I heard recently that it’s NOT a question of IF your identity will be stolen….it’s a question of WHEN…. I find that fact a little unsettling. 😦
However, my hope is to do all I can to make that ‘when’ NOT when I’m on vacation (i.e. ‘out of touch’ and difficult to be notified or to take care of it)
I learned of these anti-theft/security bags while planning an upcoming trip out of the country complete with red-eye flights and overnights in busy airports. I wanted more security than our current bags/backpacks offered – slash-proof, RFID blocking features, etc….
So….here’s what I’ve learned…and what I purchased.
in both of these brands… 🙂
- Cut Resistant Technology
- Shoulder straps have cable inside to stop strap slashers.
- Side and bottom panels have wire mesh inside to stop bag slashers
- Lockdown Hardware
- Straps can be attached to poles, posts, chairs, etc….
- Locking zippers prevent pickpockets
- RFID Blocking Technology: pockets for credit cards and passports with RFID blocking materials to block ID Thieves. Thieves can easily purchase chip readers that enable them to simply walk past you… and scan personal information from credit cards/passports INSIDE your purse/wallet…without ever making contact with you or your bag. Men’s wallets in back hip pockets are especially susceptible. The RFID blocking material protects your personal information.
And….these bags are actually quite ‘travel’ stylish. There is a line of leather products, though that was more than I wanted to spend so I opted for the less expensive lines…but that IS available if that’s your preference. 🙂
**Read below for other options on RFID blocking materials (even a way to MAKE YOUR OWN) if these bags, wallets, etc… are not in your budget. These aren’t necessarily the ‘best’ option….but they will work – if that’s what you need to do.
These two brands (Travelon and PacSafe ) are comparable in price and security features. Decisions (at least for us) came down to design and usability…I preferred the Travelon bags for myself. My husband, who prefers to travel with a backpack, chose the PacSafe. Now….neither of these brands are ‘cheap’….However, some small discounts are out there if you are willing to jump through the necessary hoops.
I began my research on the company websites (and that’s what I recommend…). That’s where I found the most accurate and reliable information on dimensions, etc…. (As you may know, info on Amazon may or may not be correct) and which bags had the features we each wanted. Once I knew what bags I was interested in, I went to other sources – Amazon, eBags….and strangely enough, Kohl’s which carries a SMALL inventory of these bags. (Target sells a FEW of their wallets). Prices really don’t vary much among these sources, but with Kohls coupons/Kohl’s Dollars or discounts with Amazon, there may be some savings. TJ Maxx and Marshalls also occasionally has a small inventory of Travelon items though I’ve rarely found the bags…and of course, their inventory is constantly changing….
For myself, I was looking at TWO bags – a cross body purse for traveling days or times when we were in crowded public places AND a carry on for the flights. My husband was in the market for a backpack.
Purse: I wanted something cross body, small and lightweight but still large enough to carry wallet, passport, cell phone/cord, and a few personal items. I found what I wanted in the Travelon Anti-theft Classic Essential Messenger Bag on Amazon. With discounts/reward points I ended up paying around $25 for it.
Carry On: My carry on was a tough decision –
because I had so many ‘requirements’. It had to accommodate my laptop and a binder notebook. I wanted a secured front pocket (locking zipper) for smaller items and an easy access slip pocket for boarding passes, luggage tickets, etc… I also needed a sleeve on the back to slip over luggage handles once we picked up our checked bags. Finding all of those features – in a bag that was just the right size….took some time…. but I finally found it. I got the Travelon Anti-Theft East/West Weekender Tote. I found it on Amazon though purchased from eBags using reward point earned from buying my husband’s back pack the month before. I don’t think it’s available on Amazon anymore…and only limited availability on eBags. Travelon has discontinued it as their inventory is constantly being updated. However, with every bag they discontinue, they come up with another ‘better’ one to take it’s place. ha!!
NOTE: When buying multiple things from eBags, buy the most expensive item first. When the reward points for that purchase post, (30 days later) buy the next most expensive item on your wish list applying that credit…and so on and so on…down your list. Their reward point system is VERY NICE!!! 🙂
BackPack: My husband chose a backpack from PacSafe. In addition to all the security features, he wanted something with good back structure/support so it wouldn’t hurt his lower back to carry it all day long. It also had to accommodate his DSLR camera and all it’s ‘toys’…. He found what he wanted in the Venturesafe X30 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack. This now has a rain cover which wasn’t available when we purchased…and would have really come in handy in Alaska. Oh well…
Having returned from our trip, I can say, these bags were winners in every sense. We did indeed sleep on long red-eye flights…as well as a little snoozing on a long layover in the airport AFTER that red eye. Being able to lock pockets and secure our bags to each other AND chairs or posts gave us a little more security…and more ability to relax a bit.
The bags held up beautifully…I fully expect to have them around for years to come.
There are multiple YouTube videos on testing RFID blocking properties. Here’s what I found on a quick search: RFID Blocking Testing Watch a few…but confirm that you’re watching from independent sources and not from a company that’s just promoting their own brand while discrediting their competitors. Travelon and PacSafe (and a few others) produced successful test results.
Now….What if These Products are OUT of Your Budget: Well, you may not be able to get the ‘slash-proof’ features, but you CAN address the RFID issue for a little less expense.
- RFID blocking wallets – Travelon, PacSafe or ID Stronghold brands tested well. These will be more expensive than the RFID sleeves…but less than a purse, tote or bag.
- RFID Blocking Sleeves: These can be purchased from Amazon. (and possibly Marshalls or TJMaxx if you happen to catch it just right) They are sleeves to slide credit cards and/or passports into. Buyer Beware: Not all sleeves are the same. Read reviews carefully…with special attention to reviewers who have actually ‘tested them’. There are sleeves that ‘work’…then there are sleeves that are ‘pretty’….and some reviewers leave you scratching your head when they write reviews saying: “I LOVE my RFID sleeves. They’re so pretty…all my friends commented that they wanted some too.” Go figure!!! *sigh*
DIY Test for RFID Blocking:
How can you be SURE these really work? If you (or someone you know) have a work badge…door badge…or any card that is scanned, place it in the sleeve (or pocket or wallet, etc…) and try to use it. If you can’t use it, then you know the sleeves (or wallet) is adequately blocking. OR….you can just trust the reviews on Amazon. That will work AS LONG AS you’re looking at MULITPLE people saying the same thing. Of course, Travelon, PacSafe or Identity Stronghold are reputable companies that bring with their name a sense of ‘trust’…. 🙂
I actually purchased a pack of sleeves (12 credit card; 4 passport) for $12 from Amazon. They’re nothing fancy…nothing pretty, but they do the job. I was pleased with them and we use them now…since I don’t carry my Travelon purse on a regular basis.
Make Your Own
You CAN make your own RFID blocking sleeves using aluminum foil. These homemade varieties passed the testing AS LONG AS they were made using THREE sheets of Heavy Duty aluminum foil. Check out YouTube videos for instructions on how to do this (and watch several videos/techniques) to gather the best ideas. I even found instructions on YouTube for making an RFID blocking wallet.
As you might imagine, these homemade versions are only a TEMPORARY fix…as they can tear easily…and will require care when inserting or removing your credit card…but if an RFID wallet or RFID bag is not in your budget, this CAN be done…