YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Gear & Gadgets

Tactics to Thwart Thieves, Protect Self

November 04, 2001|JUDI DASH

Security and safety are increasingly on our minds as we travel. These items provide an added measure of protection. Prices do not include shipping.

Portable safe: Luggage locks work well against a thief who looks only for an unprotected zipper, but what about those who will slash a bag? The Pacsafe Travel Safe is a heavy-duty nylon bag reinforced with flexible stainless-steel wire. The bag cinches tight and can be locked to a secure fixture by a padlock with keys. Two models are available: large, which measures 21 inches by 13 inches by 1/2 inch, and small, measuring 131/2 inches by 8 inches by 1/2 inch. Of course, a thief with metal cutters still can steal your stuff, but the Pacsafe might thwart a snatch-and-run burglar.

Large Pacsafe Travel Safe (item 10010393) is $74; small (10010392) is $44, from the Container Store; (888) 266-8246 ,

Protective pouch: Several companies make lightweight folding wallets that can be carried around the neck or waist and tucked inside a shirt or pants. JanSport, maker of durable backpacks, has come out with a wallet that combines the best of the lot. The Extra Pocket, in Cordura nylon, measures 121/2 inches by 6 inches when open and half that when closed. Inside are a long zippered pocket to hold paper money and tickets, a slit for a pen, two slash pockets and two zippered pockets--including a see-through nylon mesh zippered pocket to carry coins. Especially useful is an outside zippered pocket that allows quick access without opening the wallet.

JanSport Extra Pocket is about $20. To locate a dealer, contact the manufacturer; (800) 558-3600,

Up your sleeve: Here's a way to safely (and secretly) carry essentials when you have no pockets and don't want to carry anything in your hands. The Hands Free Arm Wallet is a soft, stretchy Lycra armband with two zippered pockets that can hold credit cards, cash, keys and an ID. The 31/2-inch-wide band hugs the arm between the wrist and elbow without binding. The space inside the pockets is about the size of a credit card. You'll find it useful when hiking, skiing or walking around a crowded city. You will need to wear a long-sleeved shirt to hide the arm wallet, but even in sight, it is a convenient carrying case.

Hands Free Arm Wallet is $12.99 from En Route Travelware; (888) 993-8080,

Secure door: Doorstops that help keep out intruders from hotel rooms are not new, but this one has an alarm that screeches when the door is forced. The sturdy plastic base has a chrome wedge top that sets off a pulsating siren when it is depressed. Place the low end of the wedge against the base of the door and turn on the alarm. The alarm operates on two AA batteries and has a switch to keep it from going off accidentally.

Door Stop Alarm (SP643) is $9.85 from Magellan's; (800) 962-4943,

With a little lock: Why would anyone use padlocks with keys when small combination locks are more sensible? No keys to lose, break or lock inside a suitcase. The newest locks have four dials instead of three, making the combination much harder to crack than that of three-digit locks. The code is easy to set, and the mechanism clicks open when all four numbers are properly aligned. The best models have solid metal bodies and a long, strong shackle. On TravelSmith's Security Luggage Locks, the digits line up on the wide, flat side of the lock, making it easier to maneuver the padlock and numbers.

Security Luggage Locks (item 9918) are $15.50 for three from TravelSmith; (800) 950-1600,


Gear and Gadgets appears monthly.

Los Angeles Times Articles