Anti-theft Backpacks – Are They Really Worth Your Money

Here’s something we can both agree on:

No one ever likes to spend their hard-earned money on an item that would not serve its purpose.

Do anti-theft backpacks really serve their purpose?

The picture of an anti-theft backpack

Well…the answer to this might be a little complicated.

Complicated in the sense that no matter how secure your backpack is it cannot completely eradicate the pickpocketing of the items in your bag.

But should this stop you from getting for yourself an anti-theft backpack?

NO.

In short, if you want your mind to be at ease during your travels or daily commuting then do yourself a favor and get yourself an anti-theft backpack.

It turns-out these type of backpacks are not so worthless after all and can actually serve a really good purpose in keeping the items in your bag safe.

Still not convinced?

Then continue reading this post so I can show you why it is not sure a bad idea.

You might be wondering:

Why exactly did I decide to write on this post?

Several factors prompted me to write on this.

  1. I came across a post showing some troubling stats on pickpocketing
  2. I came across a question on Reddit whereby someone was trying to find out if these type of bags are worth the money.
  3. I created several posts on some of the best anti-theft backpacks and I was concerned if my readers would benefit from getting these type of bags

The Troubling Stats on Pickpocketing

According to safesinternational.com, 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur daily worldwide with about 600,000 occurring in the UK alone.

As of 2010 to 2012, there was a 20% increase in pickpocketing in London alone.

NYPD reports 3,000 pickpocket incidents a month in New York City and most of these pickpocketing incidents are not even reported which means if they are then the number would rise above 3000.

Every single day across the world, about 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur.

Now, what are the chances of you not being within those stats?

Pretty slim right?

But are you willing to take that chance?

That is left for you to answer.

You can also visit clevertravelcompanion to view the stats.

Check out some of the best anti-theft backpacks for men and also for women.

Are Anti-Theft Backpacks Really Worth Your Money?

This was a question I found on Reddit asked by a lady concerned if these type of bags are going to be worth spending her money on.

There were mixed replies with most people indicating that you do not need an anti-theft backpack but few people that they or someone they know have been a victim of pickpocketing suggested that it would be a good idea to get a theft-proof pack depending on the area you frequent.

Of course, those that have not witnessed or been a victim of pickpocketing had some really good advice like…

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Always keep your bag zipped up
  • Don’t keep your valuables in the outer pocket of the bag
  • Keep your bag close to your body at all times
  • and so on…

Now:

I would be lying to you if I say these bits of advice are not spot on.

They are and anyone making use of a backpack should keep these bits of advice in mind.

But here is the thing:

Do you always want to be looking over your shoulders or be extremely cautious of anyone around you while you are with your backpack?

Below are the words of some people that have witnessed pickpocketing that I picked directly from the Reddit thread


Contrary to what everyone is saying I’d say it could be worth it as a day tripper, one of my friend’s bags was slashed while I was right beside him and we didn’t notice for about half an hour and he lost his passport.”


Here is another one


“I traveled with an older gentleman in Africa and he got pickpocketed 2 times and had a 3rd attempt. The two successful times they unzipped his fanny pack and got a camera and a phone. The 3rd time he used a crossbody bag with a flap and was wearing it a little too far of his back hip. Someone had raised the flap and was sticking his hand in when he was caught.”


Do you think these people were always going to be cautious of their surroundings 24/7?

There are moments whereby your mind can drift away and at that instant, you might just come in contact with these perpetrators.

I was going through an article of some ways to avoid pickpocketing and I came across an interesting fact about pickpockets.

A lot of pickpockets operate in the form of a group.

Some members of the group create a distraction while others pickpocket those bystanders focusing their attention on the distraction.

This happens a lot and I have personally seen it happen.

Of course, some people would argue that they don’t pay attention to such distractions but how on earth would you know if these distractions were actually staged.

Some of us use public transportation, visit crowded places. There are some specific countries or places known for their high rate of pickpocketing.

A crowded place requiring an anti-theft backpack

Is there a way that can give you peace of mind that the items in your bag are safe while you are in such a place?

Yes, there is.

How Do Anti-Theft Backpacks Work

Do you know that just by merely using a backpack with hidden zippers can drastically reduce the chances of you being pickpocketed?

The idea behind an anti-theft backpack is simple.

“Make it impossible or nearly impossible for anyone to illegally gain access into your backpack”.

If a bag can do this then it has served its purpose as an anti-theft pack.

These type of bags are designed in a way that would make it very difficult for anyone to gain access into your bag without your permission while you are wearing it.

There is no easy access into the main compartment of the bag or even its pockets so that a casual offender won’t be able to gain access into your bag.

The more experienced pickpockets, however, have ways that they try to use to circumvent going through the zipper to access the main compartment of the bag.

One of these ways is by making use of a box cutter.

How exactly does this work?

They come close to you and use the box cutter to quickly slash the outer bottom of thin bags and catch whatever drops out.

Pretty smart right?

Well, whether you agree or not that is pretty smart and I bet there are other methods these professionals make use of that we don’t even know about.

But how exactly do anti-theft backpacks prevent this theft that occurs through the slashing of the bottom under of your bag?

It is pretty simple.

A really good anti-theft bag would be made of military-grade, extremely slash-resistant material that would make it impossible to nearly impossible for anyone to easily split open your bag by the use of a knife.

Not all anti-theft backpacks are made with this type of material and the ones that are, are pretty expensive but are worth having.

Features Present on Most Theftproof Bags

For a bag to be theft-proof, you should find some of these features present on the bag. Some bags are not specifically designed to be theft-proof but the ones that are, make sure most of these features are present or at the very least the first feature listed below should be present.

Hidden Pockets and Compartments

No other feature on an anti-theft bag deters a likely offender like this one.

Think about it for a second and put yourself in the shoes of a pickpocketer.

A man thinking

If you come across a backpack without any visible access to the main compartment of the bag or its pockets would you still be 100% willing to attempt pickpocketing the bag even with the bag being on the back of its owner?

I know some of us love a good challenge and would take this as a challenge but I can assure you that most people would feel discouraged when they don’t find easy access into the main compartment of a bag.

Some backpacks take for example the bobby anti-theft backpack or oscuart theft proof backpack comes with the main compartment completely hidden from the eyes of outsiders.

This is a method employed by some anti-theft backpack brands as they consider it one of the best ways to protect the items within a bag from being stolen by outsiders.

Rfid Blocking

Until we become a victim of wireless identity theft or Rfid identity theft most of us can never understand just how important a Rfid blocking pocket in a backpack can be.

Apparently, to access your personal information one need not slash your bag or even open your bag. All they need is a device that can access your information wirelessly while it is still in your bag.

Is this type of theft common I am pretty sure you might be wondering.

Truth be told,

it is not common but it does happen.

Do you want to roll the dice and say it would never happen to you?

Well, the choice is yours.

These type of pockets are present in some bags and they help protect your personal information in your credit card, passport, etc.

As long as they are placed inside the pocket your information should be safe.

But here is the kicker:

The security level of these pockets varies in different products which means you cannot easily tell if your information would be completely protected inside the pocket of the bag you buy.

Do you need a Rfid blocking pocket in your bag?

Probably not…

…but as a prudent precaution they might just come in handy.

Anti-slash or Anti-cut fabric

Have you ever left your backpack probably unprotected only to come back and realize that it has been cut or torn open? There are bags made in a way that makes it extremely difficult for anyone to easily cut through the fabric of the bag.

Take for example loctote flak sack II. The fabric of the bag was made with very high-grade slash-proof material that makes it extremely difficult when trying to cut-through.

Whether you want to accept it or not this can come in handy and would completely prevent anyone from cutting through the fabric of your bag.

Are you in doubt?

Then check out the video below.

It would take a lot of work before anyone can easily cut through the fabric of this bag I can assure you that.

See Also: A Review on Loctote Flak Sack II

Another method used is by designing the fabric of the bag by embedding into it stainless steel wire mesh in the most commonly vulnerable areas of the bag, helping to protect your items from a quick slash-and-run theft.

A pretty helpful feature in some anti-theft backpacks.

Cutproof Shoulder Straps

Slash and run theft are said to be common in tourist destinations and are done by those looking to make some quick buck.

This does not mean that they are not present in other locations but they tend to be common in tourist locations.

A backpack user can avoid being a victim of this type of theft by making use of a bag in which the shoulder straps are extremely difficult to cut.

Those vulnerable to this type of theft are those that usually make use of just one strap of their bag.

Picture showing a single and double strap way of wearing a backpack

Slash and run can be difficult to succeed at if a backpack user is making use of both straps of their bags.

Depending on how you carry your bag you might not necessarily require a bag with a cutproof shoulder strap but just like every other feature of an anti-theft bag, it can come in handy when you least expect it.

These are some of the features present on an anti-theft backpack…

…but are anti-theft backpacks all that great?

They are not which means that they do have some downsides that might be advantageous to a pickpocketer.

Care to know what they are?

Then continue reading.

Downsides To Having an Anti-theft Backpack

The Really Good Anti-Theft Backpacks are Expensive

If you intend to get the real deal then you need to be willing to pay well for it. The more features an anti-theft backpack has the more expensive it becomes.

An anti-theft bag with just a hidden zipper at the back of the bag cannot be the same price as a bag with the main compartment hidden which also has a cutproof shoulder strap and slash-proof fabric. That is just the way it is.

It Indicates You Have Valuables Inside Your Bag

A huge disadvantage of overprotecting anything means that you are telling others that what you are protecting is extremely valuable. This is also true when it comes to anti-theft backpacks.

As much as an anti-theft backpack would protect your items they can be an indicator that you are probably trying to protect a valuable item.

This can make you a target because like I said some people do like a challenge.

Unfortunately, this can be considered as a downside of using an anti-theft bag.

The good thing about an anti-theft bag is that for pickpocketing to be successful the bag would have to be snatched from you which would be extremely difficult as long as the bag is on your back.

They Can Give You a False Sense of Security

An anti-theft backpack though a good thing can make you very less cautious about your surroundings which can leave you vulnerable if your bag does not have great anti-theft features.

Just because the main compartment of a bag is hidden does not mean the compartment cannot be accessed through other means such as from beneath the bag.

Just because you buy an anti-theft bag does not mean that your items are 100% protected.

Yes, the bag can work its magic but we still need to be cautious of our surroundings so we don’t fall victim to any kind of theft.

Conclusion

If you are to ask me if anti-theft backpacks are worth every penny, I would say yes but they might not be necessary if you know you can make sure your bag is always well protected.

The game is being street smart. You have to be cautious of those around you and your surroundings.

Be careful of the items you take to some particular places.

Know where valuable items can be safely placed in your bag. It can never be a wise decision to place your phone in an exterior water bottle pocket of a backpack.

An anti-theft pack that is not anti-theft

That is just like handing the offenders your phone without them even making the effort.

Anti-theft backpacks are awesome and can give you a better sense of security but if you know you don’t need them you can always stick with a regular backpack and make sure it is well protected when you make use of it.

If you would love to get an anti-theft pack then check out some of our anti-theft packs specifically designed for men and also for women.

I would like to read your opinion on this topic.

Do you think anti-theft backpacks are worth it and would you be willing to spend your money on a really good anti-theft backpack?

Please leave your comment below because I would like to know what you think about this.

25 comments on “Anti-theft Backpacks – Are They Really Worth Your Money

  1. Wow, that’s amazing about pickpocketers. They actually slash your backpack! Wow, I’d never even think of that. It’s one of those things, you think it will never happen to you, but then it does. So it’s good to be prepared with an anti theft back pack. I always use the Loctote Flak Sack, with RFID protection so people can’t digitally steal my card info. knowledgeable pick-pocketeers probably recognize it, and don’t even bother. 

    That’s interesting about the bags indicating you have valuables, definitely something to look out for. Maybe good to keep a low profile and not show too much signs of carrying valuables. Are there backpacks that kinda blend in?

  2. Investing in an anti-theft back pack is one of the best investment you will ever make in this days where Street theft is suddenly the order of the day.

    with your anti-theft backpack, all your personal belongings are safe with you while you walk on congested parts. I once witnessed a case scenerior where some hoodlumps absconded with a lady’s personal belongings because she had no backpack.

    Get an anti-theft backpack today and save yourself from any occurrence of street theft. It is highly affordable

  3. Thanks for this great information!

    I wish I had this back in 1999 when I was on my first major vacation in Italy.  Gypsies tried to get into my bag and actually had their hands in it and I never knew.  My husband saw it and stopped it.  They really are crafty when it comes to stealth.

    Just based on that experience alone, I’m ready to grab myself a bag for my next trip.  The only thing now is to decide which one.

    Thanks again.  This was definitely a helpful read!

    Scott

  4. Hi Manuel,

    I live in London and as a result I spend a lot of time on the tube, surrounded by lots of people. So I’m often in a position where the possessions in my bag can potentially be compromised. I must admit I’d never heard of an anti-theft backpack before; but from what you’ve said, it sounds like it may be ideal, what sort of cost are you looking at for these?

  5. Yes,I agree with you that anti-theft backpacks are really worth the money but anyone who can afford them should try to get it because the rate at which robbery and pickpocketing is on the rise, I fear that self awareness alone would not be enough to keep our valuables safe inside the bags. Thanks for sharing the key elements to lookout for in a backpack and also how to ensure we put safety first. Thumbs up for this post

  6. I have a few friends who own anti theft back packs. It’s true and I have seen them wear it. On one occasion someone try to slash it open but it didn’t work so yes they do really work. Are they worth the money?  Well I think it depends on who is buying. My friends agree that they wear this type of backpacks because they are usually careless when carrying their back packs. Anyway, I think my talk here also agrees with yours. For me, I wouldn’t need a back pack because I know I can deal with the streets. Nice post!

  7. You have given here some very good characteristics on anti theft backpacks. According to what I read over here, they are a really good pick for anyone who might not be so much aware of their environment which included me. I think that the type of bag has its pros and cons and one will need to evaluate properly before deciding what to do. For me, I think it’s game. Do you know any you can recommend?

  8. Wow, thanks for this comprehensive report on anti-theft backpacks.

    We own an anti-theft backpack that we bought about 7 years ago when our son went on a school trip to Europe. They are more expensive, but we felt it was worth the investment for his safety. It’s made of good quality material and has lasted a long time.

    I can see from your article that there have been other improvements in these types of bags since then. For example, our bag doesn’t have the Rfid blocking or the hidden main compartment. I think those are good features to have so it might just be time to invest in a new anti-theft backpack. I like the look of the Oscuart Theft Proof Backpack that you reviewed.

    Even though I can see your point about how using one of these backpacks advertises that you’re carrying valuables, I think I’d still feel safer using one.

    Thanks for all the great points and tips.
    Stella 🙂

  9. Great, very informative article about anti-theft backpacks! I am a pretty big guy and I thought I’m in a safe zone, no matter where and when. After getting robbed by a group of teens, I realized it was just my illusion im safe. Two of them started to discuss with me about their mate being “bullied in school” and I tried to figure out how to help their friend and we had a pretty nice conversation and even a plan to stop “bullying”. Afterward, I realized other teenagers somehow opened my backpack and took my dj ozmo cameras and some accessories, worth of +$1300. After this case, I have been super aware when carrying a backpack but I will definitely take a look at these, hopefully, they ship to Finland. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Pickpockets do have a nack of operating in group. While some of their buddies serve as a distraction the others would be busy committing the crime.

  10. Anti theft backpacks are  avery good idea, if you are travelling as a tourist, especially in a foreign country, where if you lose your passport, you could be in big trouble.especially in crowded places.

    I am all in favor of a bag that has no visible way of opening i.e with the zip against your back, also the idea of putting wires into the fabric to make it very difficult to cut is amazing. Also having a bag, made from very thick military grade material is a great deterrent to pickpockets with box cutters.

    Another good idea is never to wear your bag sloppily but to have it over both shoulders so that any one cutting one strap could not easily grab the bag and run off. In this regard you can also get straps that are not easy to cut which is another deterrent to thieves.

    The statistics on reported cases of pickpocketing, world wide are horrifying, 600,000 daily in the UK,3,000 a month in New York alone, 400,000 daily world wide,that is why I believe that anti theft back packs are definitely worth the extra cost and will give you peace of mind when travelling especially in foreign countries and in crowded places.

  11. Hi. Pickpocketing is really annoying and it can drastically change your vacation trip. I think that finding a good anti-theft backpack is a huge step in the solution, but there is still a margin we have to take care of. I know anti-theft backpacks atract attention. And nobody wants to purchase this expensive backpack and still be stressed with theves. But there is no complete solution, we’ll naturally still need to be aware. But it’s less probable to lose our belongings if they’re in anti-theft backpack and we’re also alert. 

  12. Hi Manuel,

    It’s complicated when it comes to the price for a bag that has anti-theft feature, usually, they are very expensive. I think it also depends on the safety in your region, like myself, I live in a quite secure and safe zone, and I never met someone who steals something from my backpack no matter on the metro or on the street. But when I travel to different countries, I do have this kind of request, so the anti-theft backpack does exist for some certain reasons. The special fabric and cutproof shoulder strap are good ways to prevent bad things happening when traveling, but it’s reflecting on the price. If I have to choose the price of an anti-theft backpack or lose my passport in a foreign country, I would definitely choose an anti-theft backpack in the first place!

  13. Hi,

    Thanks so much for this article on anti theft backpacks. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot. I especially like that you didn’t just post some generic article on why these backpacks are great. Instead, you actually informed us about the risks and things to look out for when using an anti theft backpack. I’d say one of the biggest problems is the false sense of security. This will lead to people leaving their guard down way too much.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. Although I was aware that pickpocketing happened very often, the statistics are shocking. It’s sad, really, that we always must pay attention, wherever we go … 

    Many years ago I had lunch with a friend, at a busy restaurant in London. I always kept my bag on my lap, I am very wary at all times when I have my bag with me in public places. My friend, though, hanged her bag from her chair. I didn’t think anything of it. So, even while I was sitting right across from her I never even noticed someone stealing her bag. When we were ready to leave, her bag was gone … I felt terrible, I kept on thinking that I should have told her to keep her bag on her lap … I know it wasn’t my fault, but still … 

    An anti-theft backpack seems like a good idea to me. Hidden zippers and hidden compartments definitely help deter any pickpocketing attempts. I have never heard of an Rfid blocking pocket. I suppose it is very necessary to have one, now with wireless identity theft. That happened to me once. Someone stole my credit card details and suddenly I had charges in California (I live in Mexico). Thankfully, my credit card company alerted me to the fraud and the charges were cancelled, and an investigation initiated to find the guy who did this. I hope they found him! 

    1. Wireless identity theft though not common but sure do exists and a lot of people won’t believe they actually do exist until they fall victim to it. An anti-theft pack though does not guarantee the safety of the items in your bag but can really help give them safe to a very reasonable extent.

  15. A friend of mine is very safety and security conscious, he already owns an anti theft backpack and as far as I am aware he is quite pleased with it, however, you are absolutely correct about the false sense of security because the thieves will always find a way, no matter what we do, there is also the fact that I don’t think my friends backpack is as modern or has the features that these ones you recommend here, I will forward your website to him so he can read your information for himself, thank you for posting this info.     

    1. Thanks for the comment Russ. As great as these types of bags are they really can give us a sense of false security especially if they don’t possess the necessary features for a really good anti-theft bag.

  16. This is a great pack and If I were a traveller I would, for sure, want one of these to carry around on day trips.  Although they are a bit pricy, If I had my $1000+ Canon camera (if I had one) with me, I would for sure feel better if it was in this pack. As you’ve said, one cannot always be conscious of what is going on around them.

    The only thing I might do differently in the construction of this bag would be to have padded shoulder straps instead of the cords along with a waist belt for added security.  Those cords could become a little uncomfortable after a few hours of carrying it on your back.  Perhaps they already have models with these features

    All that aside, I still think it would be a good investment for those who are out and about a lot.

    I would even pay a little more for a pack that had other compartments to store other things of value. Even a pack made for hiking purposes with a place or two for water bottles would be a great option. 

    Wayne

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