Pickpocket-proof clothing is becoming easier to find. Here is a quick primer on what to buy
Alex Miniak’s new secure clothes saved the day on a recent trip to Paris. “I was in the Gare du Nord station boarding a local Metro train when a pair of pickpockets attempted to distract me and reach into my pocket,” he remembers.
Little did the Voleurs know that his passport and wallet were safely tucked behind the zippers of his Bluffworks pants, one of several new clothes options created for travelers who are concerned about safety. The specialized design promises to make your next trip safer.
“When they reached in, they instead found a pack of tissues,” says Miniak, a sportscaster from San Diego. “And even then, I was able to stop them.”
Bluffworks just launched a line of new secure clothes, which is part of a broader trend of highly specialized travel attire loaded with security features. They include jackets, vests, pants and other accessories, and they’re being launched now, just before the busy spring break season.
Bluffworks’ new secure clothes: Departure Jeans
For example, Bluffworks’ Departure Jeans, which offer stretch comfort with the look of traditional, authentic denim and the security of Fort Knox. OK, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but for a traveler like Miniak, pourquois pas?
The jeans are 68% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 9% Rayon, and 1% Spandex, which is a fancy way of saying they travel well because they’re moisture-wicking and breathable. But the selling point for these pants are the two hidden, zippered pockets in the back waistband, which is where Miniak kept his valuables.
“I’m confident knowing that even in sometimes unfamiliar surroundings, my essential carry items are safe,” he says.
Bluffworks’ new Quilted Vest is a sporty, lightweight travel vest with seven hidden pockets designed to protect your wallet, passport and keys. The designers put a lot of thought into achieving a balance between making the pockets accessible to the owner but making them difficult to reach for people in a crowded Metro.
SCOTTeVEST multi-pocket secure clothes
It would be impossible to cover this topic without mentioning SCOTTeVEST, a company that pioneered clothing with multiple pockets 19 years ago. Take its RFID Travel Vest for Men and RFID Travel Vest for Women, both marketed to road warriors who want to carry a lot of gadgets with them without having to haul an extra bag on the plane, and both with a pickpocket guarantee.
“The pockets keep gadgets and other valuables safe,” says Scott Jordan, the company’s founder and CEO. “That’s a selling point for many frequent travelers.”
Also, all of SCOTTeVEST products are designed to be stylish without calling too much attention to them. In fact, discretion is a common theme among the latest security clothes. In a world where you can’t take security for granted, the last thing you want to do is advertise the fact that you’re wearing a safer jacket, vest or pair of pants.
Coalatree’s new clothes: a winter coat that keeps you safe when you travel
Another new entrant is Coalatree’s new Camper Hooded Jacket, which debuts in March. It has six secure pockets for gloves, headphones and passports, as well as an interior side pouch for larger items.
This is a noteworthy jacket on two levels. First, it’s a real winter jacket, featuring Dupont’s ComfortMax Fiberfill, multi-layer padding for low temperatures that offers warmth down to -20 degrees. It’s the only winter coat in this lineup. The Camper’s insulation provides up to five times more warmth than other similar fibers, according to the company. Yet each layer of fiberfill weighs only 5 to 10 grams, which offers multi-layer protection from the elements.
The other remarkable detail: It’s one of the more successful Kickstarter campaigns, having raised more than $300,000 so far.
Look! This Speakeasy Travel Scarf has a hidden compartment
The Speakeasy Travel Scarf merits a mention, too. Its creator, professional photographer Bethany Salvon, had become frustrated with the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. So she decided to do something about it.
Salvon realized if she could engineer a pocket into her scarf, she would have her perfect travel accessory. “She sewed up one for her next trip and she was right: the secret pocket scarf provided the functionality, convenience, and style she looked for in her gear,” says Randy Kalp, Speakeasy’s chief operating officer.
The result is the Speakeasy Travel Scarf, which contains a pocket where you can stash your passport, phone, sunglasses, lip balm, cash, and credit cards. Yep, it fits all that, and more. They don’t call it an “infinity” scarf for nothing!
Yes, they made a travel dress with security features
Whenever I write about travel attire, my readers accuse me of being biased toward men’s clothing. They’re right, of course. It’s difficult to test women’s clothing when you’re a guy. But then I heard from Karyna McLaren, the co-founder of Kosan, a travel apparel start-up. They’ve developed the Go Travel Dress, an innovative new travel piece that is not only adjustable and odor-blocking, but it also has four hidden pockets for added security.
So far, the Go Travel Dress has raised more than $900,000 in pre-orders on Kickstarter. And with good reason: It’s a lightweight, adjustable, odor-resistant and discreet — there’s that word again — design with a dedicated pocket for your passport, phone and lip balm.
The Go Travel Dress is so impressive that it almost makes me want to wear a dress. I said almost.
Wait, can travel clothes really keep you safe?
These new clothes raise an important question: Can these clothes keep you safe when you’re traveling? The answer is a qualified yes. They can deter opportunistic thieves, like the ones who tried to pickpocket Miniak. They can make you feel safer as a traveler, giving you peace of mind that your passport, cash, credit cards and other valuables are zipped in a secure compartment.
But they can’t protect you from the other dangers you face on the road, venturing into an unsafe neighborhood at the wrong time of the day. There are no travel clothes that can protect you from that — only common sense, which is currently unavailable online.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. Read more of Christopher’s articles here.