After playing around with the Osprey Nova for the last couple of months, the lack of lockable zippers really got to me. It made me feel uneasy about visiting potential pick-pocketing hotspots. I realise that’s probably just me being paranoid, but I would feel much more secure with a lockable backpack. So I started looking for ways to make it more secure.

This option will work on any zippered pack with two zips per opening. Can’t help with those drawstring-topped hiking packs I’m afraid.

First I picked up a cable lock – a combination lock with a thick flexible wire that’s more versatile than a standard padlock. Unfortunately the rounded end of the wire that fits into the lock was too big to fit into the small metal zip opening (it’s pretty tiny). I needed to attach something to the zip that I could then thread the cable lock through.

I really like these small cable locks. Much more versatile than a standard padlock.

I really like these small cable locks. Much more versatile than a standard padlock.

After searching online for a solution, I came across Jump Rings. These are metal rings with an opening that could be threaded onto the zip and then soldered closed. Annoyingly, my local hardware store didn’t have any of these, but I did find a pack of 4 triangles which are basically the same thing (I’ve just found out that these are actually called triangle jump rings!).

Triangle Jump Rings

Triangle Jump Rings

I used pliers to twist the triangle opening apart, threaded it through the zip, twisted the sides back to their original positions and then clamped the sides together tightly to close the opening. I could then thread the cable lock through the triangles to lock the backpack. I can fit the lock through all 4 triangles at once, locking up both the bag’s main compartment and the laptop sleeve.

Locked Osprey Nova

Locked Osprey Nova

To make the triangles a permanent part of the bag, I could have soldered the opening closed, but I didn’t have the proper equipment for that and didn’t want to purchase something I’d probably never use again. I was also concerned I would accidentally damage the bag with the soldering iron. Besides, I didn’t think it was really necessary, considering all I wanted to do was make sure no-one could slip their hand into my bag when on a busy subway etc. If a thief is really determined to steal your stuff, nothing’s going to stop him. He’ll just steal the entire bag or slash the bottom of it. I can’t do much about that, but the triangles will work to foil any opportunistic thief.

Osprey locked and ready to go!

Osprey locked and ready to go!

Now that my backpack’s sorted and secure, it’s time to decide what to put in it!

How do you deal with security when travelling?