SafeSuitCases.com

New Puncture Resistant Luggage Zippers - How good are they?

We have spent a great deal of time over the years telling anyone who will listen about the dangers of zippers and luggage.  In this time, several manufacturers have developed updated zipper designs that have made us reconsider our position on zippered suitcases.
If you have not heard, the danger lies in how easy it is to open a traditional zipper and then close it without leaving any trace that it has been opened. A pen or sharp object is all that you need! 

These manufacturers will only go as far as calling their new zippers "puncture resistant" but these zippers are much more secure than a standard old-style single-coil zipper. Another notable feature is that manufacturers have started providing locking points that allow you to lock the zipper pullers in one place. This keeps thieves from rerunning the zip to close your bag.

Although we still prefer non-zippered hard sided luggage, these new zippers may just be enough to make a thief move on to the next bag.

How Does A Traditional Zipper Work?

(This is important to understand before we explain the new zipper technology)

Well, the zipper, as we know it today, was patented on March 20th, 1917 and has not changed much until recent years. There is some argument that Elias Howe (inventor of the sewing machine) patented something very similar back in 1851 or Whitcomb Judson in 1893.

The design is extremely simple. Each side of the zipper contains rows of teeth. Each tooth contains a hook and a corresponding hallow. The zipper puller guides the hook into the hallow and they form an interlocking chain. The zipper puller can also break the chain if moved in the opposite direction. As you know, this was a tried and true device that found many different and practical uses over time. As more and more manufacturers found new uses for zippers, some unforeseen problems started to crop up.

What's the Problem With Conventional Zippers?

There was no real problem with conventional zippers until luggage manufacturers started using zippers to keep suitcases closed.  It was quickly realized that thieves could easily open suitcases by pushing something sharp like a pen between the teeth, breaking the chain and opening the bag. Once they were done in the bag, they simply draw the pull over the zipper to close it again. This technique was handy for both thieves and smugglers wanting to remove valuables or place things inside of unsuspecting people's luggage.  Our work-around was to avoid zippers altogether but some cleaver designers have come up with some new solutions and ways to thwart would be thieves.

New Solutions in Luggage Zippers

Luggage designers have recently woken up about these dangers (we feel that our little website is a little responsible for that) and put their minds to finding a solution.  The first product came from YKK. YKK is actually a large zipper manufacturer, not a luggage manufacturer but their solution is a cleaver one.

YKK Double coil Puncture Resistant Zipper

They took a decidedly simple route and instead of redesigning the zipper, they simply laid a second row of teeth on top of the first. They called it the "double racquet coil chain" zipper. The theory is that you may be able to get through the outer zipper chain but it is unlikely that you will be able to breach the inner zipper too.  YKK is careful to make no claims that this will be 100% effective but they do state that this double coil design will "prevent the chain from being easily punctured".

Delsey has rebranded this double coil zipper design into their flashy sounding "ZIP SECURI TECH". Don't be fooled by their dramatic presentation, Delsey has not done anything but go out and buy better zippers to sew into their suitcases!

Of all manufacturers, Lojel seems to have embraced this new zipper technology the most with a wide variety of new products utilizing double coil zippers.

Pacsafe Toughzip Puncture Resistant Luggae ZipperThe second manufacturer to take this problem seriously is Pacsafe – a world renowned travel safety company. Pacsafe went another route and actually designed their own zipper. They call it the "Toughzip" and it is a essentially brand new zipper type. The design is actually a very simple and smart idea. The hooks and hollows are not located on the surface of the zipper. The teeth form a tightly spaced barrier that protects the hooks and hollows from sharp items.

This barrier is designed to prevent anything sharp from actually reaching down into the teeth so there is little chance that the chain can be broken.  For even more security, Pacsafe Toughzip has a second row of teeth similar to YKK double coil design. Once again, Pacsafe is very careful to not over-state the security that their Toughzip and call it "Puncture resistant". For what it is worth, we have tried to breach this zipper ourselves and were not successful.

Pacsafe Toughzip puncture resistant luggage zipper

Both of these designs are innovative and seemingly effective but they leave one wondering how soon it will be for thieves to develop tools and work a rounds for these new anti-theft zippers.  For now, all we can say is that if you must buy zipper-closed luggage, look at the Pacsafe line of suitcases or a product that uses the RCW double racquet coil chain zipper. Beware of manufacturers simply stating that their zippers are puncture resistant – some may not be.

Okay, What Suitcase Should I Buy?

If we haven't already talked you out of buying zippered suitcases, take a look at our hard side versus Soft sided luggage page. Still not convinced? Okay, here is our list of top luggage that employ puncture resistant zippers. It is in no particular order and it includes suitcases of various sizes and construction. The only reason why we are presenting these suitcases here is because they all use either Double Coil or Toughzip zippers. There is a slight bias towards Pacsafe products just because we have tested their zippers and feel confident recommending them as safe.

The Top Puncture Resistant Zippered Suitcases in 2018

Pacsafe Toursafe AT21 Anti-Theft Wheeled Carry-On

Pacsafe Toursafe AT21 Anti-Theft Wheeled Carry-On

Soft-sided, lightweight, durable, wheeled carry-on luggage with anti-theft features. Protected by Pacsafe's hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric. This helps protect against slash-and-run theft. This case features Pacsafe Puncture-resistant ToughZip zippers that help prevent against forced entry from a sharp object.

High performance wheels and protective kick plate; durable on rough terrain 42-liter volume; strong aluminum mono tube handle; kissable zippers slide together for easy locking.

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 21.5 x 14 x 9.1 in / 54.5 x 35.5 x 23 cm, Weight: 7.28 lbs / 3.3 kg

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk (EXP21)
Available from Amazon.ca
See the complete Pacsafe Toursafe product line.


Pacsafe Toursafe AT29 Anti-Theft Wheeled Luggage

Pacsafe Toursafe AT29 Anti-Theft Wheeled Luggage

Soft-sided, lightweight, durable, wheeled carry-on luggage with anti-theft features. Protected by Pacsafe's hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric. This helps protect against slash-and-run theft. This case features Pacsafe Puncture-resistant ToughZip zippers that help prevent against forced entry from a sharp object.

High performance wheels and protective kick plate; durable on rough terrain 96-liter volume; strong aluminum mono tube handle; kissable zippers slide together for easy locking.

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 29.1 x 18.9 x 10.6 inches , Weight: 8.55 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Available from Amazon.ca
See the complete Pacsafe Toursafe product line.


Pacsafe Toursafe EXP34 Anti-Theft Wheeled Gear Bag

Pacsafe Toursafe EXP29 Anti-Theft Wheeled Gear Bag

Soft-sided, lightweight, durable, wheeled carry-on luggage with anti-theft features. Protected by Pacsafe's hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric. This helps protect against slash-and-run theft. This case features Pacsafe Puncture-resistant ToughZip zippers that help prevent against forced entry from a sharp object.

High performance wheels and protective kick plate; durable on rough terrain 106-liter volume. With a strong yet lightweight reinforced aluminum handle system and durable EVA mold backing. Kissable zippers slide together for easy locking.

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 33.9 x 16.1 x 12 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Available from Amazon.ca
See the complete Pacsafe Toursafe product line.


Pacsafe 25-Inch Toursafe Lifestyle Luggage

Pacsafe 25-Inch Toursafe Lifestyle security luggage

This suitcase looks pretty average but it's not... The Pacsafe Leisure and lifestyle luggage collection features toughzip puncture resistant zippers, book style opening lockable zipper pullers and exomesh slashguards to prevent someone from slashing the side of your suitcase to get inside. It has a lightweight 3-stage handle system, Lightweight reinforced honeycomb frame construction and durable protective corner bumpers with a tough water resistant tarpaulin kick plate. Complete with padded top and side carry handles

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 16.5 x 10.6 x 25.2 inches Weight: 10.58 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
See the complete Pacsafe Toursafe product line.


Pacsafe 29-Inch Toursafe Lifestyle Luggage

Pacsafe 29-Inch Toursafe Lifestyle Luggage

This suitcase looks pretty average but it's not... The Pacsafe Leisure and lifestyle luggage collection features toughzip puncture resistant zippers, book style opening lockable zipper pullers and exomesh slashguards to prevent someone from slashing the side of your suitcase to get inside. It has a lightweight 3-stage handle system, Lightweight reinforced honeycomb frame construction and durable protective corner bumpers with a tough water resistant tarpaulin kick plate. Complete with padded top and side carry handles

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 18.1 x 13.8 x 29.3 inches Weight: 12.56 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
See the complete Pacsafe Toursafe product line.


Lojel Rando Expandable 26 inch Suitcase

Lojel Rando Expandable 26 inch Suitcase

Lojel has used an impact-resistant Advance PC polycarbonate shell that resists scuffs and has an anti-scratch texture. The only reason why include this suitcase here is due to it's use of tamper-proof double coil zippers.

It also features:

  • Smooth & quiet running casters
  • Interior compartments
  • Convenient TSA locking system

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 10.6 x 26.6 x 18.5 inches
Available in 22", 26" and 30"
Weight: 11 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
See the complete Lojel double coil zippered luggage.


Lojel Strio 27 inch Upright Spinner Luggage

Lojel Strio 27 inch Upright Spinner Luggage

Lojel has used an impact-resistant Advance PC polycarbonate shell that resists scuffs and has an anti-scratch texture. The only reason why include this suitcase here is due to it's use of tamper-proof double coil zippers.

It also features:

  • Smooth & quiet running casters
  • Interior compartments
  • Convenient TSA locking system

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 19 x 11.6 x 27.7 inches
Weight: 9 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Available from Amazon.ca
See the complete Lojel double coil zippered luggage.


Traveler's Choice La Serena 26 inch Spinner Luggage

Travelers Choice La Serena 26 inch Spinner Luggage

The La Serena 26 Inch Polycarbonate Spinner by Traveler's Choice has a metallic sheen to give the vertical design more depth of feel. Its diamond-cut texture makes it easy to clean off smudges and dirt while making scratches less noticeable. Additional 2-inch expansion makes packing stress-free, while 8-wheel spinners provide effortless mobility while traveling. The anti-theft puncture resistant double coil zippers also make this suitcase much safer than most that use conventional zippers.

  • Smooth & quiet running casters
  • Convenient TSA locking system

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 26" x 17" x 11"
Available in 21", 26" and 30"
Weight: 8.9 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Available from Amazon.ca


Victorinox Lexicon Hardside Extra Large Luggage

Victorinox Lexicon Hardside Extra Large Luggage
  • 8 large 60mm dual-caster wheels provide a smooth roll across any surface
  • Convenient TSA locking system
  • Break-resistant 100% virgin polycarbonate with stylish, scratch-resistant matte
  • Double racquet coil YKK zippers are puncture-resistant

Dimensions: (H x W x D): 21.6 x 12.6 x 31.1 inches
Available in 21.6", 27.2", 29.5" and 31.5"
Weight: 13.36 lbs

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Available from Amazon.ca


Conclusion

By now we would hope that we have provided enough proof that hard-sided, zipper-less luggage is the safest choice for luggage, especially if you are traveling into countries where smuggling and theft are commonplace. If you still absolutely insist on buying soft-sided or expandable luggage, please, please, please be sure to buy a suitcase that uses anti-theft, puncture resistant zippers like the ones listed above.

Happy travels!