6 Essentials for Keeping Your Stuff Safe on the Road
Gear is expensive, and travel documents are difficult to replace. Here’s how to keep it all secure.
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From the perfect pair of skis to a do-it-all travel wardrobe, the right gear makes adventuring safe, easy, and fun. But there’s a downside to traveling with all that nice stuff: it’s far more likely to attract unwanted attention and perhaps get stolen. Or lost.
Thankfully, there are solutions specifically designed to keep your gear secure and organized when you’re away from it. Here are my favorites.
Pelican Air Case (From $168)
With a watertight O-ring, tough double-throw latches, and a valve that balances interior air pressure in the event of an elevation change, these lightweight polymer hard cases may seem like overkill, but there’s no better option for keeping equipment safe. I use them to cart around video and photo gear while traveling to shoots, but they come in a range of sizes for securing everything from small valuables to camping equipment. Throw on a padlock and strap them your roof or simply toss them in your car and lock the doors.
LugLoc Luggage Locator ($80, plus $20 Annual Service Fee)
If the airline loses your bag or it disappears from your car or hotel room, you’ll be glad you bought a LugLoc. It uses cell towers to track your bag and lets you monitor location with the accompanying app. It also uses Bluetooth to help you locate your bag’s precise location once it’s near.
Aluminum Foil ($10)
Many bank cards use radio-frequency identification—the technology that allows you to pay for things simply by tapping your card against the reader at checkout. While there’s some concern that thieves could wirelessly capture your information using an RFID skimmer, that’s unlikely to happen. But if you’re still worried, don’t waste money on a dedicated wallet or sleeve. Wrapping your card in aluminum foil is just as effective, and it costs a whole lot less. Works on passports, too, which use RFID chips to digitally store your personal information.
Ottolock Cinch Locks ($60–$85)
Cinch Locks are meant for bikes, but their small size, light weight, and versatility makes them perfect for travel. They come in three sizes, they beat the heck out of carrying around a bulky U-lock, and they’re pretty damn tough to break. The flexible strap allows you to get creative with how you use it. Safeguard a rental bike in an unfamiliar city, secure a cooler in your truck bed, or prevent luggage from wandering off from the hostel.
PacSafe Travelsafe 12L GII Portable Safe (From $70)
This portable, soft-sided safe is perfect for securing jewelry or electronics while you’re out exploring. Sizes range from 3 to 25 liters, and the tough polyester outer fabric with integrated high-tensile stainless-steel mesh prevents cutting and pilfering. Just use the locking cable to secure it to a permanent fixture in your car or hotel room, and you’re good to go.
Signal App (Free)
If you’re concerned about keeping text and phone conversations safe from hackers while abroad, download this app. Signal helps secure your data and keep private conversations private by using high-level end-to-end encryption. You can send photos, disappearing text messages, and audio, video, and data files, and video-chat or make voice calls. Plus, it’s free and open-source, so there’s no excuse for not using it.