Best Anti-Theft Backpacks: Keeping Your Stuff Safe
When you’re on the go, sometimes your pockets are big enough and you have enough of them to hold your stuff. Sometimes you need to take so much stuff that you can fill two suitcases with it all. And sometimes you have more stuff than will fit into your pockets but not enough to justify lugging a suitcase around. What you need instead is a backpack.
And since your stuff is valuable, so what you really need is an anti-theft backpack.Let’s take a look at what makes an anti-theft backpack anti-theft and how you should go about choosing the best anti-theft backpack for your situation.
What Makes a Backpack Anti-Theft?
Simply put, a theft-proof backpack must stop a potential thief from getting your stuff. There are several features of 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 an anti-theft backpack 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 three, while not made of slash-proof material are still worth your consideration for other reasons.
Quick Comparison Table 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
The Venturesafe EXP45 is the first and largest of three models we’ll look at from Pacsafe.
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 that gives 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.
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 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 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 restrictons for carry-ons are 22x14x9 inches, same as American Airlines. No weight limit! The Venturesafe EXP45 is perfect as carry-on 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 bag 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 is simply a well-designed backpack, and we're happy to recommend it!
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 backpack 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 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.
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 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.
All in all, this reviewer seems to sum it up: Superbly made quality bag!
Pacsafe 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 backpacks above. It is slash-proof and has the locking mechanisms.
The main difference here is the much smaller size. 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 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.
Like 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!
Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Boho Backpack
- Size: 10 x 13 x 4 inches
- Weight: N/A
- Warranty: 5 year limited
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.
You can get this model in at least four different fabric pattern/interior color combinations:
- Geo Shells (black and white) - Plum (interior)
- Summer Paisley (multi-colored) - Deep turquoise
- Geo Sunflower (blue and black)
- Painted Floral (red violet and orange) - Unknown
This is the smallest 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 bag 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 thoughfully 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!
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 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 water resistant 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 models, 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 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 comes from Korin, a company which (as of this writing) apparently only makes the 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 bag 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 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 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 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 to 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 its 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 to a 30, 90, or full 180 degree angle.
The anti-sweat and air permeable fabric comes 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 Le Storm Laptop Backpack
- Size: 11 x 17 x 5 inches
- Weight: 1.1 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
There are two main selling points for the Soleil LE. 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 “liquid nylon”. This is said to be “silky soft to the touch and ultra-light weight in nature”.
This backpack measures 17 by 11 by 5 inches (HxWxD) giving it slightly more than 20 liters of interior capacity. You can fit your tablet and most laptops easily inside.
The exterior is either black, fig (purple), navy, teal, or willow (light green). The interior is quilted material which contains an RFID protective lining. Apparently you get RFID protection throughout the bag.
Other security features include an anti-slash bottom and a zipper loop lock system.
On the exterior, there is a zippered pocket, 2 water bottle pockets on the side, a slip pocket in front, and another slip pocket in the back, which you can convert to a luggage pass-through.
Inside you’ll find a zippered pocket, a key fob, 2 slip pockets, and a padded laptop sleeve.
If the vegan design matters to you, this is the 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.
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 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 bag 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 dimension of this backpack are 16 ½ by 12 by 5 inches (HxWxD). 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 (HxWxD) 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 bag 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.
KOPACK Anti Theft Travel Backpack
- Size: 18.9 x 5.5 x 14.2 inches
- Weight: 1.94 lbs.
- Warranty: N/A
I’m always a little concerned when I can’t easily find a website owned by the maker of a product. That’s the case with KOPACK. The only information readily available is the description, reviews, and Q&A at Amazon.
The main description seems to be written by someone whose first language is not English. (That’s another caveat.) While the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, there are enough negatives to cause some concern.
The main problem that owners have encountered relates to the main zipper, which is not a YKK brand item. The zipper may come with a problem from the start or it may develop problems with just a few uses. Apparently your mileage may vary.
That said, this is still quite a popular backpack. Just don’t expect a lot from it, compared to some of the others reviewed here.
There are plenty of slots and pockets, but they might not be in the places you would prefer them. You can hold a 15.6 inch laptop inside, and depending on the computer model, you might fit a 17 inch within the nearly 19 by 14 ¼ by 5 ½ inch (HxWxD) compartment.
There is a luggage strap for attaching the pack to your suitcase handle. There are also back, bottom, and side private pockets. The straps have glow-in-the-dark strips.
As an anti-theft backpack, the KOPACK leaves something to be desired. There is no RFID protected area; the zippers don’t lock; the straps are not reinforced; and there’s no way to attach the bag to a fixed object. And as mentioned above, the fabric is not slash-proof.
If you don’t need a backpack with that many special features, try the KOPACK. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Eagle Creek Travel Bug Mini Backpack
- Size: 9.5 x 15 x 5 inches
- Weight: 0.7 lbs.
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
The Travel Bug Mini from Eagle Creek is, as its name suggests, pretty small. Inside its 15 by 9 ½ by 5 inch (HxWxD) frame you might be able to fit an 11-inch tablet.
This is a popular model due to its price and safety features. You get a passport-sized RFID protected pocket, two-way lockable zippers, with two “Central Lock Points” for securing the contents.
The outer part of the bag has “reflective accents” to help keep you safe in poor lighting conditions.
Inside there is a mesh pocket, slip pockets, a key fob, and a pen loop to keep your stuff organized.
All in all, this is a very nice little backpack for those who don’t need to tote a lot of stuff.