Most of the time when I travel I don’t need a fancy multi-compartment backpack, making a tote bag the go-to method for transporting my things. The LocTote is a surprisingly robust bag that combines security with functionality through its anti-slash fabric, various locking mechanisms, and RFID blocking pouch.
The LocTote comes neatly packaged in a box, and includes a smaller mini-tote inside the bag. It works great for holding chargers that could scratch up against my Surface 3. Normal tote bags are rather light and tend to have thin drawstrings, but the ones on this bag are pleasantly heavy and actually have wires inside to prevent theft. Naturally, the first thing I did was try it on.
Due to the thickness of the drawstrings, they are really comfortable against my shoulders. They don’t dig into my skin as I would have expected them to, even with added weight in the bag. The fabric used on the LocTote also seems to be composed of two layers giving it a premium feel. This is especially nice if you’ve stored objects with pointed edges, since the thick cloth will protect your back. According to LocTote, the material used for the bag is also a step above kevlar; just don’t expect it to stop a bullet!
Included on the drawstrings is also a leather clip, which allows you to lock the strings together across your chest. This serves the same function as plastic buckles you may find on something like a Swiss Army backpack. The clip glides smoothly across the drawstrings, and relieves some of the weight when storing particularly heavy items. It’s pretty easy to find a comfortable spot. When travelling, it is also very convenient to strap the LocTote to the back of a chair. After having made stops at restaurants, I could be assured that my stuff was right behind me.
Different ways to lock
The whole reason I purchased the LocTote wasn’t simply to hold my things, but also to keep them secure. First and foremost you can, of course, lock the bag closed. Hidden beneath the LocTote badge on the front of the bag is a padlock. Once that’s pulled on, two metal grommets will be revealed which you can slide the lock into. This is ultimately how you lock the bag, although somebody could still finagle a hand inside if they tried which is slightly flawed.
The way to fully secure this ‘hole’ is to grab a separate strap inside the bag, pull it down and loop it through the lock. It is a bit challenging to do, but I’m hoping that it will get easier as time goes on due to the loosening of the fabric. Regardless, using this method you can completely seal the entrance to the bag.
Using the front strap you may also lock your bag to things like bike racks or chain link fences. While at the bus station, I locked my bag to the metal seats before using the restroom. My bag was left untouched after I had returned. As mentioned earlier, the rest of the straps on the bag also use metal wires to prevent theft: no knife would be able to cut straight through the bag or any of its other components. A wirecutter, sure! But I would hope that a criminal doesn’t bring one to a bus station.
There’s not a lot to say about the LocTote’s water resistance, but it has proven itself worthy. After a trip to Florida and many random downpours, the bag remained mostly dry on the outside. While it shouldn’t be expected to survive a fall into a puddle, heavy rainfall didn’t seem to be much of an issue. Since it also tends to be rather hot in Florida, I stuck a bunch of frozen water bottles in my bag. They didn’t ‘sweat’ through at all, nor could I feel the cold from them against my back. The thickness of the cloth on the LocTote is rather impressive and has left me very satisfied with its quality.
What’s not to like?
While I have been loving my new LocTote bag, there are a few things that could be improved in newer iterations of the product. Over the period of a month or so, the fabric around the closing entrance of the drawstrings has frayed slightly. While not a significant setback, aesthetically it looks like little hairs coming from the fabric. Another minor but potential setback is the fabric used on the locking cable, which can be cut with a knife. The wire inside will remain intact, although if a thief starts cutting away at straps its cloth will tear. The last thing I had an issue with is the lock itself, which from a lockpicking standpoint is easy to break into.
A technique known as ‘shimming’ can be used to open the lock should a thief know what they are doing. More importantly, anybody can go on YouTube and look up how to do it using household materials.
My complaints are mostly from an aesthetic point of view, but given the $129 price tag it detracts from its value slightly. Still, having now fully absorbed the quality and capability of this bag, I can truly recommend this bag to anybody seeking a tote bag for everyday carrying. It’s robust enough to take drops and scuffs, and ward away thieves trying to make a quick buck. If you want a tote bag to last you a long time, this product is easily worth its value.