TSA-approved WordLock - Magellan'sFor as long as I’ve written about travel gear and gadgets on Practical Hacks, I recently realized I’ve never mentioned Magellan’s.  If you’re a traveler and you’re not getting the Magellan’s catalog, you ought to get on their mailing list.  The catalog is chock full of first rate travel apparel, bags, and travel-oriented gear and gadgets of all types.  They ship promptly (at fairly reasonable rates) and their overall service is stellar.  I should note – and if you glance to the right, you’ll notice – that I feel strongly enough about Magellan’s that I recently became an affiliate.

An interesting discussion broke out recently on an old PH post about the Swiss Tech Utili-Key regarding the TSA, luggage tampering, and the like, and it reminded me of the TSA-approved “WordLock” available from Magellan’s.

You’ve no doubt seen these locks:  they’re TSA approved because TSA agents have unique keys that will open them.  If you’re concerned about your checked luggage being pilfered, or you want a little extra security for your luggage when it’s stowed on a tour bus or slung over your back, this is an effective and relatively inexpensive solution.  (I’ll use this on my golf travel bag – so that only TSA can rummage around in there.)

Here’s a WordLock on the Bihn Tri-Star.  The lock will work with most large zippers; its shackle is ~1/8″ in diameter:

Word Lock on a Bihn Tri-Star

Setting the combination is a snap; it takes about 30 seconds.  Your combination displays in a window on the side of the lock body:

Word Lock Combination window

This lock will work on the metal zipper tabs on Tom Bihn, Red Oxx, and similar bags; I was even able to lock it on through the zipper tab on the  central compartment zipper and the drawcord grommet on the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Duffel.  I did so without puncturing the ripstop fabric around the grommet even though I locked the shackle by  forcing the material into the lock body (click for a close-up):

WordLock on Patagonia Lightweight Travel Duffel

The WordLock is available in 4 colors and costs $9.85 at Magellan’s.  Click on any of the links in this post to see it at the Magellan’s website.

If you’ve used the WordLock, other TSA-type lock, or otherwise would like to add to the conversation, please comment!

The Fine Print:  this post contains affiliate links which help defray the expenses involved with maintaining Practical Hacks

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7 Comments on Foil thieves with a TSA-approved WordLock luggage lock

  1. Michael W. says:

    Looks like a fine lock – but does it have a “tell tale” to let you know if TSA has accessed your bag with their special key?


  2. Till says:

    I believe it doesn’t have a tell tale, called Search Alert commercially. This makes it no-go for TSA purposes for me. While I am more of a literary than a number person, I still prefer number locks. But to each his own.


    Kevin Reply:

    Till, Michael: it definitely doesn’t have a tell tale. kc


  3. Maurice says:


    I bought a 4 letter dials Wordlock brass padlock in a Canadian Tire store recently. Unfortunately, I can easily open it with my eyes closed. The trick is easy to find. What a joke !

    Certainly not the highest standard of security. Beware !


    Kevin Reply:

    OK, I’ll bite: what is “the trick?”


    Kevin Reply:

    Search “wordlock crack” on YouTube.


    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks… good to know.

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