Eagle Creek Ultralight Travel Lock

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Every single ounce counts when traveling.  Weight is a particular challenge for digital nomads who also hump laptops, cameras, etc.

Enter the Eagle Creek Ultralight TSA Luggage Lock.  It is 1/10 the weight of standard (very heavy) TSA luggage locks.

What is a TSA lock and why do you need it?

After 9/11, airlines demanded access to all of your luggage for security screening.  TSA locks have a special key hole that allows airport security to bypass the combination and unlock your luggage for inspection.  If you used a lock without this feature, they would simply cut off your lock.

If you want to travel by air and protect your luggage from casual thieves, you need a TSA luggage lock.

Lightweight, same functionality

eagle creek travel lock ultralight comparison
1/10 the weight!

Conventional TSA locks are VERY HEAVY.  The reason is that the standard lock bodies are made of cast zinc, which is a very heavy yet weak metal.  It is cheap to manufacture and uninformed consumers associate heavy locks with strength.

The ultralight lock is so light because the body is plastic.  This may be a slight compromise in strength, but is has zero effect on your security.

Whether zinc or plastic, these miniature locks cannot stop a robber with a simple pair of pliers or a swift stomp with a boot.  They could also simply cut your luggage or zipper with a razor.  They are weak locks and only serve as deterrence to the casual thief.

Additional Uses

Pick-pocket defense – Sometimes I use one these to lock the zipper pulls together on my backpack.  This blocks casual pickpockets in a crowd.  Again, weight is critical.  Every ounce carried on your shoulders adds up.

Travel lock locking zipper pulls

 

Gym or Hostel locker lock – I used mine whenever I went to the gym in Thailand and never had a problem.

 

Improvised room safe – If I travel with hard sided luggage, I will lock things up in it when I will be out of my room for an extended time or if I know that maintenance or cleaning staff will be there.  Yes, they could steal my entire suitcase, but theft deterrence is an odds game.  By keeping valuable out of site I have already deterred most casual theft.

travel hotel room safe
My personal room “safe.” Both locked with Eagle Creek lock.

 

A clothesline “hook” – Improvising is fun.  I have tied one end of my clothesline to this lock and used the opened shackle as a hook.

improvised clothes line
Not my picture, but great idea. Clothes line made of rubber bands!

 

My Experience

I’ve traveled with a pair of these Ultralight TSA Luggage Locks for two years.  They have held up perfectly and are a valuable part of my minimal and versatile gear.

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