TourSafe AT21 anti theft wheeled carry on
For the best antitheft luggage, Pacsafe anti theft bags won again with their range of Pacsafe luggage. The TourSafe wheeled carry on is a soft shell anti-theft suitcase. As well as being slash proof, the zip is also resistant to being popped open with a pen or other sharp object. It has compressions straps and a drawstring feature on the inside to keep your stuff packed small. Even as a carryon, it has a 42l capacity that means it is big enough to hold all of your stuff.
The only drawback to the TourSafe is that it has no straps that you can use it as an anti theft travel backpack. If you really decide that a travel safe backpack is your preference over a wheeled-bag, then the Pacsafe Vibe 40l weekender backpack has a similar large capacity to the Toursafe. It has built in back support, a side carry handle, front and top opening main compartments and of course is a slash proof backpack too. One of the best anti theft travel bags if you don’t like suitcases.
Travelon Anti-theft Heritage Hobo Bag
If you are looking for a more stylish anti-theft purse then the Travelon range has the edge over Pacsafe which tend to look a little outdoorsy. The Heritage Hobo is my personal choice among anti-theft handbags for women. This theft proof purse is made from slash-proof canvas but in a relaxed and slouchy style. It has all the security features you would want from an anti-theft cross body purse, whilst not being too heavy on the wallet.
Pacsafe Citysafe CX Anti-theft Square Crossbody
This best anti-theft ladies bag is not only safe, but it also looks absolutely stylish. You can get it in three different colour options. The zippers can be locked with the clasp locking system in the front. The whole bag, including the shoulder straps, is slash proof. There is also an included lock system with which you can lock it to a stationary object, like for example a chair you’re sitting on.
The bag itself is big enough to store small objects while going out, like for example a tablet, your phone, your wallet, and much more.
AleM Travel Neck Wallet & Passport Holder
This travel security wallet has more than enough room for all your airport essentials. The perfect secure travel purse for moving around in airports. It can hold up to 4 passports as well as travel documents and credit cards, as well as a phone. It has a neck strap, meaning you can keep the security purse close to your person but totally hands free. The AleM is also made from durable yet lightweight ripstop fabric that is RFID blocking to boot, making it our top choice for best anti theft purse.
TSA Approved Luggage Locks for Travel 4 Digit Combination Padlocks
No anti theft package is complete without some locks. Keys for padlocks may be misplaced, and 3 digit combination locks can be cracked by anyone with enough time and patience to work through the combinations. Using a 4 digit lock is a lot more secure.
For carrying small amount of cash around, these tiny anti theft purses are a simple zippered pocket but they attach securely and discreetly to the waistband or belt, meaning that your money or key is very safe from thieving hands. They are definitely some of our favourite anti theft accessories.
RFID blocking sleeves for passports or credit cards
If you already have a favourite purse or backpack that doesn’t feature any RFID blocking pockets, then these sleeves can protect your passport and credit cards from being read even in a normal purse, wallet or bag.
Similarly, if you are very attached to your favourite backpack that doesn’t have any anti-theft features, then you can use this backpack mesh protector from Pacsafe to serve the same purpose as the anti-slash fabric. You can also use it to lock up your backpack in your hotel room when you go out.
- Wear your bag cross body rather than on one shoulder. This makes it less easy to snatch. Also make sure it is in front of you, not to the side or behind you
- Similarly if you are carrying a backpack, wear both shoulder straps
- Don’t have any valuables or cash on display
- Keep your hand on your bag when you are in crowded places or on public transport
- Spread out your cash and valuables between different pockets and bags if possible. If one purse or bag gets stolen, you won’t be left with no money at all
- Don’t take any of your valuables out with you at night – especially if you plan on doing any drinking. Leave everything locked safely in your room except the cash you will need to get you through the evening. Drunk tourists are prime bait for thieves and bag snatchers
Travel insurance: simple & flexible
Sometimes, even having the best anti-theft backpack might not be enough. For those cases there is thankfully the fantastic thing called travel insurance. You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
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We hope this list has given you some insights into some of the best anti-theft backpacks and travel gear on the market today, as well as an understanding of which features will be important for you in protecting your stuff when you travel.
Do you have a favourite anti-theft travel bag or travel safe wallet that we didn’t feature here? Or do you have any good tips for keeping your stuff safe when you travel? Let us know in the comments below!
If you like our packing guides, then you can also check out our other posts about the 10 Best Insect Repellents – Weapons you should have in your travel arsenal or our post about the Best Cameras for Travel Photography!