I just got a new backpack by Golite:
GOLITE WOMEN'S JAM2 BACKPACK
Apparently, it uses a "draw string" ("cord lock") instead of the usual zipper that you can easily bind together with any padlock. How can I go about locking/securing my backpack? Thanks.
It's impossible to secure any backpack from someone determined to get into it. You can put measures in place to either slow down a thief or prevent an opportunistic thief from making off with your pack. But those typically involve locking zippers together, covering cord locks, etc. With the Jam, you really won't be able to do either of those. The only thing I could think of is a pac-safe - do a search for discussions on those. But if someone really wants in, they'll get throug a pac-safe too. Someone else might chime in on another realistic solution.
Two best bets for security:
- awareness of where you are, who you're with, and where your pack is.
- don't carry anything in your pack you can't replace. Leave the valuables at home, money/credit card/passport on your person.
The only plus you might find with the Jam is that it's a roll-top pack. I travelled with one for a while and it really confounded security at the airport in Guatemala - I had to open if for them. So, if you're targeted by a thief, maybe their confusion will get the better of them, and they'll leave your pack alone.
I haven't done an exhaustive amount of travel but I've been around a bit. I've never locked my pack and never had anything stolen. But I followed my advice above and made a point of looking like I didn't have anything worth taking. If you're travelling with a trusted friend, watch each other's packs if you have to take a trip to a small bathroom, etc.
I agree, locking a backpack is not an option. If someone wants in, they will get in. I just got back from a solo trip to Nepal and the middle east. I had no problems at all.
First, pack then take 3/4 of it out. You don't need that much crap, and by taking a smaller bag you can easily watch it. I had a Kelty Goshawk pack it was great!!
Second, leave the computer at home, you don't need that either. There are so many cafes around why bother. Take no jewelry and leave the good watch at home, buy some cheap thing in a market and you wont care what happens to it.
Third, Be travel smart. Lock things in a lock box when you can, have someone you trust watch your bag when you can't. Do not let anyone see where you stash your money, be creative too. Also leave a few bills in your pocket when you go out so you dont have to dip into your money belt in public. Better yet plan your day and take only the money you will need if you can lock it up safely somewhere.
Hope this helps.. It allowed me to keep my belongs on this trip as well as several trips to south and central america..
Making sure there's nothing overly valuable stored in your pack is the best defence. If you have an iPod or something like that, then store it in a safe when you leave the ho(s)tel (assuming they have one for you). Or just take it with you. I've had locks on my bags before, but I don't really have any faith in them stopping anyone other than someone trying to just sneak a hand in quickly.
The stuff I'm really concerned about, I would always keep in a safe. Or in the case of my laptop, which wouldn't fit in most safes - I'd have a special lock to handle that. And I'd only leave that in a locked private room.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I guess if someone really wants to go through your bag when you're not around, there isn't much you can do to prevent it (may it not happen though!). I guess I've always been the type to take precautions anyway and grew up traveling with my luggage always locked. Now that I'm backpacking alone, I guess it's a bit different.
I'm just a bit worried and frustrated because the airport in my city (as awful as it is to say!) is known for certain "security issues" in terms of luggage...even by the baggage handlers themselves! On my last solo trip, I found my Samsonite luggage, which was secured with 1 small baggage lock, forced open. It came out last (I wonder why?) and was visibly forced open, with the lock (broken) also on the conveyor belt not far from the bag itself.
I know better than to keep any valuables in my bag. I only had used clothing and some shoes in the bag at the time so fortunately nothing was taken (only touched, apparently) but still...
Knowing what can happen is still a bit unsettling for me. I have no choice but to go through the same airport and the same procedures (and I assume the same baggage handlers!) when I fly out again. I guess I wanted to be more on the secure side this time around.
I'll definitely keep all my valuables in my carry-on bag, as usual. However, as ridiculous as this sounds, I'm still a bit worried about some of the clothes, shoes! (yes, a girl loves her shoes, lol), and some of the random items in my backpack (I'm not bringing a laptop so that's one less of a problem).
Also, I intend to go shopping in Bangkok which is my last stop before heading home. Should I not worry then, taking home all that new stuff in my unlocked backpack? I was thinking that if I cannot fit my shopping all into my backpack (I have a feeling I won't be able to!) then I'll just buy another bag or perhaps luggage (?) for it and take it home that way. What do you think? Thanks.
I dont know where you're from but I know in the US they're allowed to open bags to check them.
My husband's pack is difficult to lock and he bought a super light duffel bag which has an easily locked zip to put his pack inside, both for air travel (to protect the back pack straps) and for safety when its left at the hostel (mind you I always leave my bag open and my stuff strewn around and no one steals anything
So yeah and the duffel bag is ALSO handy for that one last trip home because you can pack all your extra souvenirs in there and just risk your pack being unlocked for that last flight.
If your from Australia we got my husbands duffel bag from Mountain equipment, it was $45AUD and folds up nice and small for when your not using it. Take your pack with you when you buy it to make sure it fits though cos there are a few different sizes.
Same thing happened to us when we went to Nepal via Bangkok in May 08. One of our luggage lock (TSA) was cut on arrival. Took a long time for our luggage to finally emerged and they were the last ones. On the way back, the other luggage was opened (TSA lock not cut). I am OK with that provided they leave a note in the luggage advising you what they have done as they do in the USA. In this case, no notes and agreed with travloverr that it can be a bit unsettling. I don't travel with valuables or anything I hate to lose but I am more concern of what 'extra' stuff that could be 'added'. From this, I do not keep any receipts (I used to) or anything with personal details in the luggage.
On backpack, the slightly 'more' secure is probably the ones with the zip opening on your back side instead of on the 'outside'. It is almost impossible to find one that is both functional with the zip, mostly are just 'dress' backpacks. Another thing I find amazing is that not much thought is given to 'securing' the zippers as part of the design since most of the zippers on backpacks are on the outside. One can practically just unzip. True that you can't stop theives if they really want it but with some kind of a 'lock' as part of the design, it will at least deter any opportunistic thief.