When you are planning your dream vacation from the comfort of your home anti-theft travel gear can seem like overkill, but all it takes is one clever thief to ruin your entire trip.
Why risk being stuck in the middle of nowhere without your passport or money?
Get some quality anti-theft travel gear before you leave so you can have fun and get home safely.
Read on to learn more, see other top gear choices, go in-depth on each piece of gear, and find the 3 essentials most people overlook.
Plus, the toughest travel bag ever made…ever.
Table Of Contents (click the titles to skip ahead):
- What is RFID: A quick answer to a common question
- Anti-theft bags: Tiny locks and wire mesh are for the birds
- Anti-theft clothing
- Anti-theft pouches/organizers
- Best pickpocket-proof clothing
- Most secret-secret compartment clothing
- Top anti-theft day packs
- Best anti-theft pouches/organizers
- Two portable door jambs that work
- 3 Overlooked Items To Pack
For a quick look, here are our top choices of anti-theft travel gear discussed in more detail below.
- Pickpocket Proof Pants/Shorts: Clothing Arts Business Travel Pants, Adventure Shorts
- Secret Compartment Clothing: EZ Mate Travel & Exercise Band, Nathan Zipster
- Best Anti-Theft Travel Day Packs: Pacsafe Venturesafe 25; LOCTOTE Flak Sack
- Top Anti-Theft Pouches/Organizers: Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket, City Safe Zip Wristlet
- Portable Door Jambs: Addalock, The Door Jammer Travel
Anti-Theft Travel Gear: Never leave home without it
Imagine walking around Barcelona, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds. You pick the best Tapas bar from your second-hand guide book, sit down to a meal that dazzles your senses, have an interesting conversation with a local, then get up to pay the bill.
Except when you reach for your wallet, there is nothing there but empty fabric.
Or perhaps, you reach for your handy neck pouch only to find your neck longing for coverage.
Maybe you reach into your shoulder bag to find your hand comes right out the other end through a precisely cut hole; your wallet and everything else vanished into thin air.
Have you ever had your passport stolen? Ever had your check on luggage rifled through or your hostel room broken into? Hopefully not.
Still, it happens and if it has happened to you, then you know its no fun.
What’s worse, losing your belongings or having them stolen can be a huge headache to deal with while on vacation.
One day you’re sipping fruit cocktails on the beach, the next you are freezing in the over-air-conditioned lobby of an uncomfortable embassy lobby.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with a few safety and anti-theft travel gear essentials to help make your next trip more secure before you even leave the ground.
What Is RFID? And Why We Left It Off The List
When researching how to stay safe while traveling, one of the first things that usually comes up is something called RFID or RFID blocking wallets and bags.
RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. It is a technology that uses electromagnetic fields to transmit and read information. This technology is used in almost everything.
Electromagnetic tags are embedded into objects such as packages, scannable ID badges, electronic keys, hotel key cards, and most concerning for the modern traveler, your credit card or Passport.
An RFID tag both sends and receives information.
When triggered by an RFID reader, the tag transmits information to the reader. Generally, this information is in the form of a unique identifying number.
You can think of it like an invisible barcode.
With RFID the scanner doesn’t need to physically see or scan the code, it just has to be within the vicinity to trigger and pick up the signal.
This sounds like a great idea, and it is when it comes to tracking packages or products.
When applied to our credit cards and personal information, however, it can pose a potential threat.
Why We Left It Off The List
Theoretically, a thief could scan your credit card or passport while it is still in your pocket, running off on a shopping spree before you know what hit you.
While this is possible, and there are lots of videos out there showing just how, it is actually somewhat unlikely and fairly easy to prevent.
For the type of RFID tag in passports and credit cards, the scanner must be a minimum of 6 inches away from the card with no obstructions. In a real-world situation, even on a crowded subway, this might be difficult to pull off.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, passport chips are designed to only be readable when your passport is open–i.e. unreadable when in your pocket or bag.
Many experts agree that you don’t need a fancy RFID blocking wallet, a simple hack will do.
You can learn more about this simple-cheap hack and whether you should be concerned about RFID theft in our in-depth article.
Is RFID A Risk For You?
The simple answer is, maybe.
If you are still unsure after reading more about it then we recommend erring on the side of caution.
To know if your credit card is RFID enabled, look for the curved lines like the universal wifi symbol.
For passports, the RFID symbol looks like this:
Anti-Theft Bags And Bag Locks
I am a big proponent of anti-theft bags. Tiny locks and wire-mesh covers, not so much.
Anti-theft bags actually work, you’re probably taking small day pack anyways, and they usually look cool too.
Those tiny locks and wires can be easily bypassed with a good pair of universally available wire cutters or even a moderately proficient lock picker.
In this video, he gets into the lock in seconds (@ minute 2:30).
Even the most unbreakable bag ever made, the LOCTOTE, has a small lock that is its weakness. If possible get a better lock like the Stanley or Abus. Make sure your lock at least has ball bearings and a shroud.
Look for bags with wire mesh liners (not covers) like the Pacsafe Venturesafe.
That said, nothing is theft-proof–especially if left unattended. Given enough time and the right resources, a motivated thief can get to anything.
The best prevention when traveling is awareness and vigilance.
Items listed in this article help prevent theft, but the only way to eliminate it is through your actions.
When Could Wire Mesh Be Helpful
The most frequent petty crimes travelers face is ‘grab-and-run’ or ‘slash-and-run.’
Grab and run meaning someone bumps into you, drives by on a scooter, or simply runs up to you, and grabs your bag or wallet or whatever then takes off.
Slashing is a bit more sophisticated. In crowded spaces thieves can use a very sharp knife or scalpel to cut your pocket or pack open, letting your wallet slip out without you knowing.
Also, be wary of groups of people crowding around you.
I have personally seen a woman mobbed by a group of young kids trying to sell things. They were grabbing her hands and shirt to distract her, then cut her neck pouch and slipped it off without her noticing and ran off before anyone could do a thing.
Another common occurrence while you are walking around with your giant backpack on, someone can come up behind you, cut a hole in your bag, grab whatever is in reach, and be off before you even notice.
In this last situation, wire mesh would be helpful but it will also make your bag stand out compared to others, making it more of a target.
Some people will line their bag with chicken wire. That way if the bag is slashed, there is still another barrier to entry. However, a more versatile solution would be using the mesh bag protector as a liner.
This way you are not as obvious, the mesh is much easier to deal with than chicken wire, and you have the mesh to use in other situations later.
Tip: I almost always carry a small tarp or footprint and an old yoga mat when traveling. These can come in handy in a number of situations, especially when you need a clean spot to sleep or put your things.
When on the move, I always fold the yoga mat and tarp together then use them to line my bag. Like this they are out of the way and if someone did slash my bag they would then have another two layers of foam and heavy material to get through.
Tip: When packing your bag, put the least valuable things along the outside edges. This way if your bag is slashed you might have time to do something about it before they get something valuable. I put all my dirty underwear along the outside so if a thief does slash at least they get a dirty surprise!
Having a burly all around travel bag doesn’t hurt either. Thieves usual work on opportunity. A super-thin lightweight bag is a much easier target than a heavy-duty one.
For your day excursions, the anti-theft travel bags listed below provide slash resistance with sophisticated pockets and zippers so you can explore with confidence.
Anti-theft, Pickpocket Proof, And Secret Compartment Clothing
First, do they work? Yes, they do.
Most pickpocket-proof clothing consists of redundancy to make things harder for thieves.
This means the material might be slash-proof and/or the pocket closes with a zipper which is hidden by a flap that is then closed by a button.
The more barriers to entry, the more redundancy, the safer your items.
But as mentioned before, all these items are tools. They do not replace awareness and vigilance.
A talented pickpocket will get what they want regardless of how sophisticated your shorts are.
Still, these garments work well and are stylish too. If you are looking for that one pair of travel pants, shorts, or a travel shirt try one from the list.
Secret Compartment Clothing
Secret compartments add an extra layer of redundancy to protection of the valuables you carry on you.
Often this will be pockets inside a shirt or underwear invisible from the outside. Or, it can be another piece of lightweight clothing worn under your regular clothing.
The Eazy Mate travel band is a good example.
Anti-Theft Organizers And Belts
Anti-theft organizers (often simply called money belts) are those little pouches that look like skinny fanny-packs you see people tucking into their pants or hanging around their necks.
These little pouches can be indispensable travel accessories that come in a number of different styles and types.
If you choose one that is worn around the neck or shoulder, even if you intend to wear it under your clothes, ensure it has slash-proof straps.
The Best Anti-Theft Travel Gear
1. Best Pickpocket Proof Pants & Shorts
The pants that Forbes called “The CIA version of khakis.” Clothing Arts specializes in innovative-ultra secure travel wear. They make simple yet stylish anti-theft travel clothing that functions well and feels great.
All their clothing is made of soft-breathable water-resistant nylon featuring slash-resistant back pockets.
Below are a few favorites, but Clothing Arts also makes convertible pants if that’s what you are looking for.
Men’s/Women’s Adventure Travel Pants
These classics offer the most security, have 11 pockets (including 5 triple secure pockets), and two cargo pockets.
Men’s Business Travel Pants
Made of breathable water-resistant nylon, these pants feature 9 slash-resistant pockets, including two-triple secure back pockets all alongside a classic ready-for-anything style.
Find them here.
Women’s Travel Wrap Skirt
It is not often you find stylish women’s travel clothing that also has cleverly hidden pockets. This skirt from Clothing Arts features 5 hidden zipper-secured pockets and plush cotton-like nylon.
Take a look at the dress if you want something a little more elegant.
Clothing Arts also makes travel jeans. They are dad-jeans for sure, but they work. You can also find the same cargo-style used in their classic pants as durable utility shorts.
If you are looking for something a little more stylish with slightly higher quality, check out Pashko’s Explorer Adventure pants.
For women the Ultra Comfortable Travel pants or the Insanely Comfy Long-Haul Flight Pants.
2. Best Secret Compartment Clothing
Secret compartment clothing works slightly differently than the anti-theft options above.
This type of clothing works to limit theft attempts by preventing a potential thief from even knowing there is something there in the first place. Or at least, it prevents them from knowing exactly where on your person that item is.
EZ Mate Travel & Running Belt
A simple and multi-functional item in this category is the EZ Mate travel band. There are a number of different variations on this band, but the EZ Mate is one of the only ones with two zippered pockets instead of just one.
Find it here.
Another great running style waist belt is the Nathan Zipster. Although intended for long-distance running, this is a low profile belt that features to full-length zip pockets for safety.
Find it here.
Other options include secret compartment bras, tank tops/undershirts, and underwear.
I will say this, the underwear seems like a great idea, but when you’ve got a passport and some other hard objects with corners in there, it can be a little uncomfortable.
Cubed Travel Jacket
The same company mentioned above, Clothing Arts, makes a well thought out unisex waterproof travel jacket with 4 internal hidden pockets and a removable hood.
They also make travel shirts with secure pockets for both men and women.
3. Best Anti-Theft Travel Day Packs
One of the original anti-theft travel gear companies, Pacsafe offers a wide selection of travel safety products built to stand up to thieves no matter the situation.
Pacsafe Venturesafe GII 25 liter
This little pack has it all; wire reinforced straps, locking zippers, RFID blocking, pockets galore, and Pacsafe’s eXomesh technology integrating stainless steel wire into the fabric to prevent slash-and-run attacks.
If this pack isn’t quite your style, Pacsafe is still a solid brand to go with. As mentioned, Pacsafe makes a lot of high-quality travel gear. See more of what they have to offer.
Find Pacsafe at Backcountry.com
LOCTOTE: The Toughest Bag Ever Made
The LOCTOTE Flak Sack might literally be the strongest bag ever made. All their bags are made with high-rating slash-resistant material, steel wire reinforced straps, RFID blocking technology, and include a lock.
The Flak Sack has a 12-liter volume. If you are looking for something a little larger with a bit more style, the Cinch Pack has a 22-liter volume.
These packs are not cheap, but if you get one and don’t lose it, chances are it will last forever.
Don’t believe they are tough? Here are just a few videos of people putting them to the test. The LOCTOTE website has an entire page dedicated to testing the limits of these bags.
Find all LOCTOTE bags here.
4. Top Anti-Theft Pouches
Whether you want it for security or simply for organization, a good travel pouch is an essential piece of travel gear. Most often you will find people with the slim fanny-pack style pouches. But these are too obvious and can still be cut without you noticing.
Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket
My go-to style is this type of pouch. It hooks on your belt then flips inside your pants. These are simple, inexpensive, and near impossible to steal once flipped inside your pants.
You can slide it along your belt placing it wherever is most comfortable for you.
Find it here.
Another unique option is something like the Eagle Creek Undercover Bra Stash or the Pacsafe Coversafe S25. These simple pouches can clip onto a bra or any piece of material that fits into the clip, allowing you the flexibility to stash your documents and cards where it suits you.
Wrist Wallets & Organizers
If you are looking for something you can carry with more compartments that will fit your passport and then some Pacsafe offers two fantastic options.
The RFID Safe Compact Organizer is a durable option with plenty of space to organize your cards, passport, and money with room to spare.
For a slightly more stylish pouch that opens horizontally like a file cabinet for added discretion, the City Safe Zip Wristlet Wallet is a beautiful and functional option.
5. Packable Door Jambs For Added Security
Sometimes when traveling you don’t end up staying in the most secure places. These mini-door jambs add an extra layer of security when you are feeling unsure about your accommodations.
When staying at Airbnb’s or similar, you might worry about who else has a key, these portable door jams can help stop unwanted entries.
Neither of these options is going to stop the SWAT team, but they will at the least give you warning of an unwanted intruder and possibly foil an aggressive one.
It should be mentioned, both portable door jambs only work if the door opens towards you.
The Door Jammer
Available in two sizes, Travel and Lockdown, The Door Jammer is a solid piece of equipment for added peace of mind.
The travel door jammer is smaller than most mobile phones and weighs only 7.4 oz/210 g.
The Door Jammer is height adjustable and much more versatile than the Addalock.
It might be the case that your door frame is flimsy or cracked, in this case, the door jammer will still do its job just the same.
Here is how it works:
The Addalock is slimmer more packable alternative the Door Jammer, weighing in at 4.2 oz/119 g.
By hooking into the door’s strike (the metal hole where the door latches into the frame) the Addalock blocks the door from opening even when a key is used.
Setup is pretty simple and as long as the frame is solid the door will stay closed to mildly aggressive force.
Here is the Addalock in action:
3 Overlooked Travel Safety Items To Consider Packing
Flashlight Or Headlamp
A flashlight seems like an obvious item to bring along but it is amazing how often you find people traveling without one.
Even outside of emergencies, a flashlight can come in handy for reading in a hostel at night, getting up in the middle of the night, or finding something in your pack on a dark airplane.
Personally, I always sleep with my headlamp around my neck when traveling. By far the best headlamp I have ever owned is the Black Diamond Iota.
It is water-resistant, USB rechargeable, super light, has a lockout, and lasts a long time on one charge.
A drained flashlight battery will leave you in the dark when you need it most. For traveling, try your best to get a light with a lockout feature.
This means there is some way to lock the light so it doesn’t accidentally turn on while in your pack.
UV Water Bottle
Speaking of light, a little handheld UV light can’t hurt. You are probably thinking of packing a water bottle anyway, why not bring a UV water bottle.
UV water bottles and UV water filters can safely sanitize clear to slightly less than clear water, making it safe for drinking.
This is especially handy when you traveling somewhere that does have running water but it is not necessarily potable water.
With a UV water bottle like the LARQ you can have your water and drink it too.
LARQ bottles are lightweight, insulated, USB rechargeable, and feature an indicator light for safety. LARQ is also a member of 1% for the planet.
If you would rather carry a portable UV filter, the Steripen Ultralight is a great option. Either way, don’t let the toilet be the only sculpture you see on your next trip.
Chances are you are going to use the internet at some point while you are traveling.
Hostels, hotels, and coffee shops are hotspots for hackers to get into your data through insecure wifi networks. A VPN can help eliminate that risk.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN essentially sends your traffic through a series of private encrypted tunnels which make you both more anonymous and less vulnerable to attacks.
Note: VPNs are not 100% hack-proof but they do significantly increase your online security.
Traveling should be fun. Don’t let thieves ruin your adventure. Head out the door prepared with this list of essential anti-theft travel gear.
Protect your documents with a hidden travel organizer or money belt. Most travel gear today comes with RFID blocking technology, but if you can also follow a simple tested hack to help keep your information safe.
Find the perfect pair of pickpocket-proof travel pants or shirts from Clothing Arts, Poshko, or Pacsafe.
If you want the most indestructible day pack ever manufactured, check out the LOCTOTE Flak Pak or Cinch Pack. For a more all-around pack the Pacsafe is a great choice.
Should security become an issue for you at your hostel or Airbnb, the lightweight Door Jammer or Addalock can help keep doors closed to unwanted intruders.
Don’t leave home without a flashlight or headlamp. Get one with a lockout function so you don’t find your battery drained when you need it most. The Black Diamond Iota is my all-time favorite.
A UV water bottle purifiers will help keep the bugs out of your gut and your face out of the toilet. Bottles like the LARQ are rechargeable and lightweight.
Cybercrime is a huge threat even at home. Use a trusted VPN like Cyber Ghost VPN to keep your information safe while accessing public wifi abroad.
I hope you found something in this article you can use for your next adventure. If you did, share it with your friends so they can use it too!
We would love to hear from you here at Crux Range. What is your favorite piece of anti-theft travel gear?
Have a story you would like to share?