Sep 16 2013

Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Review

Travel is inspiring and liberating. It can also be larcenous. There are lots of places on the road where people can help themselves to things in your pocket or bag. A missing passport or wallet can ruin your perfect trip.

Remember, just because you are paranoid it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get your stuff! Some places are infamous for being filled with pickpockets and thieves. Public transport in Europe comes to mind as well as anywhere where crowds of people gather.

So what should a justifiably paranoid traveler do? Travelon suggests one of their Theft proof bags and I got the opportunity to run one of their Urban E/W Messenger bags through its paces.

At roughly 750 cubic inches/12 liters the Travelon Messenger is a medium small bag discretely made of black 900 denier polyester. The front panel has Travelon and their logo screened on the bag in gray.

Because of the “security first” approach to the bag, outside pockets are limited. There is a zip away water bottle pocket on the left side of the bag and an iPhone sized stretchy pocket on the strap as well as a small pocket to stow some earbuds. The bottom of the earbud pocket has a channel to allow you run the connector down to the phone while the headphones are still in the pocket.


The phone pocket would just barely hold my Galaxy S4 in a slimline case, but anything larger will not fit. While this pocket is stretchy there are limits to how much it can expand.


10 pounds of Galaxy S4 in a 5 pound sack

The back of the bag features a breathable pad where it rests against your body and a loop to allow you hook it over the handle of a piece of rolling luggage. There is also a small grab handle. Too small in my opinion. I have small hands and I can only get three fingers through here. Useful for hanging the bag on a hook in an airport bathroom, but you won’t be carrying the bag this way.

The fold over flap of the messenger has dual zippers that go around the entire edge of the strap and can be locked into a small carabiner clip on the right edge of the bag.


If it can’t be unzipped, no one can sneak a hand inside

This is the mode that you would normally carry the Travelon in dangerous environments. The panels and straps are slash proof and the clip keeps the zipper from being opened at all. I took a pair of good, Fiskar scissors to the straps and got absolutely nowhere. If you wear this bag cross body, your contents are very safe.

Opening up the flap to inspect the interior of the bag reveals a back, lightly padded slot for a laptop up to 15.6 inches in size, a slash pocket for a full-sized iPad and an open area for stuffing odds and ends.


Inside the bag

There is an eight by five inch zippered, mesh pocket on the flap of the bag. This is a nice place to stuff a power supply and some cables. There is also a pen/stylus loop under the pocket.

The front panel of the bag has some basic organization with another zippered mesh pocket (perfect for a passport), an open-top pocket and some RFID shielded slots for credit cards.


In use

The strap of the Travelon is permanently attached to one side of the bag. This means if you plan to use the phone pocket you will always use the bag on your left shoulder slung across under your right arm. This is not ideal if you are left handed. The shoulder strap is well padded with a fixed position pad which makes it very comfortable.

The bag carries well, even with a laptop and iPad inside but I am used to a briefcase with a touch more room, so I did have to be a bit choosy about what I put inside. The bottom of the bag is flat enough that it will stand up on its own.


The Travelon Messenger’s first design criteria is security and it scores on that front. Locking zippers, slash proof straps and panels and an RFID shielded set of pockets make for a solid protection package.

The bag is not luxurious and I would like to see it made in a bit larger size but if you are going to be traveling in a dicy area the $85 price tag of their Anti-Theft Messenger is very reasonable.


Anti-Theft Urban E/W Messenger Bag $85

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