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We Took a Box Cutter to the 12 Best Anti-Theft Bags, Backpacks and Crossbodies

Updated: Jul. 13, 2024

Our team tested and reviewed the best anti-theft bags to prove they'll actually hold up on your travels.

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We Took A Box Cutter To The 12 Best Anti Theft Bags, Backpacks And Crossbodies Rdd Ptt Antitheftbags 051524 Ef FtTMB STUDIO

Whether you’re planning a family vacation or traveling solo, you’ll want to invest in the best anti-theft bag. Tourists and visitors are commonly the targets of theft and pickpocketing, so it doesn’t hurt to have one for your next vacation. If you heard “anti-theft” and immediately thought of a fanny pack or belt bag tucked under clothes, don’t worry. Secure accessories have gotten a major upgrade. From a glance, they look like regular bags but have subtle, built-in safety features for stress-free travel.

From backpacks to crossbodies, we put 15 anti-theft bags to the test. We looked for bags with specific anti-theft features, including anti-slash materials, locks and radio frequency identification (RFID)-blocking capabilities. Our Product Testing Team got down to business in the testing lab, packing each bag and carrying it around to evaluate its comfort and ergonomics, getting them wet to see how they fare in rain or snow and even taking a box cutter to them to test their anti-theft capabilities. Surprisingly, 12 stood up to our rigorous testing and earned a spot as one of the best anti-theft bags.

Best overall anti-theft bag

Travelon Messenger Bag


  • Anti-slash compartment and straps
  • Protected card and passport compartment
  • RFID-blocking pockets
  • Locking zippers
  • Roomy interior


  • Shoulder strap isn't very comfortable when carrying a water bottle plus a full bag
  • Zippers aren't leak-proof

Travelon Messenger Bag Locking Zipper

Thanks to thorough testing by our Product Testing Team, Travelon products earned high praise and several top spots, including the best overall anti-theft bag. The team awarded the Travelon Messenger Bag the top spot for its anti-theft features, durability, value and functionality.

Inside this bag’s roomy main compartment, you’ll find an internal zipping pocket, a split-side pocket and a strap with an attached flashlight so you can store and easily find all of your essentials. Two zippered side pockets, an expanding back pocket and a front pocket provide additional storage space. The entire bag features a protective mesh layer underneath the nylon fabric to protect against slashing, and the strap boasts slash-resistant wiring. It also has RFID technology and locking zippers for extra protection.

Our testers found this bag to be sturdy and durable, noting its strong latches and easy-to-operate zippers. And when they took a box cutter to it, they were impressed when it didn’t cut all the way through the strap or the front compartment pocket.

Another feature that landed this bag at the top of our list is its water resistance. Our testers found that water beaded off the material when it was sprayed. That being said, this bag is not completely waterproof. When sitting on a wet counter, the water did soak into the outer layer; however, the interior remained dry. They also found that the zippers are not leak-proof. The book inside the bag got wet from the top so you’ll want to be mindful if you’re traveling in wet conditions.

Something else to consider is the comfort of this bag. The team pointed out that the bag’s strap was rather scratchy, rigid, and uncomfortable when the bag was maxed out. “This put strain on my shoulder near my neck when carrying 5.5 pounds. The strap felt narrow and dug in when worn as a crossbody bag. It felt much more comfortable when I removed the full water bottle,” says Sheri Kaz, associate product reviews editor, home & garden, who is part of the Product Testing Team.

Overall, the Travelon Messenger Bag is a sturdy and functional bag with effective anti-theft features, making it a smart investment for your next trip. Plus, its angular design and squared-off corners give it a tidy appearance that appeals to all types of travelers.


  • Affordable
  • Anti-slash panels and straps
  • Locking zippers
  • RFID-blocking card slots
  • Water- and dirt-resistant fabric


  • Small capacity
  • No padding on straps

Travelon Shoulder Bag Flashlight

If you’re looking for an anti-theft bag option that won’t break the bank, this shoulder bag from Travelon fits the bill. With over 5,700 five-star ratings, it’s not hard to see why travelers love it. The bag provides the storage and security needed while traveling at an affordable price point.

“This little crossbody shoulder bag is great for everyday use and traveling light. It doesn’t hold a lot but can accommodate a phone, glasses, wallet and other small essentials you would normally carry in a purse,” explains Kaz. While small in size, it doesn’t lack any anti-theft features. The main zipper locks to keep belongings safe while the lower part of the bag and straps feature mesh paneling and slash-resistant wiring.

In the lab, our Product Testing Team was impressed by how well this little bag held up to a box cutter. After a couple of slashes, the team noted that the box cutter didn’t cut through the front compartment or bottom of the bag. Not only that, but they could barely make out any cut marks.

The team also sprayed this bag with water to see how it would fare in wet conditions. They found that the water repelled for a second, then soaked in. However, they were impressed by the fact that although the water soaked into the outside of the bag, the interior remained dry.

In addition to its anti-theft features and water-resistant material, the bag also has thoughtful design details: The interior fabric is a lighter color to make it easier to find what you’re looking for in a pinch, and it even comes with a tethered key clip with an light-emitting diode (LED) light. Plus, it won’t dig into your shoulders. “Because this is a light-duty purse, it’s comfortable to wear,” says Kaz. “I filled it with 2.6 pounds of items and it stayed comfy as a crossbody bag. It didn’t dig in as much as the messenger bag with heavier contents.” Living up to its name, the design of this classic shoulder bag is simple enough to complement any outfit.

Best anti-theft backpack

Baggallini Securtex Anti-Theft Vacation Backpack


  • Comfortable to wear even when full
  • Roomy and functional interior
  • Feels sturdy and durable
  • Interior slash-resistant panels
  • RFID-protected pockets


  • Zippers clip onto a D-ring rather than lock

Baggalini Backpack Charging Capabilities

According to our Product Testing Team, Baggallini combines style with anti-theft features, and this sturdy vacation backpack is no exception. It may be on the smaller side, but it holds more than you think. “This mid-size backpack has plenty of functional space and compartments to keep my stuff organized,” says Kaz. With lots of pockets, compartments and convenient open pockets on the sides, there’s a spot for everything you need throughout the day. The back pocket holds a tablet while the main compartment fits up to a 13-inch laptop.

Our team was especially impressed by the RFID-lined, built-in wallet. “The wallet pocket (located on the backside of the backpack that would rest against the body) is impressively designed. It’s an expanding pocket with two inner zip pockets and a cardholder, and a great RFID-protected place to store money, passports and credit cards,” says our Product Testing Team.

In addition to its roomy and functional interior, this bag’s overall construction really impressed our testers. They pointed out the bag’s sturdy handle, consistent stitching and padded exterior, which made this bag comfortable to wear even when full. And when they took a box cutter to it, the team was delighted to find that it didn’t leave any marks on the main compartment, and only a slight mark and tiny cut on the strap.

Another feature that sets this backpack apart is the ability to charge your phone without having to hold the portable charger. A discreetly delightful design feature allows you to feed charging cords through a small grommet hole in the bag.

Best anti-theft crossbody

Baggallini Securtex Anti-Theft Memento Crossbody Bag


  • Feels soft on your neck
  • Lightweight
  • Cut-resistant straps
  • RFID-protected pockets
  • Feels durable and well-made


  • Inner layer is not slash-proof

Baggalini Memento Crossbody Charging Capabilities

Looking for a good everyday bag? This lightweight crossbody bag from Baggallini, which our testers described as “pretty chic and compact for an anti-theft bag,” is it. The team loved the soft material, which felt comfortable resting around their necks, as well as all of the pockets and compartments.

“I like the compact size of this bag. It’s perfect for everyday use when you want to travel light. I won’t have to worry when in a crowded stadium or packed event. I appreciate the wide openings, and the compartments are perfect for keeping items organized and easy to access,” shares Kaz.

While the team notes that this bag feels durable and well-made, they pointed out that it’s not entirely slash-proof. “For the interior pocket, it [the box cutter] cut the lining and the slash-proof layer (i.e., the first two layers) but didn’t make it to the outside,” explains the Product Testing Team. “The outer layer is slash-proof but not the inner layer, contrary to what they say on the website.” The team goes on to add that the box cutter left a slight mark on the strap but wasn’t actually able to cut through it. A second slash also wasn’t able to cut through the strap, though it did lead to some fraying.

Best anti-theft waist pack

Travelon Waist Pack


  • Silky-soft waist strap
  • Fits waists up to 55 inches
  • RFID-blocking internal pocket
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Slash-resistant material


  • Not many organizational pockets

Travelon Waist Pack Water Bottle Holder

A hands-free waist bag, also known as a belt bag, is a popular option for travelers. Not only do they keep your essentials close, but in spite of their size they hold quite a bit. If you’re in the market for something convenient with added protection, then this Travelon Anti-Theft Waist Pack is your best bet.

What this simple bag lacks in style, it makes up for in functionality and practicality. Its anti-theft features include a slash-resistant body and strap, RFID-blocking compartment and a buckle that’s hidden by a nylon covering. In the lab, the team’s box cutter didn’t cut through the strap or the compartments, and they noted that this bag felt more durable than other Travelon bags they tested.

Our team was thoroughly impressed by this bag’s adjustable waist strap. They said that it felt heavy-duty yet was still silky and smooth unlike other Travelon straps, which they described as rigid and scratchy. They also noted that because the pack and the buckles are 16 inches, anyone with up to a 55-inch waist could wear it.

Other callout features include water resistance (water fully beaded up and repelled during our tests), a built-in flashlight, a tuck-away mesh water-bottle holder and an elastic loop that holds the strap’s tail in place. “I like the tuck-away mesh bottle holder, and the silky-soft strap feels good against my skin. I also appreciate an open pocket for easy access to my phone for picture-taking,” says Kaz.

Best anti-theft sling bag

Pacsafe Vibe 150 Ant-Theft Sling Pack


  • Easy access to zippered compartments for user
  • Sturdy, metal zippers and zipper teeth
  • RFID-blocking pocket
  • Cut-resistant anchor strap
  • Made of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles
  • Limited five-year warranty


  • Won't hold much more than small essentials

Packsafe Sling Pack Locking Zipper Mechanism Ssedit

Keep your essentials close with Pacsafe’s Vibe 150 sling pack. This bag, which our testers described as more masculine than other bags on our list, has two zippered compartments. The first has an interior mesh zippered pocket while the main zippered compartment has two slit pockets as well as a zip pocket. “This pack is great for hikers, bike riders or anyone who likes their belongings close to the body,” says Kaz.

The material is not only slash-proof—our box cutter left a mark on the strap but didn’t cut through it at all. On the front, the box cutter barely left a mark at all, but it also contains discarded fishing nets and other nylon waste. The sling style makes the bag versatile: Wear it on your back or swing it around to wear it across the front. Our testers noted that wearing this bag across your right shoulder is really the only way to easily access the zippers, meaning this is ideal for lefties.

Other noteworthy features include durable metal zippers with a Roobar locking system, a locking buckle, PopNLock security clips and water-resistant material. Overall, we found this to be a handy alternative to backpacks.

Best anti-theft purse

Arden Cove Crissy Full Crossbody with Locking Clasps Strap


  • Customizable
  • Made entirely of RFID-blocking material
  • Slash-resistant adjustable straps
  • Large main compartment with organizational pockets
  • Comfortable to wear
  • One-year warranty


  • Expensive
  • Strap can be difficult to adjust

Arden Cove Interior Wallet

Though practical and functional, many of the best anti-theft bags aren’t exactly stylish. Enter the Arden Cove Crissy crossbody bag. Not only is this anti-theft purse loaded safety features, it’s customizable, too. “I love the options for this stylish purse. With 12 colors and six straps, you can really customize your look. Plus, it gives me peace of mind with the added security features when I’m out on the town. Five stars for fashion and safety,” raves Kaz.

In addition to being described by our testing team as feminine and stylish, this bag proved comfortable to wear and held up well in the Testing Lab. As advertised, this bag repels water and our box cutter was unable to cut through the strap, though it did cut the edges. And while the straps are detachable, a thief won’t be able to come along and swipe it. That’s because the strap hooks have an extra security feature (a metal carabiner with a screw) to keep them solidly in place.

Before adding this bag to your cart, you should know that it’s on the pricier side at $189. However, our testing team notes that this bag is very nice and durable. Plus, its thoughtful design features, like metal feet and satin polyester lining, give it a high-quality feel.

Best convertible anti-theft bag

Pacsafe CX Anti-Theft Convertible Backpack


  • Can be worn as a backpack or purse
  • RFID-safe internal zippered pocket
  • Cut-resistant anchor strap
  • Innovative Roobar-style locking zipper system
  • Made from regenerated nylon
  • Trendy, puffy style


  • No water bottle holder

Pacsafe Cx Anti Theft Convertible Backpack Rdd Ptt Antitheftbags 051524 Ef Pacsafe Antitheft Conv Bp V2

When it comes to the best anti-theft bags, you can’t go wrong with Pacsafe. “Overall, Pacsafe was our favorite brand. The anti-theft locks and slash-proof features were outstanding,” says our Product Testing Team, who highly recommends this Pacsafe convertible backpack due to its versatility, style, sustainability and, of course, its anti-theft features.

This bag, which is made of regenerated nylon, can be worn as a backpack or folded down into a purse. Our team appreciated the color choices and trendy puffy look, as well as the soft straps and convenient pockets. They were especially impressed by this bag’s Roobar-style locking system. This system, which our teams hails as a “superior locking system,” creates a lockdown point for zippers with interlocking zip pullers, keeping your belongings safe from pickpockets.

And though it is soft and puffy, this bag is much tougher than it looks. According to our team, the box cutter didn’t even leave a mark on the strap when they tried slashing it. It also wasn’t able to cut all the way through to the interior of the bag, though it did leave a big gash when they cut the front pocket and back of the bag. Overall, the team was impressed by this bag’s solid performance.

Best day-to-night anti-theft bag

Travelon Convertible Waist/Crossbody Bag


  • Can be worn as a crossbody bag or waist pack
  • RFID-blocking card slots and passport pocket
  • Tethered interior key clip with LED light
  • Water and dirt-resistant fabric


  • Strap hooks are very small

Travelon Convertible Waist Crossbody Bag Rdd Ptt Antitheftbags 051524 Ef Travelon Classic Convertible Cbwp V2

A versatile bag, like the Travelon convertible crossbody and waist pack, is a travel essential. It can be worn as a crossbody bag or waist pack, making it easy and comfortable to take from day to night. “I really liked the way this felt on the body, especially as a waist pack. It wasn’t bulky, but the size and shape afforded ample room for sunglasses, phone, sunscreen and more,” shares Kaz. “It’s fashionable enough for everyday or evening use without a big buckle like other waist packs. The thin shoulder strap is a bit scratchy, but not as thick as the other Travelon ‘purses.’ As a result, it was more comfortable all around.”

In addition to its high marks for style and comfort, this bag also performed well in our Testing Lab. It proved to be water-resistant and held up to the team’s slashing attempts. The box cutter didn’t cut through the bag or the straps, though it did leave behind cut marks and damage to the outer rim of the strap. “If you really wanted to cut it, you would probably have to saw through it,” assures the Product Testing Team.

Though it fared well in the lab, our team felt that the attention to detail on this bag wasn’t that great. They pointed out subpar stitching and extra-small strap hooks, which led them to question the durability and longevity of this bag. As a result, they caution against overstuffing it.

Best splurge anti-theft bag

Pacsafe CX Anti-Theft Backpack


  • Stylish
  • Soft padded straps allow for all-day wear
  • Roomy, organized interior
  • Slash-resistant material
  • RFID-blocking material
  • Limited five-year warranty


  • Box cutter sliced through first layer

Pacsafe Backpack Capacity Ssedit

Love the look of the Pacsafe convertible backpack but don’t necessarily need something convertible? You’re in luck. This Pacsafe CX backpack is the brand’s non-convertible alternative. This stylish backpack features a roomy interior with plenty of organizational pockets and a structured top, and it’s loaded with anti-theft features.

“I love how this roomy backpack has a structured top that stays open when unzipped. Plus, it stands upright, so it’s easy to pack,” raves Kaz. “It’s so much easier than rifling through a floppy-topped bag, and the laptop slides in and out in seconds. No more fumbling around blindly looking for the contents. The light gray interior helps to keep me organized because it’s easy to see, and the pockets are laid out conveniently. I highly recommend this bag.” In addition to keeping your belongings organized and accessible, Kaz notes that this bag has nice padded straps that make it comfortable to wear.

And just like the brand’s convertible backpack, this bag held up extremely well to our tests. The box cutter sliced the first layer of the backpack but didn’t make it all the way through or even to the padding. Additionally, there was no damage to the straps. When you consider the bag’s locking zippers and water-resistant material, you’ve got a worthy travel backpack for your next big adventure.

Pacsafe Go Anti Theft Crossbody Bag Rdd Ptt Antitheftbags 051524 Ef Pacsafe Antitheft Crossbody

Best unisex anti-theft bag

Pacsafe Go Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag


  • Gender-neutral design
  • Slash-resistant panels and strap
  • RFID-blocking pocket
  • Securable zippers
  • Sustainably made


  • Strap is made of rough, scratchy material

Pacsafe Crossbody Zipper Lock Ssedit

If backpacks aren’t your cup of tea but you don’t want to rock a purse on your next trip, the Pacsafe Go crossbody bag is a quality option. Its minimalist, gender-neutral design makes it appealing to both men and women while eco-conscious travelers will appreciate the fact that this bag is made from seven recycled plastic bottles.

Our team was impressed by the durability and overall construction of this bag, noting that during lab tests, virtually no marks were left behind by the box cutter on the bag or the strap. They also noted that although the strap felt rough and scratchy, the bag wasn’t too uncomfortable or heavy on our tester’s shoulders.

Another notable feature is this bag’s locking zippers. The team noted that the dock lock, which serves as a lockdown point for zippers, takes a little maneuvering but works well. And the brand’s patented TurnNLock security hook seems durable and easy to use.

Solgaard Lifepack Backpack Rdd Ptt Antitheftbags 051524 Ef Solgaard Lifepack

Best anti-theft bag for commuters

Solgaard Lifepack Backpack


  • Padded straps and back make it comfortable for all-day wear
  • Solar-powered battery pack
  • Comes with a real lock
  • Quality construction
  • Attractive design
  • Two-year warranty


  • Expensive
  • No anti-slash components or RFID protection

Solgaard Charger And Chair Lock

There’s a reason why the Lifepack Backpack is Solgaard’s flagship product. Let’s talk about its anti-theft features first. The sturdy and durable backpack features a patented anti-theft cable lock with coil design and four secret pockets built into the backpack—two on the back and two card slots on the straps—to keep things hidden but easily accessible.

Since this bag doesn’t claim to have any anti-slash components, our Product Testing Team didn’t take a box cutter to it. It also doesn’t have any RFID-blocking capabilities. So, if you’re looking for the best anti-theft bag with those capabilities, then you’ll likely want to go with one of the other options on our list. But if locks and hidden pockets are all you need, then continue on.

According to our testing team, this Solgaard bag was comfortable to wear even while carrying around 11 pounds of stuff. “The padding on the straps and back makes it feel very sturdy and structured, which takes some of the weight off your back,” explains the Product Testing Team. And what more could commuters ask for than a comfy backpack when they’re shlepping back and forth to the office?

Actually, there’s plenty more. One of this smart bag’s shining features is that it comes with a solar-powered, TSA-approved power bank that goes right on the front of the backpack, charging via the sun’s rays while exploring. The backpack’s “work” and “life” compartments and multiple pockets make it an ideal option for those working while traveling or even as an everyday work bag.”Whether you’re a city commuter or nature lover, the Solgaard Lifepack has plenty of hidden features you’ll appreciate when traveling through life. We love the thoughtful design and durability built into this backpack, and I felt supported when wearing it,” says Kaz.

What to look for when buying an anti-theft bag

There are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for the best anti-theft bag, with the first being the weight. The last thing you want is to lug around a heavy bag when exploring the local scene. Another thing to consider is the material. Many anti-theft bags these days feature water-resistant nylon, making it easy to clean if there’s a spill. It also keeps things dry if there’s a sudden downpour. Next up is style. The good news is that options come in all shapes and sizes. From backpacks to shoulder bags to crossbody bags, it’s not hard to find a style that fits your taste on your next flight or trip.

Types of anti-theft bag safety features

  • Locking zippers: A standard feature, locking zippers have small latches to prevent pickpockets from opening the bag too easily.

  • Slash-proof material: To prevent thieves from cutting the straps, anti-theft travel bags will often have wire built inside the straps and feature material that can’t be slashed.

  • Locking hardware: If you’re into items like a portable door lock, then you’ll definitely opt for locking hardware. Similar to how you would lock a bike, locking hardware secures the bag to an object, like a chair or table, to prevent thieves from running off with the bag when it’s not being worn.

  • RFID lining: Many bags have RFID lining to ensure credit card information and passports can’t be accessed electronically with a scanning device or reader.

  • Secret pockets: Secret compartments on the straps or within the bag itself keep important items hidden and safe.

Why you should trust us

Our editors and Product Testing Team have years of experience testing and evaluating everything from the best carry-on bags on the market to the best underseat luggage and everything in between. Our product-testing experts on the Product Testing Team spent around 36 hours conducting firsthand research in our Testing Lab, performing roughly seven tests on each product. Of the 15 anti-theft bags the team tested, only 12 made the list since, as we strive to recommend the very best products using honest and fair testing practices. Moreover, we never recommend a product we don’t love, regardless of how popular the brand or model.

How we chose the best anti-theft bags

Rda24 Annamarie Higley Box Cutting Ssedit 01

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. Our Product Testing Team tested 15 anti-theft bags in our studio. With in-depth research and a rubric that tested anti-theft capabilities, comfort and wearability, durability, capacity and functionality, we narrowed that list from 15 to 12.

Our testers began by crowdsourcing travel essentials—such as umbrellas, books, sunscreen, tablets, Chapstick, glasses, sweatshirts, playbills, water bottles, credit cards and more—to stuff these bags with true-to-life contents that would allow our team to accurately and fairly assess performance. They sprayed the bags with water to see how they’d fare in wet weather conditions and locked and unlocked various locking zippers and compartments, evaluating both ease of use and level of security. The team even took a box cutter to all but one of these bags (because one bag didn’t claim to have anti-slash technology) so they could confidently speak to each bag’s anti-theft capabilities. With thorough testing and recognition of notable differences, we’re confident in these 12 best anti-theft bag picks.


Are anti-theft bags worth it?

With thieves commonly targeting tourists, they’re a useful option for keeping belongings safe and secure while exploring a new (or familiar) destination. These days, there are plenty of options in a variety of sizes, styles and colors that are as secure as they are stylish. Ultimately, whether it’s worth it is up to each individual, but if security is a concern or if you want some extra peace of mind, an anti-theft travel bag is something you’ll never want to travel without.

How common is bag theft?

Unfortunately, bag theft and pickpocketing are prevalent, especially in places with a lot of people. “Theft happens anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target holidaymakers’ wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites,” shares Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, in the European Pickpocketing Index.

While European cities are often popular travel destinations, Quotezone.co.uk analyzed thousands of online travel reviews to “rank the most popular European holiday destinations by the proportion of pickpocketing mentions in visitor reviews of each country’s top five tourist attractions,” and Italy, France and the Netherlands topped the list. According to Irish Examiner, “Every day, an estimated 400,000 travelers are victims of pickpockets somewhere in the world.”