Being out of your direct line of sight backpacks are often your most vulnerable accessory while typically are carrying our most valuable stuff. Fortunately there’s a simple zipper trick that relies on alignment that can seriously hamper the plans of most pickpockets.

Zip Up Top

The simple way to deter pickpockets from your backpack is to zip the zippers up at the top, not on the sides. Zipping up top helps deter pickpockets since access to the interior becomes much more awkward as someone would have to go up and over with their hands to get in… not exactly the most stealthy approach.

Why This Works

Pickpockets don’t want to be noticed either by your or the people around you. All it takes is one person sounding the alarm and that’s the end of a theft. Empty handed or not it could lead to them getting caught so typically pickpockets go to the easiest target in a group. (Think of a lion hunting the slowest wildebeest around.) Your backpack security system doesn’t have to be the best, just better that everyone who’s near you.

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backpack zipper trick

Another reason having your zippers up top is ideal placement is because any movement of the zippers in this area will lead to movement of the shoulder straps. As you can see in the video here, your shoulders and lower back are the most sensitive places a backpack makes contact with your body. Because of this you’re much more likely to feel movement in those areas if a crook is fiddling with your bag.


Heavy On The Bottom

To further improve your backpack security structure place your more valuable items as low and close to your back as possible. It’s tempting to put your most frequently used items toward the top of your backpack for easy access (especially if you’re are zipping up top) but there are two reasons not to. First, assuming your zipped up top, if some daring thief does make an attempt they’ll could be hitting something expensive right away.

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Second (as you may have guessed) your lower back is more sensitive to movement than the middle. Put in a few layers of bag pockets in between and now your camera, computer, dirty passports and everything else is a lot more secure.

Of course a backpack with durable YKK zippers like the Aer Travel Pack 2 or even stronger military grade GORUCK will further protect your bag from attacks on the zippers themselves.