You've probably read about or heard about some hapless tourist who was just walking along a sidewalk or in a market and got relieved of their valuables before they knew what happened. One common ploy is to slash open the bottom of a daypack, removing contents from the bottom. Another is the old purse-snatch move, where someone running or on a motor scooter simply grabs the shoulder strap and takes off. Fanny packs are even easier to snag - no arms get in the way after the strap is sliced.
A company called Pacsafe produces a line of travel packs, purses, and messenger bags that are designed to make grab-and-go thefts much more difficult.
My wife helped me test out the Metrosafe 200 version by carrying it everywhere on a recent two-week trip to Guatemala. I don't think Guatemala is any more dangerous than where we live when we're not traveling, but since the most common crime in developing countries is petty theft, this bag provides an extra level of protection.
Several levels of protection actually. Here's a rundown on the various deterrents:
- eXomesh Slashguard in front and bottom panels
- Slashproof adjustable shoulder strap
- Snatchproof shoulder strap allows the bag to anchor to a secure fixture and tamperproof zippers on main compartment (as in it can hook to your pants belt loop)
- Tamperproof zippers on front organizer pocket
The bag I tested is obviously very well made, with strong stitching and solid construction. So it will not only deter potential thieves, it will hold up to years of solid travel as well. This size retails for $60 at REI, where they stock the whole Pacsafe line. You can also get the MetroSafe from Magellan's.