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Good bye money belt!

While getting ready for an upcoming trip to Eastern Europe I was looking at money belts. I have had a neck wallet for years. It's ok, some times inconvenient, especially with a tee shirt or a sweater on. Money belts look big and uncomfortable, never used one.

While looking around I ran across some travel pants with built in hidden pockets. One inside the pants for passport and extra money and one just inside each front side pocket, each with a zipper. The fabric is lightweight, fast drying. They are chino style. Somewhat pricey but so much more convenient. Seems a great solution. I'll report back in September. I got them from bluffworks.com, they seemed best, but there are several others.

Posted by
7169 posts

When you say so much more convenient I’m guessing that means convenient for you to access your own stuff in your convenient pockets. I’m also thinking that if it’s easier for you to access it’s probably easier for pickpockets to access?

Posted by
8 posts

Only if they are putting their hands inside my pants! Just another cultural experience!

Posted by
4207 posts

Besides a lot of other pockets, including zippered, it looks like they have a velcro-closed "money pocket" on the inner side of the left pants pocket, i.e. next to your body. This is the same principle as the money belt, just without the belt, therefore probably more comfortable. The downside is that you have to take off your pants, at least part way, to access the contents, i.e. only in a hotel room or restroom stall. Another downside is that these pants cost $125, seems a lot for the kind of security you can get for under $20 with a money belt.

I'm a neck wallet guy, even though it can look dorky. (Less dorky, at least relatively, as my stomach, shall we say, thickens.) Easier access is the big advantage of the neck wallet, along with comfort for some of us at least.

Posted by
649 posts

"Goodbye Money Belt"......isn't that a tune by Charles Mingus?
or was that
"Bye Bye Money Belt" by the Everly Brothers?

Posted by
20600 posts

First off, I have bought similar pants at Costco with hidden pockets -- generally behind the front pocket for about $20. Personally I would judge that to be pretty secure for daily cash, a credit card, etc. Have used that type of pants for years but still use the money belt for passport and other critical items.

Only if they are putting their hands inside my pants! And they will and you will not know it. If you like I will be glad to forward a dozen or more links on this site from posters who lost stuff from front pockets and never knew it. Remember -- this is well proven --- if it is easy for you to get to it, it will be just as easy for the pickpocket.

Posted by
8 posts

@Dick: I wouldn't store anything inside that I needed for the day so no need to go in there. Day cash and a credit card in the front zip pockets. I have found it somewhat cumbersome to pull a neck wallet out for a credit card or cash while sitting in a restaurant, maybe less so in a shop. There was a 10% discount and less the money I would have spent on a money belt makes it more reasonable.

I thought it was worth a try. I have only one pair so I'll still bring my neck wallet for other times.

@Frank: By 'inside' I meant inside between my stomach and the pants. The inner pocket is only accessible, I think, from the inside not through the pockets. As above only day cash and a credit card will be in the zipped pockets inside the front pockets.

Posted by
2705 posts

Isn't the point of a money belt to bury things deep that need protecting....not requiring access during the day? One would think any internal secure pocket would be a valid replacement. The internal pant leg one sounds slick.

Posted by
73 posts

Robert
My recommendation is do what makes you comfortable for you. My wife and I use the free money belt which only has our passport, $500 US and a list of our hotels. We wear the pouch in the back inside our pants below our belt. I carry a small amount of the local currency (100 US) and one credit card in a money clip in a front pocket. In five trips I have never needed to get in the money belt. Plus now you don’t very often need to get out the money clip just use Apple Pay on your phone. It even works on the Tube, Trains etc. Lock it immediately after each use and keep it secure again front pocket. Check out the technology section of this forum.

The passport is the only thing you can’t quickly replace. Last year in London one of our travelers had her purse snatched and the lost a date and a half at the embassy getting travel docs.

Most important enjoy the trip and don’t worry about a few dollars or a card
Safe Travels to all
D

Posted by
78 posts

Bluffworks are excellent pants. You will not be disappointed and completely safe unless you go into areas where you should not have been in the first place.

Posted by
441 posts

I have no experience with Buffworks but the widely advertised PickPocketProofPants are not much good. Very expensive and well crafted but poorly designed. Nine is just too many secret pockets especially when accessing some of them requires getting through others. They call that extra security but it was just a hassle for me. And the PPPP appear to have been designed ten years ago; the pockets don’t really fit today’s phones or even a conventional passport-sized wallet or case.

My security system now is the Active Traveler from Royal Robbins. The zipper phone pocket is in the right thigh and there is a zipper wallet/passport pocket On the hip, hidden under the belt.

Posted by
4498 posts

Remember -- this is well proven --- if it is easy for you to get to
it, it will be just as easy for the pickpocket.

This is simply NOT true. There are multiple ways for people to securely store their valuables and have access to them. Secure travel purses are very difficult to pickpocket but pretty accessible for the user. Neck wallets are very difficult for pickpockets to access, but easy for the user to pull out and use. Belt loop wallets are very secure, but easy to access for the user.

Waist money belts are just one way to secure valuables. And they are very difficult for the user to access. That is why many people don't like to use them.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. I'll look into some of the other pants.

This is, I think my 8th trip to Europe, the first one when I was 19 and hitchhiked and backpacked around for 6 weeks. I'm now 67. I've never had any trouble and hope not to start now!

Posted by
706 posts

I found a scarf that has a hidden zippered pocket but I don't carry my passport normally just a paper copy while out and about. If I'm traveling shoulder season when the weather is a bit cooler the scarf works well

Posted by
8 posts

I received the Bluffworks pants and purchased a pair of Royal Robbins Everyday Travelers pants that were on sale at REI.

The Bluffworks ones are very nice, well made and comfortable. The two inner zipper pockets are not visible from the outside. The zipper pull is small which means you have to make an effort to find it and it zips open from bottom to top. It feels and looks secure. I don't think anyone could put their hand in my pocket long enough to unzip it without me feeling it. I have to make a little effort to open it. Plus the main pocket opening itself is somewhat tight.
Also found out that the inner pocket does connect to the left front pocket so if you need passport or whatever else is in there you can reach it without undoing the pants at the waist.

The Royal Robbins pants are a slightly different model than the Active Traveler one that someone mentioned. The fabric isn't as nice as Bluffworks and the fit is a little loose but for the price they are alright. The pockets are side pants pockets vs the Active Traveler which has jean style pockets. They also do not have the hidden pocket somewhere around the inside waist. There is a zippered pocket below the right side pocket low on the thigh which looks like it would be hard for someone else to reach without bending down. Oddly Royal Robbins website didn't show any photos of the hidden pocket.

Posted by
154 posts

The image certainly doesn't appear "unisex" (!) but this 4" wide waist band style with hidden zipper is my new option:
https://www.amazon.com/Stashbandz-Running-Security-Pockets-Passport/dp/B00ZS3DC4U/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=hidden+waist+wallet&qid=1563050923&s=gateway&sr=8-4
I appreciate its comfort over the traditional money belt. I can fit my passport and credit cards comfortably. The cell phone adds bulk, but does fit. I don't wear it all the time, but in the same circumstances when I used to use the old-style version that clipped ( and ironically came unclipped one time, fortunately I noticed).

Posted by
364 posts

I have something like Rick's hidden pocket
https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/hidden-pocket

And have loved it.
I didn't use it this year in Italy
I didn't use it last year in Spain
Because my $15 pants have velco closure cargo pockets

Perhaps it helped that we didn't get on crowded subways except in Barcelona - where I was cautious

Posted by
960 posts

My husband has used the hidden pocket similar to the RS one and never had an issue with theft. He did actually feel someone put their hand into his side pants pocket on the London tube. Nothing in his pocket to steal thankfully. I think he whacked that wandering hand with his umbrella.

Posted by
8 posts

@karen: That looks interesting. I know it was made originally for runners. Do you wear it under your clothes?

@Evan & Mary: seems reasonable but requires a belt. I dont' always wear a belt but guess I could. Is it easy to pull out? And Evan I wouldn't trust a Velcro closure for anything important.

Posted by
154 posts

My suggestion with the Amazon link, I do think, was initially meant for running/walking. It certainly is useful for travel, though! Because I wear mostly black and athleisure outfits I usually wear it on the outside with a t shirt covering it. It lies totally flat and with the zipper concealed, sometimes I even have to look for it- a pickpocket couldn't. In crowded areas I moved it to under my pants. You would want a larger size if it's to fit over heavier pants.

Posted by
182 posts

I use the hidden pocket, and I seldom wear a belt. You can attach it to the belt loops with a caribiner(sp) or other method. I find it easy to pull out. If I wear a dress, I use a neck wallet hanging under my arm and safety pinned to my bra strap.

Posted by
11704 posts

A hidden wallet that can only be accessed from inside your pants should be fine. A second pocket with a zipper is no more secure than any other outside pocket. The people who make a living picking pockets don't have any problem with a zipper.

I like zippers on my travel pockets because I'm dressing/undressing in lots of different places. Having pockets zipped helps ensure nothing falls out on the floor of a hotel room I'll never return to. I wouldn't consider them substitutes for something inaccessible from outside.

Posted by
8 posts

@Brad: I'm sorry but I don't believe someone can walk along beside me, put their hand in my pocket, not knowing there is a hidden zipper, find the very small pull, which they don't know if it's on the top or the bottom, and unzip it AND then put their hand deep in that rather tight opening and pull something out, all without me seeing them or feeling them.

Posted by
4498 posts

^^ I'm with you Robert. While an outside pocket with zippers is not secure, an inner pocket that has a zipper is pretty secure. Pick pockets are very good at what they do, but they target easy to access storage. Front and back pockets. Zippered bags and purses. If given extra layers to penetrate, they are highly unlikely to know about them or be able to access them.

Posted by
2413 posts

As Robert and Douglas indicate, I also think a zipped interior front pocket is not particularly accessible for a pick pocket. My husband uses these pants and he's fine. If someone is unusually friendly, his hand goes into this pocket, but he has no particular worries. There are many ways to organize your important documents so they are not all or singularly lost.

Posted by
8 posts

I've returned from my almost 3 week trip through central Europe (Bruge, Krakow, Prague, Vienna, Budapest).

I brought a neck wallet just in case and never got it out. The crowds were a mix of locals and tourists. Locals don't use money belts or neck wallets. While there might have been nefarious people around I never noticed anyone being bothered.

The Bluffworks travel pants worked wonderfully. The layout is a regular front pocket, a pretty well hidden zipper to an inner pocket and then an additional third inner pocket beyond the zippered one for deep storage. It is accessible with a little effort through a horizontal slit opening at the top of the inner zipper pocket. It is also accessible from inside the pants before you put them on and has a flap closure with velcro. I used this deep inner pocket for passport, debit card and spare cash, none of which I needed during the day but could always get if necessary. I used the left zipper pocket or in some cases the outer pocket for my phone (left handed). The right pocket has a regular pocket which also has a pouch or sleeve big enough for a phone but I kept a money clip with daily cash and a credit card in it. I could have put that in the right inner zip pocket but never felt the need.

I thought they were very convenient and very secure. In addition they look good, are comfortable and dried quickly over night if washed in a sink. Disclaimer: I have no connection to the Bluffworks company, just a satisfied customer.

Posted by
170 posts

Hidden pocket is under appreciated. Like a money belt, but it hangs from your regular belt and just flips over into your pants. Easy to get to, rides on my hip just like a regular pocket. $20

Posted by
30932 posts

Robert,

Thanks for reporting back on your experiences with the Bluffworks pants. I've been using a similar method for many years with Tilley pants, which also have a secret anti-theft pocket secured by Velcro®. I've found that the secret pocket doesn't provide the same capacity as a money belt for things like a Passport, so I still prefer to use a money belt. My usual travel method is to split cash and cards into several different locations, so the anti-theft pocket in the pants is only one component of that.