How to Keep Your Backpack Safe

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Add extra security to your hard-shelled luggage bag using safe coded padlocks and pre-assembled locks.

A backpacker hiking through the mountains

When your backpacking around any country with your worldly possessions strapped to your back, backpack security is always a concern. Everything you’ve held dear for the past six months plus the souvenirs you’ve picked up while on your holidays (the hand-carved bong, the “authentic” Vietnamese conical hat and the Hill-tribe necklace) are all there for the taking. Your backpack is not designed to be safe… It’s designed to be easy to carry! Let’s face it even the best backpacks won’t stop a plucky thief with half an ounce of determination.

There are devices on the market designed to keep your backpack safe:

  • Pac Safe
  • Locks
  • Bag alarms

But a bit of savvy will go a long, long way!


Use a day sack

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics, keep them with you at all times, use a separate day sack and try not to flash them around… If you remove temptation, your half way there.

Spread your gear out

Most backpacks have an amazing amount of pockets – too many in fact. And most have secret compartments. If your backpacking with cash or traveler’s cheques spread them out inside you bag, your shoes – even your underwear!

Buy the right backpack

Buying the right backpack is extremely important whether you are looking for the best backpack for travel or the best backpack for college. If you read the label of any backpack, it will give you a handful of reasons why its the only one you should choose. From a security point of view – get one with lockable zips. Don’t rely on locking the two zip ends together, that’s about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle, what you need is specific padlock holes on the zipper body.

Stay close
When traveling on a bus or train try and stay close to your backpack, pick a seat above the cargo hold or use it as a pillow. It will be most at risk when your face is stuffed in a good book or your sound asleep.

Use zip ties (cable ties)
I’ve been through plenty of backpack locks in my time, while I’m not against them I do think they are a waste of money if you think they’re going to keep your backpack safe. You will undoubtedly lose the combination/key. To fit through a zip, they need to be so small that they could be opened with nothing more than strong language. A zip tie however if foolproof, if you pull one as tight as you can through the zip holes and cut off the excess you’ll have a tamper-proof way of seeing if anyone’s been in your backpack after your flip-flops.

Most people aren’t out to steal from you, in reality – they see an easy target and take an opportunity. If you don’t make your backpack a target, it will probably go unharmed and be safe for years of backpacking travel.


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