Zipper Lock for RS Backpack

I have searched the forums and as far as I can tell there have been no specific posts about this, but I do apologize in advance if my answer actually is somewhere on here...

I am looking to buy zipper locks for my newly purchased RS backpack as this will be my carry-on and I will be traveling among several train stations and want to feel a bit more secure while carrying it on my back. I know this will not necessarily stop people who are determined, but it will help (I hope) convince them to move onto easier targets.

I know that RS sells a flexilock, but I am wondering if anyone has used this or something like this, and what the practicality of the item is---the item description does not mention what the cable is made of and this may be a dumb question but can this cord easily be cut if the cable is nothing more than fabric? Also, are there other options for locking zippers that I may be unaware of that someone could enlighten me with?

Thanks in advance :)

Posted by Frank II
4587 posts

I use the flexilock to lock by bag to the train overhead. (I tried using it to lock the zippers together but could open them enough for a small hand to get it.) Now I use his regular locks on the backpack zippers.

I travel alone,so when on a train and I want to get something to drink/eat or use the "necessary," I take my day bag, with my valuables, with me, and keep the locked regular bag near my seat. Since each compartment is locked and the bag is locked to the overhead, I'm not too worried.

I never leave it in an empty compartment. I always make sure one or two people are in there and I've chatted with them. It may not be foolproof but it helps.

Posted by Lindsey
Newport News, VA
20 posts

Thanks for the tips thus far!

Frank: when you say you use his "regular locks" now for your backpack, I assume you mean the TSA combo travel lock? I just noticed the details on those say they are compatible with their zipper pulls but right after that says minus the shackle, which leaves me a bit confused---are you able to fit that lock in the zipper "hole" part like the cable ones to secure them together?

Posted by Debra
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1001 posts

Matthew, it's not silly to use twisties. In fact, I've used paperclips! I think ultimately, the thieves are looking for a quick target. Most likely, ANYTHING that would make it just that much more difficult for them to get into your stuff will be a deterrent.

Posted by Frank II
4587 posts

Lindsay, the locks work and fit fine. When it says "minus the shackle" it's referring to the dimensions of the lock intself.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8278 posts

The cable is uncutable airline cable. But any small lock would be enough to deter would-be thieves if you are wearing your bag. They are looking for easy opportunities.

Posted by Lindsey
Newport News, VA
20 posts

good to know, thank you! i figured it would be made of something durable, but wanted to double check before purchasing one.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21005 posts


I've been using the RS FlexLocks with my Eagle Creek Backpacks for the past few trips, and they've been working well.

The "flex" part of the Lock is stainless steel cable with a crimped fitting at one end that fits into the locking mechanism.

I especially like these for carry-on Packs, as the Cable can be closed but not locked. That makes it easy to open for inspection by simply "pushing the button" on the side.

I can't recall the layout of the zippers on the RS Packs, but I'm sure you'll be able to lock the zippers on the larger compartments together. The zipper on the front compartment that only has one "pull tab" might be a bit more difficult to secure (don't store any valuables in that compartment).

Happy travels!

Posted by matthew
cincinnati, ohio, usa
129 posts

might sound silly but someone gave me a tip a long time ago and i still use it...i use twisty garbage bag actually works great

Posted by JB
Redding, CA, USA
1568 posts

A word of advice. Buy the small combination locks for the areas you want secure. They are easy to find. I have the PacSafe cable for luggage and used them on the trains and secured them the the storage bars. I also use the small conbination locks on all openings on my day back pack and luggage.

Would not travel without them.

Posted by Lindsey
Newport News, VA
20 posts

JB: are you talking about the small combo locks off this site, or otherwise?

Posted by Mike
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1448 posts

as opposed to worrying about people opening the pack without your knowledge, my concern would be someone taking it just as the train is about to leave and leaping off the train, or taking it from the overhead bin while you're distracted. A tip I got from the RS travel book is to unclip one of the straps, then re-clip it around something on the train such as the overhead luggage rail. If someone tries to snatch your bag, it won't go more than 1 foot.

Posted by GByron
Olympia, WA, USA
18 posts

I use small carabiners to secure the double zippers on my back pack. You can get the kind that screw shut or snap shut. Either one discourages a quick entry into your bag, yet they are easy to open when you want to get into the bag. For your openings with only a single zipper pull, use a one or two inch safety pin and push it through the fabric at the end of the closed zipper and through the zipper pull. Won't keep out determined hands but will likely encourage them to seek out easier offerings.

Posted by Carole
San Francisco, California, USA
90 posts

Dear Lindsey:
Try a diaper pin. Sometimes you can find them in Dollar Stores.

Nearly had my wallet taken by a well dressed pickpocket on the train in Rome. All my luggage had locks, but I did not think to lock my purse which was dumb. One of the odds and ends I always leave in my travel wallet was an old diaper pin which worked great. The head was larger and encased in rubber so it was easy to grab.
Good Luck and Have Fun on your trip!

Posted by PETER
Emerald City
3 posts

Hi Rick, How hard can it be to make order these Backpacks with Lockable Zippers for traveling. You have a nice selection of backpacks but no " Lockable Zippers" . The problem here in the U.S. / CAN is that our backpacks are actually designed for the traditional concept of backpacking--hiking, camping, etc--and not for traveling, you could make
a killing by starting selling these "Backpacks with Lockable Zippers" .

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3994 posts

For our daybags, we've used these for years and years. Most opportunistic thieves aren't going to work out the 2-dial winning combination. And as often as I get into my daybag, I don't want to be spinning a 4 dial combo over and over...I'm trying to be as inconspicuous as I also don't have every single compartment on all of my bags locked like Fort Knox LOL! - typically, just one compartment on my daybag (wallet, etc.), and the main compartment on my backpack/main luggage. For our larger luggage (where we don't mind the extra weight and the clank-clanking of the lock banging against the bag) we use what would be like the modern TSA-type locks - as small as possible, and with 3-4 numbers on the dial. (cont.)

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3994 posts

(cont.) Don't get into the habit of unlocking all but the last dial (to avoid having to spin 4 dials every single time); the thieves know that little trick. It will take mere seconds to spin that last dial around to all 10 digits (at most) to get your bag open. I personally wouldn't use the lock you're referring to (sold by RS and many others); just the regular TSA-type is fine for locking 2 zippers together. You can then purchase a bike cable like this and simply use a regular lock with it. This would be, of course, for attaching your bag to the overhead rack of a train, etc. BE SURE to detach your bag well ahead of your train stop...;-) YOU have to watch your bags like a hawk. If traveling in a group, make it The First Rule that everybody constantly check each other's luggage for signs that it's been tampered with, and count the pieces of luggage! At some point in time, somebody is going to set a bag down and leave it constantly count! I don't mean make a big production out of checking for signs of tampering; just glance at the bags and look for the locks, zippers left open, etc. And watch each other's back - LITERALLY - while in a crowd (metro, Eiffel Tower, etc.) for suspicious people... None of these are really meant to keep thieves from taking/getting into your bag (see the YouTube video from Carole); they're meant to slow the thieves down in the hope that they'll move on to the next easier target. REMEMBER THIS!!!

Posted by Chad
69 posts

Similar to paper clips or twist ties I use key rings to prevent easy access.