Buyer’s Guide: Best Anti-Theft Backpacks for Travel 2018

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BUYER’S GUIDE: BEST ANTI-THEFT BACKPACKS FOR TRAVEL 2018

Are you nervous that you’ll get robbed on your trip? Of course, vigilance is the best way to prevent pickpockets from stealing your stuff. But it is physically impossible to be constantly focused on all your belongings all the time. (I know — pickpockets have tried to snatch my things several times here in Barcelona!) You can rest easy, my friend, because anti-theft backpacks are a thing. From sightseeing to weekend adventures, you can find the right backpack with my guide to the best anti-theft backpacks for the cool and stylish traveler.  

What’s an anti-theft backpack?

An anti-theft backpack is a backpack with safety features that stop pickpockets from robbing your valuables. 

COMPARISON CHART: Which is the best anti-theft travel backpack?

Anti-theft backpacks sorted from largest to smallest volume. (Scroll right to see more columns!)

Brand / ModelImagePriceVolumeGreat use forSlash-proof body and strapsLockproof or hidden zippersMaximum size of Laptop /Device
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45See current price45LAn overnight bag, weekend getaways, adventure backpackYESYES15.6"
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450See current price25LBusiness trips, sightseeing and day tripsYESYES15.6"
Kopack Anti Theft Travel BackpackSee current price22LBusiness trips, sightseeing and day tripsNOYES17"
Korin Design ClickPack ProSee current price17.3LBusiness trips, sightseeing and day tripsYESYES15.6"
Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact BackpackSee current price15LSightseeing and day tripsYESYES15.6"
Travelon Anti Theft ClassicSee current price13LSightseeing and day tripsYESYES13"
XD Design Bobby Compact BackpackSee current price13LBusiness trips, sightseeing and day tripsYESYES15.6"
Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim BackpackSee current price4LSightseeing and day trips, day-to-night wearYESYES9.7"

Features: What to look for in an anti-theft backpack

A lot of backpacks on Amazon are described as “anti-theft”, but they only have one feature. The anti-theft backpacks featured in this blog post have at least 3 of the features mentioned below. This is what makes a backpack “anti-theft”:

>> Hidden or locking zippers. Some backpacks have no zippers on the front at all, making access impossible for pesky pickpockets. Others have zippers that “lock”, where the zip pull is tethered to another object. Sometimes they have a combination lock to make it the most secure travel backpack.

>> Slash-proof straps. Slash-resistant straps are hard to cut, and they’re usually thick and webbed. They may have a have an inlaid flexible steel cable running through it.

>> Slash-resistant body material. Slash-proof material is usually strong, webbed material that a thief can’t cut through easily.

>> RFID Blocking technology. RFID stands for “radio frequency identification”. Technically, a thief can steal your credit card information without touching it, using an RFID reader. According to an April 2018 Slate article, there are few reports of RFID skimming. Personally, I don’t think it’s a must-have.

Additional features to help you decide which to buy

Organization: How many compartments do you need? Will you need a side pocket for easy access? Comfort: Your secure backpack should have cushioned straps so it doesn’t cut against your shoulders. Also, the design should distribute the weight of your backpack contents so it’s ergonomically sound and won’t kill your back. Durable, water-repellant material: Tons of new anti-theft backpacks should repel water to protect your laptop and other belongings. While most of the backpacks are water-repellent, they aren’t waterproof (i.e. can’t withstand torrential rains). This is why some include rain covers. Style and color: A lot of backpacks on Amazon make you look like a high schooler. But you can have function and style also! Travelon (one of my favorite companies) specifically makes fashionable bags and backpacks geared towards women. Size: How much do you want to carry? For example, some people use 40-liter backpacks to last them the whole week. A backpack 11 to 25 liters in volume can carry a whole’s day worth of sightseeing. 

<<PSSST…If you’re looking for the best anti-theft purse, check out my Buyer’s Guide: The Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags.>>

THE TOP 8: THE BEST ANTI-THEFT BACKPACKS

So what’s the best travel backpack? Here are my top 8 picks that have at least 3 anti-theft features – and are cool-looking too. ALL of these backpacks have 4+-star reviews. Here are some backpacks sorted from largest volume to smallest. If you’re looking for an anti-theft backpack, Amazon has the whole selection:

Best Large Backpack (45L)

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45

If you’re not familiar with Pacsafe, this company is famous for their high-quality anti-theft travel bags, known mostly for their adventure backpacks and bags. While it has ample room at 45L, the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 is also compact enough to not look like you’re about to scale Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Compartments:  The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 opens like a clamshell when laid down, so you can easily see your things. It also has an “x” cinch strap that keeps your belongings in place. It complies with most airlines so you can bring it as a carry-on item in the overhead compartment. It also has a laptop sleeve that fits a 15.6″ laptop.

Anti-theft: The winning features of Pacsafe are its signature eXomesh slash-proof straps, a strong lightweight material. It also the handy locking Roobar system for the zippers and a lockdown point so you can secure your backpack to a stationary object (i.e. you can leave your backpack at a hostel or hotel room, etc.)  

Comfort: For extra reinforcement, it has a padded waist strap and shoulder strap for comfortable wear and fully adjustable contoured shoulder straps. It also has padded handles, so you can pick it up from the top or sideways also. 

Why it’s great for travel: 

  • It’s waterproof if you get stuck in the rain.
  • You can use it as a carry-on item.
  • Attractive, non-shiny sheen.

Colors: Black, blue // Dimensions 21.7″H x 13.8″W x 8.7″D // Weight: 3 pounds, 13 ounces

See current prices for the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 (40L)

Best Medium Backpacks (20-30L)

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450

Pacsafe: maker of a damn good travel-safe backpackThe Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 is the all-around sturdy, most versatile backpack of this bunch. For many Amazon reviewers, it’s their “go-to” backpack: it works functionally for travel, school, or business.

Compartments: This cut-proof backpack has 3 sections: a roomy main compartment and two front compartments. Each of these compartments has several slots and zips for your passports, books, cables, drone gear, and more. You can slide a 15.6″ laptop in a sleeve that sits against your back. Overall, the backpack’s padding is thick enough to protect your belongings. It’s also got two stretchy side pockets for an umbrella or water bottle.

Anti-theft: For the main compartment, this Pacsafe backpack uses the Roobar locking system: the two zippers can attach to a bar and lock. Front, back, and sides are made of slash-proof eXomesh material. You can also unlock one of the straps and secure it to a stationary item, like a restaurant chair while you’re eating. It also has RFID blocking pockets where you can store your credit cards and passport.

Compare and find the best anti-theft travel backpack.

The grey is a stylish option.

Comfort: The straps are well-padded and they also can be tucked away neatly. However, it receives mixed reviews about how comfortable it is to wear for long periods of time.

Why it’s great for travel:

  • It’s large enough to fit a lot but small enough to look compact
  • You can use it as a carry-on item in the airplane cabin
  • Enough pockets for easy organization and access

Colors: Black, pine green // Dimensions: 18.9″H x 11.8″W x 6.7″D // Weight:  1 pound, 13.5 ounces

PSSST…The Pacsafe Metrosafe also comes in a smaller size! Try the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack.

Check current prices for the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450

Korin Design Clickpack ProFind the Bobby on Amazon: Anti-Theft Backpack by XD Design.

The Korin Design Clickpack Pro is a functional business backpack, it also makes a slick travel backpack. What’s cool about the Clickpack Pro are the “secret compartments” hidden throughout. (I can be a sucker for gadget-y stuff sometimes.) It has a handy USB port on the shoulder strap, so you can charge your cell phone while on the go. It also includes a luggage tag and rain cover, making it a great anti-theft waterproof backpack.

Compartments: This backpack opens up to 180º, and lets you pack it like a suitcase. Once open, the organization is superb. Compartments are like packs: they’re removable with Velcro and labeled (electronics, toiletries, batteries, etc). It also has slots on each shoulder strap, a zipped one (for earphones) and an open one (for a metro card, maybe). External compartments, like the hidden key card in a corner, can only fit small or flat items. For your passport and tickets, you can slide it on the zip pocket that’s placed against the lower back.

Anti-theft: The Clickpack Pro’s ridiculously strong anti-slash material (called TechTriple) makes it nearly impossible for a thief to cut through the bag. You can also secure your backpack to a stationary object with a retractable spiral wire that attaches to the main compartment lock at the top.  It also a thin RFID pouch that pops out for you to store your credit cards.

Comfort: With its padded shoulder straps and body-hugging design, the Clickpack Pro is comfortable to wear. Readers rave that it looks great while it’s worn too.

Why it’s good for travel:

  • Detailed and organized pockets and pouches
  • The rain cover if you get stuck in torrential rain
  • A retractable metal cable that attaches to a stationary object
  • A complete “hidden zipper” backpack

Colors: Gray // Size: 17.7″H x 11.8″W x 6.3″D // Weight: 2.2 pounds

Check current prices for the Korin Design Clickpack Pro

Kopack Anti Theft Travel Backpack

With over 600+ Amazon reviews, the highly popular Kopack Anti-Theft Travel Backpack (also called Tigernu) is a fantastic budget backpack. It comes in two sizes, large (featured here) and medium. This backpack is great if your mind is micro-detailed when it comes to organizing and you have a large 17″ laptop you want to keep safe.

Compartments: The main compartment is well-organized and can be unzipped to 180º. It has an “x” cinch strap if you want to keep some items together and not swimming around. On one side, it has a zip pocket and two large pockets and four pen slots. It also has a small compartment to put a battery charger and a slot to slide your charging cable. On the other side are two sleeves: one which can fit an iPad mini and the other, a well-padded sleeve, which can fit a 17″ laptop.

Anti-theft: The Kopack Anti-Theft Travel Backpack has a no-access front so pickpockets can’t find an opening. It has “anti-scratch” material and NOT anti-theft material like Pacsafe or Travelon backpacks. You also can’t secure your backpack to a stationary object. As I mentioned, this is an anti-theft budget backpack, so features are limited. But having a no-access backpack might be all you need.

Comfort: Its slim profile and padded shoulder straps make it an attractive backpack to wear all day. The back has breathable material on the back so you don’t overheat. Many reviewers use this backpack for school, and they find it comfortable!

Why it’s good for travel:

  • With its many pockets, it keeps your things tidy
  • Has an extra band to slide over your suitcase handle
  • Reflector lights so you’re more visible at night

Colors: Black, grey // Dimensions: 18.9″H x 14.2″W x 5.5″D // Weight: 1.94 pounds

Check current prices for the Kopack Anti Theft Travel Backpack

Best Small Backpacks (11L-15L)

Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact Backpack

Find the safest travel backpack for you. Pacsafe Citysafe CS300: a locking travel backpack

Small but spacious: This baby is just 13.8″ tall.

Pacsafe presents itself here again, this time with its high-quality anti-theft daybag. The Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact Backpack is a versatile backpack made of strong nylon and can fit a day’s worth of your essentials, holding 15 liters. It can fit an 11″ laptop.

Compartments: This backpack has one main roomy compartment. What I love is the way how the way compartment opens: you flip up some fabric where the two zippers are hidden, which is against your back so thieves can’t see it.  The front zip compartment opens up and has several pockets: an open accessory pocket and two narrow pockets, and a zipper pocket. It has two sliding side pockets perfect for a water bottle or small umbrella.

Anti-theft: The Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 is a lockable backpack that you using the smart Roobar anchor lock. You can also attach it to a hook or lock the zippers together. Pacsafe also boasts its eXomesh slash-proof body material, slash-proof straps, and an RFID pocket inside the main compartment.

Comfort: Light and small, this backpack is comfortable to wear.

Why it’s great for travel:

  • Small and light but roomy
  • Lots of outer pockets for easy access
  • Looks fashionable
  • Readers raved how it makes the perfect daypack

Colors: Black, Teal // Size: 13.8″H x 10.2″W x 5.5″D // Weight: 1.2 pounds

See the latest price for the Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact Backpack

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack

Practical, light and stylish, this Travelon anti-theft backpack big enough to carry your necessities for the day without feeling clunky. Travelon is one of the two best brands in the anti-theft product market, along with Pacsafe. This is the most compact, and it’s a best-seller on Amazon. Travelon builds a robust backpack full of patented anti-theft features such as locking zippers, strong mesh body material, slash-proof straps, and RFID blocking.

An organized front compartment. Photo courtesy of Travelon.

Compartments: The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack has got a spacious main compartment with a zippered top that opens like a lid. It also has a zippered front pocket with pen slots, credit card slots, key clip, and wall pockets. There are two side pockets: one that zips with an internal mesh, and another open one for water bottles.

Anti-Theft: As I mentioned Travelon is a leader in high-quality anti-theft features! This travel-safe backpack has slash-resistant shoulder straps with stainless steel cable straps that run through it. Its material is made of a stainless steel mesh, making it completely slash-resistant. All the zippers are D-clips, so they can be attached to an outer loop. One thing it doesn’t have: a strap latch so you can attach it to a stationary item.

Comfort: At 1.1 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than a normal backpack because of the anti-theft properties. Shoulder straps are well-padded, adjustable, and comfortable to wear.

Why it’s great for travel:

  • Solid Travelon-quality anti-theft straps, body, and compartments
  • Sits upright if you need to put it down
  • Light enough for a daypack
  • Easy access side pockets when you need to grab something in a pinch

Colors: Black, Dark Grey, Grey, Midnight, Navy, Nutmeg, Rock // Size:  16″H x 12″W x 6″D // Weight: 1.1 pounds

Check current prices for the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack

XD Design Bobby Compact Anti-Theft Backpack

The Bobby: A backpack with zips against the back for concealment

The Bobby: cool and collected.

Sleek and structured, the Bobby Original Backpack started on Kickstarter and is extremely theft-resistant. With a wildly successful product, the Dutch brand XD Design launched FIVE more different models. Although at first glance, the Bobby looks like a hard shell, but it’s soft and structured. It fits a 14″ laptop. The Bobby is water-repellent and also comes with a rain cover you slide on if you get caught in heavy rain.

Compartments: The front of the backpack doesn’t have any zippers or pockets. The main compartment opens at the top and can be open up 180º, where you lift a flap where two zippers hide. It also has concealed pockets found at the inside bottom section of the shoulder straps. A subtle zipper pocket is on the bottom back where you can easily access passport or cash. It has a pocket on each shoulder strap, great for securing a metro card that you can slip in and out. It even has more small pockets on the bottom part of the straps. Beware though – it doesn’t have any extra pockets to put something bulky easily like your umbrella, water bottle, or sunglasses.

The best travel backpacks: The Bobby, an anti-theft backpack with charger (sold separately).If you’ll be traveling all day, your phone might need charging by late afternoon. The Bobby has an integrated USB charger so you can comfortably charge it while you walk. 

Anti-Theft: Having almost no outside pockets, the Bobby makes it impossible for thieves to snatch your stuff. Its body material is made of multiple protective layers making it also difficult to slash.

Comfort: This backpack sits flush on the back, designed to give optimal weight balance that takes the stress of your spine. However, the back part lacks a more breathable fabric, which might make you sweaty on a hot day.

Useful for travel:

  • Zero pockets or zips on the front or sides so pickpockets can’t see anything
  • It has a luggage strap, so you can slide it onto the handle of a suitcase
  • Compact to wear on subways and buses
  • A ridiculously cute “mini-me”: a palm-sized Bobby backpack that holds a tote bag

Colors: Gray/dark blue, gray/mint green, gray/pastel blue, gray/yellow // Dimensions: 16.5″H x 10.4 “W 6.3″D Weight: 2.2 pounds

Interested in another size or style of the Bobby Backpack? Check out 6 different Bobby backpacks: Original, Compact, Urban, Urban Lite, XL, and Bizz.

See the latest price for the XD Design Bobby Compact Anti-Theft Backpack

Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim Backpack

This is for the ladies. If you want a theft-resistant backpack that’s more stylish (e.g. can wear into the night time), go with this Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim Backpack. At just 4L of volume, think of this backpack as a purse that you wear on your back. Made of strong nylon, and adorned with brass finishing, it’s the best way to be fashionable and hands-free.

Compartments: This anti-theft daypack has one zippered main compartment and one zippered front pocket. The main compartment is large enough to fit a 9.7-inch iPad and is equipped with five card slots and two zipped pockets. It also has a front zip pocket which can be securely locked.

Take off the strap and attach it to your chair during lunch. Photo courtesy of Travelon.

Anti-Theft: This small anti-theft backpack has all robust theft-proof features that you’d expect from the Travelon brand. Its patented lockdown hardware are zippers are attached to a D-ring, which attaches to a metal loop, making it difficult for thieves to access your stuff.  One strap can also be released so you can attach it to a stationary item like you’re chair.

Comfort: Because of its size, this backpack is light to wear. Its shoulder straps aren’t padded, but they are comfortable and adjustable. It also comes with a small flashlight when you have to dig through your stuff in a dark airplane.

Why it’s good for travel:

  • Stylish and versatile for dressy occasions
  • Despite its size, you can still fit necessities like a water bottle, passport, umbrella, and light sweater
  • You can attach it to another item (e.g. to a chair at a restaurant, your suitcase)

If you’re looking for more tailored and stylish travel gear, try Travelon’s “Tailored” collection.

Colors: Black, Ocean, Ruby, Sable, Smoke // Dimensions 13″H x 11″W x 2″D // Weight: 1.05 pounds

Click here to see current prices of the Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Slim Backpack

Why You Should Buy an Anti-Theft Backpack vs. Normal Backpack

Think of an anti-theft backpack as a way to travel easier:

AN ANTI-THEFT BACKPACK IS A SECURITY BACKUP. You physically cannot watch your backpack at all times. Yes, you can probably wear your backpack on the front. But after a few hours of walking, sometimes it gets to be uncomfortable — and looks kind of obvious that you’re a tourist too. Or maybe you have you to juggle other items when you’re getting in a taxi — so you have to wear it on your back for a sec to keep your hands free. Or maybe you’ve seen pickpockets in action and thought of ways to foil them. But think of these common situations:

– You’ve finally arrived at the Fountain of Trevi or the Sagrada Familia, and you want to take your epic shot. You take a few photos, but barely realize that someone was silently opening your backpack zippers.

– You’re walking down the street, and a “mom” and a “daughter” asks you how to get to the metro. You say you don’t know, and she asks you where you’re from. Meanwhile, another young girl swiftly unzips your backpack pocket and takes off with your wallet. Head, meet wall.

YOU’LL BE MORE RELAXED WHILE TRAVELING. European cities like Barcelona, Rome, and Paris are full of pickpockets.  Worrying about your stuff is like having ATTENTION FATIGUE! i.e. Paying attention isn’t hard, but dividing your attention different ways can lead to stress. And if you DO become a victim, it’s a massive pain in the ass to go your embassy, report the theft, call your credit card companies, etc. (Yes, I had to do this.)

AN ANTI-THEFT BACKPACK CAN BE REASONABLY PRICED. Nowadays, there are numerous anti-theft backpacks on the market, and some are of excellent quality and at decent prices, starting at $29. Even reputable brands like Travelon or Pacsafe have a myriad of options so you can find the right size at a minimum cost.  

AFTER YOUR TRIP, YOU CAN USE YOUR SAFE BACKPACK FOR BUSINESS OR SCHOOL. Many of these backpacks don’t scream “I’m a traveler!” but you can use it form practical, everyday use. In fact, many of them handy features or design that you don’t even have to carry a purse.

SERIOUSLY, WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

For quality, you can’t go wrong with Travelon, Pacsafe, or XD Design. (<– Click on the link to see each brand’s different styles and sizes.) These are already reputable (in fact, the BEST) brands in the anti-theft travel backpack market. Travelon has a wider selection of fashionable bags, Pacsafe has a wider selection of sports and adventure bags, and XD Design is geared towards the young urban professional. So there you have it!

Think you’ve found the best theft-proof backpack for you? Still can’t decide? I’ve spent dozens of hours of research on this, so hit me up in the comments.

Compare the best anti-theft backpacks for travel

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