Guest post: Anti-Theft Backpacks by Ryan Alston of OutdoorCrunch

Photo: Hanka Lehmannova

Here’s something about me: I love hiking in Yosemite during summer. Here’s another thing about me: I love hiking in Yosemite during summer even more when I don’t have to worry about having my pack stolen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not paranoid and I don’t hate crowds. It’s just that when I’m going to camp or hike I love to be a part of the wilderness completely and not to have to think about theft.

In 2017, “Yosemite National Park drew more than 5 million visitors last year, a 21% increase from the previous year’s record”, according to the LA Times. Despite its huge area of over 1000 square miles, you’ll undoubtedly encounter big crowds – and whether it’s Yosemite or any other busy national park, there are bound to be a few bad apples.

Hikers in Yosemite National Park

To avoid the bad apples, it’s best to visit during fall, winter or, preferably, spring – and definitely not during the summer according to Yosemite Park Crowd Calendar.

But what if you already bought the tickets, planned the itinerary and shook on it with your friends (people still shake hands with their friends when making plans right?) that you’re visiting there during the summer? Or you just simply prefer summer like me?

Yosemite Valley, CA

Here’s an alternative way to avoid theft in Yosemite: Invest in one of the best anti theft backpacks reviewed by OutdoorCrunch – especially Pacsafe Vibe 40 Anti Theft Backpack if you’re visiting Yosemite during a crowded season.

Note: If you’re going to read the linked study, I recommend you to forget about pack volumes especially if you know how to pack or you already own a larger pack to travel with and planning to use the theft resistant one as a daypack.

Anti-Theft Packs

Having your pack or the items inside stolen can very easily ruin your entire day or hiking experience. I’m lucky to have done a lot of hiking and traveling without being victimized – although someone once accidentally took my pack at the baggage claim area in Sarajevo – so I’m well aware of how it can feel. Entrepreneurs noticed this gap in the market and came up with different backpack designs to avoid pickpockets in crowded areas like Yosemite.

But which features are key?

1) Slash proof design

Slash proof design is achieved by a stainless steel lightweight mesh covered throughout the entire pack (in most cases).

Let’s say you’re planning to stay in a hostel  – a dorm room with strangers. Some of these places don’t provide lockers, so for safety, you’ll probably prefer attaching your pack to your bed with a lock or cable wire, but if the body of your pack isn’t slash resistant, the items inside still aren’t safe.

Stainless steel mesh solves this problem once and for all:




The fabric of your pack cannot be slashed.

Additional security is provided by shoulder straps. When they’re slash proof, it’s impossible for slash ‘n grab thieves to slash the shoulder strap when you’re wearing the pack and run away with it (I know how crazy it sounds but yeah, it can happen in any crowded place).

Some anti theft packs are equipped with a shoulder strap hook at the bottom of one strap. This is useful when you’re sitting outside in a crowded area. Using shoulder strap hook you can attach your pack to the chair leg you’re sitting on or to the table. Combine it with slash proof structure and you can enjoy the moment without having to worry about your pack getting stolen.

2) Hidden zippers/rear opening

This is beneficial if you are using public transportation. These packs are absent in exterior front zippers and they offer a rear opening – which makes it impossible for pickpockets to steal your items when you’re wearing the pack. There aren’t even any zippers to open!


Unfortunately, these packs usually come with only one compartment. Combine that with the lack of exterior pockets, you have a perfect recipe for tangled items inside the pack – and internal compression straps won’t helped us much either.

3) Lockable zippers

This is self explanatory and the simplest and most basic way to secure your items. You can lock almost any pack as long as they have double zippers for each pocket and compartment – but anti theft packs provide more than that. They’re equipped with quick lock mechanisms:



And why is it that important? Well, think about locking and unlocking your pack over and over during the day every time you need an item. Sounds like a pain, right? Quick lock mechanisms bypass this problem. They still provide pretty high theft resistance alone without the actual lock, making them more practical.

Happy travels/trails and I hope this guide was helpful for you to understand the general principles of anti theft packs and how they can help you avoid having your gear stolen in Yosemite or wherever your adventures may take you. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll respond in the comments.

Author bio: Hey, what’s up? Ryan here. Hiker, nomad, gym rat and Starbucks addict of OutdoorCrunch Team. Working as an Aeronautical Engineer and hiking as a hobby for the past 10 years now.

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