Shopping for an anti theft backpack to keep your valuables secure when traveling? We’ve got a roundup of the best secure, locking, slash-proof backpacks for travel!
Click on any of the images below to see details and shop on Amazon, or scroll down to see detailed reviews. Most of the these bags are available in multiple colors, so be sure to take a look if you like the style but not the color.
Pacsafe offers at least a dozen secure backpacks, but we’ve chosen the Metrosafe and the Vibe below for the specific way their locking zippers are designed.
Whereas most backpacks with locking zippers have a clip to attach to the zipper somewhere on the side of the bag, the Metrosafe locks the zippers of your main compartment up at the top, where pickpockets can’t covertly reach. It’s worth mentioning that even with the locking zipper clips on the other compartments, it takes some effort to undo the clips, so any fiddling likely to alert you.
The Metrosafe is a nice roomy bag with a 25 liter capacity, and features an RFID blocking pocket, eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric to prevent slash and run theft, locks on all zippers, a padded 15″ laptop sleeve, and durable, water-resistant, easy to clean fabric.
The straps are adjustable, but our one minor complaint about this bag is that they’re not quite adjustable enough for everyone. Smaller, shorter travelers (our tester who noted the issue is 5’2″) may have difficulty getting the straps tight enough.
Overall, it’s an awesome choice if you’re looking for a secure, locking backpack.
Pacsafe’s Vibe Backpack has the same 25 liter capacity as the Metrosafe, with a sleeker design, and smaller 13″ laptop compartment. This pack is actually a little more secure, as there’s just two exterior zippered compartments, so all zippers can be securely locked at the top of the bag, out of reach of pickpockets.
The other features are similar, with an RFID blocking pocket, eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric to prevent slash and run theft, a padded 13″ laptop sleeve, and durable, water-resistant, easy to clean fabric.
We really like this bag! It’s comfortable, lightweight, and is available in some brighter colorways in addition to the basic black. This and the Pacsafe bag above are two of the best anti theft backpacks you can buy.
Eagle Creek’s Universal Traveler anti theft backpack has the same top zipper lock that we liked so much on the Pacsafes, but with a cool twist: the zippers have toggle heads that fit through an eyelet to “lock”, requiring some dexterity to undo. No one’s going to be casually opening this pack.
The Universal Traveler is a large pack, with a 35 liter capacity, and features a 17″ padded laptop compartment, RFID blocking pocket, sternum strap with integrated safety whistle, and back slip pocket for attaching to the handle of wheeled luggage.
We love this bag because it’s lightweight, very durable, and extra roomy. When crammed full, it may exceed the allowable carry-on dimensions, but easily fits under a plane seat when moderately full.
Eagle Creek’s Travel Bug Mini Backpack offers many of the same features we love in the Universal Traveler, but in a smaller, 10 liter capacity pack.
The pack features a padded tablet compartment, RFID blocking pocket, and the same toggle locking zippers.
It’s a small, lightweight pack that’s perfect for smaller travelers (our 5’2″ tester loved that it didn’t feel too larger for her frame), and those who just need a day pack. You can still plenty in the bag, and even packed full, it easily fits under a plane seat.
Kensington’s anti theft backpack is one of the few we could find that has a true zipper lock.
In addition to the zipper lock, the bag features a padded 17″ laptop compartment, anti-puncture zipper, back slip pocked for attaching to the handle of wheeled luggage, and great organization. You can also upgrade the bag to include a combination lock that allows locking the bag to a fixed object.
The backpack is designed with business travelers in mind, and the more structured shape means it’s not quite as comfortable when worn for longer periods of time. However, it’s excellent as a carry on, with more organization, and more protection for electronics than many regular backpacks. And it’s a great option if you’re looking for a truly lockable backpack.
Lewis N Clark’s Secura convertible backpack is an awesome choice for women looking to replace a purse with something more versatile and secure.
It can be carried as a shoulder bag, crossbody bag or backpack, and features slash resistant fabric and straps, RFID blocking card slots, and clasp locking zippers.
We really appreciated the versatility of this bag, with two hands-free options of crossbody or backpack. It’s easy to loop the straps around the top handle to create backpack straps, or reclip the straps to the top loops for a purse strap.
Because the straps aren’t padded, and the straps are angled down from the top, the backpack option probably wouldn’t be comfortable for long periods of time. But this isn’t really the pack you’d choose to take hiking to begin with. It’s a nice city pack for exploring, and roomy enough to carry a small tablet, point and shoot camera, and anything else you’d need for a day trip.
XD Design’s backpack takes a different approach to anti theft design. Rather than locking zippers, there’s just one exterior zipper, and it’s hidden at the back of the pack, next to your body, and under a flap.
It features a 15.6″ laptop sleeve, strap to attach to handle of your wheeled luggage, and water repellent fabric. The backpack also has a small hidden pocket in the strap for items like transit cards, as well as hidden pockets in the side (the inside of the flap) and back of the bag.
If you do some browsing on Amazon, you’ll find quite a few similar “hidden zipper” backpacks. We like this one because the zipper is truly hidden behind the fabric flap, and for the details like the hidden pockets. The sleek, modern design is also a nice change from more hiking oriented models. It’s a nice medium size backpack, lightweight and comfortable.
Travelon’s lockable backpack features a duffel top design that keeps the items in that compartment extra secure– if a little difficult for you to access as well.
The backpack features locking zippers, slash proof body and straps, a padded tablet pocket, cord port, RFID blocking card and passport slots.
It’s a nice medium size for a carry on bag and day pack, easily fitting under an airplane seat, and our tester loved how lightweight and comfortable it was.
Our final pick, the Travelon Anti Theft Tailored Backpack, is an attractive option for women who want to replace a purse with something more secure and versatile.
The bag features locking zippers, slash resistant construction, RFID blocking passport and card slots, and tablet sleeve.
We like that it’s small enough to be comfortable, but large enough to fit everything you’d carry in your purse, and then some. If you don’t fill it up with too many extras, you can even fit a DSLR camera. The top flap closure is a chic touch, but also provides an extra barrier to theft.
Are anti theft bags worth it?
We think so! Pickpockets and even slash and run thefts are a big problem in so many international cities. A bag that deters or prevents theft is worth considering. If you just need to carry some accessories and cash, consider traveling light with a secure money belt or fanny pack.
The great thing about backpacks with lockable zippers is that you’re immediately removed from the “easy mark” category. Most pickpockets will move on to people with clearly loose zippers or open bag pockets. And those that do try to open your bag won’t have much luck getting the zippers loose without you noticing. Many of the clasp style zipper locks look simple, but are designed to require some effort, and both hands, to open.
Why do I need a slash proof bag?
Slash and run theft is pretty much what it sounds like: a thief cuts your bag (or backpack, or camera) strap with a sharp knife, grabs it, and runs. Or they cut open your backpack, snatch the contents, and make off with them. Slash proof bags have wire embedded in the straps and fabric, making them extremely difficult to cut. Slash and run is less common than pick-pocketing, or scams that involve distracting tourists in order to steal from them. Still, it’s nice to know that you’re protected.