I glanced down at my left pants pocket and noticed the zipper was pulled up more than an inch. It rested against the button closure of my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, unable to be pulled further unless the flap was first unbuttoned. Did I forget to close it all the way?
Did the young Nicaraguan woman talking with her friend in the seat behind me while we waited for the colectivo to fill up attempt to pick my pocket?
She'd had ample time if that were the case. I was the only person on the colectivo when she and her friend took their seats directly behind me.
We were there alone for at least ten minutes before more people got inside, and I recalled at least once feeling her skin against my left arm.
I hadn't noticed it initially, but now I couldn't believe what I saw. The space between my front-row seat and the left side of the van was wide enough for me to fit my entire upper arm.
It would've been effortless to have slid her hand through the gap and toward my pocket.
My heart was beating faster as the questions swirled through my mind. I felt my pocket, confirming my iPhone was still there.
Then, I fully closed the zipper on my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants and wedged my left arm in the gaping space between my seat and the one behind me.
It remained there for the hour-and-a-half drive from Managua to Leon.
While I'll never know for sure whether it was my mistake or I was nearly the victim of a third successful pickpocket (the first time was in Barcelona after a soccer match and the second at a horse parade in Medellin), I do know if it was the latter, the design of the pants prevented my phone from being stolen.
Meeting Adam, Founder of Clothing Arts
I first met Adam Rapp, the man behind the P^cubed Pick-Pocket Proof Pants and founder of Clothing Arts, at TBEX, a travel blogging conference.
He introduced me to high-tech clothing designed to prevent pickpockets and offered to send me a complimentary pair of pants in Colombia and a travel shirt.
I knew exactly how I planned to test them out. I would take them to the same parade where a pickpocket stole my cell phone from my front jean pocket in 2010.
Pick-Pocket Proof Pants on the Road
They arrived just in time for the 27th annual horse parade, which I attended with my friend Viviana. We walked much of the parade route over three to four hours.
I secured my wallet and phone in my left front pocket and used my right front pocket for my point-and-shoot camera whenever I wasn't taking photos.
There are small hidden pockets in each of the side pockets; however, I didn't feel the need to use them.
In the beginning, there was plenty of space around us, but once we crossed a bridge to the side with more of the partiers and tailgating, it was another story.
It was late afternoon, and the crowd had swelled with onlookers and drunken revelers. We tried to walk a certain way at one point, but it was so crowded we had to reverse course.
There were also some choke points that only one person could pass through at a time, and you were shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers for what seemed like an eternity.
The great thing about the P^cubed pants is that once you close that button flap on a pocket, nobody will get in there without you at least noticing (and hopefully, that awareness alone scares them away).
As a result, I felt secure moving through the crowded sections. After the parade, my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants quickly became a part of my regular wardrobe in Medellin.
A month later, I was in Cartagena for my birthday. The heat and humidity along Colombia's Caribbean coast can be unbearable.
During the day, I'd wear my P^cubed convertible pants as shorts, which is as simple as unzipping the legs. It'd taken me a long time to adopt convertible travel pants, but now I'm a huge fan.
On the night of my birthday, I paired the pants with the white button-down shirt they sent me.
Viviana and I began with dinner at Don Juan, a restaurant favored by a previous Colombian President, and ended with a romantic carriage ride through the Old Town.
The shirt was stylish and breathable, and to my surprise, I didn't feel stifled by wearing long sleeves.
Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua
The following year, I spent six weeks backpacking in Central America, and the convertible Pick-Pocket Proof Pants were the only pants I had with me.
I wore them as pants throughout Guatemala due to the cold evening temperatures and as shorts in Nicaragua, even when I went volcanoboarding.
During my 23 hours of transit in various chicken buses and colectivos to/from Copan, Honduras, I'd zip up the pockets and close the button flaps to relax, knowing my wallet and phone were safe.
I'd never experienced such secure pockets on a pair of travel pants, and I enjoyed them.
I also did this while taking photos in urban settings like Antigua, San Salvador, Leon, and Granada.
While my review has focused on the security features of the two front pockets and the secret pockets inside them, there are also two back pockets. Each of the rear pockets has zipper and button closures.
Plus, these adventure pants have two cargo pockets with button closures. And they're stain-resistant, moisture-wicking, and fairly quick-drying.
Overall, I was and continue to be completely satisfied with these great pants. Consider a pair of Clothing Arts pants if you want an alternative to an uncomfortable money belt.
The travel clothing I've tried from Clothing Arts are high-quality products designed and made by a fellow traveler.
To learn more about Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, available in various designs, fabrics, and colors, as well as travel shirts and new product releases, check out the Clothing Arts website.