TOP 10 Best Anti-Theft Backpacks for Travel Reviewed 2020

No one likes to focus on the negatives of travel, right?

But, unfortunately, the risk of petty crime is something we have to be aware of as travelers.

Luckily, you can reduce the risk of being targeted and losing your valuables simply by choosing the right backpack!

Anti-theft backpacks act as both a deterrent and a layer of protection. Whether it’s hidden pockets, lockable zips or rip-proof fabric, there are multiple ways an anti-theft backpack can help to keep your things safe and give you some peace of mind.

So, this is my guide to the best anti-theft travel backpacks of 2020. I’ve also gone into a bit more detail on what to look for and how to choose.

So, let’s get into it!

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TOP 10 Best Anti-Theft Backpacks for Travel 2020

Pacsafe Venturesafe GII Anti-theft Travel Backpack

Review: No list of anti-theft backpacks would be complete without at least one option from Pacsafe. The leading name in anti-theft luggage, their bags are pricey, but they are arguably the best.

This bag comes with all the important anti-theft features including cut-proof fabric which utilizes Pacsafe’s steel mesh, lockable zips and an RFID blocking pocket.

There is also a 15L option available in this model if you’d prefer something a little smaller, but usually when you’re traveling, it makes sense for your day back to double as your carry-on and 25L is the perfect size for that.

If you’re keen on more carry-on options, check out my recommendations for the best carry-on backpacks here.

Pros

  • Suspended, padded sleeve fits 15” laptop.
  • Reliable cut-proof fabric embedded with steel mesh.
  • Water bottle side pockets.
  • 25L capacity is ideal size for carry-on.
  • Good number of organizational pockets in the front compartment.
  • Lightweight – 1.56 lbs.

Cons

  • Straps don’t shorten enough for shorter people.

Takeaway

Made for travelers by travelers, you can’t go wrong with this backpack. It’s easily the best anti-theft backpack for travel, being a top quality build with all the necessary features.

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Anti-theft Backpack

Review: Another super popular choice from Pacsafe, and slightly more urban in its design, this backpack has all the same great anti-theft features as the Venturesafe and also comes in a 15L design if 25L is more than you want.

It’s slightly heavier, weighing in at 1.84 lbs. and its outer material is a more matte looking polyester, though still water-resistant and durable.

It also has an extra front compartment, although all 3 compartments are still lockable.

Pros

  • 15 L option available.
  • Suspended padded laptop sleeve keeps your device off the ground.
  • Slash-proof material, lockable zips and RFID pocket.
  • Ideal size for carry-on.
  • Comfortable shoulder straps.

Cons

  • Not an ideal fit for smaller people.

Takeaway

This could be the best anti-theft backpack for travel in Europe, having all the essential anti-theft features in a high quality package, but in a sleek, urban design that will help you to blend in with the locals.

If you are headed to Europe, some bags are better suited to European adventures than others and I have a list of them here.

Mier Waterproof Anti-theft Travel Backpack

Review: Mier is another well-known and highly-rated brand when it comes to luggage, but is slightly more affordable than Pacsafe.

This 20L anti-theft backpack has a lockable main compartment with plenty of pockets and sleeves for organization, including space for a 15.6” laptop.

It also has a luggage sleeve so you can slide it over the handle of your wheeled suitcase, and the shoulder straps unbuckle so that they can be clipped onto a chair or table.

The outer fabric isn’t cut-proof, but it is very tough and durable and wouldn’t be easy to cut through, and it’s waterproof.

Pros

  • 2 mesh side pockets for waterbottle or umbrella.
  • Additional chest strap is a nice feature for if you find yourself having to run for a bus.
  • Padded, ergonomic design is super comfortable.
  • Very durable, waterproof material.
  • Plenty of internal organizational features.

Cons

  • No RFID blocking pocket.

Takeaway

Overall, this is a top-quality, reliable anti-theft backpack. It doesn’t have all the same features as the Pacsafe but it’s so durable and well-built that it still scores really highly on functionality.

Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Slim Backpack

Review: Travelon is a solid name in the industry, and this is one of their best anti-theft backpacks. Both the front pocket and main compartment zippers can clip onto a little metal loop that’ll really deter opportunists who are looking for an easy to open zipper.

One for the ladies, this bag packs loads of anti-theft features, including anti-slash shoulder straps and body panels, and RFID blocking pockets for peace of mind in protecting your cards.

If you’d like more of a purse for your travels, Travelon also does a great anti-theft purse. Alternatively, I have a guide to the best travel purses here for more great options.

Pros

  • Surprisingly roomy, and a great choice for a day carryall when you’re out and about.
  • Comes in a few different colors to suit your style.
  • Has a good number of pockets for interior organization.
  • Clipable shoulder straps can be used to secure the bag to a chair or table leg.
  • A stylish option if you don’t want to look like a traveler.

Cons

  • Not suitable for laptops.

Takeaway

This a great choice for women looking for a slim, purse style backpack that still includes anti-theft features.

Inateck Anti-theft Travel Backpack

Review: This is the largest capacity backpack you’ll get that will still fit within the carry-on restrictions of most airlines.

It functions more like a suitcase as the front panel can unzip completely and open up for maximum access to the main compartment. But it has comfortable padded shoulder straps, a chest strap, grab handles and a luggage sleeve that make it easy to carry in a variety of ways.

The main anti-theft features include the lockable zippers and the clipable shoulder straps that make it easy to attach the bag to any immovable object.

There’s also an anti-theft pocket that sits flush against your back which is a great choice for things like passports or other documents.

Pros

  • Laptop compartment fits 17” laptop.
  • Extra grab handles make pulling it out of the overhead locker easy.
  • Lockable zips.
  • Shoulder straps unclip to secure the bag to a chair or table legs.
  • Anti-theft pocket.

Cons

  • May feel a little bulky for some people.

Takeaway

This bag is more like a suitcase-backpack hybrid and an excellent choice if you’re looking for maximum carry-on capacity in a durable, easy to carry package with anti-theft features.

XD Design Bobby Anti-theft Laptop Backpack

Review: A reliable choice if you’re looking for an anti-theft bag that will accommodate a larger laptop, this bag caters for 17” laptops while also deterring opportunist thieves with its hard to reach zippers.

It also has a cut-proof board in the front panel and hidden pockets.

But aside from these great-anti-theft features, it’s also super functional as a travel backpack with a full-length zipper that allows maximum access to the main compartment, many, many internal pockets and sleeves, and a USB charging port.

Pros

  • Hidden zippers and pockets make it very hard for any opportunist thieves to access your bag.
  • Durable, tough, water-resistant fabric with anti-cut board.
  • Space for a 17” laptop.
  • Plenty of internal organization.

Cons

  • 15L capacity is a bit small for carry-on.
  • Pricey.

Takeaway

This is a high-quality backpack that makes itself anti-theft by keeping its zippers hidden and hard to access rather than locks.

Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack

Review: Of all the packs in this list, I think this one is the most stylish. If you’re looking for something straight out of the Blade Runner universe – then this has got to be your choice!

Its anti-theft features include tough anti-cut fabric, a hidden pocket that can only be accessed when you take the bag off, and the main compartment whose zip sits flush against your back so it would be very hard for someone to undo it while you’re wearing it.

It’s made from waterproof, durable material that wipes clean, it has a USB charging port, a luggage sleeve, and fits up to 15.6” laptops.

Pros

  • Super cool minimalist design.
  • Doesn’t change its shape even if loaded down.
  • Hard to access main compartment zipper and hidden pocket.
  • USB charging ports.
  • Durable, water-resistant, anti-cut material.

Cons

  • May be a little small for some people.

Takeaway

This is a sleek, minimalist backpack that adopts a slightly different approach to anti-theft by keeping the main compartment’s zipper flush against your back.

KoPack Slim Business Laptop Backpack

Review: This slim backpack is more affordable again, made from an attractive tear and water-resistant fabric that wipes clean.

It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something compact to carry a laptop, as the laptop compartment is accessed from behind the straps making it less accessible for opportunists.

The zips are lockable and the body material is made of durable, water-resistant, anti-puncture oxford fabric, and the well-designed interior makes it easy to store and locate your gear.

Pros

  • The detachable USB is really useful.
  • Comes in a variety of colors.
  • Separate hidden laptop compartment.
  • Water-resistant, anti-puncture fabric.
  • Plenty of internal pockets and sleeves.
  • Small, sleek and compact, works well for smaller people.

Cons

  • No padding on the bottom to protect your laptop.
  • Waterproofing could be improved.

Takeaway

This backpack scores top points for its high number of separate compartments and pockets making organization a dream.

Tzowla Business Laptop Backpack

Review: This is another really affordable option. You don’t get quite the same durability as the higher end brand names, but this bag is surprisingly functional.

It’s made of quality material, has sturdy zippers and fixings and the bonus of a built-in combination lock.

It has two large main compartments with plenty of smaller sleeves and pockets, it can fit a 15.6” laptop, and it has a luggage strap for hooking over a telescoping handle.

Pros

  • Built-in combination lock is a helpful deterrent.
  • USB and headphone ports keep your devices safely inside your bag.
  • Good number of pockets, sleeves and compartments.
  • Reliable waterproofing.

Cons

  • Combination lock is the only real anti-theft feature.

Takeaway

This is a sleek and functional backpack whose main drawcards are all the pockets and compartments and the waterproofing.

Mancro Travel Anti-Theft Backpack

Review: This backpack is another much more affordable option so a good choice for the security-conscious traveler on a budget, though its only real anti-theft feature is the combination lock for the main compartment.

It can easily hold laptops up to 17” in size. Plus, with a total of 14 pockets (including concealed sections), it’s a cracking choice for a day or weekend pack.

Constructed from a water-resistant fabric, the bottom of the pack is reinforced and it’s got quality, durable accessories throughout. Straps and buckles are solid too.

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Includes a combination lock.
  • Genuinely water-proof – it’s been tried and tested in a variety of weather conditions and comes out on top.
  • Luggage sleeve for attaching to wheeled suitcases.

Cons

  • The combination lock will be fiddly to use when you’re out and about.

Takeaway

The waterproofing and affordability are the two main drawcards of this backpack.

What to Look For in a Good Anti-theft Backpack

There are a few key features that any decent anti-theft backpack will have.

A lot of cheaper producers have jumped on the anti-theft bandwagon and label their backpacks as anti-theft when the only thing remotely anti-theft about them is that the main compartment zippers can be locked together.

Don’t be fooled! While it’s useful to be able to lock your zippers, you’re unlikely to bother doing this constantly through the day when you need to access your things.

So then your affordable anti-theft backpack quickly becomes a regular backpack with no protection for your valuables.

Here’s a selection of features to consider. The more of these features you can include in your bag of choice, the better!

Thief stealing wallet from purse of a woman

Hidden Pockets

The kind of hidden pockets usually included in anti-theft backpacks are sleeves in the back panel that can only be accessed (or seen) when your bag isn’t on your back.

They’re great for things like your passport and spare cash, and mean that you don’t have to keep these things exposed in a front or side pocket.

Opportunist thieves will always make a bee-line for an easy target, so if your valuables are well concealed, they’re likely to look elsewhere.

If you end up choosing a bag without a hidden pocket, you can always purchase some travel clothing with hidden pockets instead so that you’ll always have somewhere secure to keep your small, valuable items.

On the topic of pockets, it’s also worth remembering that front or side pockets often come with no anti-theft protection.

Good anti-theft backpacks won’t even bother with front pockets, but if you choose a bag that does have one, just be wary of what you put in it.

Anti-cut or Slash-proof Material

You might think your old backpack can stand a beating, but these guys are on a different level.

Most anti-theft backpacks worth their salt will be made of slash-proof material because cutting a hole in your bag is a pickpocket’s classic M.O.

Many thieves will carry a pocket knife to gain easy access to your belongings. Hey – we never said it was subtle – but they can slash your bag and be off with your stuff before you have a chance to react.

Some packs even include lightweight metal weave through the fabric – just to cover all the bases.

Slash-proof straps add quality security and peace of mind – making sure your bag stays where it’s meant to.

Lockable Zippers

Goes without saying, right?

Quality anti-theft backpacks should all come with lockable zippers and pockets as standard.

They should also be durable and high enough quality that they’re not going to fail mid-trip and leave you with unlockable broken zips!

Some anti-theft backpacks also come with shoulder straps that can unclip or unbuckle so you can attach your bag to whatever immovable object is nearby such as a table leg. This means that you can sit and relax and know that your bag is secure at your feet and unlikely to be snatched by a passerby.

man and women waiting in train station with travel backpacks

RFID Blocking Technology

RFID (Radio Frequency Information Device) technology has been a hot topic of conversation for a while now and raises the possibility that thieves can use a device to electronically steal your credit card information.

Whether or not it’s a genuine concern is debatable, the question is – why risk it?

Many anti-theft backpacks come with RFID protection, so you can keep your cards away from those smart-ass lawbreakers that may or may not be lurking out there.

Waterproofing and Padding

These backpacks wouldn’t be very helpful if they allowed a bit of rain into them, so they should all be waterproof to a certain degree.

However, they’re not going to withstand monsoon conditions so take that into consideration and maybe purchase a rain cover if you’re venturing into the wetter areas of the world.

If you’re traveling with your laptop, you’re also going to want to make sure that the bottom of the bag is padded and reinforced in some way so that your laptop isn’t bumping against the hard ground when you put it down.

Comfort and Convenience

Always a personal preference, but how the backpack is put together can have a big impact when it comes to your travel comfort.

At the very least you want a nice padded back panel made of breathable material, and padded, adjustable shoulder straps.

Similarly a matter of personal preference, a good number of pockets, sleeves and compartments will help you to keep your things organized so that you know where they are and they are easy for you to find.

This will help you to keep track of things and make it easier to make sure you haven’t misplaced something.

Other Features

USB charging ports, connectors, and cables seem to be all the rage, with some options providing headphone jacks for easy access to your tunes.

Of course, you’ll need to provide the device and/or the charging bank adding extra weight – but that’s the trade-off.

If you’re going to be flying with your bag and have wheeled luggage that you’ll be checking in, a luggage sleeve that lets you slip your backpack over the telescoping handle is a huge plus.

Similarly, if your backpack will be your carry-on, an extra grab handle or two can be extra useful.

Another option worth considering is investing in a luggage tracker. This is primarily for people checking in luggage, but could also be an option for your backpack on the off-chance that someone runs off with it.

thief taking wallet from travelers backpack

FAQ

What is an anti-theft backpack?

A anti-theft backpack is a backpack that includes certain features such as hidden pockets and lockable zippers in order to reduce the risk of your valuables being targeted by a pickpocket.

How do anti-theft bags work?

Anti-theft backpacks work by both deterring would-be thieves, and restricting access, usually through limited external pockets and hard to reach main compartments.

Some of the better brands will also include anti-slash material.

Are theft-proof bags worth it?

This depends on where you’re traveling, how careful you are with your things, and how much of a worrier you are!

Anti-theft backpacks provide an extra layer of security between your valuables and the outside world and with that comes peace of mind that can make your travels more relaxing and enjoyable.

Which is the best anti-theft backpack?

Any of Pacsafe’s bags are easily the best anti-theft options on the market.

What should I wear to avoid pickpockets?

An anti-theft backpack of course!

How can I make my backpack more secure? Any tips?

Don’t put valuables in any easy to access front or side pockets. Keep your main compartment locked when you’re using public transport, standing in a queue or leaving your bag in an overhead locker.

Carry a small, lightweight cable lock for securing your bag to an immovable object if you’re going to be sitting down for a bit.

Summary

There you have it, folks, some of the very best anti-theft travel backpacks for 2020 on the market today.

Why not leave us a comment on which one you would choose and why.

Remember though, these packs can only do so much to keep your gear safe. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with you.

Always lock up your stuff any chance you get and don’t leave anything lying around. Use your common sense and you’ll have stress-free travels for many years to come!

Good luck!

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