Anti-Theft Underwear: A Clever Travel Security Solution

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The most expensive underwear I own isn’t a lacy pair from Victoria’s Secret or a silk number from La Perla.

That’s right: I paid $23 for a single pair of boyshorts that aren’t even cute.  Of course, I didn’t buy them to be sexy (and admittedly, they’re not ugly, just ordinary).  I bought them because I needed underwear with pockets.

pickpocket proof underwear hidden pockets anti-theft underwear

Like most travelers, I started with a money belt and decided never again.  They’re awkward unless you’re wearing high-rise pants and feel uncomfortable any time you sit down.  Plus, when I wore one, I felt like my constant readjustments screamed to the world, “I’m a tourist and I’ve got valuables on me!”

With pickpocketing as a real concern, I knew that throwing my passport into a pocket or daybag wasn’t going to bring the peace of mind I need, so I started looking for other options.  I found the Clever Travel Companion and decided to give it a trial run on my trip to Europe.  Besides, anti-theft underwear just sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

Problems Happen to the Best of Us

In a sea of a million people, it’s hard enough to keep track of who you’re traveling with, let alone your belongings.  That’s why my heart sank when my sister tugged on my shoulder in Mexico City and said, “Hey Beck, I don’t think I have my travel wallet anymore.”

To her credit, my sister had put her valuables on her person in a bra stash instead of mindlessly throwing them into a backpack.  She carried as little as possible — an ID, a credit card, and about $20 in cash — and did her best to keep them out of reach.

pickpocket crowds
Crowds in the midst of a Mexico City Festival

But snaps and clips fail, and so did her stash.  Somehow that “travel security” product had made it’s way loose (presumably on its own and not from a pickpocket, based on where it was placed on her body) and she lost everything in it.  While it wasn’t a huge loss, I feel her pain as she stands in line at the DMV for a replacement.  I’m grateful we didn’t have to make an emergency visit to the embassy for a new passport.

But you know what never fails?  Built-in pockets.  That’s why pickpocket-proof underwear has been my solution for years.

Related Post: How to Avoid Being Pickpocketed (and What to Do if It Happens)

Why I Chose Underwear with Pockets

Pickpocket proof clothing comes in many forms.  I chose panties with pockets because you wear underwear every single day, unlike trying to choose a solution like leggings which won’t make sense half the time.

My boyshort-style panties have a zippered compartment on each leg that (just barely) fits my passport, hiding it from pickpockets on crowded chicken bus rides, in busy train stations, or any other time when I can’t keep my passport locked in a hotel safe.  In the other hidden pocket, I stuff any spare cash or credit cards, just in case.  The zippers ensure that nothing accidentally slips out.

pickpocket proof underwear with pockets
Store things safely in underwear with pockets.

Even though the ladies’ boy shorts fit my needs perfectly, you can also choose mens’ boxer briefs, t-shirts, and other products.  In all cases, the pockets are sized for a passport, though you could just as easily use them for cards, cash, or keys instead.

Frankly, the best use of all might be stashing your camera’s memory cards since those photographs are priceless!

Boxer Briefs - Photo courtesy of Clever Travel Companion
Boxer Briefs – Photo courtesy of Clever Travel Companion

What You Really Want to Know: Is Anti Theft Underwear Awkward?

If I’m being perfectly honest, it was weird wearing them for the first time.  I was standing in a hotel lobby and realized that in order to give my passport to the front desk staff to check in, I’d have to reach down my pants in front of a dozen people.  Now I’ve learned the minute I get somewhere secure (like inside an airport or hotel), I need to make a pit stop in the bathroom to rearrange.

If that sounds too complicated for you, try layering tanks instead.  Reaching for your stomach won’t get any weird looks.  But seriously, a quick bathroom stop solves all problems!

t-shirt with pockets, one type of pickpocket proof clothing
Photo courtesy of Clever Travel Companion

Now, I’m so used to my hidden pocket underwear, I don’t even notice them.  I keep some small change on my person to buy snacks and tickets along the way and keep anything valuable flush against my body, secretly zippered away.  I’ve been protected on five continents without failure and the underwear is still in great shape years later.

If I had one complaint, it’s that they discontinued their rayon underwear product and only offer cotton now.  You’ll really need two pairs if you’re going somewhere hot and humid, so you can wash out one pair in the sink and let it dry while you’re wearing the other.  Cotton doesn’t dry as quickly as the original rayon (but it sure is comfy!).

Travel Tips for Using Secret Pocket Underwear

You’ll still need to empty your pockets to go through airport security, so do that in advance!

Not surprisingly, bulky pockets work best under looser pants.  On travel days, wear clothing with a relaxed fit instead of your skinny jeans.

I felt like the underwear was true to size, but if you’re between sizes, I’d order the larger size just in case you end up stuffing a lot into the pockets.

Please remember to check your secret pockets before doing your laundry!

Where to Shop for Panties with Pockets

The underwear is available through with free shipping but there are a few clearance items if you buy directly from Clever Travel Companion.  You may want to compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Shipping starts at $5 or is free on orders of more than $75 (perfect for families!).  It’s also a great idea for holiday gifts, especially since gift cards are available for when you don’t know the perfect size or are afraid to venture a guess 😉

Obviously the Clever Travel Companion underwear isn’t the only clothing product with pockets.  It just happens to be the first one I actually trust, can wear anywhere (regardless of weather or dress code), and doesn’t feel bulky.  If you’re carrying small items around and don’t need to get to them on a frequent basis, then pocket underwear is a great option.

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I paid full price for my own pair of underwear, but this post contains affiliate links.  As a blogger, I love sharing reviews of things that improve your travel experience and all opinions remain my own.  Your support of this blog is greatly appreciated.

27 thoughts on “Anti-Theft Underwear: A Clever Travel Security Solution”

    1. @Damon, there are actually quite a few companies selling men’s underwear with similar type pockets. I’ve been happy with this pair but if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, there are other options out there. It’s harder for women (I’m guessing due to the smaller cut of underwear).

      1. @Becky In 2009 I created secret pocket underpants for myself when travelling and have now started to help keep women safer when travelling. We make them in Australian sizes 6-24 and US sizes 2-20. I have had many more pairs made over the last 10 years and although pickpockets have tried, they’ve never been successful.

  1. Cool. Scottevest also has clothing with multiple pockets to complete your outfit. From underwear to overcoats you can easily dress with gear containing a hundred or more pickpocketproof pockets. Bad news for the gypsies and professional pickpockets in europe.

    1. @AlohaDaveKennedy, Scottevest has some really cool offerings, but in general, I think their offerings for women are pretty poor. Either the clothes end up looking like something a woman would never wear or they have only one or two pockets. I’m looking forward to seeing what new lines they offer in the future because I know they’re expanding.

  2. If I were going to a place where i’d worry about pick-pocketing… i’d be more worried about my RFID passport/CCs info getting lifted by those scanners. I would still prefer to use pacsafe products but it’s a good idea!

    1. @Ed, I have a Pacsafe wallet (RFID blocking) that I keep my passport in while I’m transiting airports and other places where I have to keep my passport ready. But on things like bus rides through Central America or Southeast Asia, I’m personally more concerned about the entire wallet/bag being snatched than having my information read. Being prepared for both situations is important in my opinion.

  3. I have a Pacsafe wallet I bought for this. I am concerned about it’s usefullness, I placed my company ID card in it and the door scanner was able to read it.

  4. I was sent a Clever Travel Companion t-shirt last year to review and wasn’t impressed. The idea of the product is great but if you keep your passport in the shirt pocket, a very obvious bulge sticks out. As for the underwear, I didn’t try them but I can;t imagine carrying items down there. lol

  5. Another great post. I’ve been traveling all my life and always felt I had the security thing nailed. But this is news! I think I might buy a pair of these. Did you ever try wearing a thin nylon pair under them so the need to launder isn’t as frequent?

  6. @applezz13, Oh no! Have you contacted Pacsafe? I’ll have to check on mine tomorrow to see if I have the same problem.

    @Dia, I’ve been thinking of getting one of those but I’m worried I’d really notice it while wearing it. Maybe it’s worth a $7 try.

    @Michael W, I had the same thought on the t-shirt and can’t imagine it’s much more beneficial than a standard neck wallet. The underwear worked great for me, but obviously there’s no way I can try out the men’s version to let you know if it’s different for guys.

    @P T, I haven’t tried doubling up my undies, but I don’t foresee needing to wear the underwear two days in a row so it would be simple enough to wash in the sink by hand between uses while traveling. It’s a good idea to keep in the back of my head, though, in case plans change.

  7. Becky, this was a hilarious and very practical post! You do have to hide the passport somewhere. It reminded me of the time we went to Italy. I was wearing my money belt inside my pants. The hotel clerk asked for my passport. So I told him to wait a second and went to the corner to fish it out.For some reason he decided to follow me. You should have seen the look on his face when I reached into my pants!

  8. Passports are hard to keep dry in humid countries whether in shorts or shirt pockets. Had to wring mine out many times. Might try zip bags or a thin plastic sleeve.

  9. @Mikey, that’s a tough one but I don’t think keeping it in your “shorts” is much different than keeping it elsewhere on your person. Hope for air conditioning or a short trip!

    @Milesforfamily, I’ve never had to reach down my pants in public, but being discrete could be difficult. Always best to find a bathroom if possible 🙂

    @Alohadave Kennedy, If you find a plastic sleeve, please share the link. It sounds like that might help.

  10. The wallet doesn’t fit the whole passport, just the folded up paper copy. I really didn’t notice it all on my ankle. If I were wearing hiking boots I might, but with sandals it slipped right on. When it’s on the wrist, I do feel it a bit, but I just wear it on my non-writing hand. The main advantage over the undies is that you can wear it all week without washing!

  11. This is a really neat idea!

    T-shirt looked goofy at first but, after some thinking about it some more, I believe it’s meant for colder weather when you are wearing layers so the bump is hidden.

  12. When I travel internationally I always take my pocketed underwear with me when I am in major cities. Some might think it is silly but someone snatching my passport and money is my biggest concern. For men or women these are worth having!

  13. Hi Becky, thanks for your reviews, I was on edge about if it fit a passport and was great in actual use. One question however, what size did you get compared to what you usually wear? I bought and returned a medium that was wayyy too small, bit I want to try again..just not sure if I need to get an xl…

    Thanks in advance!!

    1. @Ainsley, I ordered the same size that I order from Victoria’s Secret. I think just one size up would be okay for you if your normal size didn’t work out.

  14. I read on uour blog the ladies boy shorts come i cotton or rayon. I went to the clever traveller companion website and only found cotton. I tried ordering online too and it only has the cotton option.
    How do i order the rayon material for the ladies underwear?

    1. @Carol, It looks like they are no longer offering that product. My review was written about 1.5 years ago and it seems like they changed the product line since then.

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