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Anti-Pickpocketing hack

Like many people here, I use a moneybelt for my main "wallet" items and only carry a wallet with enough money for the day.

But I also have a cellphone I want to protect while it is in my pocket. So I thought of a possible anti-pickpocketing hack for those who wear belts.

I found a handle loop that can be attached and detached to a bag. I use this one:

Tom Bihn Handle Loop

Then I attached a key ring to the zipper on a Rick Steves wallet (my daily use wallet.) The clip on the handle attaches to the key ring on the wallet and my belt goes through the loop. (I may add a longer strap to the handle. )

My cellphone case has a carabiner on it and I'll also attach it to the belt loop.

(I wish I could post pictures.)

While it may not be 100% pickpocket proof, I hope it will slow them down enough to either think twice or I will feel it if someone is trying to get my stuff.

Posted by
518 posts

I've mentioned this before elsewhere too, I think the handle loop is a great idea for when you're actually using your phone. It makes it much more difficult for someone to "grab-and-run" with your phone, especially now that some phones are getting so big, they make easy targets for someone to snatch out of your hand as you're standing on the street looking up something.

Posted by
1179 posts

Frank II - I've posted a a hack on my website that is similar but slightly cheaper. I created a wallet tether that I've installed in all my pants pockets as well as the side pocket of my day pack. You can also sew the tether to the inside pocket of a purse. It takes about 10-15 minutes per tether to install.

I bought the construction items from a sewing store:

  • Packet of small swivel "lobster claw" clasps.
  • Needle & thread.
  • Heavy ribbon or hem tape. Light weight ribbon tangles.
  1. Cut the ribbon length to approximately 5-10 inches (more or less). Longer is more likely to get tangled. Shorter makes it harder to access the item.
  2. Sew the lobster claw to one end.
  3. Sew the other end to the bottom of the pants pocket or backpack pocket.

You can put a tether in each pocket. Then you'll have an attachment point for your phone and your wallet. This is also good for key rings and other small items that can jump out of your pocket. A larger lobster claw makes it easier to unclip the items. As you've noted, adding a key ring to your protected item makes a great attachment point.

If desired you can also fasten the pocket closed with a safety pin.

Posted by
9010 posts

I use a simpler approach, I bought this thingy (, which loops around the notches at the base of my Iphone case and simply loop it around my wrist when I'am in crowded situations. The loops is just small enough so that if a bad guy wanted to snatch it would take a lot of force for it to come off. There is also the added benefit of preventing me from accidentally dropping the phone and breaking the glass.

Posted by
13861 posts

An even simpler approach than Michael's? We leave the cellphones at home! :O)

Posted by
9010 posts

No way that would work for me. A good chunk of my travels revolve around my smartphone:mapping, Eguidebooks, storing documents, alarm clock, camera, banking, web browsing, email, general entertainment. If I were to leave that kind of technology home and go low-tech it would add about ten pounds to my baggage.

Posted by
2895 posts

Not realistic for most people to not have cellphones, since those things now do everything for some folks.

Posted by
518 posts

Smartphones save a TON of weight to your baggage, not to mention precious vacation time. Purists/traditionalists may feel there is a sense of nostalgia or connection with traveling the old way, but imagine all that the phone has replaced with it's various apps, which in addition to replacement expands exponentially on features:

  • Language phrase books have been replaced by translation apps that no only do all that the phrase books use to do, but can also teach you the pronunciation of words, contain many more languages than just a single language phrase book, and you (or the person whom you're communicating with) can dictate to the app and the app will translate it into your language.

  • Paper maps have been replaced by the phone's built-in map app or downloadable maps. This alone rivals paper maps in that you can have maybe hundreds of maps at your finger tips, combine that with the phone's GPS and routing abilities, you'll never be lost again. In addition to the paper map, throw out the old compass while you're at it.

  • Being able to communicate with folks back home via text and e-mail saves the time/cost of going to the old internet cafe (and remember when "internet cafes" were considered oh so hi-tech and saved us from writing letters and postcards?).

  • Entire guidebooks can be stored on your phone, or just the chapters needed.

  • music and movie apps replace Walkmans, MP3 players, portable DVD players, etc., a thousandfold.

Shall I go on?

And even if technology were to fail you (phone crashes, is damaged, etc.), you could bring a second phone (say, an older smartphone you upgraded from) as backup and the two phones together would still weigh less and be smaller than any one of the books that the devices are replacing.

Posted by
13861 posts

Yes, yes, I know that most folks love their phones. We just don't (neither of us have smartphones) and it has worked just fine for us so far. We do bring an ipad (him) and itouch (me) for checking mail, looking things up at night, etc. but the phones stay home. They're just not something either of us rely on for much of anything even when we're not traveling. And I can't imagine trying to read a guidebook or navigate a map on those little screens.

Unplugging (or mostly so) can be fun. :O)

Posted by
31588 posts

I'm also one that prefers to travel with a smartphone, and I can't imagine travelling without it, as it performs so many functions and makes things a lot easier. However, protecting it from theft is definitely important, and so far I've managed to do that well.

Posted by
11613 posts

I turn off the smartphone, use a cheap TIM phone in Europe to make calls, the iPad mini does everything else, the only paper product is a good paper map (and reservations, tickets).