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Best Overall: PacSafe Venturesafe Exp45 45L Carry-On at Amazon
"It’s carry-on size, helping you reduce stress on a busy day of travel."
Best for Students: KOPACK Slim Laptop Backpack at Amazon
"Fits up to a 15.6-inch laptop, with a dedicated home for it in the back of the bag."
Best Features: XD Design Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack at Amazon
"Comes with a built-in USB port, so you can keep your phone or devices charged."
Best Expandable: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L at Amazon
"Expands from a modest 35-liter size to a 45-liter size."
"Comes in gorgeous colors like Forest Green, Fig, Willow, and Black."
"Has an RFID-blocking card and passport slots, as well as a hidden pocket under the flap."
Best Crossbody: Moshi Tego Crossbody Sling at Walmart
"The minimalist design of this bag isn’t just chic, it’s practical."
Best Rolltop: Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack at Amazon
"Its roll-top closure secures with a three-digit combination lock."
Best Splurge: Caraa Studio Bag at Caraa
"Its durability and longevity are worth the splurge."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: PacSafe Venturesafe Exp45 45L Carry-On Travel Pack
PacSafe is an industry leader in anti-theft backpacks, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of their styles. For travel in particular, however, their Venturesafe 45L stands out. It’s carry-on size, so you won’t need to bring both a bag for your gear and a carry-on for your clothes, which helps reduce stress on a busy day of travel. The backpack meets most airline’s carry-on requirements and has a large main compartment for clothes, plus a front pocket built for a 15-inch laptop, tablet, travel organizer, and magazine for the flight. There are also two zippered mesh pockets for things like keys and lip balm, and two side pockets to keep other essentials easily at hand. As for the anti-theft measures, Pacsafe delivers with slash-proof straps, lockable zipper pulls, puncture-proof zippers, and a locking cable. If the blue shade isn’t your thing, it also comes in black.
Best for Students: KOPACK Slim Laptop Backpack
To keep all your expensive devices safe, KOPACK’s budget-friendly laptop backpack will protect your gear — and keep thieves away, too. It fits up to a 15.6-inch laptop, with a dedicated home for it in the back of the bag right against your body, which is especially handy for when you just want to carry your computer. The zipper can also be locked into a nearby ring to keep things super-secure. Even more, there’s a USB port built into the backpack with an inner cable so you can charge your devices, though you’ll need to use a power bank (not included). The dual-layer zipper that opens the main compartment is puncture-proof, and there are plenty of pockets to hold everything else you need for the day, from tablets to sunscreen. And did we mention it’s water-resistant?
Best Features: XD Design Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack
The Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack from Dutch brand XD Design isn’t just meant to deter thieves — it's also meant to keep you connected and comfortable when you’re hauling around valuables. It holds a 15.6-inch laptop, 9.7-inch tablet, your phone, and other travel essentials, though note that it’s a little too slim to pack in a day’s worth of textbooks or other bulky items. Most brilliantly, the backpack comes with a built-in USB port, so you can keep your phone or devices charged while you’re on the go, and it's designed so that you store said devices in hidden zippers and pockets that aren’t immediately apparent to the eye. Better yet, would-be thieves trying to cut through the backpack are sure to be deterred by a cut-proof protective board.
Best Expandable: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
There’s nothing worse than fearing whether your gear and clothing are safe when traveling, and Peak Design’s Travel Backpack has some genius features meant to ward off thieves. In addition to the backpack's innovative details (there are straps and pockets for pretty much everything), this model expands from a modest 35-liter size for a day of exploring to a 45-liter size that still meets most international carry-on requirements. You won’t have to worry about rain either, thanks to it’s impressively weatherproof material. And about those anti-theft features: the zipper tabs are designed to deter any potential stealing, its laptop pocket sits closest to your back, and there’s a special hidden pocket that keeps your passport safe. It also doesn't hurt how sleek-looking this backpack is.
Best Style: Sherpani Bryce LE Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
If style is important to you, Sherpani’s anti-theft, quilted packs come in gorgeous colors like Forest Green, Fig, Willow, and Black. Consider it a spy-level piece in disguise: the bag is anti-slash, so no one can rip it open, plus there’s RFID protection to keep your cards secure on the go. The bag’s zippers (which are located in critical areas) also lock so you can keep your compartments secure without having to worry about a simple open-and-grab job. Other less-expensive essentials like wet wipes and charging cords can be kept easily accessible in the unlocked compartments. The backpack is a bit small for some laptops at 14 x 10 x 6 inches, but for carrying what you need for the day, it’s got space for it.
Best Design: Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Slim Backpack
Most anti-theft backpacks are either bulky and rugged or sleek and minimalist — yet still big enough to hold tech gear, which you don’t always need. If you just want a backpack purse that no one’s going to bust into (or, if you're not carrying a laptop or big tablet), that can be hard to find. Enter the Travelon Signature bag, which has an RFID-blocking card and passport slots, should you happen to be traveling, and a hidden pocket under the flap (great for pricey sunglasses or your iPhone). For extra security, the zipper pull of the main flap locks into the tab of the front pocket, making it extra-hard for thieves to get into. Plus, because we all hate digging in the dark for what we need, there’s a key clip tethered inside with an LED light. This budget-friendly travel backpack also works great as an everyday bag, too.
Best Crossbody: Moshi Tego Crossbody Sling
Not everyone loves a dual-strap backpack, and for those who are more inclined to wear a single-strap (they're better for the shoulders, after all), Moshi’s Tego Crossbody Sling is fantastic. At 16.14 x 9.25 x 2.76 inches, its small body isn't great for laptops, but if you’re happy to travel with just your tablet (or want to keep your laptop in a larger carry-on), the minimalist design of this bag isn’t just chic, it’s practical. The anti-theft system comes into play because the exterior zippers simply aren’t visible: in other words, a would-be pickpocketer won't be able to figure out how to open the bag easily. The quick-release strap also allows you to pivot your bag from back to front, eliminating one of the major headaches of cross-body bags (and allowing you to keep it clearly within eyesight when needed).
Best Rolltop: Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack
People swear by different types of backpacks, and for those who love roll-top bags, this Lewis N. Clark one takes the style to the next level with its closure that secures with a three-digit combination lock — meaning no one is going to be able to access your bag. Measuring 17.25 x 11.25 x 4 inches, the backpack can store what you need for a day out where you don’t plan to come back home, from a change of clothes to your laptop (note that there’s not a separate compartment for that). There’s also padded back support and a sternum strap for extra stability, which is handy if you're walking for a few hours or like to cycle around town. For things that you absolutely need to keep at a moment’s notice, there’s an external zip pocket that will fit keys or your phone, plus a water bottle pocket on the side as well.
Best Splurge: Caraa Studio Bag
Caraa’s Studio Bags have been all over Instagram, but it’s not just a hype piece. Its durability and longevity are worth the splurge, which you’re sure to keep for years. The bag can be carried as a crossbody, satchel, or backpack, so you can adjust the carry as necessary for maximum comfort. The main zipper, which reveals a compartment for a 15-inch laptop, has an elegantly designed turn lock to deter thieves and keep your most precious belongings secure. As a testament to the thoughtful design of the backpack, the straps are rubberized so they don’t slip on the silkiest of blouses or bomber jackets, and it even comes with a waterproof wet clothes bag and shoe pouch.
Before making their final recommendations, our writers considered 32 different anti-theft backpacks overall, screened options from 26 different brands and manufacturers, read over 85 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the backpack themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.