Valid or not, many travelers worry far more about their valuables when they travel than they do in their home town, packing all sorts of special gadgets and bags designed to keep thieves away from their belongings. Some places are really safer than home in this respect, while others (hello Rome!) are known for separating wallets from pants faster than you can say "mustard trick."
Getting robbed sucks no matter what, so we often cover theft-proof helpers on this travel gear blog and highlight when travel clothing has good security pockets that provide a layer of protection. All those are child's play though when compared to these P-Cubed Pick-pocket Proof Pants I've been trying out lately.
Technically these are written as "PˆCubed" pants (as in P^3 - "Pick Pocket Proof"). But anything that makes me search for some obscure symbol in my word processing program is not going to keep that designation in the long run. Remove that silliness though and these pants are all business. An incredible amount of thought---from a designer who is obviously a real traveler---has gone into every detail of these.
I first met the head of this company at the Outdoor Retailer show in January and he gave me a full demo of how these pants work. Now normally a "pants demo" is not going to take very long, but this was like a piece of classical music: each time I thought it was over, another wave came. That's because these pants are not your typical "wicking, with pockets" variations you see on most racks. They are built for hard-core travelers who carry a lot around without being bogged down and who are in dodgy places untouched by tour buses.
Let's start with the pockets featured in these photos below because they're at the core of keeping your valuables safe. Open, they function as regular pockets you can stick your hands into as you're kicking back in a secure area, the tab buttoned to the back of them. Even then, your phone or money can be in a second hidden pocket inside. When you're walking through a local market in Jaipur or Delhi, however, you can move the flap over the pocket and zip it up, giving you more layers of protection than even a dedicated robber-wallah can get through.
Beyond those, you've got rear pockets that snap closed, nice, but also have a hidden zipper pocket inside for stashing cash or valuables. When you don't need them for that, the "cubed" pockets expand to hold a guidebook---a quite thick one at that! And then there are side cargo pockets for carrying whatever else you want to have on you. They button closed, so you can put a point-and-shoot camera in them with no worries.
I tried all this and was surprised at how easy it was to be a bag-less traveler when using these. In my pants I had keys, a phone, an iPod, a notebook, cash, credit cards, coins, sunglasses, lip balm, a pen, and a map---with room to spare. If I had really wanted to go nuts, I could have carried a water bottle with them too: the pants come with a bottle carrier that attaches to existing buttons on the pants.
But wait, there's more! These travel pants are treated with Teflon, so they'll repel stains and a fair bit of water. (Misty rain yes, deluge no.) They're wrinkle-resistant and so far that's held up for me after three washings. They look good coming out of a scrunched bag. They are made from serious, thick fabric (75% cotton canvas, 25% nylon) that can't easily be slashed by a kid with a razor blade. So they're not as lightweight as pure nylon travel pants, but they're stronger and more suited for travel in non-tropical climates.
There are belt loops, but also size adjustments that enable you to make them tighter without a belt---handy after you've been on the road for six months and have dropped 30 pounds.
All these extras don't come cheap. You'll pay more than a Ben Franklin for the Adventure Travel Pants version reviewed here. But these can replace a lot of under-clothing security accessories and they're built to last you decades of solid use. I feel confident saying that when I'm 70 and fighting off the new generation of urchins in developing countries around the world, I'll probably still be packing these.
See the full scoop on the P-cubed pants and order them direct at ClothingArts.com. They have some helpful videos there showing how all the features work.
So far they're a bit hard to find elsewhere online, but they are available at Travelsmith. You can get a more sedate "business traveler" version (minus the cargo pockets) at Magellan's. Search "pick pocket pants" and take advantage of these Deals.
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