As a parent, I find I get easily distracted when on days out with the kids, so I am likely to be more of an easy target for theft. My husband had a close call on a train in Barcelona, when a lady placed her coat over his bag and her companion attempted to chat to him and distract him – luckily he noticed before anything was taken. He now uses a more secure backpack when traveling.
However, when you have kids, they are constantly asking for snacks, drinks and need to be kept an eye on, making it easier for a more opportunist thief.
This guide will help you decide which anti-theft bag or theft-proof backpack will be best for your next family trip. I’ve also included some useful anti theft travel gadgets below – which have an element of James Bond to them!
If you just want to jump straight to the comparison chart and the best anti-theft backpack reviews, just click on the relevant part on the contents table below. Alternatively, I have some ‘normal’ travel bag for mums suggestions, here.
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How to Decide which is the Best Anti Theft Travel Bag
Table of Contents - Click to jump to a section
What is an anti theft bag?
It’s not only public transport where you need to be aware but popular tourist attractions are favourite haunts of pickpockets. In places like these, where the risk for theft is higher, opt for an anti theft bag, purse, handbag or back-pack made from anti-slash fabric or wire webbing. Look for features which include secure locks on zippers and straps (so you can tie your bag to a table leg) and hidden pockets for your most valuable items. Anti theft bags can also be referred to as theft proof bags or slash proof bags.
Thankfully, a lot of travel bags, purses and wallets now also offer protection against RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) reading devices, so your personal information can’t be shared without your consent.
What is Exomesh?
eXomesh® cage system is patented by Pacsafe. It is flexible, stainless steel wire mesh which comes in two forms – It can either be thrown externally over backpacks and bags, or it’s laminated between the fabric to form stealth-like portable safe.
What is a RFID bag?
RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology is a wireless means of transmitting information from one device to another using an RFID chip and a scanner. Some bags have a special metallic material lined pocket which blocks this signal.
How does an anti theft bag work?
Anti slash, wire webbing, locks, and secure straps can all help prevent the theft of your bag or at the very least delay a pickpocket or bag snatcher. Be aware of delay tactics and distractions by strangers in crowded places.
When you are flying with kids or travelling with kids, a backpack or messenger bag makes it a little bit easier as it keeps your hands free to either push a stroller, hold another bag, carry your child or hold their hand.
I was just talking about this in my family travel facebook group, and asking for recommendations there and elsewhere for the best anti-theft backpacks for travel, so I hope these theft proof backpacks and bag reviews prove useful to you too. Do let me know which you prefer in the comments.
What To Look For When Buying An Anti Theft Travel Backpack Or Bag
- Security – What security features does the bag have eg is it slash proof, is it lockable, is there RFID blocking technology, hidden pockets. What makes it a pickpocket proof bag?
- Design – Will it fit you if you are taller or shorter than average, will it fit everything you need? Does it have enough pockets?
- Durability – is it made of a good quality fabric, check reviews to see if it lasts..
If you are wondering what are the best anti theft backpacks to travel with, then look for one which has lots of security features. The best features to make it as theft proof as possible include locking zips (or the ability to add a small padlock), hidden compartments which are close to your body and hard to access, slash proof straps, sides & bottoms, and straps which can attach a purse to the back of a chair or other item to prevent grab and go thefts. I personally like backpacks with a few compartments to help me keep more organised too. Some of the new anti-theft backpacks come with built in charging ports! Check out anti theft back pack reviews to help you make the final decision. The information below will help you too.
Here is our top pick for your convenience
- Best backpack is Pacsafe Metro Safe LS450, it’s lightweight and ticks all our comparison boxes.
- Cross body bag: Travelon Anti Theft Cross Body Bag features RFID blocking card and passport slots, can fits an iPad
- Budget friendly backpack: AMBOR Travel Laptop Backpack comes with External USB Charger Port and fits a laptop.
- Great diaper bag alternative: Vogshow Waterproof backpack/diaper bag
How to Avoid Pickpockets
- Avoid wearing expensive items when walking popular tourist hot spots and public transport – consider leaving them in your hotel safe.
- Keep your hand on your bag in busy places.
- Keep away from the edge of the road – walk closer to buildings.
- Spread valuables around various hiding places
- Don’t keep all your money or cards in one place.
- Do return cards to your purse or wallet quickly and zip it up or button it.
- Wear your the bag on your front if possible.
- Consider using a money belt if you’re carrying a significant quantity of cash.
- Do carry bags in front of you- however this is not ideal if you have a young child and may need to carry them.
- Alternatively, wear your bag across your body and not on one shoulder.
- Don’t leave anything on the back of a pushchair.
- Don’t place your belongings out of sight on the floor.
- Do keep a list, separate from your wallet and phone, of contact numbers of family in case your phone is stolen.
- Do keep a photocopy of your airline tickets, passport, credit cards and any other documents that would be impossible or inconvenient to replace if stolen. I took a photo of my passport, and emailed it to myself which proved very handy when my passport was stolen, as i could prove who i was to the embassy and get an emergency travel document issued very quickly.
- I’ve also heard of people placing ‘dummy’ wallets on themselves e.g in a back pocket, etc whilst they keep their actual real belongings safely hidden away.
The Best Anti Theft Travel Backpacks & Anti Theft Travel Bags Comparison Chart 2023
I have compared various backpacks, bags and purses and reviewed their features in a quick reference table below to help you decide what is the best anti theft bag for you. From insulated bags with space for all your baby gear, to the more traditional rucksacks and backpacks to stylish and small anti theft backpacks and crossover bags/purses for date night on your holiday or vacation, this guide will help you filter through the anti theft bags designed to keep your passport, cash and other small valuables attached to you and safe.
|Name||Image||Weight||Features lockable compartments||Slash proof||RFID Compartment||Fits laptop|
|AMBOR Travel Laptop Backpack||1.65lbs||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Monsdle Anti Theft Travel Backpacks||2.18lb||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Kopack anti theft backpack||0.92kg/2.05lbs||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Korin Design ClickPack Pro Anti- Theft||2.2lbs||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Lewis & Clark Secura Anti Theft Backpack||1lb||Yes||Yes||Yes||No Fits 11″ tablet|
|Mancro Laptop Backpack||Yes||No||No|
|Pacsafe Metro Safe LS450||0.8kg/1lb13oz||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes 15″|
|PacSafe Venture BackPack||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Travelon Anti Theft Cross Body Bag||14.9 oz||Yes||Yes||Yes||No fits iPad|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Travel Bag||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Travelon Anti Theft Classic Messenger Bag||1.2oz||Yes||Yes||Yes||No will fit a mini iPad|
|Travelon Cross Body Bucket Bag||0.9 kg/2lbs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No will fit an IPad 2|
|Travelon Heritage Tour Bag||1.25lbs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No. Only iPad or tablet|
|Travelon Anti Theft Hobo Bag||2.2lbs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Vogshow Waterproof backpack/diaper bag||1.83lbs||No||No||No||Yes 14″|
|XD Design Bobby Original||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Best Anti Theft Bags and Anti Theft Backpack Reviews
Other theft proof devices
One of the ways to avoid being pickpocketing is to spread cash around and don’t keep it all in one place. Below your find some additional items to help you travel more securely.
Travel Money Belts
What is the best money belt? The best moneybelts are lightweight, large enough to conceal your money or important documents yet thin enough to be discreet, and secure. An additional bonus is if it is an RFID money belt – this stops thieves from being able to read the data from your bank cards. People often ask can i wear a money belt through security? if it has any metal ( most don’t) or you have coins etc inside or if it has an RFID compartment you will need to take it off or be subject to further scans. Otherwise you can leave it on your person.
Best Luggage Locks
Not all the theft proof bags above have locks, so you may need to invest in your own. if you are out and about a simple padlock can act as great deterrent but if you need to store your bag somewhere or check it in as hold baggage on a plane, then you may need something a little more secure. Even in the UK, you can purchase TSA approved locks. This means that in theory, should the TSA or airport security need to check your bag a little more thoroughly without you being present, then they have a special device which can open this lock without causing damage. My only concern would be how easy is it to make a skeleton key and copy this? Here are some more details on the best travel locks for luggage.
To find the best TSA lock, look for combination locks and ones that say ‘TSA approved Luggage Lock’. Some even have an open alert indicator them like these TSA combination locks.
Luggage Strap Locks
Luggage straps or luggage belts can only help secure your baggage but are a useful way of spotting your bags from all the others. With so many looking very similar almost everyone knows of a story of a person taking the wrong suitcase by mistake. A luggage strap lock is usually a combination style lock. Again look for TSA approved luggage straps, ones that are adjustable and non slip. You will likely need two to add additional security. Look here for a selection of luggage straps with locks.
Consider using a service like Trace Me, to help trace your bags if they go missing.”With your TRACE ME Smart ID membership, your bag is protected from the moment you check-in to the moment you arrive. TRACE ME works in tandem with the computer systems at thousands of airports and hundreds of airlines around the world, to minimise the risk that your bag gets lost without a trace.
Each TRACE ME Smart ID membership comes with your own personalised luggage ID tag and access to our bag search and identification service, which steps in if something goes wrong with your standard airline baggage tag.”
Hidden Bra pocket/ Travel Bra stash
You can even buy bras with hidden pockets or secret stash! Even some running pants and yoga attire have (albeit small) hidden pockets.
Scarfs with hidden pockets
Yes, you can even buy scarfs with hidden pockets . In fact there are many items of clothing you can now purchase with various anti-theft features!
This appeals to my love of James Bond and Q’s brilliant devices which looked like household objects. Hide your valuables in plain sight with clever gadgets designed to conceal money, credit cards, and keys. You can either opt to buy some specially designed gadgets or even decide to make you own. Some clever travel safe gadgets include:
- Tennis Ball – Make a slice into it and squeeze the ball and insert your money, watch or other valuables. Once you release the ball, it will pop right back into shape.
- Purchase a secret hiding place container: these vary from:
How do I spot a pickpocket?
Look for people loitering who seem to be gazing at bags, coat, trousers pockets etc, whether in a crowded tourist spot or in a busy shop or shopping centre. Busy places make it easier for them to blend into the crowd.
Some thieves will push up against you in a group and quickly steal your belongings.
An individual pickpocket could cause a distraction by shouting and pointing so you look elsewhere. However, pickpockets don’t always operate alone, they may work in teams to distract the target while someone unseen removes the items and blends back into the crowd.
What do I do if I am pickpocketed?
- Report to the nearest police station. Make sure you get a police report from and reference number in order for you to claim on your insurance. If valuable documents such as you passport or your bank cards have been stolen, make sure you report this to you bank or if a passport to your relevant government authority. If this is the UK see here or in the USA see here.
- Speak to your bank. If your purse or wallet was stolen and you need money, immediately contact your bank to cancel your card. If you have ID, you have a couple of options, to collect money over the bank counter or organise a money transfer with a company such as Western Union.
- Contact your local consulate or embassy. If your passport has stolen ( mine was once) ring or make an emergency appointment for a replacement emergency travel document. Luckily, I had a copy of my passport within my email account, so I asked the clerk to get to the sign in page of email provider. I logged in and showed the copy of my passport as I had no ID on me whatsoever. The process was very straight forward as I also had the police report and an ETD or emergency travel document was issued swiftly. Be aware you will likely need passport size photos.
- Try and relax and enjoy the rest of your holiday. As my husband says, “why worry twice”.
I hope the guide on the best anti theft travel bags and secure backpacks for travel has helped you. Please do let me know if I have missed one that you rate.
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