Review: Clever Travel Companion’s Pickpocket Proof Tank Top

Where to conceal your valuables in your clothes when traveling

These days we seem to carry more valuables than ever when we’re on holiday, from cameras to laptops, so it’s not surprising that travel safety is becoming a bigger concern. Whilst we can’t stick a DSLR up a jumper or hide an iPad beneath a maxi dress, being able to squirrel away smaller items like some extra cash, a room key and a passport can be really useful.

I recently spent a few days exploring Copenhagen and Malm√∂ and, having read that both cities are safe but carry the usual risks of urban pickpocketing, decided it was best to come prepared. An anti-theft top with two hidden pockets seemed like an easy way to store some of my belongings without sticking out like a sore thumb… enter the Tank Top with Two Pockets by Clever Travel Companion.

Anti-theft clothing sold online by US retailer
From boxers to long johns, there’s something for all kinds of adventures.

Company Profile

Clever Travel Companion has been around for a while, using the slogan ‘100% pick pocket proof’ to describe its range of anti-theft clothing. The company was founded by Swedish travellers who understand the hassle that comes with trying to replace a stolen passport or survive without lost cash (I know the feeling, as I still have the odd flashback to being robbed in Cuba).

Some of the most popular products are the thermal long johns and the underwear, each with two pockets and available in a range of colours – the long johns are even striped. However, the tops only come in plain black, grey or white, keeping things simple.

The tank top I trialled is a new addition to the range. Previous versions – either a tank or t-shirt – had one central pocket, which some reviewers felt wasn’t subtle enough. I went for the grey option and it arrived, neatly packaged in a water-tight bag, in just a few days.

Hidden compartments in cotton vest for safe travel
Cards, maps and passports could all fit in without attracting attention.

First Impressions

The tank top has quite a square neckline, whereas I normally go for v-neck or scoop neck styles. However, it’s meant as a base layer and not a top layer, so I can add a top with a different neckline over it.

The zips on the pockets are positioned at the side, so they’re very discrete, and my valuables rest at the side rather than the front of my body. Because it’s a plain vest, there’s also the potential to customise or dye it if you want to.

Size-wise, I’d taken the company’s advice and used the size guide rather than blindly ordering a standard size. I wasn’t thrilled to come up as an XL, but this was a good fit for me. I loved that the product was so long, meaning it didn’t ride up in the heat and could also double up as a longline vest (verging on minidress) over leggings.

Clothing for keeping valuables safe with concealed storage
I’m learning to live with the square neckline, but I love the breathable cotton and the long length of the tank top. You can just about see the vertical zips on each side.

Usability

As this is a base layer, it has a flattering slim-fit cut; I found it works well underneath a kimono, a sleeveless shirt or a cardigan, giving me easy access to the pockets and no visible lumps or bumps. It’s quite thin and breathable so I had no problems with the sunny weather in Denmark and Sweden, but obviously I can’t vouch for it in a tropical climate.

The zips are smooth so I had no problem getting my debit card out when I needed to. Because my hotel didn’t have a safe, I also kept my passport in one of the pockets, which was really handy. The tank top is definitely more practical than a neck wallet, though I could only put a handful of coins in without them rattling, but most of the time it’s better to have coins in an obvious pocket so they’re even easier to find on the go.

Whilst this isn’t designed to be a high fashion product, I found the grey marl was perfect for the minimal Scandi-style outfits I’d packed, featuring lots of black, charcoal and dark blue pieces. It didn’t need to make a statement but it was easy to pair with everything in my suitcase.

Grey marl anti-theft vest
The concealed pockets aren’t in an obvious place but they’re easy to reach.

Verdict

The vest feels secure and easy to use, plus the plain design means it doesn’t scream ‘tourist’ (unlike when someone puts on the entire North Face collection with its heavy branding). At ¬£19.50 it’s also good value for money. UK customers are advised to order via the company’s Amazon warehouse, rather than the US-based website, so products arrive quicker and aren’t subject to customs charges.

I was a little disappointed that some of the stitching frayed after just one wash, but it didn’t involve a complicated repair job. Ultimately I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to keep their valuables away from pickpockets, especially if they’ve been put off more conspicuous options like bum bags (a big no-no) or neck wallets.

I think the natural next step for Clever Travel Companion is to branch out into more colours and styles, keeping the two pocket model. I’d happily buy a round neck version of this product in navy, khaki or burgundy, or a cropped vest/bralet for wearing as an even lighter base layer. It would also be great to see a Breton style t-shirt or perhaps some non-thermal leggings added to the range.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Tank Top with Two Pockets by Clever Travel Companion to review, but retained full editorial control of the resulting blog post. As ever, all opinions are my own.

 

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