Whether traveling across the country, walking downtown, or waiting a public transportation, many people are carrying backpacks to hold their belongings. Of course, this means that it is easier for thieves to target you, knowing that the majority of your valuables are held in a single place. On top of that, modern thieves will leave your belongings alone and steal your identity instead. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best anti theft backpacks on the market. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide as well as a list of decent products that you still might want to avoid.
If you have no time to read: Ultimately, different people will require one backpack or another depending on how and where they are traveling. Currently, we feel that the best anti theft backpack is the Nomatic with numerous unique design features as well as advanced protections that other products do not have. Moreover, this is the largest backpack that we saw that also uses a hybrid design to make it a bit like a duffle bag as well.
If you are looking for a less expensive option, the Swissdigital also offers plenty of protective features. In fact, this is one of the more durable backpacks with the highest strength polyester available as well as a reinforced liner. On top of that, the RFID protected pocket helps keep identity thieves at bay while the USB port allows you to charge your smart devices.
1. All4Way Crossbody Bag with RFID blocking: Best Anti Theft Sling Bag
There is a pretty good chance that you have not heard of All4Way due to the fact that the company was founded in June 2018. That said, All4Way definitely understands its market and is even one of the few brands we saw which not only focuses on backpacks in general but specializes in anti theft backpacks more specifically. On top of that, the company also understand that it must appeal to a somewhat saturated market and does so with a less expensive product. That said, this particular model is a bit different than your standard fare which is why we rated it the best anti theft sling bag backpack that we saw.
One thing to keep in mind about a sling bag is that you are sacrificing a bit of security for a more comfortable and convenient experience. With the All4Way, this begins with the strap which is designed to fit any wearer as well as allow for a high amount of air circulation with mesh fabric that has also been reinforced with special weaves to maintain the structural integrity. Another great quality of the All4Way is that it comes with a USB port to charge your smart devices, though you will still need to purchase an energy bank separately.
2. Korin Design ClickPack Pro: Most Durable Anti Theft Water Resistant Backpack
Korin Design is a truly impressive company that presents a blueprint for how a smaller scale organization can use grassroots, guerilla marketing to generate significant buzz in a short amount of time. The company itself has only been around for 2 years, but they have already won over 40 awards from across the world for their anti theft backpack designs. Even better, the company was started specifically to design and sell the best anti theft backpacks that they can without diluting their focus. That said, the Korin Design does actually have a major flaw for our list, but it is still easily the most durable anti theft backpack that we saw.
To get the bad out of the way, the biggest flaw of the Korin Design is that it does not provide any RFID protections. That said, a more traditional thief will find none of his tactics effective on this backpack. For one, the Korin Design uses double-layered zippers which makes it difficult to subtly open the pack without your noticing. Even better, this backpack comes with a TSA-approved lock to help keep the pack closed. Finally, the wire lock makes sure that a thief cannot accomplish a snatch and grab.
3. Travelon Backpack: Best for Traveling Anti-Theft Classic Backpack
Travelon is definitely the “elder statesman” on our list with a history that stretches back over 40 years. On top of that, Travelon specializes primarily in backpacks and other carrying products though they do offer some travel accessories. That said, the Travelon company is definitely more focused on providing products to make traveling easier rather than backpacks in particular. Regardless, this product is still easily the best anti theft travel backpack that we came across.
One of the more unique approaches that the Travelon takes to provide additional security are the various locks offered. For one, the zippers themselves have locks that make it more difficult to discreetly pickpocket the Travelon. Even further, this is one of the few backpacks that we saw which also feature compartment locks on the inside of the backpack. This means that even if a thief can get past the zipper locks, he will still have to get past the second level locks – all while you are walking. Of course, the Travelon also offers the more advanced protections against identity theft with RFID protected pockets.
4. Nomatic Backpack: The Most Capacious and Best All-Round (Editor’s Choice)
NOMATIC follows the trend of a number of the other products on our list in that it was recently founded in response to a market demand as well as increasingly advanced technology. Even though this company has only been around for 4 years, they understand the primary principles and features necessary. On top of that, this company actually started as a Kickstarter project for this particular backpack in the first place and has only expanded to include numerous other bags and other carrying products.
The NOMATIC leads the way in protections with a Tarpaulin material design that offers some of the best cut and puncture resistance that we saw. On top of that, the tarpaulin material is also 100-percent waterproof without having to rely on PU or PVC coatings. The NOMATIC is also aware of how modern thieves work and provide an RFID protected pocket. Just to give the finishing security touches, the NOMATIC also comes with a TSA-approved lock with a superior zipper locking design.
5. Swissdigital: Best Theft Proof Backpack for 15 Inch Laptop
As a backpack manufacturer, Swissdigital is likely not the first company you think of or turn to, but you probably should. Still, Swissdigital is a fairly new company that has only been around for about 4 years, though they are not even the youngest company on our list. Even more reason to be a bit leary is the fact that this company actually started as a digital watch manufacturer. That being the case, the Swissdigital surprises with some features that we did not see on any other backpacks reviewed.
By far one of the more impressive features that the Swissdigital has is the EVA-molded internal pockets.This provides a significant amount of internal durability, but more importantly, it helps ensure that your delicate electronic devices do not have to worry about breaking or getting scratched while in transit. Beyond that, the Swissdigital is also made out of some of the most durable materials we saw with a strong 1680D polyester with a 210D inner lining. For a standard material, these are the strongest fibers that are commonly used. In fact, Swissdigital is so confident in their product that they offer a lifetime warranty on the material durability.
Considering the company has its roots in digital electronics following the superior Swiss design, it only makes sense that their backpack would be similarly electronically advanced. This begins with one of the most important features an anti theft backpack can have which is the RFID protected pockets. That said, the Swissdigital does not simply sit on the laurels of quality digital protection as this backpack is one of many that has a USB port for your smart devices.
2 popular smart backpacks that we can’t recommend as anti-theft backpacks
KOPACK Slim Business Laptop Backpack
It is important to remember that just because we do not feel like this backpack properly represents the best anti theft option does not make it a poor backpack in general. In fact, this is still a fairly solid backpack and even gives you a reasonable set of anti-theft features. However, the absence of an RFID protected pocket does make this backpack susceptible to more advanced thieves who will steal your identity as they pass you on the street.
This kind of thief is more than content to let you keep your belongs knowing that they will drain your bank account and run up your credit cards before you can even get home. That said, if you do not expect to travel in a large, urban transportation hub like an international airport or a metropolitan subway system, you probably are not going to run into the kind of digital thieves that RFID protection defends against.
Mancro Travel Laptop Backpack
Mancro is a company that is fairly new but has quickly capitalized on the decreased cost of various technologies and features. Much like the other backpack that we do not feel passed our test, the Mancro is not an out and out bad backpack. Instead, the Mancro falls for a different trap which is not using high enough quality materials. That said, it is not as if the Mancro backpack is poorly made, but the more traditional type of thief will have fewer issues with this bag than others.
This is because while the Mancro might use polyester and nylon like many other brands, they do not weave it in any special way nor is it a high-denier fabric. This can make it much easier for a thief to casually walk up with a blade and cut the bag from anything except your grasp. Still, this bag does have an RFID protection pouch.
How to Choose the Best Anti Theft Backpack: Buyer’s Guide
The materials used for your anti-theft backpack are exceedingly important and are arguably the most important factor to consider. This is because despite the fancy way thieves can steal from you, the most common way is still the oldest: taking your stuff physically. While there is not a backpack that can help you from being overpowered by an assailant, the materials can still help prevent a number of the other methods thieves use. One of the most common ways that thieves physically steal from backpacks is by either slicing the straps or otherwise puncturing the material.
Canvas – Canvas is actually a specially treated form of cotton that is made stiffer and more water-resistant through the process. While canvas was once the most popular material used for backpacks, it has recently fallen out of favor due to the fact that it is fairly heavy and not the most durable. On top of that, as a natural fiber, cotton is far more susceptible to rot or other long-term damage than many of the newer synthetic materials used. While pure cotton canvas backpacks are far less common, blending the cotton canvas fibers with synthetic ones is fairly common. Canvas backpacks can also be treated with other materials, especially, some of the more common plastics.
Polyester – Polyester is a synthetic fiber that can be spun and shaped in a number of different ways. This is one of the more common materials used for backpacks due to it being less expensive than most of the other materials used. Polyester is not the strongest material used, but it can be woven in a number of different ways to increase its strength and durability. Still, polyester is actually one of the more waterproof materials used and will also stand up better to UV damage than most of the other materials. This material can be made into a durable pack, though it often needs to be made of mixed fibers to do so.
Nylon – Nylon is often confused for polyester, and while the two are undeniably similar, they actually exhibit fairly different qualities. For instance, nylon is generally a little bit more expensive than polyester, but it is also significantly stronger by weight. In fact, nylon is stronger than polyester in both abrasive and cutting damage–though it requires particular weaving patterns to really get the best out of the fibers. On the other hand, nylon is not nearly as water-resistant as polyester, and this synthetic fiber will degrade over time when exposed to UV radiation over an extended period of time.
Plastic – Technically, both polyester and nylon are plastics, but they are exceptionally versatile plastics that can easily be spun into durable fibers. That said, anti theft backpacks will regularly use other plastics both as part of the main body and to reinforce the backpack in various ways. More often than not, this reinforcement will take one of two forms: either to improve its waterproofing abilities or to provide additional protection at various strategic points. These materials can be PU or TPU for waterproofing and PE or EVA for strategic reinforcement. In fact, many of these materials will be woven through the primary fibers.
Kevlar and Ballistic – Kevlar is by far the least common material used in anti theft backpacks due to the sheer expense. On top of that, Kevlar is significantly heavier than all of the other materials on our list – including wet canvas. Of course, Kevlar is also incredibly durable, though it is actually not at all puncture resistant to a properly sharpened blade. Ballistic materials on the other hand actually use one of the fibers we already reviewed and simply alter the weave. These weaves can increase the overall durability as well their inherent water-resistance. Some ballistic materials are made by high-end manufacturers with the two most prominent being Cordura and Kodra.
While the material consideration may be the overall most important for the security of your anti theft backpack, this is quickly becoming a must-have feature. Basically, the second most common way that thieves try to steal from your backpack is with an RFID device which is able to read the digital information on your banking and financial cards. They can do this with a device that only needs to be within a couple feet of the cards – something that is easy in a busy, metropolitan area. RFID protection generally takes the form of a pocket that is lined with radio frequency jamming materials.
Locks are better understood as a theft deterrent, but they are not usually going to keep a thief out of your stuff if they get ahold of it. At the same time, some thieves treat backpacks as external pockets and try to pick them without the wearer finding out. This will generally require the thief to open the backpack while in transit to steal your devices or financial cards. This is where locks actually do come in handy as they often prevent the backpack from being easily opened without opening the lock. Still, locks do present some limitations as a thief will likely be able to pull the zipper off of its track if they get a good hold of the pack.
After the locks, the next most important factor to prevent theft from your backpack comes from the way the pack is opened. The overwhelmingly most common type of opening for backpacks, in general, is the zipper. That said, anti theft backpacks have a couple of improvements of the general zipper design. First, anti theft zippers should be made out of metal and the metal should be thicker than the average zipper. On top of that, anti theft zippers should be made so the fabric of the pack covers it up. Moreover, anti theft zippers will also have a double-toothed design that allows the zipper to have two points of contact.
The final major factor that will affect how difficult it is for a thief to get into your backpack is the stitching. This is also a fairly important factor in general as the stitching will also have one of the biggest impacts on the overall durability of the pack. The quality of the stitching will be determined on both the stitching pattern as well as the thickness of the thread. The backpack’s stitching should also be double or even triple-stitched to further reinforce the backpack. That said, stitching will be most important in preventing the snatch and grab method of stealing.