Backpack Keeps Your Precious Tech Secure

In a world where having something stolen right out of your backpack isn’t exactly uncommon, a Swedish company with a Hong Kong connection has come up with a product that can help combat theft of your electronics and other valuable goods.

As a commuter, I always have the fear of someone stealing things from my backpack in the back of my mind. What if someone unzips my bag and takes my wallet, my laptop or my phone?


Vandra Backpack, a Kickstarter project launched by Casten Design, has solved all that. With my gear stashed inside, I can now walk in a crowded area, take public transit, or simply stroll around campus with a new peace of mind.

Not only does the backpack have a secret pocket (great for items of importance, like a wallet or phone or keys), but the location of the main pocket zipper is worth noting. Most backpacks are designed with zippers that can be easily accessed by people behind you. To access the Vandra’s main zipper a would-be thief would have to be so close you’d totally be aware of their presence.

If you do have to leave your bag briefly, it includes a small cable lock you could slip around something solid (though we wouldn’t recommend straying *too* far from it, as a good pair of tin snips might simply dismember the zipper tab). Still, it’s clearly a deterrent.

One of the cooler features, however, is the included lost and found tracker. Wander too far from your Vandra? Find that your sleep- (or caffeine-) deprived brain can’t remember exactly where you left it?  That tracker, combined with the phone app, has saved my sanity (and my Vandra) several times in the course of the past few months.

The easy access card holder (located on the backpack strap) could be my favourite feature of them all. Yes, I like the anti-theft features, but there’s nothing like the convenience of being able to quickly access a transit or debit card without the hassle of digging trough your wallet.

Or, if your transit system has the card tap function (like the Hong Kong Octopus card or the Toronto Presto card), you don’t even need to take it out of the holder: Just hold your strap up to the reader, and you’re set!

Another great feature is the external USB port. As an iPhone user, I’ve often been plagued by that dreaded “10% Battery Remaining” pop-up. You then have to snake your USB cable to a power brick in your bag (or purse) and tote around both with the cable seemingly always getting in the way. Vandra’s external USB port allows you to charge your phone, but with mess-free, on-the-go access. The USB 3.0 cable inside the backpack plugs into your power brick. Simply stow the brick, plug into the Vandra, and you’re good to go! Seriously, it’s a handy little built-in gizmo.

The Casten Design site does a nice job of graphically summing up a few other high points:


I know Vandra isn’t the first backpack out there with anti-theft features or a charging port, but Casten Design has seriously blown me away with the Vandra. It’s comfortable, functional, and versatile. Plus – you can keep any gym clothes separate from your electronics, another little bonus.

As a commuting university student, Vandra hits all the right notes – including being comfortable without sacrificing style. At $115 US, it’s not the cheapest backpack you’ll find. But, as a regular user, in my opinion it’s absolutely worth the price.

You can still order via the Kickstarter campaign (though the best perks are all gone), or directly through the company website.

Vandra Backpack by Casten Design – Swedish, Safe & Smart. Vandra backpack is designed to be your personal assistant. Vandra comes with a unique anti chock system that protects your gadgets. Two compartments, sports and office. Easy convertible from backpack to sling backpack. Vandra is 100% tech ready and redefines the word “Smart backpack”. Get yours now at