Is using a backpack in Europe safe?

Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Is using a backpack in Europe safe?

So I'm going to Europe for the first time with my mom and I was wondering if bringing a backpack is a good or bad idea. I've heard a lot of stories about pickpocketing and we've already purchased a money bag/belt.

I would prefer to bring a backpack because you can carry more and it would make it easier to walk around as it wouldn't strain my shoulder so much if I were to bring a shoulder bag.

The backpack of my choice would be a Coach backpack with a zipper. Would wearing brand name make me a more likelier target for pickpocketing?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 07:23 PM
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You can wear your backpack but still need to wear a money belt under your clothes.If your purchased money belt bag is to be worn outside your clothes you need the under clothes kind. I don't think being Coach would be a problem. I use the little twisty ties to secure the zipper on my backpack tying the two zipper pulls together. Things you cannot afford to lose like your passport, credit cards and most of your money need to be in your money belt and your other belongings in your backpack. Have a good trip.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 07:33 PM
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I always wear a small backpack during our travels. My shoulder and neck just hurt too much with a shoulder bag. I can throw a bottle of water, a guidebook, my jacket, souvenirs etc in a backpack and I'm set for the day. I have a small loop inside the backpack that I 'lock' my wallet on to so it cannot be lifted out easily. Also, in crowds and public transportation I just hold in front of me so I don't smack people with it and it is not a temptation for pickpockets.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 07:37 PM
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I don't think one brand of backpack is safer than others. The risk is usually in areas of large concentration of people such as train stations, the front of major sights, concentrated shopping areas. When in these places I move my pack to the front.

Don't lay your pack on top of luggage or leave it on a chair next to you. Think of it as a purse and always have the strap around your arm and the pack in front when it's not on your back.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 08:20 PM
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I've used a backpack on several trips. The access to the main compartment is a long zipper on the back of the bag, so as long as you're wearing the backpack no one can pickpocket.

http://www.libaire.net/leather-backp...-backpack.html

Exactly which Coach backpack were you considering?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 08:20 PM
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Are you carrying this as luggage?

Or are you planning to carry it as a day bag?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 12:48 AM
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With a backpack, you will take up twice the space of anyone without a backpack. That may not matter in the U.S. midwest, but it makes a lot of difference in a crowd. Don't forget that you will be sticking out further at the back than you will at the front, and will easily knock over old people.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 02:07 AM
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Where in Europe are you going? Certain places where pickpocketing is a problem would mean that you shoud wear it in front rather than behind. However, here in the UK lots of people use them and I have yet to see or hear of any deaths of older people from being knocked over with a backpack.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Not all backpacks take up twice the space of anyone without a backpack. Some only protrude 3-4 inches from the body if fulled stuffed.

However, some Coach backpacks are much wider which is why I asked the OP which particular bag she's looking at. I wouldn't find the really wide bags very convenient for two reasons: yes, you would need to be conscious of people around you as you move/turn, and it would be very easy to carry too much stuff which would make the bag very heavy.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 01:48 PM
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You beat me to it Chartley. I was going to say that he will be safe until he turns quickly in a crowd and smacks me one. One of my pet peeves is when backpackers seem to forget they are wearing 40 pounds of lumpy stuff sticking out of their back. The turn quickly to say something to their friends and bash several of their neighbors on the Metro while doing so.

I have never been really hurt, nor know anyone who has been, but it still pisses this old curmudgeon off. If you do wear a backpack in Europe, Beajrt, please show some consideration.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 01:52 PM
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I agree, nukesafe. I dislike the people who put on their day packs while waiting to deplane and then start windmilling. I've asked more than one person to either remove the pack to to stop moving around.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 02:55 PM
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There is nothing worse than an unaware person with a backpack.

We should just tip them over and let them spend the day sprawling on the ground like a turtle. Everyone will know what happened, no one will help them. Thankfully!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 03:03 PM
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>

Too funny!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 04:58 PM
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Great idea, LSky. The best part about it is that even if they manage to get back on their feet, even an old fart like me could outrun them, burdened as they are with that huge weight on their shoulders.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 05:17 PM
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After numerous trips to Europe, DH took a packpack on a visit to Venice. Mother of god ... I was just thankful that he didn't get tipped over and rolled on his back, after wiping out half of the people on the vaporetto. Granted, it was his "luggage," and way bigger than a day pack. Never again.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 06:21 PM
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Ah . . . Backpack assault. A phenomena of our times. Yes, I have been assaulted several times on elevators, airplanes etc. And not one apology from the assailant.

Ian
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 06:34 PM
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I've been a victim of backpack assault on planes, in the RER and métro in Paris, trains, and other places in Europe. I really got a kick out of using my crutches on our last trip in September to assault the young, clueless backpackers on the planes and trains who seemed to have absolutely no idea that turning around quickly in crowded narrow places could actually harm people. Here's a quick big poke in the rear! Oh, sorry, I had no idea....
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 07:04 PM
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I was referring solely to a small back pack, maybe 12"x12"x4" thick on my back in place of a purse. Not those giant backpacks you see all over Europe. I got smacked so many times on our last trip while riding the trains by those giant backpacks I still have nightmares.

This little tiny teenage girl had on this giant backpack that had to have stuck out a good foot or more behind her. It was almost bigger than she was. I honestly don't know how she walked with it on.

As I got ready to sit in my seat she swung around suddenly and whap I went down in my seat much quicker than I had anticipated. I got ready to stand up again to take my jacket off and then I saw them...15 or more twenty something year olds, all with giant backpacks on...it was like a horror movie. I didn't dare stand up. The last time I got smacked down I really had to control myself and not push back. Hard.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 01:25 AM
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Back to your original question.

I spend my life in two safe tourist areas in the US.

Yes, watch who you hit with your backpack, but more important, NEVER EVER keep your phone, camera, or wallet in an external pocket. Your Coach bag may not have an external pocket, but they are completely vulnerable.

I am an honest person but in the last year I could have taken at least 20 iPhones and cameras from people who had them in exterior pockets for convenience. Keep the outside pockets for guidebooks and water bottles.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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I really don't see the point of a backpack, unless one is hiking.

The OP hasn't gotten back to us but why not just bring real luggage?
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