Slash attacks on backpacks are brazen theft attempts where a thief uses a knife to cut through your bag and make a run for it. These are quick grab attacks where the crook doesn’t really care if you notice because by the time you react, they’re already running away at full speed.

Fortunately, there are a few tactics to avoiding slash attacks on backpacks, purses, and other handbags.

Prioritizing Prevention

There aren’t many statistics on specific ways people are pick-pocketed but anecdotally the slash and grab is most common against bags with one strap. That’s purses, belt packs.. things where the slash immediately detaches the bag from your person. With a backpack that’s a lot harder to do, so one piece of advice right off the bat is to always wear your backpack with two straps on. Also, don’t wear your backpack too loosely, so you can better feel if your bag is being tampered with.

Plan Of Action In Progress

A good backpack security strategy against slashing starts with the bag you choose. Fabrics like nylon with higher denier counts, sailcloth, and polyester tend to hold up well. The Aer Travel Pack 2, Tortuga Outbreaker Laptop Bag, GORCUK GR2 and Pacsafe LS450 offer solid protection. No matter which backpack you go with, inspect where the backpack and supportive straps meet.

RELATED
You'll Have A Gun To Your Head If You Don't Follow These Rules When Visiting Area 51


Not only will strong stitching and reinforced straps be more durable over time, strap meets the bag, is a part that tends to get a lot of use, movement, and wear over time. Also, the thicker the material used for the thinnest part of the backpack straps, the more resistant they’ll be to cutting.

Layering Strategy

Many slash attacks don’t go for your entire bag but rather vulnerable exterior pockets. So, pack your most valuable items in the interior, closest to your back. A lot of backpacks have multiple pockets so don’t use outside facing ones for your wallet, phone, or other important items like a passport. With your valuables deeper inside the bag, there’s more material between the knife and your stuff.

When you’re riding in a bus, metro, or train, don’t keep your bag by your feet which gives a thief a lot of time to attack your valuables without you noticing. Always keep your bag on your lap. It’s inconvenient but a lot more difficult for someone to tamper with.

Like most pick-pocketing security, you want to deter an attack from even happening and give a thief reason to look elsewhere. Being aware of your surroundings, having your gear secure, and using a strong backpack will all help. But if you do notice someone cutting through your backpack and turn around to see someone with a knife in your face – do the smart thing and give them what they want. That’s a mugging situation, don’t be a hero and risk injury or worse, for things that can be replaced.

RELATED
Boundary Ballet: The Wagah Border Ceremony Between India And Pakistan