Best Anti-Theft Backpacks 2020: Keeping Your Stuff Safe
Let’s take a look at what makes a backpack anti-theft and how you should go about choosing one of the best anti-theft backpacks for your situation.
It isn't an easy task to keep an eye on what you have behind you. After all, most of us don't have eyes in our neck (even though our mums sometimes seemed to!). This makes backpacks vulnerable and an easy target for a not-so-honest fellow human being.
To address this problem, some manufacturers have gone the extra mile to ensure that you can keep your valuable stuff safe. Let's take a look at what this means!
What Makes a Backpack Anti-Theft?
Simply put, a theft-proof backpack must stop a potential thief from getting to your stuff. There are several features of the best anti-theft backpacks that manufacturers have implemented to keep your stuff with you and out of the hands of the bad guys.
Did you know that there is not a country to be found in the world where pickpocketing is not an issue? According to Spencer Coursen, founder of the Coursen Security Group, “Pickpocketing is one of the most widespread crimes in the world”.
One of the most important of these is locking, metal zippers. A competent robber can easily and quickly unzip an unlocked zipper before you have a clue about what he’s up to. You’re the only one who can unlock your locked zipper. Plastic zippers can fairly easily be split open, but good, quality metal zippers cannot.
The other main feature of the best anti-theft backpacks is slash-proof fabric or a metal mesh on the inside. A slash-proof backpack can withstand the sharpest knife. It can also hold its own when you accidentally scrape it against that pointy, metal barb or corner on the...whatever.
A secure backpack may also include an RFID protector for keeping your enclosed credit cards safe from skimmers. Without this feature, the bad guys can get at your credit card information simply by being close to your backpack. They don’t even need to get their hands inside it.
You may want a backpack with lockable straps, so you can “chain” it to something immovable when it’s not hanging on your shoulders. You will be taking it off from time to time, such as when you’re eating a meal. It’ll be good to know that your stuff is still safe, even when not directly attached to you.
There are a number of other features to consider when you want to get a new backpack. We’ll look at many of them as we check out several specific examples of backpacks that could fit your needs below.
The first nine models are all slash-proof. The last two, while not made of slash-proof material, are still worth your consideration for other reasons.
Quick Comparison Table Best Anti-Theft Backpacks
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Backpack
- Size: 45 L, 21 ⅔ x 13 ¾ x 8 ⅔ inches
- Weight: 3.97 lbs.
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty
The Venturesafe EXP45 is the first and largest of three models we’ll look at from Pacsafe. It's definitely one of the best anti-theft travel backpacks on the market today.
Pacsafe embeds the fabric of the Venturesafe with what they call “eXomesh Slashguard”. This is a wire mesh intended to keep your backpack safe from the slash-and-run type of theft.
Pacsafe also uses “ToughZip” technology in their anti-theft backpacks that give you puncture-resistant, double-layer zippers. Even if someone somehow manages to get through the outer layer, they have to contend with a second layer before they can get at your stuff.
In addition, they use their “Roobar Locking System” that secures the zippers from both backpack compartments in one place. This includes a locking cable that you can use to attach your Venturesafe to any solid fixture - a handy feature in anti-theft backpacks if you need to take a nap!
See the anti-theft features for yourself in the video below! Note though that although the Venturesafe EXP45 does indeed have the eXomesh Slashguard, it does not have the 360° design.
The “45” in the model name refers to the 45 liter capacity of this bag. You can carry a lot of your stuff inside, including something like a 15-inch MacBook laptop computer. (Pacsafe also makes a larger, 65L version of this anti-theft backpack.)
The main material of the Venturesafe is high-density Oxford nylon. The lining is Oxford polyester. This, along with the eXomesh mentioned above, should keep unwanted hands away from your stuff.
The backpack itself weighs less than 4 pounds. Obviously, it depends on what you put inside as to whether the overall weight will be too much for your shoulders and back or not.
You should be able to use this anti-theft backpack as a carry-on with most airlines. You can tuck the straps inside when you’re not using them to make this a more viable bag to take on a plane.
You’ll have to check the specifications of the backpack versus the requirements of each specific airline to see whether it meets their carry-on standards or not.
United Airlines size restrictions for carry-ons are 22 x 14 x 9 inches, same as American Airlines. No weight limits! The Venturesafe EXP45 is perfect as an anti-theft carry on backpack for both airlines.
With the straps tucked away, you can carry the bag using the soft and large handle on the side.
Speaking of the straps, you can adjust the shoulder straps from about 25 inches to just over 36 inches. There is also a padded hip/waist belt and a sternum strap to help distribute the weight throughout your torso.
The outside of the anti-theft backpack has places where you can attach various items that don’t need to go inside. Perhaps you have a jacket or a yoga mat or even a sleeping bag that could withstand the elements, and you don’t want to carry it separately. You can quickly snap it onto one of these outer attachment points.
Inside the bag, you get multiple pockets for holding your possession in place and another attachment point for things like a wallet or your keys. This backpack has an internal compression feature that helps to keep your clothes in place, so they don't end up in a pile at the bottom of the backpack.
Overall the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 are simply well-designed anti-theft backpacks, and we're happy to recommend them!
Pacsafe Vibe 40 Anti-Theft 40L Weekender Backpack
- Size: 19.7 x 13.8 x 7.1 inches
- Weight: 3.0 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 year limited
If you are looking for a slightly smaller variant among the anti-theft backpacks with similar construction and design compared to the Venturesafe, Pacsafe has the Vibe 40, which they say is “designed for 24/7 city travel”.
The Vibe is a slash-proof backpack that appears to have all the safety features of the Venturesafe.
This carry-on pack also meets most airline standards (again, check your airline to make sure). At this size, I think it would be a rare airline that wouldn’t allow you to bring in onto the plane.
The Vibe anti-theft backpack has straps similar to those on the Venturesafe - sternum, and waist included - which can be tucked away when not needed. It also has internal and side compression straps for keeping your stuff snug inside.
There is a Velcro pocket inside that can handle a large magazine or even a 15-inch laptop. There is a zippered pocket inside for those smaller items like a toothbrush or comb or pencils. You get a “quick access” pocket on top and one side pocket that stretches so you can put many types of gear into it.
Note that that top pocket may not keep your stuff dry in the rain. If you have anything that can’t stand getting wet, you’ll want to tuck it inside the anti-theft backpack.
Some owners have said that they didn’t like the location of the laptop pocket.
If you don’t intend to carry a laptop, that’s obviously not a concern. If you do carry one for extended periods of time, you too may find the weight to be too much and in an uncomfortable place. Other backpacks do take this into consideration.
We love the smart design of this very useable anti-theft backpack, the Pacsafe Vibe 40. We have read reviews where users praise it for its size, security, and durability. The only complaint we have seen is about the length of the shoulder straps that seem to be a bit long for short users. However, they are actually more adjustable than you may notice at first.
Pacsafe Unisex Metrosafe LS450 Anti-Theft 25L Backpack
- Size: 18.9 x 11.8 x 6.7 inches
- Weight: 1.84 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 year limited
This is another offering from Pacsafe that - as you should expect - has the same security features as the anti-theft backpacks above. It is slash-proof and has locking mechanisms.
The main difference here is the much smaller size, which no doubt qualifies it as an anti-theft carry on backpack. It holds just 25 liters of goods and measures about 19 by 11 ¾ by 6 ⅔ inches.
The Metrosafe weighs just under 2 pounds. (I wish Pacsafe had kept to the model naming convention of using the liter capacity in the model name. Calling a 25-liter backpack, the “450” is confusing.)
The straps are adjustable from about 26 ¾ to 36 ¼ inches, so you don’t really lose any flexibility there, despite the smaller overall size.
You can still fit a 15-inch laptop inside if you must take it with you. There is one interior slip pocket, and one interior zipped pocket. You get one internal attachment point - again, for items like a wallet or keys. There are 3 pockets on the outside.
The Metrosafe anti-theft backpack should work well even for smaller people. I wonder if those who have said that it didn’t fit them well knew how to adjust the strap length correctly.
For the Vibe 40, the most common (and almost only!) complaint about the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 is about the length of the straps. One short user solved it by buying the smaller sized Metrosafe LS350.
Otherwise, like the two previous Pacsafe backpacks, the Metrosafe seems to be a safe bet if a theft-proof backpack is what you're looking for!
Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Boho Backpack
- Size: 10 x 13 x 4 inches
- Weight: N/A
- Warranty: 5-year limited warranty
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “boho,” you should know that it’s short for Bohemian. Boho is also known as Boho-chic these days, which is the style in which this women’s backpack from Travelon is patterned. Anti-theft backpacks don't have to be all strict and stern. They can be pretty too!
You can get this model in at least four different fabric patterns:
- Black (quilted)
- Gray Heather (quilted)
- Blossom Floral (quilted)
- Mosaic Tile
This is the smallest anti-theft backpack I’ve described so far, measuring just 13 by 10 by 4 inches (HxWxD). So, don’t plan on toting your monster laptop inside this one. You can fit an iPad or other tablet inside though.
The Boho backpack has a padded pocket (as noted above for a tablet), a side pocket, and a zippered “wall” pocket. On the front is an organizer that has RFID-protected card slots and a special place for a passport.
It also has 3 additional pockets, an open-loop to attach whatever fits there, and a key clip with an LED light - no more fumbling around in the dark for the correct key.
Some owners have noticed that the cotton-polyester mix fabric does seem to show wear quite quickly, even after as little as one use. That said, this is another anti-theft backpack with slash-resistant body panels and straps as well as locking zippers.
Most of the reviews about this bag are enthusiastic, considering the backpack to be a very cute and thoughtfully designed women's daypack. We're not sure about the fabric showing wear issue, only a couple of reviewers have commented on that.
We think that perhaps this actually contributes to the bag being Boho-chic style!
Anyhow, it earns its place among the best anti-theft backpacks!
Travelon Men's Anti-Theft Heritage Backpack
- Size: 13 x 17.5 x 6 inches
- Weight: N/A
- Warranty: 5 year limited
The Travelon Men’s Heritage anti-theft backpack is probably specified, especially for men based on the color design. You can get this pack in pewter (gray) or indigo (dark blue). According to some users, the main straps don’t position themselves well for a woman’s body, so this may be a factor too.
The backpack is made of cotton canvas and suede on the outside, with a polyester lining. The canvas is a water-resistant material but not said to be waterproof. You can probably feel safe wearing this in a light rain shower but not much more than that.
At 17 ½ by 13 by 6 inches (HxWxD), you can likely hold as much of your stuff in this bag as you can in the Pacsafe Metrosafe.
The shoulder straps adjust from 13 to 24 inches. This should fit just about all men and perhaps work well for youngsters too.
A padded sleeve inside can hold your smaller laptop - up to about 15.6 inches in size.
The Heritage backpack has all the safety features of the other Travelon anti-theft backpacks, including a zippered RFID blocking pocket.
You get two lockable, front zippered pockets, two open-top wall pockets, and the same key clip with a light as you find in the women’s model above.
You can use the mesh expansion pocket to hold a water bottle as intended or whatever else you want quick access to on the outside of the backpack.
While this isn’t the largest backpack available for men, you should still find many occasions for which you can use the Travelon Heritage backpack. The anti-theft backpack features are excellent, and the design classy!
Next, we’ll take a peek at four more anti-theft, slash-proof backpacks, each from a different manufacturer.
Korin Design ClickPack Pro Anti-theft Backpack
- Size: 17.7 x 11.8 x 6.3 inches
- Weight: 2.2 lbs.
- Warranty: N/A
The first of these four come from Korin, a company which (as of this writing) apparently only makes the anti-theft backpack ClickPack Pro. It looks like there are plans for a FlexPack Series via crowdsourcing at Indiegogo.
The ClickPack has “TechTriple” anti-theft protection. I don’t see where the manufacturer comes right out and tells you what this means, but it must be a combination of these items.
Korin has tested the zippers over 1000 times “to ensure a long-lasting and smooth seal.”
The fabric is 60% polymer polyethylene, 30% black ultra-fine industrial-level polyester silk, and 10% military-level glass fiber. This gives the anti-theft backpack a cut resistance level of 4, which according to the old standards, was almost as tough as you could get. (Current standards put it in the middle of the pack, which is still very tough.)
The ClickPack has wrap-around shoulder straps that are intended to help distribute the weight of the pack’s contents more evenly on your shoulders and back. This should make for an easier time carrying a loaded pack for long distances and times. You can adjust the strap length from 20 to 30 inches.
A ClickPack Pro measures about 17 ¾ by 11 ¾ by 6 ¼ inches (HxWxD). This makes it just over an inch shorter than a Pacsafe Metrosafe (about 19 inches long).
There are 5 major compartments inside this anti theft bag that include a dedicated space for a laptop (up to 15.6 inches in size) as well as a tablet space (10 inches).
It includes the circuitry for charging your electronic devices, but you have to provide the actual charger.
This gray colored bag comes with a rain cover and - somewhat curiously - a carrying bag.
There are other accessories included, but you don’t get everything you might see in some pictures. Some displays, such as those currently on Amazon, show you what you can put into or onto the backpack, not what ships with your order.
The Korin ClickPack Pro has the feel of a backpack that was designed by someone who had tried other anti-theft backpacks and found them wanting. So, they put together a pack that had everything they wanted but could not find elsewhere. You may come to the same conclusion when you get your own ClickPack Pro.
XD Design Bobby Compact Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
- Size: 16.5 x 10.5 x 6.3 inches
- Weight: 1.8 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited 2 years
Much like Korin (just above) works with Indiegogo, XD Design has used Kickstarter to get funding for their products. In many ways, the backpacks from these two designers are similar, but there are some significant differences too.
XD Design claims that the Bobby is the “safest backpack” available. That may have been true at one time, but I would argue that others today are just as safe, if not safer.
For example, the main zippers on the Bobby anti-theft backpack loop together allowing you to attach a lock to them, but you have to provide the lock yourself. Some manufacturers give you a lock with your purchase. The other zippers on the Bobby don’t lock at all - something which is less safe than what you will find on other models.
There is no RFID protection here, which the maker says is by design. They don’t want to block communication with your phone if it’s inside the backpack. That’s why other manufacturers use RFID protection only around a small card pocket and not the entire bag.
To its credit, the Bobby Compact does have cut-proof material and hidden zippers. You also get an integrated rain cover, so it's always with you in case the weather changes unexpectedly.
The Bobby Compact measures 16 ½ by about 10 ½ by 6 ⅓ inches (HxWxD). This makes it slightly smaller than the ClickPack just above.
There is a USB charging port. As usual, you provide the actual charger. This model has an elastic luggage strap so you can attach it to the extended handle of your suitcase when you need more than just the backpack or suitcase alone.
Sometimes you just need to peek inside. Other times you want it all laid out in front of you. So, it’s nice that you can open the Bobby anti-theft backpack to a 30, 90, or full 180-degree angle.
The anti-sweat and air-permeable fabric come in a variety of colors. One bag is a combination of dark gray and dark blue. The others all mix a light gray with either yellow, mint green, pastel blue, or pink (salmon). You get a small, wallet-sized container in the same color scheme as the large pack.
You probably would choose the Bobby Compact based on size and color. If you want a complete set of security features, you probably will look elsewhere.
Sherpani Women's Soleil AT Convertible LaptopvBackpack
- Size: 11 x 15.5 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 1.7 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
I'm kind of excited to present this one as it stands out from the other anti-theft backpacks in this article. Read on and find out how!
There are two main selling points for the Soleil AT. One is that you can wear or carry it in multiple ways. You can, of course, wear it as a backpack. You can use a long strap to hang it from your shoulder or crossbody using your “opposite” shoulder. Finally, you can use the handle to carry it as a tote bag in your hand.
The other selling point is that most of Sherpani’s products, including this Soleil backpack, are vegan.
Here is what Sherpani means by vegan:
“As part of Sherpani’s earth safe promise, most of our products are fully vegan. Our vegan items are 100% animal cruelty-free and range from faux leather to nylon. By choosing vegan items, not only do you look good, you feel good.”
The Soleil is made from what Sherpani calls Mélange Fabric. It's a weaving technique said to cerate vibrant colors and texture pattern while being very durable.
This anti-theft backpack measures 15.5 by 11 by 4.5 inches (HxWxD), giving it about 16 liters of interior capacity. You can fit your tablet and up to a 13" laptop inside.
The exterior is either loden, copper (both in images above), carbon or sterling. The interior is quilted material that contains an RFID protective lining in the front panel.
Other security features include an anti-slash bottom and strap and a zipper loop lock system.
On the exterior, there are:
- 2 exterior zipper pockets, 1 exterior slip pocket
- 2 side slip pockets
- pass-thru back pocket
Inside you’ll find:
If the vegan design matters to you, this is the anti-theft backpack you’ll want. Other features are fairly standard, so size and color choices may matter more in those areas.
The Game Theory Anti-Theft, Travel Laptop Backpack
- Size: 5 x 12 x 16.5 inches
- Weight: 2.15 lbs.
- Warranty: Lifetime Warranty on Structural Integrity
Even though the name of the company, The Game Theory (TGT), makes little sense relative to a backpack, the pack itself makes a lot of sense. We're actually kind of smug about finding it and including it here among the best anti-theft backpacks.
The most obvious selling point of this bag is the location of the main zipper. You can’t see it when someone is wearing the backpack because it’s hidden on the side of the pack that is adjacent to their back.
There are also no exterior pockets, which is a pro and a con. There is nothing obvious to steal, but neither is there a place for things you don’t care that much about yet want readily available, like a water bottle.
As with several other backpacks, the TGT is slash-proof and has an RFID protected pocket inside. The outer case is a black or gray hard shell, which is a little different style from most.
There are also feet on the bottom, which help it stand without falling over. This keeps the anti-theft backpack proper from touching the ground too, in case that should matter to you.
Almost a side effect of all this is that, should you have a laptop (up to 17 inches) inside the padded area specifically made for one and then happen to drop the backpack, your laptop shouldn’t suffer any (severe) damage. Accidents happen, but this pack should prevent them from causing you any headaches.
You can additionally fit a tablet inside, even if you already have your laptop in there. The dimensions of this anti-theft backpack are 16 ½ by 12 by 5 inches; thus, it has about the same capacity as the Soleil above.
The fabric is water-resistant. TGT sometimes calls it “hydrophobic,” which literally means the bag is afraid of water, but you get the idea.
There are several secret pockets on the arm strap, side, and back of the bag.
There is a luggage strap for slipping the pack over a suitcase handle. This bag is TSA approved when it is opened flat.
Inside there is a pocket made for a battery pack (not supplied) that you can connect to the USB cable that extends to a port on the outside of the backpack for charging on the go.
A nice touch is the reflective lines on the straps that help keep you visible at night or whenever the lighting is poor.
The Game Theory backpack is just different enough from other packs that you’ll want to give it serious consideration to see if it matches your needs. It does have an impressive amount of safety and security features and a modern design. 92% of the reviewers have given it 5 stars!
Beyond this point in this article, the backpacks are not slash-proof. Still, they are worth your time, giving them a look.
Kensington SecureTrek 17-Inch Laptop Backpack
- Size: 19 x 12.5 x 6.5 inches
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 years limited
The Kensington SecureTrek seems to target the modern businessperson who needs to travel. You can fit a 17-inch laptop, a tablet, clothing, and a few extras into this 19 by 12 ½ by 6 ½ inch pack.
The anti-theft features include hammerhead zipper pulls that you can click into the Lock Base. Then you can add a Kensington (or other brand) lock to attach the backpack to a fixed object.
On Amazon, you can get the backpack and lock as a bundle, which is probably a good idea. The lock consists of a carbon steel cable in a protective sleeve and a 4-wheel, keyless combination lock. You can vary the cable length from a mere three inches up to 6 feet.
Your electronics inside the anti-theft backpack are protected by a Poly Twill material in padded compartments. Another feature is the anti-puncture zipper that increases the security of your stuff.
This is another pack that you can lay flat to pass through an airport security scanner, so you don’t have to empty the contents just to make it through.
Even though this backpack is not slash-proof it does have the steel cable with the 4-digit combination lock. This makes it really easy to secure the backpack to a fixed object. In combination with the smart interior design this is a great choice for an overnight business backpack.
Anti-Theft Backpack Buying Guide
With so many choices available, you may find it difficult to narrow down all of your options, even when you are presented with information regarding each. For example, the Travelon anti-theft backpack has a more modern design that is both practical and stylish.
The locking compartments, slash-proof straps, and RFID anti-theft technology also keep your valuables safe and secure. However, it is more of a medium-sized option and is better suited toward a business traveler that needs to carry their laptop and other tech devices with them.
How to Choose a Good Anti-Theft Backpack
So, when choosing the best anti-theft backpack, always keep in mind the main features we mentioned at the beginning of this article.
RFID blocking, quality lockable zippers, and other locking features, hidden pockets and compartments, anti-slash fabric construction, and reinforced steel straps are all features to keep an eye out for.
With these security features, you can prevent bag theft, guard against cut and runs, prevent scanning scams, and deter pickpockets.
In addition to all these safety features, you also need to make sure that the backpack is going to be functional. Does it have all the compartments you need? If you need to carry a laptop, is there a padded sleeve or compartment for this? Do you need to have room for a water bottle? A versatile backpack is just as important as a secure backpack.
You will also want to consider the size of the bag and make sure it will fit your travel needs nicely. If you need just a day pack, then you can probably get away with something on the smaller side, so you don't have to drag around any unnecessary weight.
Another consideration is your comfort. The shoulder straps should be padded, so it is more comfortable to wear throughout the day. You should also consider breathability as well as lumbar support.
Finally, never sacrifice on style for function. You can have the best of both worlds. Having a bag that looks too tourist like can make you more of a target. Instead, you want to blend in with others the best you can. So, getting something that looks like an everyday backpack may be exactly what you need for that extra security.