Quick Tip: Secure Your Camera Zippers Without A Padlock

Have you ever walked in a crowded place and was worried that some stay hands may crawl into your bag? Or wanted to place your camera bag on the floor (or on the train or on the chair next to you in a restaurant), but was concerned that the zippers may become undone and the camera will “accidentally” fall through the bag into someone’s hands?

The obvious solution is to use a padlock (or a move my bag and I’ll scream!) kind of alarm. Sadly we don’t always have those handy. Out pals at Enlight Photo just shared this great security tip. While it will not protect you from someone actually taking your bag, it can definitely help reducing the amount of stray hands that crawl in. (they are using a Think Tank Photo bag, but any bag with zipper loops or pull ties will work)

The trick is fairly simple, use the small loops on the zipper knobs:

Get the two pull ties together


thread one tie into the other


Thread them again.


You are done. Now, this will not protect you from anyone who slashes the bottom of your bag for a go at your gear, but it does provide a first layer of protection.

  • Sheldon

    Or, in the absence of loops that can be tied together, I make liberal use of food/sandwich-bag ties (the simple metal wires covered in either plastic or paper).
    They’re cheap so no worries about not being able to reuse them all the time and can be very secure if you wire through the zippers a couple of times before twisting the ends together. I use these instead of luggage padlocks when travelling – if someone wants into your bag, they will irrespective of padlocks. They can also sometimes be long enough to go through the zip & the fabric ‘loop’ at the end of the zip when you don’t have a double-zip.

    • James Madelin

      That’s a great idea Sheldon!

  • Mike

    Hi, good idea but I use the key ring clips as per the link below. Again, only a deterrent but may make the thief move on to an easier victim http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lobster-Detachable-Swivel-Clasps-Blanks/dp/B0088MRC4O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403522461&sr=8-1&keywords=key+ring+clips

  • https://www.facebook.com/PoliPix Polinszky Gyula
    • Olav

      If you’ve lost physical access to the bag, there’s no point anymore. This is for people who are WEARING their gear. Think before posting links.

  • David Campbell

    For a person who is ballsy and skilled enough to unzip, reach into your bag, and swipe something while you’re wearing the bag, this “trick” would be child’s play to defeat.

    • James Madelin

      Give it a try with your friends David, I think you’ll be surprised. It isn’t foolproof but it’s a- a useful deterrent and b- gives you more time to notice something’s afoot.

  • https://www.facebook.com/heather.hoffman.9028 Heather Hoffman Griffin

    Sarah Hoffman

  • https://www.facebook.com/heather.hoffman.9028 Heather Hoffman Griffin

    Sarah Hoffman

  • James Madelin

    A great, but more permanent trick, is to carry a small stash of zip-ties. This works best if you suddenly have to check a zipped bag for a flight. Of course, in the USA the TSA might still break them, but in most places in the world, this is a great deterrent.

  • rina11

    I just carry paper clips with my luggage. It’s not a defense against bad people, but more against good people making bad choices:)

  • https://www.facebook.com/dhavenhand David Havenhand

    Well that’s time I’m never getting back.

  • jiannazzone

    I use a small s-biner manufactured by Nite-Ize to just clip the zipper pulls to each other. The problem with a zip-tie is that I can’t carry a tool through TSA that will allow me to get in when I want to.

  • https://www.facebook.com/shachar.weis.9 Shachar Weis

    Spoiler: not secure.


    A key or any other pointed object pushed into any zipper will immediately open any bag.
    Although a “trick” like this one mIght give the thief a little chuckle.

    • Olav

      The point is to do this while you’re wearing the bag. If you’ve lost access to the bag, the battle’s lost anyway – no one’s going to pop a ballpoint into your zipper while you’re still wearing the damned thing.

  • Harry B

    I don’t have a single piece of luggage with zippers like that…