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7 Discreet and Portable Self-Defense Tools Under $20

Everyone has heard the stories of travelers who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. You might even know someone, or have been a victim of a crime on your own travels. There’s plenty you can do to plan ahead and avoid unsafe areas in your destination, but it also helps to be prepared to defend yourself should it turn out to be your unlucky day.

Self-Defense Tools for Travelers

Equip yourself with these portable and discreet tools that can help you defend yourself should you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wild Kat Keychains

This cat-shaped key chain is thin, lightweight, and very sharp. Innocent-looking and available in multiple colors, it will blend in with your keys but still be ready to use in an instant. Simply slip your fingers through the cat’s eyeholes and aim with the ears to transform your kitty keychain into a pain-inducing defense tool.


If you aren’t a cat person and are worried about the sharpness of those ears, Yoogo is another portable keychain that packs a punch. With two rounded heads and an ergonomic grip, this stealthy keychain will help you ward off any attackers.

Slap Hat

Keep safety within reach with a weighted cap like the Slap Hat. What looks like your average baseball cap is hiding heavy weighted material that, if you need to, you can use to hit and stun your assailant. The brim of the cap makes a comfortable handle, and the weighted back is not a hinderance to comfort.


If you’re looking for a non-violent approach to self-defense, keep an alarm on you so you can deter an assailant by drawing attention to the situation while alerting those around you that you need help. These small portable machines usually attach as keychains and emit a very loud sound that will get the attention of everyone nearby.

Monkey Fist

This keychain is a self-defense tool that can come in handy in survival situations. Basically a steel ball wrapped in heavy-duty rope, it can be used as a weapon or unraveled for a sturdy rope. It’s available in many colors and good to have on hand whether you’re on a camping trip or exploring an unfamiliar city.

Stun Guns

If you’re looking for something with a kick, invest in a small portable taser. This small Vipertek taser is about three inches long, doubles as a flashlight, and comes with a rechargeable battery. Note that if you are flying domestically or internationally with a taser, the TSA will require you to pack it in your checked luggage.

Pepper Spray

self defense tools
(Photo: Amazon)

Get away from your attacker by keeping a small pepper spray device on you at all times. Blinding your attacker at the touch of the button is a quick way to break free and run to safety. Like stun guns, you will not be able to get pepper spray through airport security, but you can keep it in your checked bag.

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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