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 travel bags and accessories!
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.
Features of the best anti theft travel bags
Anti slash straps
Most anti theft travel bags 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 zips that either clip or lock closed. This prevents pickpockets 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 card holder 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.
Best anti theft travel bags and accessories to keep your gear safe!
There are two major brands who are making anti theft travel bags at this time – Pacsafe and Travelon. There are a few other brands slowly coming onto the market, but these two remain the current market leaders and hence this list features a number of their products.
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- Best anti theft bag for your hotel room
- Best anti theft backpack
- Best anti theft cross body bag
- Best anti theft laptop bag
- Best anti theft camera bag
- Best anti theft luggage
- Best anti theft ladies bag
- Best anti theft travel wallet
- Other anti theft accessories
- General tips for bag safety when travelling
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 or 5l 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 are shopping from outside the US, use this link.
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.
If shopping outside of the US, use this link to browse for the Pacsafe Travelsafe in your location.
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 did 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 backpack is just annoying. For this reason, I cannot recommend the Venturesafe as the best Pacsafe 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 backpack with a number of others 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 travel bag including slash proofing and zips that lock shut. It also has a strap that can actually lock closed around a fixed device, unlike my old backpack 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 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.
If shopping outside of the US, click here to browse for the Bobby Compact Anti Theft backpack in your location.
Travelon Anti-Theft Urban North South Messenger Bag
When looking for the best crossbody bags for travel, we have chosen one that is unisex. This Travelon crossbody bag has all the antitheft 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.
If you are shopping from outside the US, click here to browse for the Travelon North South bag in your location.
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 we have found.
If you are shopping from outside the US, click here to browse for the Pacsafe Intasafe Z400 in your location.
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.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse for the Pacsafe Intasafe Z500 in your location.
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.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse for the Pacsafe Camsafe V5 in your location.
Pacsafe TourSafe AT21 anti theft wheeled carry on
For the best antitheft luggage, Pacsafe again won out 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.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse for the PacSafe Toursafe AT21 in your location.
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.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse for the Pacsafe Vibe 40l Weekender in your location.
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 travel bags 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.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse the Travelon Anti theft Heritage Hobo bag in your location.
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 of anti theft travel purse.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse the AleM Travel Neck Wallet from your location.
TSA Approved Luggage Locks for Travel 4 Digit Combination Padlocks
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.
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
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.
We hope this list has given you some insights into some of the best anti theft travel bags 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!