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Use This Backpack Zipper Trick To Stop Pickpockets

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.

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.

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.

Would People In Pakistan Be Willing To Say One Nice Thing About India?

India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars and the two countries don’t have good relations with each other. A mild way of putting it, considering the more than half century of animosity and territorial disputes all amplified nuclear bombs. So during a visit to Pakistan I was curious, is there anything nice people could say about India?

You can watch the responses in the video above, they’ll likely surprise you as much as it did me.

Behind The Scenes

Filming around Pakistan, I had this video in mind. Partly as a response to several videos I made comparing both countries which brought a lot of fighting in the comment section (browse at your own discretion). This made me curious, could we boil things down simply: can you say one NICE thing?

burns road karachi

I hesitated before asking the question to the first person, someone I had already interviewed as part of another project. His reaction was positive (aside from a fair amount of camera shyness). Perhaps it was a fluke, I’ll have to ask others and wait for the backlash.

It never came though, people were overwhelmingly positive. As you read this you may be thinking, yeah but well… insert excuse here. Believe me, those caveats bubbled up into my grey matter as well. Across several weeks, cities, and people from all walks of life, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Not a scientific study but a start. We can go from there, whether we’re talking about nation or your next door neighbor or both.

The Outliers

There were a number of people who did have not nice things to say. Want to guess the number? A grand total of two. But the number of people who said nice things? 100%. Yes, those two people also did have a nice thing to say and are featured in the video.

Let’s talk about those two responses that weren’t entirely positive. One of the two aggressively asked me why I’m asking people to say one nice thing (and why I wasn’t doing it in some other country). I explained that it’s a question I had and he obviously didn’t have to answer if he didn’t want to. After a moment, he thought about it and did say one or two nice things.

The other went on a bit of a political rant about India’s internal political structure, said one nice thing, and then continued one a bit on politics. A bit off the rails but still he surprised me, he did have one nice thing to say. Hopefully you’ll find this video enlightening, encouraging and you’ll have one nice thing to say about it in the comments.

You’re a beautiful person and have a lot to offer the world. Keep striving to show everyone your best side!

Things Are Changing

Things Are Changing

For the past 10 years, I’ve written two posts a week on this site. Things are changing today though for foXnoMad. Starting from now, there’s only going to be one post a week, on Thursdays, guaranteed. Fewer days but more content, let me explain.

One Post A Week

10 years is a long time on the Internet and posting every Tuesday and Thursday for that long is a small personal accomplishment. Over that time though I started uploading two traveltech videos to YouTube every week. (Subscribe and you could win $100.) The foXnoMad Podcast goes out every other Friday. I’ve also made time to occasionally write for other publications like WIRED and have developed 5 of the top 50 travel apps for iOS and Android.

I’m creating more content but not able to create more time (even if you do travel very fast). I’d also like to be able to share more of this content with you as well as have time for other projects.

Win $100

Yes, well I did mention a giveaway didn’t I? How about 2? To enter the first chance to win a $100 gift card to either Apple or Amazon, all you have to do is be subscribed to my YouTube channel. Want another chance to win a $100 gift card? Subscribe to the foXnoMad Podcast here and leave a review (one hopes it would be 5 stars and all feedback is welcome). There you go, you’re now entered. Keep an eye on both places.

New Schedule

Thursdays you’ll get one new article on how to travel smarter. Some Thursdays there may be two or three posts (or videos!) but one for sure. Occasionally there may be longer gaps when I’m working on different writing projects.

Announcements aside, we’re heading into tech season so buckle up, good luck in the giveaways and let me know if you have any thoughts or just hate change.

Comparing Slim Wallets: Ekster vs. Trove vs. Ridge

Slim wallets are a trimmed down to the realities of carrying money in the modern world. They’re focused on cards mainly, with little space for cash or coins since fewer of us pay with physical currency these days. Although they are svelte, three of the biggest slim wallet manufacturers all do things a little different in their design.

That’s not to say one is better than the other but as you can see in the video above between Ekster, Trove, and Ridge, here’s how to decide which one might be best for you.

Slimness: Winner, Ridge Wallet

Ridge wallets are two pieces of metal with an elastic band that holds both sides together. The metal, which comes in aluminum, titanium, or gold, is highly durable while also fitting into the Ridge ethos of minimalism. Ridge wallets are perfect for people who carry mainly cards although they do have an optional money clip or cash strap for bills. There’s no place for coins and receipts or other odd papers.

Runner Up: Ekster Aluminum Wallet

The Aluminum Wallet [full review] has a slick trigger that displays your cards in paper fan fashion making them easily accessible. Ekster have also included a cash strap. Much like the Ridge, the Aluminum Wallet is slim; the major difference being its thickness is fixed, no matter how many cards you’re carrying.

Versatility: Winner, Ekster Parliament Wallet

The Parliament is almost a hybrid of a traditional fold wallet and a slim wallet. It’s got a fold, increasing the overall thickness but that gives you space for cards, cash, and receipts as well. You might be shopping for a wallet that’s trim but not excessively slim and the Parliament fits that niche well.

Runner Up: Trove Wallet

The Trove Wallet is a highly configurable design which three pockets based on an internal fold. You’ve got plenty of space for cards, as well as a small crease for cash or receipts, all in a slimmer form factor than the Parliament.

Price: Winner, Trove

The Trove line of wallets, including the Coin Caddy and Cash Strap, start at 30 British pounds (roughly $40). Compare that to the Ridge, which run around $125 and up, or the Ekster line in the $80 range. Trove are least expensive slim wallet option of the three by a considerable margin.

Which Is The One For You?

Depending on your needs or who you’re shopping for the Ridge is a higher-end wallet with a focus on minimalism. Ekster tend to make slim wallets for people who like the traditional feel and look of a folding wallet, whereas Trove is a creative take on slim wallets for people who want versatility in a small package.

You can watch the videos above to see more details about each of these slim wallets. If you’re new to slim wallets, no matter which one you go with, it will take a week or so to get used to one. After that you’ll wonder how you ever carried a bulky traditional wallet at all.

The Tech Gear And Gadgets I Travel Around The World With: September 2021

I travel with a lot more electronics than most so fortunately over the past year or two there’s been a narrowing gap between power and portability. Inside my Aer Travel Pack 2 there’s a mobile podcast studio, app development office, and video production house. All of the gear I travel with has a purpose and since I updated this list in 2017, the tech I carry has become a lot smaller.

Here’s all the tech I travel with, which might give you some ideas on durable, useful, or otherwise entertaining gear for your own travels.

Laptop: 16″ Macbook Pro: 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB

Camera Gear

Main Video Camera: Sony a7C with Tamron 17-28mm Lens

Action Camera: GoPro HERO9 Black

Tripod: Joby GorillaPod Focus with Joby Ballhead and Neewer Carbon Fiber tripod (66 inch). For locked off shots, I use the Samson MK-10 microphone stand.

An Aputure MC for portable lighting.

Audio Equipment

On top of the Sony a7C, I’m using a Deity D3 Pro for recording audio.

For podcasting, I use the Audio-Technica ART2100x-USB microphone.

Headphones: Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Phone (Daily Driver): iPhone 11 (128 GB)/(Product) Red

I also travel with a Nexus 5X, primarily because it’s stock Android and gets updates from Google before most other phones, making it ideal for testing development versions of my WiFox and DroneMate apps.

Drone

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

All of the electronics in this list, including the DJI Mavic drone, fit into one backpack, my Aer Travel Pack 2. I use two SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kits to better organize and stack everything inside my backpack. These are the other bags and non-electronic gear I use.

Luggage: Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, 60L

Daypack: Osprey Daylite

To keep track of my luggage and gear, I use Apple’s Airtags.

Portable Batteries: Anker PowerCore 13000.

Connectors, Converters, And Other Accessories

For reading books or when I need a larger, mobile screen in general, I use a 64 GB iPad Air 2020 protected by an Apple Smart Folio with an Apple Pencil 2.

If you’re curious, you can see the the gadgets in my backpack way back in 2012 and I keep an updated list the gear I travel with here.

The 4 Best Places To Eat In Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel is Kathmandu’s backpacker district but that doesn’t mean this part of Nepal’s capital city doesn’t have some of the best food travelers can eat. Vibrant and full of local, some locally a hole in the wall, options, these are 4 places you should eat in Thamel.

1. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen

The 4 Best Places To Eat In Thamel Kathmandu

There’s plenty of space inside but you might miss this family run business cooking up amazing thali (tasting of local curries), thenthuk (wide noodle soup), and of course momos. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen is cozy inside with the kitchen in partial view and the food served on order with quick turnaround times.

2. Mo Mo Cave

mo mo cave thamel kathmandu

You’ll have to walk through some construction and under a building with a questionable foundation but believe me, the momos at Mo Mo Cave are worth it. Momos take time here in this small family operation that makes the best momos, small, steamed or fried dumplings with vegetarian, chicken, or beef options. Eat here at least once when you’re in Thamel and it probably won’t be your last visit.

3. Himalayan Java

himalayan java

More on the beaten path, this small coffee chain is a little hipster with a lot of local love for good reason. The coffee at a place called Himalayan Java (as one would hope) is good with pastries to match, not to mention excellent free wifi. A nice place to relax, especially during the slower afternoon hours.

4. Yangling

yangling kathmandu thamel

Almost combining a little of the above, Yangling serves up hot Tibetan classics with some local favorites. Yangling’s crowded and the tables slightly messy from the meal someone had before you but the food is tasty, comforting, and served fairly quickly. Being on the edge of Thamel, depending on where you’re staying, Yangling is a longer (10-20 minute walk) but if thupka (thin noodle broth soup) makes you’re heart sing, it will carry your feet away.

More Food For You

A few other places worth mentioning are Black Olive Cafe for breakfast and if the weather is nice, a warm patio to get your day started. Speaking of morning, next to OR2K which has a large variety of Westernized vegan and vegetarian dishes, there’s a small coffee stand with no name. It’s right on the corner here and hard to miss on the ground but if you want freshly brewed local coffee with Thamel’s unique flavor, this coffee stand has your name on it.

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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