How To Lock A Bag With One Zipper

Bags come in many different styles, but some of them may not be the perfect one to use during travels. Some bags only come with one zipper, which can be a problem during travels. If you have a bag you'd like to lock but it only has one zipper, you're in luck because we have solutions to this issue.

Locking a bag with only one zipper may require a little bit of crafting on your part. If it only has one zipper for the entire bag, you can sew a small ring on the side of your bag to have place to put on a lock. You can also convert your existing zippers into lockable zippers as an alternative.

Knowing that you can lock single-zipper bags can be quite exciting, especially if you have a particular bag you like to use. Keep reading because in this post, we will be listing down suggestions on how to secure your bags, as well as alternatives you can use to lock them.

human hand holding a zipper of a black leather bag, closing a zipper, How To Lock A Bag With One Zipper

How To Lock A Bag With One Zipper

One of the things we always have to consider when traveling is to secure the items inside the bags. While this is very easy to do with suitcases and other travel bags like duffel bags, it can be a problem for single-zipper bags like some backpacks or messenger bags.

man double checking the bag if lock securely, blue backpack on the airport

Bags with single zippers are better to use for sightseeing or quick trips to certain destinations. However, it can't be denied that we do have our favorite bags that we might want to bring with us everywhere. Unfortunately, single zipper bags do not have a place to put the lock on.

Fortunately, there are some hacks that you can do to lock bags with only one zipper. It will require a bit of work on your part, but it will make your bags more secure. You can do this hack on bags made of fabric or any soft material, as long as you can thread a needle through them.

Materials Needed:

  • Solid metal ring
  • Needle
  • Heavy-duty thread


1. Prepare your items

First, you will need to gather your items. For this hack, you will need a solid metal ring that is small enough to hide in the flaps of the bag. You can use toggle rings for jewelry making, or you can upcycle the small keychain rings you have at home.

Get these metal rings on Amazon.

2. Sew on the ring

Find a place on the base of the zipper where you close the bag, and place the ring on the end part. Most bags come with a rain flap, and this is a perfect place to put your ring on. Using an overhand stitch, sew the ring on as securely as you can on the fabric of the zipper or the flap.

3. Lock your zippers

Move your sewn-on ring and see if it is loose and it needs more stitches. If not, you can now zip up your bag and use a regular travel lock to secure it in place.

How To Make Lockable Zippers

On some occasions, you can lock together bags with multiple pockets but have single zippers. These are common with camera bags or basic backpacks. Some bags come with a regular zipper, so you can usually thread a lock through the holes. Some of them however, use fabric holders for the handles.

If this is the case with your bag, you can transform these zipper holders into lockable zippers. It's pretty simple to do, but it does require a little bit of wire cutting and crimping to finish the project. A lot of travelers do this hack on their bags because it makes the bag more secure during travels.

Materials Needed:

  • Vinyl-coated wire rope
  • Wire cutters
  • Ferrules
  • Crimper
  • Pliers (or anything that can cut metal zipper handles off)


1. Gather the materials

Before you begin, make sure that you have everything that you need. For the vinyl-coated wire rope, make sure to get a size that you can thread through the holes of your zipper. Get ferrules that also fit the size of this vinyl-coated wire rope. The best size would be to get a 1/16 wire rope and ferrule.

Check out this wire rope on Amazon.

For the crimper, make sure to get one that is strong enough to lock your wires in place. Some sets already come with wire cutters so it lessens the need to get other tools.

Get this crimper on Amazon.

2. Break off the zipper

If your bag has metal zipper handles, cut them using pliers (or any tool that can remove them neatly.) For fabric pulls, you can simply cut them off using scissors or cutters. The zippers will still be intact on your bag without the handles or pulls.

3. Crimp the edges

Cut a short length of wire rope and thread it through the hole of your zipper. Slip the ferrule on the ends of the rope and crimp them to secure it in place. Tug on it lightly to see if it is tight and sturdy.

4. Lock the bags

With the new lockable zippers in place, you can now lock your bags. If your bags have no other zippers it can lock onto, you can sew a small ring on the fabric of the bag to have a place for the lock to loop through. For bags with multiple zippers, you can now simply thread them together in your travel lock.

Ways To Secure Your Bags

secured, locked, carry on luggage bag, black, man hand

Bags with single zippers are not the most secure, but you definitely will have no problems with it if you are aware of your surroundings. You don't need to break off your zippers or sew on rings if you don't want to, but make sure to always secure your bag close to you when you are out and about.

Always place your bag in front of you, with the zippers facing inwards your body to prevent pickpockets and thieves from opening them without you knowing. Avoid opening them in crowded places and consider putting on a keychain or something heavy on the zipper for you to know if someone tries to move it.

If your backpack pocket only has one zipper, avoid putting anything valuable or important in this section of your bag. Keep everything important inside the main compartment where you can lock the zippers together.

Get this backpack on Amazon.

Of course, the best way to go about these when traveling is to get yourselves some travel-friendly bags. Look for bags that have secure, lockable zippers wherein you can thread a lock on them when necessary. Look for bags that have anti-theft zippers as an additional layer of protection for your items.

Grab this travel backpack on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can also use some S-shaped carabiners to keep your zippers together during travels. They are great because you don't have to memorize combination codes or bring a key with you. This is good if you want to walk around on a tour without having to lock your bags meticulously each time.

Check out these S-biners on Amazon.

Always remember that traveling will always require a heightened sense of awareness to prevent losses in your bags. While locks definitely deters pickpockets and thieves, it is not 100% fool-proof. Be aware of people surrounding you because they can still work around bags even with locks on them.

Final Thoughts

human hand holding a zipper of a black leather bag, closing a zipper

For travelers, it isn't really ideal to bring single-zipper bag because of the lack of security. However, it isn't a set rule and you can still take them if you really prefer using them. Just make sure to make some changes, or use them with heightened awareness if you prefer to keep them as it is.

Are you looking to learn more about luggage for traveling? Look no further because we have great articles you might enjoy:

Do Carry-On Bags Need Tags

Are Carry-On Bags Weighed? [Do Airlines Actually Weigh Them]