Hey, I’m Melanie. Since 10 years I travel the world and with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life 💜 Therefore you will find here everything not only about useful travel products, but also about personal travel recommendations & tips!
Just a moment and it’s done: The wallet, the camera or the mobile phone is gone. That’s really stupid, of course. Often just a little moment of carelessness and a clever thief steals valuables from your backpack. But you can protect yourself against it! A theft-proof backpack protects your belongings from thieves – not only on holiday, but also in everyday life. So that you hopefully never get anything stolen, in this article I not only want to give you tips on how to make your “normal” backpack theft-proof, but also introduce you to various models. One of them is my favourite: The Bobby backpack from XD Design.
Well, well, well – luckily I’ve never had anything of value stolen before. In general I have never been stolen. Except for this one time in Cape Town, South Africa…
We were just shopping for groceries when a homeless person followed us quite intrusively – for several minutes. He really pushed himself hard and talked to us, although we politely but clearly told him not to do so. He stuck to our backs for several minutes – or our backpacks (where the shopping was) – and as fast as he got there, he was gone. And with him my little bag, which I had in the back outer compartment of the rucksack…
Fortunately, there were only tempos and tampons, because money, my mobile phone or other valuable items I would never deposit in an outer compartment. But to be robbed so boldly, and above all without us noticing that the guy opened the zipper, made me directly aghast…
Therefore, caution is always better than indulgence. You should never transport valuables in an unlocked outer compartment and always keep an eye on your belongings. Because one thing is certain: nothing is safe.
But there are means, possibilities and ways to make your backpack theft-proof. You’ll find out what these are in this article.
Theft-proof backpack: What does it mean?
First and foremost, theft-proof (as the name suggests) means that a backpack is safe from unwanted access. You have two options: To pimp your existing (normal) backpack or to buy a theft-proof backpack.
Since you usually already have a backpack at home anyway, I’d like to discuss this option first, because there are various ways you can make it theft-proof or at least better protect the contents:
- You can secure the visible zippers with a small lock, for example. Small luggage locks are recommended (we mainly use them for check-in luggage).
- You can attach valuables to inner key rings using a security chain or carabiners with screw caps. This makes theft from a rucksack much more difficult.
- Alternatively, you can also use a mobile safe and attach it to the key ring. Such a safe also has the advantage that it is cut and prick-proof and a thief cannot access the inside with a knife or scissors.
A general tip: If you buy a normal backpack, make sure that it has (hidden) inside pockets with zippers (to hide cash, passport, etc.). So you are at least better protected than others.
Alternatively, you can already find numerous backpack models that are already equipped with special features that make the backpack theft-proof. These backpacks usually have the following features:
- Lockable and/or hidden zippers.
- Hidden or hard-to-reach (outside) pockets.
- Stitch and cut resistant material.
- Fastening ropes or straps to fix the rucksack to fixed objects (e.g. table and chair legs when sitting in a café or restaurant).
There are, of course, many manufacturers of theft-proof backpacks, and since I can’t go into all the manufacturers or models, I have focused this article on the models I’ve discovered again and again in my research, which I know myself and which friends are also enthusiastic about.
I’ve been looking a theft-proof backpack for a long time and will get one if my Eastpak daypack gives up (… which will probably still take some time).
If you are also looking for a cool anti-theft backpack, I would like to introduce you to the coolest models in my eyes.
Theft-proof backpacks for ladies and gentlemen
I have searched for you through various reviews, test and experience reports and to choose a test winner is not so easy, because as so often it depends on your requirements and preferences for a backpack.
The backpacks presented here have been judged purely from the point of view of travelers, especially for hand luggage, day trips and for a mobile office. They are not (or only conditionally) suitable for school or study, since they do not offer place for (many) books or folders.
So let’s get started:
The all-rounder: XD-Design backpack Bobby (11/13/15 litres) – My favourite!
If you keep your eyes open, you’ll be surprised how often you see Bobby’s anti-theft backpack. I can understand that, because not only is it a great piece in terms of function, but its sporty, minimalist style also does look good!
The theft-proof backpack Bobby is available in three sizes:
- Bobby Compact with 11 litres volume – for laptops up to 14″ and tablets up to 9″.
- Bobby Original with 13 litres capacity – for laptops up to 15.6″ and trays up to 10″.
- Bobby XL with 15 litres volume – for laptops up to 17″ and trays up to 12.9″.
I was able to get a comprehensive picture of all three models in a specialist shop and would like to introduce you to everything important here.
The main features are the same for all three models:
- Hidden zippers (the main part is only accessible via the back).
- Water-repellent material (which not only keeps your belongings dry in light or short rain, but also makes it easy to clean).
- Reflective safety strips for more visibility at night.
- Cut resistant material.
But that’s not all: Bobby also has an integrated USB charging port accessible from the outside. Ideal if you navigate on a city trip with your mobile phone and need electricity or if you are on the move as a digital nomad with a mobile office! The mobile phone then disappears into the hidden, inaccessible outer compartment while charging – perfect!
By the way, your wallet and more are always ready to hand in the zippered outer compartment on the back, where it’s still safe from unwanted access. And thanks to a strap on the back section, you can also attach the Bobby to a trolley at any time.
Inside the main compartment you’ll find various pockets where you can store your water bottle, powerbank, camera, spare batteries, travel documents, purse, snacks, eBook Reader & Co.
Only one feature distinguishes the Bobby Compact from the other two: Its integrated rain cover keeps the backpack completely dry even in the rain. This may be essential for one or the other. Personally, however, I would rather go to a cozy café in heavy or prolonged rain than get soaked, which is why this is not a decisive criterion for me. But that can be different with you again.
Which size is suitable for what?
I looked at the different sizes in the specialist shop and find it ultra important to mention here that you should know for what you mainly want to use the Bobby backpack!
In my opinion, the Bobby Compact with 11 litres is ideal as a backpack for a little city stroll or a sightseeing/day trip for which you don’t need much.
Drinking bottle, purse, a thin vest, book and your camera can be safely stored in it. But if you have more than that, 11 liters will be tight.
It would definitely be too small for me – especially in hand luggage I need a little more space than just 11 litres. But if you’re very minimalistic or only need the backpack for small things, the space will be sufficient.
The Bobby Original with 13 litres accommodates a little more and is therefore in my opinion more suitable for those who simply have a little more with them on the way or want to take their technology with them in a reliable hand luggage backpack.
I found the backpack with 13 litres to be a very comfortable size (also in terms of carrying comfort), which you can easily take with you on a city trip. But keep in mind that 13 liters for a lot of content, such as a lot of technology or other things you want to transport safely, can quickly become scarce.
You can get an overview of what the 13 litre Bobby backpack has to offer in this YouTube video.
I would recommend the Bobby XL with 15 litres to all those who regularly travel with a mobile office and generally have more technology with them on the road. Compared to the Compact you have four litres more volume! Of course, it also depends on how much you really want to take with you in the end.
My personal choice would definitely fall on this size, since I always have my laptop, charging cable, keyboard, mouse, travel documents, mobile phone, eBook reader, water bottle and snacks with me when I travel – ideal for hand luggage! But also a great backpack for daily use. Too bad it doesn’t have a side compartment for the water bottle…
The theft-proof Bobby backpack has already impressed me because of its appearance alone. Together with the theft-proof characteristics it becomes the perfect companion as hand luggage backpack in the plane, but also makes a good and above all safe figure on city trips!
The casual one: PacSafe Metrosafe (15 litres)
Chic, cool and functional is also the theft-proof 15 litre Metrosafe daypack from PacSafe and is therefore a great and reliable alternative to the Bobby presented above.
It has two compartments for better organisation: a spacious main compartment that holds a 13″ laptop and a smaller front compartment with many small compartments for travel documents, pens, notebook, snacks and more.
The main compartment can also hold a tablet, a thin vest, eBook Reader and more. You can also securely attach wallets, keys and other things to the inside hook. A water bottle can be placed on the outside of the compartments. This makes the Metrosafe a reliable companion on day trips and city trips.
The entire rucksack is made of stab- and cut-resistant as well as partially RFID-blocking material, which also protects your card data reliably against unwanted reading. The zippers of the main compartment are visible, but can be closed by a safety lock to prevent rapid, unintentional opening. However, they cannot be locked. And the zippers on the front compartment can be hooked onto a hook, which then disappears slightly into the fabric. This makes quick opening by third parties virtually impossible.
You can take a closer look at Metrosafe Backpack from PacSafe in this YouTube video.
A great all-round backpack that’s perfect for day trips thanks to its safety zippers and 15 litre capacity, but also as a great companion in your hand luggage to carry your valuables safely. A bonus is not only the water bottle pocket, which is directly accessible from the outside, but also the front compartment, with which you can easily organize everything important!
The safety king: Korin ClickPack (17 litres)
The Korin ClickPack is still quite unknown in Germany, but for the sake of completeness I can’t leave it unmentioned here, because the functional, stylish backpack has two great safety features.
The backpack fits well due to the well padded shoulder straps and can also be attached to a trolley using the carrying handle – ideal for frequent flyers. A 15-inch laptop fits perfectly into the 17-litre backpack and other important items for your day trip or onward journey can also be stored in one of the many inside pockets. And via the USB port accessible from the outside, you can also charge your mobile phone etc. wonderfully easily using your Powerbank – ideal for digital nomads and selfie queens and also perfect if you have to navigate a lot on the go.
The ClickPack combines several useful security features in one and stands out because the backpack can be locked with a combination lock and a lockable steel cable that allows the rucksack to be attached to fixed objects – so you can leave the rucksack unattended for some minutes on the plane, in the train or in a café, for example, if you need to go to the toilet for a short time. In addition, the rucksack is made of stab- and cut-resistant material, so occasional thieves have no chance of stealing the backpack or its contents.
The only way to get into the main compartment is via the zipper on the back (it can be opened like a suitcase), which can be locked securely with a combination lock. This is the same lock you can use to hook the steel cable into.
You will find a comprehensive introduction to the Korin ClickPack in this YouTube video.
A great backpack, which in my opinion is perfect for the mobile office, but also for the city trip. Due to the protected inner life with a combination lock and the lockable steel cable, this is a great backpack for all those who want more security!
The Cheap: Fresion Anti-Theft Backpack (approx. 18 litres)
Fresion’s anti-theft backpack is the most affordable of the anti-theft backpacks presented here and convinces with its slim yet spacious design.
Your 15-inch laptop will fit as well as your tablet and magazines. Cables, tickets, pens, etc. can easily be stored in the small inside pockets. However, EC and credit cards are not RFID protected. Another treat is the USB port, which you can use, for example, to plug in your powerbank inside and charge your mobile phone on the outside.
Access to the main compartment is only possible via the zipper on the back. This is well hidden, so it’s impossible to get inside while carrying the backpack. The material of the backpack is water-repellent and scratch-resistant, but unfortunately not cut-resistant.
The backpack can also be attached to a trolley using the strap on the back. Top!
If you have to pay attention to the price or rarely need your backpack, the Fresion anti-theft backpack is a good choice for day trips as well as for mobile offices.
The expandable: XD Design Bobby Urban (up to 27 litres)
Granted: It’s not the classic backpack like the ones presented here, but rather a kind of big bag with shoulder straps, but I don’t want to leave it unmentioned here: The Bobby Urban. It is something like the big, modern brother of the Bobby backpack presented above and impresses with two really great features:
- Its already spacious volume of 22 litres can be extended to a total of 27 litres – wow!
- The Bobby Urban only has a large main compartment, which can be locked with a combination lock and your personal pin (as does the Korin ClickPack).
This is of course great for all those who need extra volume or would like to take the backpack with them for a long weekend (incl. Laptop & Co.) – because in 27 litres you can also get a second set of clothes.
On the outside, the sporty Urban is clean and straight, but it also has a hidden zipper pocket on the back, a key ring and small RFID-protected pockets in the shoulder straps. At the front a helmet, jacket or similar can be transported in the flexible net and at the side there is space for a water bottle.
Inside it you will find a padded laptop compartment and three other small open pockets for mobile phones or cables.
You can watch the Bobby Urban product video here.
The Bobby Urban is ideal for weekend trips with and without technology, but is also suitable as a spacious hand luggage backpack for your belongings in the plane or as a companion on day trips and in the city.
Theft-proof backpack: useful or nonsense? – My conclusion.
A generally valid statement as to whether or not a theft-proof rucksack makes sense can of course not be answered so easily for everyone. Because in the end it always depends on your personal feeling.
While some people prefer the complete package, for others a few security gadgets, such as small luggage locks, are sufficient for the backpack (and why not modify your own instead of buying a new one?).
These questions might help you to decide whether or not to buy an anti-theft backpack:
- Which country or city are you going to? Is it safe there (like in Singapore) or should you be careful?
- Is it quite crowded because it is high season? Then there might be more thieves hanging around (especially in the most important/interesting places).
- Do you have a lot of valuable things with you that are difficult to replace or whose replacement would cost you too much (e.g. camera equipment or similar)?
- Do you have your mobile office with you and it would be a disaster if it was lost/stolen?
Would you feel safer on the go with a completely theft-proof backpack or would a combination lock on the zipper be enough for you? Depending on how you feel about it, a theft-proof daypack might be a good investment! And alternatively, a small lock might do the trick.
So, now I’m interested: What’s it like for you? Do you also have a theft-proof backpack at the top of the list or would you rather make your existing one theft-proof? I’m looking forward to your input in the comments!
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Hey, I'm Melanie. Tuk Tuk enthusiasts 🚛, coffee lover ☕️, pretzel fan 🥨 and the face behind Backpack up and go.
For more than 10 years I have been travelling the world. I love to search for practical and innovative products and to take a closer look at them for you. And in the future I will focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, services and accommodation - for a greener lifestyle 💚
Because with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life! 💜
Psst: Here you can read more about me!