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When we travel, long or short term, vacation, cruise, backpacking, beach or city breaks, most of us carry a daypack. I know I do, I’ve carried a daypack every day more or less for the last 7 years on every continent bar Antarctica. With rising crime rates around the world, an anti-theft daypack is a very good thing to have. We look at the best anti-theft daypacks and talk about when, and why you’d need one as well as add a few tips on avoiding theft from your daypack.
Best Anti-Theft Daypacks
Security features to look for in an anti-theft daypack include the following, each one adds an extra layer of safety. Regular backpacks generally don’t have any devices such as these to make a thief work harder.
If you’re in a crowd and there are dozens of travel backpacks, the thief most likely isn’t going to target yours if he can see it’s a brand with good anti-theft measures. For this reason, the well-known Pacsafe brand is a good choice.
- zippers that are concealed or can be fastened, locked, or secured with a combination padlock.
- RFID blocking shell or compartments
- slash-proof fabric
- wire inserts in straps to prevent slashing
- internal laptop pockets
- devices to attach the backpack to furnishings in coffee shops, for instance. This beats grab-and-run thieves.
The photo below is of a daypack we used recently in Japan, this bag has zero anti-theft features, you can see how easily a thief could get into any of these zip pockets. For this reason, all that was in this bag was two rain jackets and a water bottle. You need rain jackets in Japan in autumn!
The beauty of having small, discrete bags like these for travel is that you can often keep them on during flights and have everything you need on hand. Take a look above, maybe get one of these as well as your larger anti-theft daypack.
Please be sure to click through and double-check dimensions and other data, designs, and models do change over time. We try very hard to keep everything current but specifications can change.
What is an Anti-Theft Daypack?
A daypack is a small backpack that most travellers carry every day when exploring or sight-seeing. Both men and women carry travel day-packs, and most are unisex.
If you’re travelling with main luggage, a suitcase or large backpack, your daypack normally stays with you while your main luggage is in the hold of a plane or locked away in your hotel or hostel.
An anti-theft daypack is a lot more secure than a regular daypack.
The Pacsafe Women’s 17L Anti-Theft City Safe Daypack
I love the way this women’s anti-theft bag opens from the top, more like a purse, and has antitheft features, plus the option to carry it by regular handles, or on your back. The pink lining is a bonus!
A light-coloured lining helps you find your stuff. Take a look at this one here, I like this one a lot!
This is a stylish bag for women working, commuting, or seeing the sights in a typical city in Europe or elsewhere. See it here, and check out the pink lining!
Best Small Anti Theft Daypack – Our Pick the Pacsafe, 15L
We like this small anti-theft daypack a lot. It’s perfect if you’re travelling light and just need to carry a few small, but valuable, items on your back, Maybe you’re heading to a city to do some sightseeing.
This is the Pacsafe Metrosafe 15L. View this compact anti-theft bag here, perfect for city use.
If this bag is too small for your daily needs, we have bigger bags below.
Both Pacsafe and Travalon are good brands for anti-theft travel products.
Travelon Anti Theft Daypack
Travelon are another well known name in anti-theft bags and baggage. Travelon’s offering is called a backpack, not a daypack, but we all know it’s a daypack, right?
Travelon don’t give us a volume in litres (Liters to our US friends) for this one, but its stated size is 12 x 16 x 6 inches (see cm dimensions below. That’s a fairly small bag suitable for airline carry-on, but big enough to hold an iPad or tablet.
It has locking compartments, Slash-resistant fabric and straps, plus RFID blocking slots.
- Locking compartments
- Slash-resistant body construction and slash-resistant, adjustable backpack straps
- RFID blocking card and passport slots
- Holds an iPad or tablet in a padded sleeve.
- Size: 12 x 16 x 6 inches, 30 x 40 x 15cm
Pacsafe Anti Theft Daypacks – 25L
The Pacsafe Venturesafe is back in stock again! I haven’t been able to find another Anti-Theft daypack around 25L, they seem to jump from 15, 0r 17L to 35 to 40L Size. This one is expensive, Pacsafe are a good brand.
Pacsafe makes a whole range of anti-theft daypacks in different sizes and styles with features to suit your needs. Our picks are below. A comparison chart comes at the end of the post.
This model, the Pacsafe Venturesafe 25L is my immediate choice of antitheft daypack for city travel. It’s a good size, 25L. A lot of daypacks are smaller. It has a good harness with optional waist strap (belt) and air flow, plus that important outside pocket for water or your liquids at airports. The shoulder straps look comfortable and well-padded.
Anti theft features include securable zippers (you’ll want a small combination padlock) and cut-resistant fabric. These bags have lightweight steel mesh reinforcement to stop bag slashers.
Internally there is an RFID resistant pocket and a laptop pocket suitable for a travel laptop up to 15 inches. If you click through you can see full specifications but we like this one a lot.
Its size, 19.7 inch x 11.4 inch x 7.9 inches make it suitable as carry-on for most airlines. This one comes in black, dark blue and light blue and I’d be very happy to use this bag for travel, city use or light trekking.
At the base of the shoulder straps you’ll find a strong metal clip allowing you to secure your daypack to a table or other immovable object.
The Popular Bobby Anti Theft Daypacks
Bobbi bags are a stylish city bag that you can use for commuting or travel, they’re quite small and usually have a laptop pocket. They go in and out of stock, this one is available today, it’s unisex.
Best Budget Buy for Anti-Theft Daypacks
This is a nice pack and a good size, with a tiny price tag. It’s understandably a best seller. Its dimensions are similar to the 25L Pacsafe Daypack
Daypacks as Carry On Hand Luggage
On my last few trips I’ve taken hand luggage only. It’s a great style of travel and having everything with you constantly makes life easier. If your carry-on daypack will fit under the airline seat, that’s even better. For this, a soft squidgy daypack is best.
Carry-on-only passengers breeze through airports, avoiding the carousels. If you can avoid taking your laptop airport security is super simple. We have a post on how to travel with just a carry-on bag here.
My system is to keep my liquid toiletries in the outer pocket of the daypack so that I can just throw them through the scanner separately. No need to unpack the daypack at all.
However, only travelling with your daypack can cause issues, you’ll need to unpack and leave some items in your hotel room while you take your daypack out on excursions. This style of travel works best for us as a couple. Only one of us carries a daypack every day, the other carry-on bag stays at the hotel.
With this in mind, you’ll need to buy an anti-theft daypack that meets size and weight dimension regulations for your airline. These size limits vary between airlines with AirAsia and AirMalaysia being particularly small and light. Double-check these requirements often as the airlines do like to change them.
Most people don’t use their daypack as their only luggage, Most travel with a larger checked item of baggage, so this post is more aimed at them. For these guys, an anti-theft daypack can be smaller than the maximum airline dimensions.
What Do You Carry in Your Daypack?
Your daypack should hold all the items you need on hand, every day. It will need to take your money, credit cards, cameras, phones and chargers.
You may need to carry a waterproof jacket, sun protection, a few toiletries and a bottle of water. In some countries travellers or tourists are required to carry their passports or other photo ID.
Sometimes, if I don’t trust a hotel, I’ll also carry my laptop in my daypack. All of these items make your daypack very attractive to thieves and an anti-theft daypack is certainly desirable.
Pickpockets love daypacks, they’re usually on your back, and you won’t even notice a sly hand from behind opening a zip or wielding a sharp knife.
I’ve had a pickpocket take cash from my daypack when I’ve been wearing it on my front. Thieves and pickpockets are so good that I didn’t fully realise the guy right in front of me, smiling and chatting, was actually elbow-deep in daypack theft.
We have a more detailed post on avoiding theft while travelling, with examples of how and where thefts have happened for fellow travellers.
Daypacks for Trekking
Trekking packs and daypacks aren’t the same thing. A trekking daypack is a properly designed, comfortable, lightweight backpack. A daypack doesn’t need the features of a good trekking daypack.
We do a lot of trekking but we always carry a good-sized trekking pack. We don’t take porters so we carry all our gear ourselves. You won’t catch us trekking with just a regular travel daypack. However, lots of people do.
For the trekking we’ve done we don’t feel that an anti-theft daypack is a necessity. Anti-theft Daypacks come into their own in crowded places, markets, cities, buses, stations and airports, there aren’t too many of those in the Himalayas or Andes.
The pack I currently use for trekking AND as my main luggage – it’s too big for carry-on only travel, is this one. Yes, I bought it on Amazon, it was cheaper than in our shops in London.
Where to Use an Anti-Theft Daypack?
Anywhere crowded is where you’ll most want your daypack to be secure. Markets, train stations, malls and airports, cities, festivals and concerts, anywhere where you’ll be squashed into a crowd. That’s where you’ll want an anti-theft daypack.
How to Avoid Theft From Daypacks
While travelling don’t be too paranoid or fearful. Not everyone is out to rob you and wearing your daypack on your front can scream ” tourist”. It might even make your daypack more attractive to thieves.
I will very occasionally wear my daypack on my front, but it’s not necessary all the time.
My husband and I have a system that we’ve used for years to avoid day-pack theft. In crowded streets and markets I walk a pace ahead, he can see my back and keeps an eye on my daypack.
We’ve never had any issues in any of the more than 50 countries we’ve visited by doing things this way.
With these anti-theft daypacks be sure to lock the pockets shut when in use and secure them to an item of furniture if you’re in a busy restaurant, coffee shop, train or bus station. You should be fine.
How Do Anti-Theft Daypacks Work?
What does anti-theft mean? Features to look for in anti-theft daypacks (mostly backpacks) include wire-enforced shoulder straps, devices to fasten bags to tables or other solid fixtures, slash-proof fabric, sometimes with wire mesh inserts to stop slash thieves, built-in lockable zips or combination lock fasteners, good quality, sturdy design, secret or hidden pockets in places inaccessible to thieves.
RFID-blocking pockets and laptop pockets are other desirable features, most will be water-resistant or water-proof. If not, a rain protector can be purchased.
The anti-theft daypacks in our post have these features to various extents. These features help make a bag theft-proof but of course, you still should look after your bags.
We hope you found our guide to using and buying anti-theft daypacks helpful. Whether you’re using them for the daily commute, weekends away or serious travel, we’re sure you’ll find these daypacks give you extra peace of mind while travelling.