Backpacks are great for carrying your essentials on extended multi-leg trips or city sightseeing, but they are risky to use for valuables and important documents in places that are known for pickpockets because you can’t see what’s going on behind you. However, if you can find the best anti theft backpack for travel, you can eliminate the fear of having your things stolen.
There are a few options to look at, depending on your needs. Are you looking for a carry on backpack or something smaller to use as a daypack? Do you need it to hold your laptop? Are you concerned about having the RFID blocking feature built into the pockets or do you have a separate RFID wallet? While there are many anti-theft packs to choose from, not all are ideal for travel. Some are only really meant for day to day commute.
Table of Contents
- 1 Anti Theft Backpack Features
- 2 What is RFID Protection?
- 3 Top rated Anti-Theft Backpack
- 4 Top rated Simple Theft-Proof Backpack
- 5 Best Carry On Anti Theft Laptop Backpack for Travel With Laptop Sleeve
- 6 Best Anti Theft Daypack or Day Hiking Pack
- 7 Best Small Anti-theft Daypack or Commuter Pack
- 8 Other Types of Anti Theft Bags
Anti Theft Backpack Features
When looking for the best theft proof backpack, these are the features that you should look for:
WARNING: There are many backpack manufacturers on the market today that claim to make “anti-theft” packs for travel. However, most of them only provide hidden zippers and pockets or padlock zippers, and NO anti-slash features, RFID blocking pockets or securing strap. Quite a few of them come with very weak zippers or poor construction quality and therefore cost very little. We do not recommend them for travel and believe you should get a proper theft-proof backpack like the ones we list here.
Our anti theft backpack reviews cover options that are designed for travel with a laptop or tablet, those that are best as a carry on bag, and those that do well as a daypack for all day walking.
What is RFID Protection?
Radio-Frequency Identification is the full form of RFID. This technology involves a radio transmitter sending out a wireless signal to an object that has chip in it that receives the signal and in return sends out a new radio signal that contains a unique code that identifies itself. This signal now has some identifying information that can be read by a computer built into a receiver.
Credit cards have a chip in them that holds various unique card details. However, this chip is one of two kinds – EMV or RFID. EMV chips are more common around the world and they can be read only through contact by a reader. However, a slowly growing number of credit cards has the RFID chip and this can be read wirelessly and is therefore vulnerable to anyone with an RFID reader or skimmer looking to commit digital theft. Passports also have these microchips in the front cover.
There are more of these cards in Europe than the USA and it’s not that easy for a thief to accidentally find an RFID chip card in a sea of EMV cards, but if US Customs and Border Protection issues your Global Entry card in an RFID blocking sleeve, then there must be at least a small possibility that it can happen. If you’re at all worried about taking that chance, there is a whole range of anti-theft bags, wallets and purses that use a special metal foil lining that blocks the ability of radio waves to reach anything inside that contains an RFID chip. An RFID-blocking pocket in a backpack is more than enough to keep a few cards and your passport safe from RFID digital theft.
Top rated Anti-Theft Backpack
Travelon Anti Theft Backpack
Travelon is a well known travel accessories brand and their anti-theft travel backpack is a simple but very effective option at a very reasonable price. This updated version includes RFID-blocking card and passport slots in the front business organizer pocket.
This backpack has all of the other necessary security features too, like slash-proof chain-link construction hidden in the nylon shell, and locking closures for the main and front compartments. It is very versatile, as it can be used as a touring daypack or as a small carry on while flying.
It is available in black, stone grey, pewter grey, khaki and midnight blue, measures 13 x 6 x 16 inches and weighs 1.3 lbs. It is large enough to hold a tablet, a change of clothes, a large camera and other odds and ends. You can easily fit this pack under the seat in front of you on a plane.
There are two side pockets – one is zippered and has an elastic mesh pocket inside. It can hold various small travel items. The other side is a simple drop pocket for a water bottle.
Inside the main compartment is a large zippered pocket on the back wall. This pocket is lined with steel mesh and holds smaller zippered and drop pockets for cards, phone, pens, cash and loose change. There is another smaller zippered pocket and elastic mesh pocket on the front of the main section. The inside of the bag’s flap holds another zippered pocket and an audio port for earbud cords. The flap has a carabiner lock that can snap onto the metal loop on the front of the bag or any loop on a stationary object. A front compartment also has a locking zipper for other valuables.
Top rated Simple Theft-Proof Backpack
Kopack Lightweight Laptop Backpack Anti theft and TSA-Friendly
If you feel like most proper anti-theft features are overkill but want at least a basic level of protection for your laptop and other valuable travel belongings, then this Kopack Anti theft and TSA-Friendly Laptop Backpack is a highly rated option. It is a multipurpose pack that can be used for business or leisure travel as well as for a day out.
Not only do you have the option between a light grey and a dark grey, but you can also choose between two sizes – medium and large. The medium backpack can fit most 15.6″ laptops, while the large one can fit most 17″ laptops. The medium bag’s overall dimensions are 12.2 x 6.7 x 2.4 inches and it weighs just 1.7 lbs. The large bag measures 18.9 x 5.5 x 14.2 inches and weighs 1.9 lbs.
The shell is made of tough water and tear-resistant nylon so you can go about with it in light rain and thieves would need a very sharp tool to cut through it.
The backpack has no outer pockets in the front, only one pocket right at the bottom and at the back and a pocket on each side. All three feature hidden zippers with the ones for the side pockets facing towards your back so they are all protected from anyone other than the wearer. These pockets are good for storing your passport, wallet, keys, travel documents and cell phone.
The backpack features a single main compartment that opens via hidden dual zippers. This compartment opens all the way from the bottom of the pack on one side to the bottom on the other side. This design makes the pack TSA-friendly, as you can leave your laptop inside when going through security. The laptop sleeve is padded with bubble foam and sits right against your back. The sleeve is adjustable for laptops anywhere from 13″ to a thin 15.6″. There is also a padded tablet sleeve lying on the outside of the laptop sleeve and both are secured by a Velcro fastener. This is the TSA-friendly side of the pack and can lie flat on the X-ray belt.
The other side of the pack is where you store all your accessories and a couple of changes of clothes. The entire wall of that side features organizer pockets and loops. There’s one large zippered pocket for a charger, several pen loops, two slip pockets (one is for a water bottle), and a slip pocket on one side. This side pocket is good for an MP3 players or smartphone and there’s a headphone port right above it so you can listen to music on the go without taking the player or phone out. You can pack your clothes on top of this organizer section and a pair of criss-crossing restraining straps keep them neat and organized.
The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded and one of them features an elastic loop on the outside to secure a pair of sunglasses. The back panel is also padded for comfort and features mesh paneling for breathability. The top of the shoulder straps are connected together by integrated fabric that doubles as a grab handle. There is also a piggyback sleeve at the back to slide the pack over another bag’s telescopic handle for another easy transport option.
Best Carry On Anti Theft Laptop Backpack for Travel With Laptop Sleeve
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Anti-Theft 25L Backpack
If you’re going to be traveling with your laptop in crowded trains or walking through busy thoroughfares or using it as your carry on bag, you may want a backpack that’s built for securing a laptop and other valuables. The Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Anti-Theft 25L Backpack is slightly pricey but perfect for women backpacking from one place to the next and needs top class security for her belongings. It is available in black, sandstone, pine green and vintage red and is light enough to be good for most women to carry.
This award winning carry on theft proof backpack measures 18.9 x 11.8 x 6.7 inches and weighs just 1.75 pounds. Even if it is fully loaded, it is comfortable enough to carry because of the padded back support and shoulder straps, although it is not meant for long periods of carry.
This pack has a barely noticeable exo-mesh cage system running all through. It also comes with slashproof shoulder straps, lockdown points for all of the external zippers, and an RFID pocket inside the main compartment for your cards and passport. You can clip a shoulder strap to a stationary object to ensure no one can stealthily grab the bag and run.
Inside the large zippered main compartment is a padded laptop sleeve that can hold a 15.4″ laptop, although a few 16″ laptops can also fit. In addition to the RFID pocket, there are other slip and zip pockets in the main compartment. There are two roomy zippered front compartments. The one on the bottom is perfect for a power brick and cord, extra power bank, and other techie accessories. The top compartment can be used for a toiletry bag or other odds and ends that won’t fit into the main compartment. There are two exterior side stretch pockets that are large enough for a full sized water bottle or even a hydration pack.
Best Anti Theft Daypack or Day Hiking Pack
If you’re not carrying all your belongings in the pack and only need stuff to take you through a day of hiking or sightseeing, then a travel daypack is better than a full-sized backpack.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 25l Anti-theft Daypack Backpack
If you’re looking for the same security features as the Metrosafe shown above, but only want to use it as a daypack or long day hike pack at your travel destination, the Pacsafe Luggage Venture Safe 25L GII is a good and more affordable choice. This too is not a great option for anyone 5’2″ or under, as the shoulder straps don’t shorten enough. However, it is more comfortable for carrying longer periods because of the waist and sternum straps. It measures 19.7″ x 11.4″ x 7.9″ and weighs 1 lb 8 oz. These anti theft travel backpacks are available in grey, black and ocean blue.
It also features exo-mesh slash guard, slash proof straps, an RFID-blocking pocket and smart-locking zippers. There is also a padded laptop sleeve in the main compartment for up to 15″ laptops or a 3-liter hydration pack. There is a turn and lock security hook on one shoulder strap to attach the bag to a table or chair leg.
In addition to the double zipper pull main compartment, there is one single zippered organizer front compartment with an RFID pocket. The waist strap also has a small pocket and there are two side water bottle pockets.
Two side cinching straps keep the bag compact and the foam molded back panel makes the pack comfortable to carry.
If you don’t need to carry valuables around with you and need to instead keep them safe in your hotel room without depending on an in-room safe, consider getting a portable safe that you can pack in your luggage but tether to any permanent object in the room.
Best Small Anti-theft Daypack or Commuter Pack
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack
If you’re looking for the best secure backpack to use mainly on European metros, the Pacsafe Luggage Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack is compact yet can hold a small laptop or tablet along with other day tripping essentials. It is the cheapest, smallest and lightest of the travel anti-theft backpacks from Pacsafe that can accommodate a small laptop up to 13″, measuring 16.5″ x 11.6″ x 5″ and weighing 1 lb 6 oz with a 15L capacity. It is available in black, dark tweed, sandstone, vintage red and pine green.
Everything else, like the security features and organizational compartments, is the same as that of the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 that is described above.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack
If you prefer the sportier look of the Venturesafe above, but want it in a smaller daypack size, then the Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack is what you’re looking for. All of the anti-theft features are the same.
It can accommodate a small laptop or tablet up to 13″ or a 3 litre hydration pack and measures 18.1 x 12.6 x 6.3 inches with a weight of 1.64 pounds. It can hold a light jacket, a guide book and a few odds and ends that you’ll need for a day out. It would also work pretty well as a personal item on board a flight, as you can place it under the seat in front of you. It is available in black or blue.
Eagle Creek Travel Bug Mini Backpack RFID
If you’re not averse to plain black and just want an inexpensive, small and light as a feather anti-theft backpack, then the very aptly named Eagle Creek Travel Bug Mini Backpack RFID is the pack for you. It measures 5 x 9.5 x 15 inches and weighs just 12 ounces, as it doesn’t have slashproof mesh in the lining of the fabric. However, it comes with other important theft-proof measures and is very roomy and durable. It has secure toggle lock zippers – double for the main compartment and a single for the front exterior compartment. Inside the front compartment is a passport-sized RFID blocker pocket that’s also good for credit cards.
You can carry a tablet and other smaller electronics in the padded sleeve in the main compartment along with other items you might need while taking a short excursion or city tour. If it’s dark outside, the reflective accents and light attachment loop will come in handy.
The front pocket is an organizer for your phone, keys, pens, earphones, etc. There’s one elastic top mesh pocket on the side for a water bottle.
The back panel features 3D Air Mesh for keeping your back cool, while the foam padded shoulder straps are perforated and adjustable for maximum comfort.
It’s a perfect size for petite women who don’t like to carry a purse around all day but can’t otherwise find a small enough daypack.
Other Types of Anti Theft Bags
You also have the option of carrying an anti-theft crossbody bag if you don’t like the backpack style. If you want a style of backpack whose contents you can access without having to remove the bag from your person, consider a theft-proof sling bag. If you’re worried about your wheeled carry on being a target, Pacsafe has a highly rated Toursafe 21″ bag.
Haven’t found the best anti theft backpack for travel yet? Then also check out the Eagle Creek Deviate. Although the construction is not slashproof, the other security features are present.