You’ve finally planned that trip of a lifetime. Round the world in a little bit longer than eighty days! You’re actually doing the whole year long experience, taking in the sights and sounds, colors and flavors of the far-flung beaches of South East Asia, the Outback of Australia, plus a lengthy stint backpacking through Europe’s finest culturally rich capital cities.
You blew the budget on a pair of new hiking shoes, and a portable battery supply, so bought the best backpack you could manage but sadly not an all singing all dancing anti-theft one with stainless steel mesh sewn into the fabric or RFID blocking technology.
Right about now you are probably starting to regret that decision as you’re reading about the prevalence of opportunistic slash and grab style crime being reported worldwide. It’s on the increase as more and more travelers are taking to the air, sea, and roads of all four corners of the globe, recording every detail of their adventure for their new travel blog on the latest high-tech smartphone, then uploading the images via their expensive laptop.
It’s a huge inconvenience and a major headache having any of your possessions stolen, not to mention costly and time consuming trying to replace them. So just how do you lock a backpack securely so that you are not only prepared but actually represent an active deterrent to any would-be pickpocket?
Top tips on how to lock a regular backpack so that it is more secure when traveling
The best advise we can give is to leave all your valuables locked up safely at home! You should also be completely confident in your new surroundings so that you appear totally inconspicuous just as though you were a local. Employing these two tactics should help remove any “opportunity” to be viewed as a target or victim of travel crime.
On the basis though that you want to take your digital camera with you to record the fabulous and intoxicating sights of all the new places you’ve never visited plus it’s highly likely that you will get lost while navigating around, then we suggest instead that you secure your backpack by making it lockable.
While a lock on a backpack won’t prevent physical theft, it will most certainly help deter it.
Leave any bags unattended for any length of time, anywhere in the world, and you can expect them to go walking. Even if it’s not a thief, unattended bags pose all kinds of security threats and get regularly and swiftly removed from public places so use your common sense on that score. Be vigilant, keep your bags with you at all times, and make yourself so much of a challenge that no-one will even dream of trying to ransack you. The more securely locked your backpack is, the more of a deterrent you will be.
Most opportunistic crime is carried out on the fly
Valuables get stolen when a bag is left on the ground, the back of a chair, or under a seat with the zippers open and the contents out on display. If everything is closed up, locked tight and secured, a thief will have no idea what’s inside but also, would have to go to the trouble of pilfering the entire backpack rather than stealthily removing the contents, which trust us, will definitely create far more attention and disruption. Disruption is the name of the game here. Your aim is to make it as difficult as possible for opportunistic crime to take place by removing temptation and employing preventative measures.
So just how can you make a backpack and a backpack zipper lockable if the one you’ve bought isn’t already?
So we mentioned a keyword, and that is a zipper. Even if you can’t afford to invest in an anti-theft backpack, at least you need to be buy a basic one with a zipper that you can make secure. Avoid top loading backpacks, as on the whole, these tend not to have zippers and therefore make much easier targets.
If you have a less expensive backpack that has flimsy zippers or zippers that are simply opened and closed with nothing more robust than a thin piece of shoelace or cord, it’s also a good idea to remove these and replace them with steel wire. This can then be used to secure and lock your zippers, and unless any nearby thief is coming at you with wire cutters, they’re not going to have much success cutting their way into your backpack. You can get steel wire at most hardware stores, and by cutting it into sections and threading it through the eyelets of the existing zippers closures, you will successfully ensure that your backpack is far more secure than it was before.
Your job is to make it as difficult as possible for the contents of your backpack to be stolen so make those zippers lockable, always stow your bag safely when it’s unattended, and make sure that you have your wits about you at all times.
Invest in a reliable backpack lock
Of course, the other thing you can do is invest in a reliable and robust backpack lock. Again, this won’t stop someone from stealing your bag if you leave it unattended but if you are wearing your bag, then a lock will act as a significant deterrent. There are various different kinds of locks you can use, from a combination lock, to a key lock, a cable lock or a TSA approved lock. If you opt for a key lock, please try not to lose your key or forget where you safely stowed it away!
The beauty of a TSA lock is that airport security can safely inspect your bags while in transit without causing any damage either to your lock or to your luggage. Retractable cable locks, on the other hand, are a great option and multi-tasking too. They can be used to not only lock zips together to secure the contents of your bag but also for attaching your backpack and other bits of equipment conveniently and securely together. This is especially useful if you have stopped at a location and you want to leave your bag safely tethered to an object while you take a break.
Don’t be an easy target. Make sure that you securely lock your backpack and replace any flimsy or defective cords or shoelaces with steel wire instead. Always find a safe and secure location to store and tether your backpack and your possessions when they are not physically on you.