The best anti-theft backpack
Traveling is stressful enough, even before you have to spend time protecting your bags and luggage. For peace of mind, consider an anti-theft backpack, which is equipped with a wide variety of safeguarding features.
Anti-theft backpacks are significantly harder to access than regular backpacks. Rather than lightweight construction, anti-theft backpacks feature cut-resistant materials, ultra-secure closures, and in some styles, reinforced steel cables. These deter thieves, who see them as time-consuming challenges that aren't worth the risk.
If you're considering upgrading to an anti-theft backpack, give our buying guide a read. Our favorite, the Korin Design ClickPack Pro, features built-in TSA-approved locks.
Considerations when choosing anti-theft backpacks
Conduct an inventory of your most-carried items so you have realistic expectations when comparing sizes of anti-theft backpacks. If you intend to store laptops or tablets, make sure the backpack accommodates the size. Otherwise, you can struggle to close the bag, which in turn can compromise the security.
Like regular backpacks, anti-theft styles are usually equipped with comfort features. These can be in the form of padded straps or a weight distribution design that relieves pressure from the back or shoulders.
Just because you're buying a functional item doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on style. Anti-theft backpacks have contemporary designs, which are appealing if you have a modern, edgy taste. Some backpacks are also available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Anti-theft backpacks typically have cut-resistant material to prevent thieves from slashing your bag and grabbing its contents. These materials are often waterproof or water-resistant for added durability. This is also an attractive feature to protect devices in wet weather conditions.
Zippers vary considerably among anti-theft backpacks. Some are hidden, where others are reinforced with double-locking systems. For the most part, this is the main line of defense -- if the zipper looks even remotely challenging to penetrate, most thieves move on.
There are also anti-theft backpacks with integrated TSA-approved locks. This adds another layer of security to your bag when you're out and about, but it keeps the backpack accessible to TSA agents during security checkpoints.
Anti-theft backpacks with RFID-blocking linings are worth considering in the age of contactless identity theft. This feature protects against card skimmers, and if you also have an RFID-blocking wallet, you have even more protection.
The shoulder straps in some anti-theft backpacks are threaded with lightweight steel cables. These are cut-resistant, so thieves aren't able to slash the strap and run away with your backpack.
Not every compartment in an anti-theft backpack should be hard to access, particularly for you. Certain items -- like water bottles or umbrellas -- are best kept in external compartments. If anything, keeping them readily accessible on the outside means you limit your exposure, since you don't need to open your bag to get them.
With anti-theft backpacks, you get what you pay for. If you're spending around $25, you only have modest security by way of hidden compartments. Those priced between $30 and $60 have a few security features, such as RFID-blocking or cut-resistant fabric. Those in the $100 to $150 range have a broad range of superior integrated anti-theft features.
Q. Are anti-theft backpacks heavier because of their security features?
A. Not necessarily. Even those with double zippers and reinforced steel cables remain relatively lightweight. This keeps them comfortable to carry, even for extended periods of time.
Q. It looks like my anti-theft backpack is a bit worn out, but the zippers and other safety features still work. Do I need to replace it?
A. Signs of wear could make your backpack look like an easy target. A thief might assume the seams are weak and can be sliced open easily. When in doubt, upgrade your bag to ensure its durability and reliability. A newer style may also be outfitted with more cutting-edge security features.
Anti-theft backpacks we recommend
Best of the best: Korin Design's ClickPack Pro
Our take: Exceeds expectations with TechTriple technology and a variety of hidden compartments.
What we like: TSA-approved locks. High-grade anti-cut and waterproof material. Strap design promotes better weight distribution across the back.
What we dislike: Storage is modest, and you need to fully open the backpack to access certain items.
Best bang for your buck: Mancro's Laptop Backpack
Our take: Impressive construction. Well-made design for those with multiple devices.
What we like: Securely charges devices with built-in charging cable. Available in six colors. Quick-access compartments for ID, water bottles, and umbrella.
What we dislike: Petite individuals may be overwhelmed by straps.
Our take: High storage capacity in a comfortable design with lockable zippers.
What we like: Lightweight. S-curved straps for comfort. Secure USB and headphone access. Comes with a one-year warranty.
What we dislike: Sustains wear quicker than expected, especially around seams.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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