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Epic Cable Lock failure

Just wanted to post a heads up for anyone who has a Lewis Clark combination double cable lock for your luggage. This luggage lock was recommended at a packing presentation I went to one time. (Not a RS one!). It has a slightly longer cable on one end that threads thru the suitcase handle plus a smaller one to run thru the zipper tabs. I got one for myself, my SIL and my brother.

We used them easily last year on vacation, so this year we were all set. However....after passing thru security in our first airport, the lock seemed to be jammed on my SIL's case. In our long layover in Seattle she could not get it off (yes she was using the right combo). She finally wound up at the Ex Officio store in SEATAC and they used scissors and finally worried it off. After we arrived in Dublin my brother's lock would not open and he had to borrow pliers from the hotel front desk to clip it off. The desk clerk indicated it happens weekly. Mine was still working so I was able to get it off and throw it away. We all had carabiners which we just switched over to the zipper tabs to keep them in place.

We don't really worry about people getting into our luggage if it is gate checked (nothing valuable in them), but just want for the zips not to come open. However, we will just stay with the carabiners from now on!

Posted by
1179 posts

I had the exact same thing happen. I also had to cut it off with scissors at the Istanbul airport. These locks are poorly designed.

My solution: Sew a luggage security ring to the bag near the end of the zipper. Then use a regular TSA lock to lock the zippers to the ring.

Google luggage security ring to see how.

Posted by
21709 posts

But there are other combo cable on the market that work just fine. I have used one that doubles as a bike lock when not traveling for over ten years with no problems. I think it is the MasterLock brand. Go to a good bike shop, they will know which cable locks work well.

Posted by
9692 posts

Cindy, I will google that up.

Frank, that is good to know. I didn't really want anything that would add much weight so will have to check them out at the local bike shop.

Posted by
484 posts

For a zipper lock, I used a small samsonite combo. lock and it worked well. I bought a cable lock in bike section of Walmart. Kryptonite brand. It's light and you can adjust the cable length. You can even pick the combo.

Posted by
1068 posts

Good info. I used to use locks but don't anymore. I now use the disposable flight locks (RS and others sell them.) They keep the bag shut and let me know if anyone has been in it. I use them when my bag is being transported on something public like a plane, bus etc., whether it is with me or not. They are not "protection" just letting someone know you will know if the bag was opened. So far the only problem has been that when TSA gets into the bag they reseal it with a plastic tie that takes scissors to cut off.

Posted by
21709 posts

Unless we are not talking about the same thing. Cable locks are not used - or it would be more than overkill - to secure a suitcase contents. Cable locks are used to secure the suitcase itself to something more solid or to other suitcases to prevent a grab and run from the luggage storage area. For securing the suitcase contents I use the plastic cable ties for flights and little comb lock for the suitcase when in the hotel room or during routine travel.

Posted by
9692 posts

The locks in question have 2 short pieces of cable that attach to a central combination lock. The longer side is maybe 6 inches long at most.

Posted by
21709 posts

We are not talking about the same thing. I have not seen what you have described. The cable locks I use are three to four feet long with a combo locking on one end (you can get them with keys.) One just coils up like a piece of rope or cord. The other is actually sold as a ski lock but is a retractable cable about four feet lock that retracts into a plastic box about size of a deck of cards. Has a built in combo dial lock. A heavy pair of wire cutters probably could cut the cable but who carries heavy wire cutters? Primarily use the cable lock on trains in the storage bin when we secure our luggage to a pole or to each other so that someone cannot easily snatch it and run. For content security we use little combo locks or plastic wire tie depending on the situation.

Posted by
9692 posts

When you mentioned a bike shop, I realized you meant something sturdier than this lock, Frank.

http://tinyurl.com/ota9ack

What happened is that the padlock part would not release the end of the cable. Fortunately it was not as thick as your cable and it could be worried apart by scissors altho it took a while.