We Tried to Break Into These Best Anti-Theft Backpacks of 2022

More than a dozen packs were tested and Pacsafe's Venturesafe EXP45 was best

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Anti-theft backpacks
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Backpacks are super-handy for carrying around everything you need for a day around town or traveling. Still, our every day carries are becoming more and more expensive: After all, our smartphones are worth several hundred, and our tablets and laptops are worth far more. If you’re toting your tech around where pickpockets are prevalent, you’ll want to keep things secure, so you don’t have to deal with an unpleasant theft that interrupts your vacation or trip. Luckily, brilliant designers have you covered: Anti-theft backpacks are more secure than ever with features like locking zippers, RFID-blocking technology, and even slash-proof material. And aesthetically, we’re happy to announce these backpacks have graduated beyond basic black and gray to become more and more stylish.

Whether you’re a student, a casual traveler, or a jet setter who has their mind set on a splurge, there’s an anti-theft backpack out there for you.

Read on for the best anti-theft backpacks on the market.

Best Overall: Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Pack

5
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL Anti-Theft Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Made from recycled nylon

  • Comfortable to carry

  • 270-degrees clamshell opening was super easy for packing and unpacking

  • Held up well in our slash test

What We Don't Like
  • Still need own lock to secure locking cable

  • Heavy

Pacsafe is an industry leader in anti-theft backpacks, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of their styles (we've got more than one featured here). For travel in particular, however, we love their Venturesafe EXP45L. Besides the fact it’s now made from recycled nylon, giving it some eco points, it’s carry-on size: You won’t need to bring both a bag for your gear and a carry-on for your clothes, which makes a difference when it comes to reducing stress on a busy day of travel. The backpack meets most airlines’ carry-on requirements (as always, check ahead!). It has a large main compartment for clothes, a sleeve built for a 15-inch laptop, organization for your cables and USBs, and even places on the outside of the bag to secure bulky things like a sleeping bag, jackets, or yoga mats. There are also attachment points on the inside for wallets and keys and a side pocket that lets you keep a water bottle or umbrella close at hand. As for the antitheft measures, Pacsafe has the bases covered with lockable zippers, an anchor cable that can lock around a fixed object (like the base of a table) so no one can nab the bag, and cut-resistant materials.

This backpack earned the highest marks in our Brooklyn testing lab among all bags tested. Our testers loved how comfortable the pack felt, its well-cushioned handles, and the 270-degrees clamshell opening, making packing and unpacking a breeze. "The Pacsafe Venturesafe Carry-On Travel Pack is an ideal option for backpackers hopping from hostel to hostel," one tester noted. "It has many great anti-theft features, including lockable zippers, a stainless steel locking cable that you can attach to any fixture, and cut-resistant materials. Plus, with chest and hip belts and padded straps, you can carry about a week's worth of clothes and other travel essentials without breaking your back."

One final note is our testers did report a learning curve for the zipper lock. They recommended spending some time with it at home before taking it on a trip.

Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.8 x 8.7 inches | Weight: 3 pounds, 13 ounces | Capacity: 45 liters | Waterproof: Yes

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL Anti-Theft Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 15L Anti-Theft Backpack

4.9
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft Backpack
TripSavvy / Connor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Eco-friendly construction

  • Comfortable padded shoulder straps

  • Lockable hook to secure to fixtures like a hostel bed or table leg

What We Don't Like
  • Slash-proof but outer shell tore easily

  • Water bottle holder could be larger

If you're looking for an anti-theft pack with equal quality and toughness but without the size or heft of the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45, Pacsafe's Metrosafe 15L backpack is worth a look. This pack also features lockable zippers, cut-resistant materials, and an RFID-blocking pocket. Bonus: This bag also features Pacsafe's eco-friendly ECONYL fiber, a regenerated material from fishing nets and other nylon products.

Like its larger sibling, the Venturesafe EXP45, the Metrosafe 15L earned top marks from our testers. They enjoyed the pack's soft padding, even if the straps were difficult to adjust. "The Pacsafe Metrosafe 15L Travel Backpack has it all," one tester glowed. "Padded shoulder straps and back for hours-long city excursions, a zipper-lock to protect your belongings from casual pickpocketing, and enough space to fit your travel essentials. Plus, there's a small, lockable hook to attach the bag to any fixture, say a hostel bed or table leg—no need to worry about your backpack getting snatched."

Our testers did have issues with the external water bottle pocket, which wasn't big enough to hold a standard-sized water bottle. And while the pack is slash-proof, the outer shell tore easily during testing.

Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.6 x 4.9 inches | Weight: 1 pound, 7.4 ounces | Capacity: 15 liters | Waterproof: Not listed

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 15L Anti-Theft Pack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Budget: AMBOR Travel Laptop Backpack, 17.3 inch Anti Theft Business Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port and Headphone Interface

4.6
AMBOR Business Travel Anti Theft Laptop Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Great organization

  • Laptop pocket holds pretty much any device

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

  • Doesn’t stand on its own while empty

While we love the low price tag on this bag, whatever genius behind its design has thought of everything, too, it has the essential anti-theft features—think a fixed password lock and a hidden pocket on the back for super-valuable things like passports and wallets—plus a ton of perks that make your travel day more effortless. There’s a USB charging port and a headphone jack that lets you keep your phone safely tucked away instead of in your hand or pocket, a laptop compartment for computers up to 17.3 inches, and S-curve straps that help take the weight off your shoulders.

"The Ambor Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is roomy, versatile, and comfortable to carry for long stretches of time," one of our testers reported. "With laptop and tablet compartments, a built-in USB cord, and several pockets for organizing, the bag makes traveling for work a breeze. And when you're ready to hit the streets, the spacious interior and padded straps and back make it easy to carry all your essentials."

The one issue our testers found with the pack is the headphone jack doesn't match modern headphones. But they did love the combination zipper lock, the size of the bag, and the numerous organizational pockets. "This is a roomy bag that can go from the plane to the office or for a day of sightseeing," one noted.

Dimensions: 19.5 x 12.5 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 1.65 pounds | Capacity: Unknown | Waterproof: No

Ambor Business Travel Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best for Business Travelers: XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB Backpack Black (Unisex Bag)

4.8
XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Integrated USB charging port

  • Great anti-theft features

  • Cut-resistant

  • High-vis reflective strip for bike commuters

What We Don't Like
  • Interior wears quickly with heavy use

  • Might not have enough capacity for some

The Bobby Original Anti-Theft Backpack from Dutch brand XD Design does more than deter thieves—it'll also 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 to keep your phone or devices charged while 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, a cut-proof protective board should deter would-be thieves from trying to cut through the backpack.

We put XD Design's Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack as the best for business travelers because of the number of padded device-specific pockets. But do note, we don't see this as being a one-pack option for a multi-day business trip (we don't envision it fitting many clothes if any at all. But for your daily commutes to and from the office, whether by public transit, walking, driving, or bike commuting, this is a solid option to safely and securely transport your hardware. "This sleek bag is roomy, comfortable to tote, and impossible to break into when it's on your back," noted one tester. "Whether you're commuting on the train or walking around an unfamiliar city, you can rest easy knowing that no one will be able to reach in and steal your belongings." While our slash test didn't breakthrough into the bag, it did leave scratch marks on the side of the backpack. The nitpick our testers had was that it's virtually impossible to access anything inside the pack without taking it off. "I think this is a decent bag for people who have no plans to open it while in transit," the tester reported.

Dimensions: 4.2 x 11.42 x 16.54 inches | Weight: 1.98 pounds | Capacity: 13 liters | Waterproof: Yes

XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best for Commuting: KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack USB Port 15.6 Inch Business Slim Commute Travel Bag

4.8
KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Super lightweight

  • Great organization for class essentials

  • Keeps laptop safe

What We Don't Like
  • Won’t hold large gaming laptops

  • Not the right fit for men’s builds

KOPACK’s budget-friendly laptop backpack will protect your gear—and keep thieves away. 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 want to carry your computer. The zipper can also be locked into a nearby ring to keep things super-secure. There’s a USB port built into the backpack with an inner cable to 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. Bonus: The pack is water-resistant.

Our testers liked some unique features of this bag, like the straps fitting over the zipper, making it impossible to open while on someone's back. "The number of pockets is helpful if you have a lot of stuff to bring into the office or a remote setup," one tester noted. They also liked the number of pockets this pack has (more than half a dozen). A quick slash did nothing to the pack, but we could cut the backpack with effort. A nitpick was the water bottle holder was a bit too narrow, and we struggled to fit a 20-ounce bottle in it.

"For those commuting to an office, this simple backpack is it," one tester summed. "The straps fit over the zipper leading into the laptop compartment, so it can't be opened while you're wearing it. Plus, tons of pockets can easily store and organize all your belongings, from pencils and credit cards to passports and chargers."

Dimensions: 11.8 x 4.3 x 17.7 inches | Weight: 1.56 pounds | Capacity: Unknown | Waterproof: Yes

KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Eco-Friendly: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

4.7
Peak Design Travel 45L Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Fits a small trips’ worth of clothes

  • Great anti-theft features

What We Don't Like
  • Shoulder straps easily slip from adjustment loops

There’s nothing worse than fearing whether your gear and clothing are safe when traveling. Peak Design’s Travel Backpack has some genius features meant to ward off thieves and will set your mind at ease. 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. Thanks to its impressively weatherproof material, you won’t have to worry about rain either. 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.

While our testers appreciated the number of features, they were also somewhat overwhelmed. They noted needing the instruction manual to help fully understand how to pack it properly. They were also frustrated with how tough it was to unlock and access items. "Once the bag is locked, it's not easy to access it, which is great to prevent theft, but not ideal for the bag owner who may want easy access," a tester noted. "There are many options to expand and compress the bag to your packing style, but the anti-theft features make the bag a bit frustrating to use," another said.

Still, this bag checked all the anti-theft and packing boxes for the eco-conscious backpacker or hostel hopper. It's made with a 100 percent recycled 40-denier nylon canvas shell, and our testers reported being able to fit at least a week's worth of clothes and items in it. Our advice: Spend some time getting to know this pack and its lock features before taking it on a trip. But if you're looking for a rugged planet-friendly pack that can be tossed around, this is it.

Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 9.5 inches (compressed), 22 x 13 x 11 inches (expanded) | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Capacity: up to 45 liters | Waterproof: Yes

Peak Design Travel 45L Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Lightweight: Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack with Secura Lock Technology

4.7
Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack With Secura Lock Technology
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • External pockets keep essentials close to hand

  • Three-digit combination lock

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

  • Sling might not be right for some

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. One of the small packs on this list, it 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). Padded back support and a sternum strap provide extra stability, which is handy if you're walking for a few hours or like to cycle around town. For things that you 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.

This pack doesn't weigh much more than half a pound, which is why we put it as the best lightweight pack. But don't let the lightness fool you. This pack holds more than it looks like it should and is as anti-theft as they come. "The Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack isn't the most stylish bag, but what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in features," noted one tester. "It's lightweight, so it's great for travelers who like to explore with minimal items on their back, and the three-digit combination lock will likely deter pickpocketing on public transit. It's surprisingly spacious considering the size. It can fit a 13-inch laptop with no problem."

Dimensions: 9.75 x 4 x 18 inches | Weight: 11.2 ounces | Capacity: Unknown | Waterproof: No

Lewis N. Clark Locking Day Pack With Secura Lock Technology
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best for Hiking: Pacsafe Venturesafe G3 25L Anti-Theft Backpack

4.9
PacSafe Venturesafe 25L G3 Anti-Theft Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Clever laptop/hydration bladder system

  • Great anti-theft features

  • Removable hip belt

What We Don't Like
  • Bottles fall out if you bend over

This daypack is packed with anti-theft features like slash-proof straps and wire mesh throughout and can hit the trails with you while keeping your gear safe. It has a security clip to attach it to a tree or pole when you’re out and about, plus RFID-blocking pockets and material. It’s designed for use in the city or the country, too. The padded 15-inch laptop sleeve can also carry a hydration bladder, and there are external attachment points for bicycle lights, water bottles, or other gear. If you need a little less pressure on your shoulders, there’s a detachable hip belt for easier carry.

Our testers liked how comfortable this one-pound pack felt. The removable waist strap and hydration pack compatibility make this a no-brainer for anyone looking to move from urban to wild adventures with ease. "This medium-sized bag is a great option if you prioritize comfort and like a more rugged look," one tester said. "The chest and waist straps make for a very comfortable wear experience."

The slash test revealed that getting inside the bag was very difficult, while the outer fabric was easy to tear. Since the pack is a medium-sized 25 liters, it could serve as a weekender or overnight bag. "The PacSafe Venturesafe 25L Backpack is your best bet for easy-to-moderate day hikes," one tester concluded. "Not only is it hydro-pack compatible, but it also has chest and hip straps to evenly distribute the bag's weight, plus padded back and shoulder straps for long-term comfort."

Dimensions: 19.3 x 11 x 6.1 inches  | Weight: 1 pounds, 1 ounce | Capacity: 25 liters | Waterproof: No

PacSafe Venturesafe 25L G3 Anti-Theft Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Daypack: Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack

4.6
Travelon Anti Theft Classic Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Most anti-theft backpacks are bulky and rugged or sleek and minimalist—yet still big enough to hold tech gear, which you don’t always need. If you 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 Classic Backpack, 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 smartphone). 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. This budget-friendly travel backpack also works excellent as a daypack as well.

Our testers found this pack deceptively roomy and very lightweight. "Deceptively roomy, this bag could be a day pack or hold everything you need for a weekend trip," one tester said. They also liked the small flashlight inside the pack, which helps with internal lighting. Like other packs on this list, the slash test revealed it was easy to make an initial tear but much harder to get into the pack and remove anything.

"This no-fuss, anti-theft backpack is a good option for travelers who want to go out and explore with just the essentials," a tester summarized. "Despite not being able to fit a laptop no larger than 13 inches, it's surprisingly roomy, with multiple pockets to organize your things and has RFID-blocking slots."

Dimensions: 6 x 12 x 16 inches  | Weight: 14.2 ounces | Capacity: Not listed | Waterproof: Not listed

Travelon Anti Theft Classic Backpack
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best for Students: Oscaurt Laptop Backpack

4.6
oscaurt Laptop Backpack, Anti-theft Travel Backpack, Business School Bookbag
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Lots of internal compartments for organization

  • Waterproof material

What We Don't Like
  • Anti-slash material wasn't so anti-slash

  • Those with sensitive skin might be irritated by itchy material

The Oscaurt Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is a solid option for students or anyone looking to transport electronics and other work or study-related items safely. It's loaded with internal pockets for organization, features a USB charging port, and has some waterproofing capabilities.

Our testers liked the discrete "hidden" zipper on the front. And they liked how the bag opened and its organizational capabilities. But they were less impressed with the durability and anti-slash material. "The anti-slash material is a weak point; we were able to cut straight through to the bottom," one tester said. "If you want something super durable, I wouldn't recommend this backpack—it was a bit concerning how easily we could cut through it."

Said another: "If someone were looking for a more theft-resistant bag, I'd recommend the XD design bag instead. However, based on look and price, I think this is a decent option for a sleeker backpack."

Dimensions: 11 x 15 x 17 inches  | Weight: 2.3 pounds | Capacity: Not listed | Waterproof: Yes

oscaurt Laptop Backpack, Anti-theft Travel Backpack, Business School Bookbag
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Hard Shell: Matein Hard Shell Anti-Theft Backpack

4.6
Matein Anti Theft Hard Shell Laptop Backpack 15.6 Inch
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Hard shell material

  • 270-degrees and flat opening make for easy packing and unpacking

What We Don't Like
  • Not durable

The Matein Hard Shell Laptop Backpack provides an interesting anti-theft hard shell option. This pack is made of scratch- and water-resistant materials and features a three-digit lock and USB charging port. Our testers liked the 270-degrees clamshell opening, which was essential for ease of packing and unpacking, considering the front was a bit stiff.

"The bag can open flat, which is nice for packing, but because the front is so stiff, it's a bit difficult to access items without opening the bag all the way," a tester reported. However, we had to mark the durability of this pack lower as the lock broke on its way to our lab, broke during a fall while photography was happening, or was broken before it left the manufacturer. Either way, not good.

Dimensions: 10 x 6.5 x 17 inches (before expanding) and 10 x 8 x 17.5 inches (after expanding)  | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Capacity: 18 liters (before expanding) and 22 liters (after expanding) | Waterproof: Water-resistant

Matein Anti Theft Hard Shell Laptop Backpack 15.6 Inch
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Splurge: Caraa Classic Studio Bag

4.4
Caraa The Studio Bag Small
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Comes in multiple sizes

  • Convertible carrying options

  • Great quality

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • No actual anti-theft features

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 that 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.

While the style of this bag might stand out, our testers were not as impressed with its functionality. "This convertible bag can be worn in various ways with enough organizational features to keep your items secure. That said, it doesn't fit much and is best used as a day pack," is how one tester put it. Said another: "In its effort to be versatile, Carraa's The Studio Bag Small is trying to be too many things at once. I wasn't sure how it was meant to be used."

So, if you're looking for a stylish bag with many forms of carrying and hauling items, this bag is a worthy choice. But if you're looking for a practical and genuinely anti-theft option, this probably isn't it.

Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 9 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Capacity: 16 liters | Waterproof: Yes

Caraa The Studio Bag Small
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Vegan Option: Sherpani Dispatch

4.3
Sherpani Dispatch
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Made from recycled and vegan materials

  • Can wear three ways

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to open zipper

  • Won’t hold larger laptops

This backpack can easily transform into a crossbody (or a tote) with a simple changing of the straps—and it’ll keep your stuff safe no matter how you carry it. Made from 100 percent vegan and recycled materials, it features RFID-protected lining, an external security zippered pocket, and two interior slip pockets to hold the essentials. While it might look on the small side, it’s sized to fit 13-inch laptops so that you can bring your computer on the go. It might not be big enough to hold a couple of days’ worth of clothes, but it makes a great everyday carry.

"Even though it's on the smaller end of the bags we tested, it can fit quite a few things, including a 13-inch laptop," one tester reported. "In the bag's interior, there are two small pockets plus a drink pocket (you could use it to store your sunglasses)."

Said another: "Don't let its small size fool you: The Sherpani Dispatch can fit all your essentials—including a 13-inch laptop, sunglasses, passport, and water bottle—with room to spare. Lightweight and durable, it can be worn as a crossbody bag or travel backpack, perfect for carrying from the airport to the city streets."

While our testers liked the vegan and recycled construction, they also reported the handles not being super comfortable and not feeling like the anti-theft properties worked all that well.

Dimensions: 9 x 13 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 1.65 pounds | Capacity: 13 liters | Waterproof: Yes

Sherpani Dispatch
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Best Style: Arden Cove Carmel Convertible Backpack and Crossbody

4.3
Arden Cove Carmel Convertible Backpack and Crossbody
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.
What We Like
  • Fully waterproof

  • Great anti-theft features

  • Looks great

What We Don't Like
  • Not big enough for a laptop

This convertible backpack gets you everywhere you need to go with a few different configurations for carrying—and keeps your gear and devices safe. Get the version with locking hardware for extra security, though any model comes with full-body anti-slash lining, cut-resistant straps, and a fully waterproof vegan leather exterior. We also like the studs that keep the bottom of the bag lifted off the ground and the three interior pockets inside (there’s also a built-in RFID-protected wallet with eight card slots and a spot for notes). While it’s not big enough to be a carry-on, there’s the option to expand it 1.5 inches if you find a souvenir or two.

Consider this your purse or wallet option; as one tester noted, the front pouch functions like a large wallet with eight card slots and a small pocket that could fit cash or other items from your purse or wallet. And while this bag is difficult to tear into and open, it is almost effortless to rip and tear the outer layer. Our testers also reported it irritating sensitive skin.

"While stylish, the Arden Cove Carmel Convertible Backpack and Crossbody is uncomfortable to carry and easily fell off my shoulders," one tester reported. "I can easily picture myself constantly having to adjust the straps, which, in my opinion, isn't worth the aesthetic."

Dimensions: 7 to 8 x 10.5 x 3 to 4.5 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Capacity: Unknown | Waterproof: Yes

Arden Cove Carmel Convertible Backpack and Crossbody
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Final Verdict

With good looks, well-thought-out organization, and plenty of anti-theft measures to keep your gear and devices secure, PacSafe's Venturesafe Exp45 Econyl Anti-Theft Carry-on Travel Pack (view at Pacsafe) has you covered for your next trip. We especially love the smart cable that lets you attach the bag to fixed points, like cafe tables, so you can dine and drink on vacation with peace of mind—and the recycled cut-resistant nylon is a substantial environmental plus.

Anti-theft backpacks
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

Product Selection

Our editors and writers spent hours researching and reading customer reviews of the best anti-theft backpacks. We also tapped into our own experiences and knowledge of backpack brands and specific anti-theft packs we've used in the past. We narrowed the list to the above 14 options based on price and use diversity. We wanted to offer the best products across a wide price range. And we also wanted to consider all sorts of travelers, commuters, students, and anyone else regularly wearing and using a backpack.

Anti-theft backpack testing
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

How We Tested

TripSavvy editors tested Anti-theft backpacks in our Brooklyn testing lab. We tested for features, comfort, and anti-theft. For features, we packed and unpacked each backpack with everyday items someone traveling might carry with them (laptops, books and magazines, headphones, passports, wallets, money, water bottles, etc.). We then judged features based on how they helped—or didn't help—the packing and organization process.

For comfort, we put the full backpacks on and carried them around our lab until they became uncomfortable or we got tired. Comfort was judged on how comfortable they were to hold for extended amounts of time and any comfort-boosting features like chest and waist straps. For anti-theft, we took box cutters and first (safely) took a few swipes at each pack to see if a quick swipe would damage the pack. Then we spent more time thoroughly trying to cut into each bag. We also considered hidden compartments and zippers and locking zippers and how well they worked.

We did not test for RFID-blocking material as it's been well-documented that those materials don't actually work well.

Anti-theft backpack testing
TripSavvy / Conor Ralph.

What to Look for in an Anti-Theft Backpack

Size

While the size of the bag you carry should ultimately depend on your needs, an excellent guideline for travelers to stick to is that it should fit within the size restrictions of most major US or international airlines (depending on where you’re going). That said, getting a bag that fits your purpose is vital: If you want to keep your laptop safe at the gym, that’s not going to necessitate the same capacity as a bag you’re going to take off with and travel with for a week. 

Material

We’re a fan of waterproof (or at least water-resistant) materials when it comes to backpacks—after all, you’re going to so much trouble to protect your gear with these antitheft measures, so why compromise when it comes to keeping them out of the rain? These days, many backpacks are made from durable nylon or vegan leather that keeps the rain away from your laptops and devices (not to mention the clothes you’re packing, too). Look for recycled materials for an extra eco-bonus—they’re just as durable these days as freshly produced ones.

Features

The devil’s (or, well, angel’s) in the details when it comes to anti-theft features. Look for secure pockets that feature RFID-blocking technology that keeps your information safe, zippers with locking components, and cut-resistant straps or frames. We also like clever placement for pockets—say one for your passport or laptop located on the back of the bag rather than the front. Some bags go the extra mile and have cables to secure your bag to a fixed point, too—so you can hook it up and not think about someone grabbing your bag at a restaurant and running off.

Price

How much you travel and how much you use the bag will determine your spending on this—if you live in a city known for petty crime, this might well be your everyday carry and, therefore, an investment in protecting yourself and your gear. If you want a bag for travel but don’t travel often, there are some great budget options (even under $40) that make for a tremendous one-off purchase that comes with peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you wash anti-theft backpacks?

    Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to wash and spot-treat your anti-theft backpack—each model is made of different fabrics and might have other coatings, such as DWR coating. If you need to spot-treat the bag and there are no specific instructions, it’s generally OK to take a damp, soft cloth with mild detergent and spot-treat wherever there’s dirt or dust.

  • How do anti-theft backpacks work?

    Each anti-theft backpack has its unique design, but in broad terms, they have special features and design elements meant to deter thieves from stealing your gear, wallet, or passport. Think of zippers that have turn locks to make opening the bag harder for a would-be nabber—and give you more time to see or feel them trying to get in. Other standard security features on anti-theft backpacks include hidden passport pockets that blend seamlessly into the bag and laptop pockets with a zipper that opens on the back of the backpack against your back rather than from the front.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Krystin Arneson spent hours researching the best backpacks to keep your belongings safe from theft. She sifted through hundreds of reviews on products from various brands, and she also considered options that she'd used on her travels.

Nathan Allen is TripSavvy's Outdoor Gear Editor. He's a bit of a backpack nerd and has spent decades walking, cycling, taking the bus, public transit, or driving to school and work with a backpack.

Sherri Gardner is an Associate Editor at TripSavvy and helped with testing in our Brooklyn testing lab. She learned to love travel from her father and has traveled domestically since she was a child and internationally since she was a teen.

Elizabeth Preske is a TripSavvy Editor and helped with testing in our Brooklyn testing lab. She has been a travel fiend since the age of 4 and has traveled to many places worldwide.

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