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Dear RVillage Expert: Does anyone use a security device for their camper? —Billy G.
While RVing for the most part is a fun, safe way to escape to the great outdoors, it doesn’t mean you’re completely exempt from things like theft and vandalism. Whether you’re parked at a campground, overnighting in a parking lot, moochdocking in a driveway, or storing your rig for the season—you should always make sure your RV and camping gear are securely locked up.
Does this mean you should dig a moat around your rig and run a background check on the campers next door? Well, that depends on how unbearable your neighbors are, but probably not. However, it does mean you should take a few cautionary actions to make sure your belongings, your loved ones, and your RV are safe, no matter where you’re parked.
Here are a few ways you can tighten up your security efforts, without sacrificing the freedom of your RVing lifestyle.
Research campgrounds. Campground reviews exist for a reason: to help you choose a campsite and environment that’s right for you. You should always take the time to read reviews to ensure other campers haven’t had problems with people snooping around their sites, stolen property, or other security concerns.
Update door locks. If your rig is rocking a traditional key and handle lock, consider updating it with a keyless entry lock system. Not only are these locks made from durable, steel construction, but the keyless system lets you lock and unlock your RV with a keypad and key fob. This makes it easier for you to lock your rig while you’re away, even if only momentarily.
Hitch and wheel locks. If you’re storing your RV or leaving it unattended for a lengthy period of time, locking your hitch and wheels can help ensure that someone doesn’t take off with your rig while you’re gone. A hitch lock plugs into your coupler to prevent thieves from towing away your RV, while a wheel lock clamps over your tire to prevent it from any movement. Depending on your rig type, these are inexpensive security solutions that are easy to add.
Motion sensor lights. Sometimes, the best way to deter potential theft is to simply keep your area well lit. While you don’t want to keep a flood light on outside your rig throughout the night, you can purchase portable motion sensor lights to illuminate your space when activity is detected. Some awnings are even compatible with these systems, so your LED awning lights are motion-activated at night.
Security system. If you want to keep an eye on the activity outside your RV and secure it with window and door sensors, then a security system, like one you’d purchase for a residential home, might be right for you. While you’ll need some form of wireless connectivity for these systems, they give you the ability to keep an eye on your rig, even when you’re miles away. Systems like SimpliSafe and Ring work just as well with RVs as with homes, and are customizable to the number of cameras, windows, and doors you need. Select systems also allow you to monitor temperatures inside your rig, so you can ensure your furry travel companions are comfortable and safe while you’re away.
Gear security. Besides your rig, it’s also important to secure your camping gear. Since loading gear back in your toy hauler, onto racks, or inside your RV can be time-consuming and tedious, consider purchasing a gear lock system that allows you to quickly secure things like bikes, kayaks, ATVs, and more with just a single lock. This way you can still store your belongings outside of your rig, without worrying whether or not they’ll be there in the morning.
Know your storage. If you’re storing your rig at a facility away from your home, be sure to research the property first. Make sure it has security cameras, is well lit, and isn’t easily accessible by people simply passing by. You should also talk to other rig owners to make sure there isn’t a history of theft or vandalism at this location. And if possible, make a point to check on your RV at least once a month, to inspect it for damage, theft, and other forms of intrusion like bugs and rodents. This way, there are no surprises when the next camping season arrives.
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