This week I revealed my concerns about leaving our truck camper while shopping in a Walmart or watching a movie in a movie theater.
To be clear, in eleven years of truck camping we have never had anything stolen from our camper, nor have we ever heard of anyone having anything stolen from their camper in similar situations. Nevertheless, I think about it.
After reading through the reader responses, the consensus seems to be (1) always lock entry and exterior storage doors, close all windows, and lower the blinds, (2) never leave anything valuable out and visible, (3) always park in well lit and highly visible areas, (4) no theft deterrent is going to prevent a determined thief, and (5) don’t worry about it, that’s what insurance is for.
I also want to bring your attention back to Bryan Appleby’s excellent two part series, “Personal Safety for Truck Campers: Part 1” and, “Personal Safety for Truck Campers: Part 2”. As a retired law enforcement officer and full-time truck camper, Bryan has some invaluable advice and insights into this topic.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “How do you protect your truck camper from theft while you’re away from it?” Thanks again to TCM reader, Jack Masters, for suggesting this question.
“I have a 90 pound fearless seven year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever who owns and has access to every cubic inch of the camper, truck, and its contents. Nothing I own is worth the pain and suffering one would encounter by opening a door and just trying to enter.” – Bruce F., 2005 Ford F350, 2000 Lance 1031
“I do not keep any visual attractions to be viewed from the windows of the truck or camper. I also lock it, but locks only keep out honest people. If anything were to happen, I would call that lizard who handles my insurance.
Since I got you on the line, let me tell you a funny story about theft. Back in 1968, when there was a strike going on with the local New York garbage haulers, there was a clever young man who had an excellent idea.
He took all the garbage he had accumulated for the past weeks and put it into a couple of boxes. He then wrapped those boxes to look like beautiful gifts that anyone would love to have. He put the gift wrapped boxes of garbage in his car and drove it to a shopping area that was known to be a troubled area for automobile break-ins.
He parked at the far end of the row and left his windows down for all to see the pretty wrapped gifts and went in to buy a pack of smokes. Upon his return, his gifts were gone… and so was his garbage.
This falls back to my original theft deterrent, don’t leave things in plain sight.” – Ben H,, 2006 Ford F350, 2005 Lance 981
“By nature we are very trusting people and usually leave our camper unlocked in a campground. However, we do lock it if we leave the campground or anywhere on the road or a parking lot.
To simplify matters, we did just install a keyless lock by RV Lock. It has a very simple keypad and even a key fob for easy access, so we don’t need to carry keys anymore!” – Charles C., 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“These do not prevent the entire truck from being stolen, but impacts other security:
1. I have installed (welded myself) a steel safe that is mounted in the jump-seat area of the truck. This holds cameras, computers, etc.
2. I have a swing-out cage for a gas can that, when closed, covers the rear door. It has a steel band lock.
3. I have made a hidden steel small safe (not telling where) that is welded to the vehicle. No one knows it’s there. It holds extra cash, and a credit card.
4. I don’t park my vehicle in places known to be problem areas. Check with local Forest Service offices, etc.” – Chris W., 2008 Nissan Frontier, Four Wheel Camper
“I usually tie my mother-in-law out in front out the truck camper. It would keep me away!” – S. Frank L., 2006 Ford F-350, 2012 Lance 1172
“If someone wants to break in they will. With that in mind, this is what I do:
1. I don’t leave anything in the camper of value. I put it in the truck in the under seat safe.
2. I installed Limo Tint on the rear windows and back window of the truck.
3. I use Torklift products, like tie-downs, Wobble Stoppers, bumpers, and locks.
4. I always lock both locks on the RV door, even while traveling.
5. I always travel with the windows closed and locked, blinds or blackout covers in place, and roof vents open (I have Camco roof vent covers over all roof vents).
6. When the camper is off of the truck, I use Wobble Stoppers with locks and place the camper about 12-inches off the ground. Unless they cut the hardened locks or the Wobble Stopper itself, they can’t just drive up and load your camper and drive off.
7. I am careful where I park. If it’s night, I always park where lights are. Thieves don’t like lights. I also took an idea and upgrade of another reader and installed solar LED lights around the camper. I do a lot of camping in backcountry places like Idaho at the USFS Airfields where I fly my LSA (Light Sport Aircraft), so light is good.
I hope this helps.” – Michael D., 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 CampLite 8.6
“Our camper is ridiculously old. One look at it, and it screams “worthless” (and no stuff inside, like televisions) worth trying to steal.
That being said, we have a lock on the door handle (we replaced the knob with a lever) that we always ensure is locked. We make sure nothing valuable (wallets, phones, watches) are visible through the windows. We often leave the blinds down so nothing can be seen. And we generally don’t worry too much.
The general rule that we follow, no matter what vehicle we’re in, is to make sure anything valuable is put out if sight (in the truck, under the seat, or in the camper) before reaching our destination.
We had our diaper bag with a GPS, camcorder, my aunt’s purse – and all of our feelings of security – stolen out of the trunk of my aunt’s car in the parking lot of a trailhead. We also lost the video of our daughter’s first steps with that theft.
There were other people around that we didn’t really think about but, when we came back an hour later, the police were there and our stuff (and another family’s diaper bag including their baby’s bottles) was not.
So, stop a couple blocks away, and put your purse, wallet, GPS or whatever else in the trunk (or out of sight in the camper). Then continue to your destination. Also, ensure you copy your photos and videos off your devices on a regular, frequent basis so that you don’t lose precious and irreplaceable memories.” – Melissa M., 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 1981 Okanagan
“We have a motion sensing solar light above the door. We park in reasonable areas and we lock the camper as appropriate. We also have a yappy little dog. So far, so good!” – Jay K., 2009 Chevrolet 2500, 2014 Northstar Adventurer 8.5
“I lock the truck and the camper; not just the factory master key lock, but also the other camper door lock. I keep the jack remote in a separate locked box. It’s not in the camper and the jacks have to be turned on for the remote to work. The emergency plug-in remote is not easily found for just anybody that is snooping around.
The truck has its own anti-theft system to prevent theft. I’m also picky about where I park when I’m not in the rig.
Is there more I could do? Definitely, but at this time I believe I have a fair amount of deterrent for the areas I choose to go to.” – Pam C., 2015 Ford F350, 2015 Arctic Fox 1150
“Que sera, sera (whatever will be, will be). Thanks, Doris Day. I lock it, walk away and don’t even think about it. Well, except for that time I parked next to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco… nothing happened then either!” – Mark O., 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920
“Drop the camper’s legs and – if available – keep it all connected to the utilities. Install a kill switch across the coil for the truck. Keep a light on inside at night time and of course, lock the back door!” – Dave S., 1997 Chevy, 1998 Lance
“Like everyone else, we try to optimize locations with good visibility when we park in public areas, keep valuables out of site, keep camper windows closed, and everything locked. But we understand that all that really does is limit opportunities; essentially helping honest people to stay honest. The reality is that if they’re going to break-in, there’s not much you can do.
Normally, thieves are interested in small valuable items that you would normally leave behind while hiking or fishing or shopping; wallets, guns, jewelry, credit cards, cell phones, iPods/iPads, laptop computers, etc. These items are easy to carry, don’t draw much attention during a theft, and are easy to turn into cash.
Based on the assumption that thieves to want to spend as little time as possible inside you camper, we can do things to limit the take. So the object of camper security then becomes a way to limit your losses by stashing your most valuable items in places where thieves are less likely to find them.
It turns out the camper builders have provided us with a lot of options. We made it a point to find a number of small hide areas that are actually built right into the camper, right from the factory, and right under your nose. You just have to be creative and look behind panels, behind plumbing fixtures, basement access areas, under removable drawers, above pull-out spice racks, and under slide-outs.
You don’t need to find a lot of room, just enough to hide a wallet, an iPod, a laptop, a handgun, or whatever. We found a variety of places in our Arctic Fox 811 to hide all of the above; one small innocuous hiding space at a time. Then you have to make it a point to routinely use those hide-a-ways to protect your most valuable stuff. Remembering where to put things, and where you put things, takes some practice.
The other option that is currently installed, but still being tested, is a second switch to inhibit the operation of the slide-out. Our slide-out control switch is on the outside of the wet bath wall near the floor as you enter the camper.
I’ve rigged a secondary 12-volt switch to the ground leg that kills power to the master slide extend/retract switch when actuated. That secondary switch is located in the lockable compartment below the wet bath, in a position where no one would notice it, much less understand its function. I can use the secondary to prevent the master switch from extending the slide when I have concerns for camper security.
I figure not being able to extend the slide would help limit access to the camper, protect items in the cabinets under the slide, and essentially reduce the room needed to rummage through our camper.
The other security item I added was a cable lock around the two propane bottles in the not-to-be-locked propane storage compartment. It probably won’t deter someone that is determined, but it will slow down someone who doesn’t want to carry two sixty pound propane bottles at the same time.
So, for what it’s worth, these are a few methods we’ve initiated to limit our vulnerabilities while out enjoying our camper. It’s just a shame we have to think this way. Happy Camping!” – Tom and Mary B., 2015 Ford F250, 2013 Arctic Fox 811
“Honestly, I only do the very basics of just locking the truck and camper doors. When we travel with the Honda 2000 generator, it has a very secure bumper locking system that would require removing the bumper to remove the generator. Our Torklift Fastguns also have locks.
We spend nights at truck stops, rest stops, BLM land, and Walmarts and have even pulled over to the side of the road. We do a lot of hiking and normally keep our rig at the trail head parking lot. So far, we have never had an issue and normally feel safe.” – Ken P., 2015 GMC 3500, 2012 Arctic Fox 1150
“I have aluminum fold-up steps. When folded, a sturdy bike lock keeps them folded and attached to the chain hole on the hitch. There are quick disconnect pins that detach the steps, so the cable also keeps the steps from being stolen. When the camper is not being used, the steps can be stored inside the truck with one of the rear seats folded up. Without the steps, you need a ladder to get into the camper.” – Pat P., 2008 Ford F350, 2016 Palomino
“Think about it, almost every one who owns a camper has the same type of keys, the 751. Out of 50+ years of camping, the only thieves I have encountered are those rascally raccoons!
Campers help and protect other campers. I am sure there a few rascally campers somewhere out there, too, but luckily I have not encountered them. I would be sad/upset if some one broke into or stole my camper, but that’s what I have insurance for.
My camper is always locked and I have contemplated purchasing and changing the locks. Maybe that will be a spring project.” – Rickey and Willie, 2012 Ram 3500, 2005 Lance 981
“I have an after market alarm system on the truck. When set there is a flashing light in the cab of the truck.” – Ed C., 1999 Ford F250, 2014 Northern Lite 9-6Q
“I lock the doors! I lock my recumbent trike to the carrier on the back so that in fact it would take heavy tools and a lot of time to first remove the trike and carrier and then break down the door. Even if I am away riding the trike, I lock the carrier against the door (it’s a tall upright custom carrier that swings up from the hitch).
I leave valuables in hidden places. For movies or eating in restaurants, I leave my dogs in the camper. They would howl loudly if a stranger touched the camper. I park in lighted places, and not out of the way if I am planning on leaving the truck for awhile. But, mostly I do not allow myself to worry or fret.” – Michele M., 2013 Ford F150 HD, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5
“We camp mostly in National Forests, either in campgrounds or just in the woods. In 40 years, we have never had anything taken from our campsite. In town at stores, we lock it and keep things out of sight in the truck cab. Of course, we always travel with our dogs – big ones – and they act as a deterrent.” – Bill P., 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“I am a security freak, always worrying about people stealing my stuff, but I actually don’t worry too much about the camper and its contents. I like the dead bolt on the door, and the fact it is up so high makes it nearly impossible for deadbeats to see inside.
Even getting to the door is tougher than with many other RVs since it’s up higher and has little to stand on. That being said, I am careful where I park or leave my rig. I’m probably more worried about people hitting the jacks parking next to it.
If we have to worry too much about it, then it’s no longer fun. Don’t carry anything of great value in it, and enjoy yourself!” – Brian H., 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Lance 1062
“We double lock, with a dead bolt and a thumb lock. We try not to park in isolated areas that are unlit. We take precautions, but we believe if thrives want to get into our rig, they will. It’s a crap-shoot.” – Mike K., 2012 GMC Sierra HD, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Someone from our family (usually me taking a snooze) stays in the camper when shopping is necessary or I disconnect and use our rusty old towed vehicle to shop with. If that doesn’t work, I’ll close the mini-blinds and leave a small light on in the camper to make it look like someone is inside. Our small dog barks when she hears strange noises, so that helps, too.” – Rex N., 2015 Ram 5500, 2000 Alpenlite 11-foot
“At home the camper is stored in a locked, alarm equipped building. On the road I just lock the door and hope for the best. I feel the truck itself is reasonably secure, but the camper not so much. My keys from my Jayco fifth wheel work on my Lance truck camper. I would pay extra for better locks. Most RV locks are a joke!” – Robert M., 2014 Ford F450, 2015 Lance 1172
“Close the blinds, lock the door and the dead bolt. Make sure outside compartments are locked and don’t leave anything out. The same with the truck; stow all valuables. Check your surroundings. The bottom line is if a determined thief wants in, they’ll get in.” – Henry N., 2007 Toyota Tundra, 2012 Northstar Liberty
“I had my lifted Toyota stolen from the movie theater once, so I can relate. I have a factory alarm on my GMC, but for the camper I have ordered an aftermarket alarm. Why not? The camper has a 12 volt battery on board. It comes with a door sensor and window break sensors. I will do a write-up soon. Also the “Protected by Smith and Wesson” sticker does not hurt either.” – Winston G., 2003 GMC Sierra 1500HD, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Tough call. I basically just lock the back door and make sure all key locks along the side rails are locked. The stuff in the side rails can be gotten to, but it would be a PITA to pull it all out.
The trailer has miscellaneous stuff in there. If they want it, they’ll get it. I just try to slow them down a little and not make it easy. I do lock with a HD motorcycle chain the Honda 2000 generator to the truck when I’m using it on the ground.” – Frank P., 2016 Ram 5500 HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“The times we live in with so much division between parts of our society makes it very important that we not be naive about personal and possession safety. We always park in a well used busy area when shopping or sightseeing. There is something to be said about hiding in plain sight.
Anything super important we keep locked up (and out of sight) in the truck. All RVs are easy to get into so staying visible is the key to keeping your rig safe. If for some reason we have off loaded the camper and are out with the truck, we ask our neighbors at the campsite to keep an eye on things.
There is no 100% way to stay safe. Most who would vandalize or steal look for easy pickings, so don’t make things too convenient. Please don’t forget to have fun!” – Wes H., 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS
“Very good survey question! It seems less an issue with the truck camper as compared to our previous fifth wheel because there are fewer items exposed. Still, I try to limit visible tech items, purse, etc. in the cab. Certain places require increased vigilance like gas stations, grocery lots, etc. Rotate visits to the washroom. I think about the turnbuckles most, and if pad locks would be a smart thing.” – Bob P., 2008 Chevy 2500HD, 2015 Northstar Laredo
“Just make sure everything is locked up properly. Slide the steps in and fold the grab bar over. I only use the dead bolt when I am inside at night.” – Thomas F., 2009 Ford F250, 2015 Lance 825
“I have installed a fuel cut off switch under the hood that is really buried and very hard to see. It is almost impossible to reach even if you know there is one there.
The camper is almost impossible to secure as all you need is a large screwdriver to pry open the door. I did install an alarm that is in one of the compartments that will sound if the door is opened and the alarm is armed. Other than that, not much else can be done.” – Joe C. Sr, 1989 GMC 3500, 2008 Lance 1055
“Most of the campsites I have been to are back-ins. If I’m going to be there for awhile, I take my camper off of my truck and lower it. If I’m away for several hours hiking or walking on the beach, I park my truck so that it blocks the entrance to my campsite.
If I leave the campground to go to the market, I have disconnected the power and shut off the water. When leaving the unit in storage I lower the unit and remove the positive lead off the battery.” – RJ Bickford, 2007 Dodge 2500, 2003 Palomino Maverick 1000
“Well there’s not much one can do except lock all the doors and pray for the best. However, one thing we do is always park under a light if one is available. Therefore your rig is never in the dark for easy access.
We’ve been looking for some kind of sign to put in the window to ward off intruders, but haven’t found a good enough one yet. “Protected by a Smith & Wesson” or “Beware of Dog” or something in the line of, “You’re taking a chance if you enter!”
I know your concern because I think of it every time I walk away.” – Richard L., 2015 Chevy Silverado, 2015 Lance
“We have a paddle lock on the hitch and leave the awning and the interior lights on. If we’re at a campground, we chat with a seasonal site and let them know we will be gone. We string a piece of chain through the rim and lock it. If the camper gets moved it will make plenty of noise and attract attention.” – Eric C., 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, 2016 Crossroads Z1
“Don’t be too far from if you go the stores like Walmart. Park in an area where you can see the left and right side. Make sure you can see the back of your camper from the entrance of any place you go to like malls and restaurants. Lock up your camper every time you and your wife get out. Now go have a good time and a nice trip.” – Michael R.
“What about having a small camouflaged security camera hidden outside of your camper? You could use your smart phone to keep an eye on it when your away. The downside is that your security camera could be discovered and stolen. It would probably be easier to hide the camera in an outdoor woods setting. Mount it in a tree maybe eight to ten feet off the ground.” – James M., No truck yet, No camper yet
“Really! Really! You are killing me. Since 1999 we have been traveling. First, with an Airstream trailer and then, in 2003, we added the truck camper. Never have we had a problem from Key West to Anchorage and San Diego to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Really! The world is a better place that you are making it look like.
I had concerns once the camper was off the truck. But then we came up with a good security alert – a dog. Charlee will bark if you touch the camper. So, she makes a racket! Dogs are better then an alarm system if you ask me.
Now, if I had a half a million dollar rig I would be scared, but a truck camper?” – Jake and Sylvie M., 1994 Dodge Ram, 2003 Northern Lite 9CQ
“It is highly unlikely that someone will steal the camper off the truck. Someone might steal the truck. For this, either lock the steering wheel or put a LoJack on the rig. More likely, someone will do a smash and grab on the truck (which happened to our truck once). This is virtually impossible to prevent as the event is over in less than 15 seconds.
The best suggestion is to park in a highly visible area with lots of foot traffic and hide anything valuable from prying eyes. I have no suggestions for the camper entrance door, with the exception of putting a hasp and paddle lock on It.
The various hatches are very vulnerable because most RV hatch locks use the same key (try opening another rig’s locks sometime with your rig’s key!) The solution is to change the locks out with cam or tubular locks/keys. These can be purchased at Industrial Lock and Hardware (http://iss4locks.com) in Palmdale, California. They are fairly easy to install.” – Jim G., 2006 Chevy 3500, 2008 Lance 1191
“Stealing a 6,000 pound camper is not an easy task! Lifting our camper with the installed jacks would take the thieves at least five minutes or so, and the process would not be quiet. When we do it, it always attracts attention.
Moreover, the thieves would have to use a 350/3500 series long bed dually at a minimum and also have some rear axle suspension enhancement in order to make any kind of a quick get away! But hey, if the thieves are clever enough and quiet enough and have truck-enough to snag my rig, they can have it. I’d love to cash in on the insurance value! Happy Trails!” – Dan D., 2015 Ram 3500, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165
“I rarely remove my camper from the truck. When parked at home or in a campsite, I put the jacks down to level the camper thereby putting weight on the jacks. This is an easy/free deterrent to a theft of the whole rig.
When at a short shopping stop, I park in a visible area near other rigs – if possible. Actually, I worry more about theft from my outside storage areas or my campsite as I have had items taken from these areas on two occasions. I realize that a dog is a good deterrent, but having been a dog owner for about 30 years, I am enjoying being dog-free at this time.” – Bill G., 2008 Ford F450, 2013 Lance 1181
“Thanks a lot. Now I suppose I have to worry about that too. I never really thought about it much. My policy is to just lock up and go and don’t think about it.” – Allen B., 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, 2016 Northstar 650SC
“I let my 60 pound dog sleep in the camper when I’m away. He will start barking when anyone gets about ten feet from it. Plus, he is my best friend.” – Mike M., 2015 Ford Super Duty, 2015 Arctic Fox
“I use the stock locks on the camper and truck, but when I carry items in the back seat of the truck, I cover them with black lawn bags. That and the tint of the windows keeps things out of sight.” – Bryce D., 2007 GMC 2500HD, 2013 Wolf Creek 850
“The truck is alarmed with keyless entry and the camper has standard door locks, plus a factory installed deadbolt. But then, that’s what insurance is for, so you don’t worry yourself about crime.” – R. Shaffer, 2016 Ram 3500, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“I leave one of my LED floor lights on and sometimes I will leave the camper’s radio going. But mostly I just lock all locks and close the curtains. I always park under a light or where there might be foot traffic. I have never had any trouble, but I also live in a pretty small town!” – Michael S., 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 2014 Four Wheel Camper Eagle
“Unfortunately, there’s no prevention, only deterrents such as digital surveillance or low tech like Bio-Hazard Warning signs. That might make campground management nervous. My concern is theft of truck and camper. Onstar can disable the engine in the case of stolen vehicle, and hidden battery kill switches are effective.” – Jerry L., 2013 GMC Sierra 3500, 2013 Lance 1191
“I had a sticker on the back explaining why I am such a good trap shooter – because I practice on thieves. Also try a motion detector linked to a recording of a big dog. Better still, have a big dog underneath the camper on a long chain.
Perhaps attach a note to the door addressed to your parole officer assuring him you had nothing to do with those killings and would be back soon. Maybe put some fake or real blood on the back step and wrap some police crime scene tape around the camper. Attach an electric fence type setup to the door and try not to come home pissed. Have a drone continually circle above the camper taking potshots at anyone who gets too close. Or you could just lock it and take a chance.” – Garry D., 2008 Navara D40 with Tag axle, 2013 Northern Lite 8-11 Australian Ultimate
“I don’t worry about it. Besides it’s what’s in the back seat of the truck that is vulnerable, not what’s in the camper. If they got into the truck my golf clubs are gone. Yikes! I guess I’m just a trusting soul. I do take care to park in as safe a place as possible.” – John A,, 2015 Dodge Ram 2500, 2016 Lance 650
“We usually are hanging out somewhere nearby the camper, so haven’t really worried about it. We do keep our valuables locked in the truck, and lock up the camper when away from it.
At the state parks and other campgrounds we frequent up here in New England, we haven’t heard much about any thefts from other campers. We would like to think that the camping folks have a higher level of respect for their fellow campers and would help keep watch over their neighbor’s equipment while they are away.” – S. Johnson, 2014 Ram 2500, 2014 Camp Craft Explorer Lighthouse 8.0
“The Lance 1172 can’t be entered when the two slide-outs are in. If you can open the door, you can’t get into the camper unless you can open the rear slide-out. I always take the remote (that operates the slides) when I leave the camper somewhere other than at home. I have a door electronic lock as well as a key lock system that is offered by Lance. The double lock system works very well.
I want to install a camera system for the outside of the camper and hope that someone might mention that they have done it already. I know they make cameras that work in homes that can be viewed by your phone, but you have to have an internet system to sign into for it to work. This is on my want list for my camper.
The truck has an alarm system built in but, as we all know, no one seems to pay much attention to a siren/alarm/horn going off as they happen accidentally so often.” – Donald F., 2015 Ford F450, 2016 Lance 1172
“With the high theft rate of Ford F250s and F350s, we had a Ravelco engine lock anti-theft system installed in the truck. We also installed a GPS system in the truck and plan on installing TrackR GPS devices in both the truck and camper.
We worry about someone breaking into both the truck and camper when we stay in a hotel or restaurant. We try to park the truck where it is visible. We turn the front wheels to make it hard for someone who might want to try and tow the truck and camper. We haven’t figured how to protect the camper from a break in.” – John D., 2013 Ford F250, 2014 Four Wheel Camper Grandby
“Close it up tight and lock all the locks on the windows and doors. Cover all valuables inside the truck and close the shades in the camper. If our dog is on the trip, she will most likely detour an one trying to enter camper or truck.” – Cory S., 2006 Ram 3500, 1999 Alpenlite
“I have been robbed in hotels, at work, and at a music festival, but I don’t really worry about theft while camping or on the road. I have spent many months of every one of my 46 years camping and never had anything stolen except by raccoons, jays, gulls, or the tide.
I figure that if someone steals my camping stuff, they must need it more than I do. While it would be inconvenient and expensive to replace my nice gear junkie collection, it is not worth worry or fear that can be a slow poison to the spirit.
I carry my wallet and vital devices in my day pack whenever I leave the camper. My kids would be sad to lose their bikes so I do use thick cable locks to lock the bikes to the jack or picnic table. When I retire and live in my truck camper full-time, my big dog will be all the security I need.” – Darcy H., 2014 Ram 3500, 1998 Lance Legend 9.6
“Try to park near other people, vehicles or in an area with CCTV. Reverse as close as possible to a wall, fence, telegraph pole, lamp post etc so that the door physically won’t open. Parking tight in a corner of an area with chain link fencing or railings blocks both the rear door and the large window leaving only the high, overcab window as the only possible means of entry.
Dogs deter thieves but they can’t be left alone if the weather is too warm. Use a PIR motion sensor alarm (obviously not when the dogs are in the camper).
Getting insurance was quite amusing as truck campers (or de-mountables as we call them in the UK) are quite rare and people don’t know whether to class them as motorhomes or towing caravans
Insurer: “Have you fitted an engine immobilizer?”
Me: “No, it hasn’t got an engine.”
Insurer: “Do you use locking wheel nuts or a wheel clamp?”
Me: “No, it doesn’t have wheels.”
Insurer: “What sort of hitch lock do you use?”
Me: “None, it hasn’t got a tow hitch.”
Me: “Can I have double discount because it can’t be driven away as it’s got no wheels or engine and can’t be towed as its got no tow hitch?”
Insurer: “Um, er… I’ll call you back. I need to speak to the boss.” – Tony S., 2007 UK Ford Ranger, 2004 Northstar 700 DL
“There is no real way to keep thieves from breaking in if they are determined. But, I do lock all that I can, and it sure makes me feel better. I also made a investment of a security camera. It is real obvious they are being recorded. It’s also peace of mind.” – Charlie Y., 2013 Chevy 2500HD, Truck Topper Camper
“To be honest, I never give it a thought. We’ve left the camper for days at a time while we’re off on our ATVs or out on the boat and never had a problem. I suppose that if something does happen, we have insurance to cover things.” – Dave P., 2015 Chevy HD3500, 2004 Corsair Excella 9.5
“While I’m in it, a Sig P229, 40SW. When not in in, they just better hope I don’t catch them because I have a pocket gun also. Honestly leaving my camper is always a little uneasy with the crime rate the way it is. It seems to me that a good product to make for RVs is a security system.
We have ring doorbells at home that let us know if anyone is around and it sends us a video. They are chargeable and really do a great job. The only problem of using them for RVs is they need WIFI. I would also like some ideas.” – Jim F., 2006 Ford F350, 2014 Northern Lite 10-2SE
“First, we use traveler’s checks and hide valuables behind panels that need to be removed. Only our daughters know where they are located.
Having your rig fully Insured gives us piece of mind. We also have a hidden identifying device to track the truck for the police. We do not park in marginal areas and the club on the steering wheel is surely a deterrent. I also have a secret kill device so the engine will not start and it is really hidden, but easy for me to neutralize upon return. We do not carry anything that cannot replaced.” – Bob and Linda R., 2002 Chevy 2500, 2010 Travel Lite 960 RX
“The first tip is lock down your turnbuckles. Happijac turnbuckles are outstanding, but not cheap! These are easily removed and remove quickly. There is no identifying serial numbers. It’s a great Craigslist item for resale. Even in campground, lock your vehicle. Don’t leave high end valuables in plain sight. A light weight blanket across items in the back seat conceals your items.
Most camper doors are equipped with two locks, the door latch and the dead bolt. If you are leaving and are securing your camper, take the extra moment to lock both. The successful thief doesn’t look out of place and gain entry quickly.
Close your curtains. If a thief can’t see a valuable he/she is just chancing being detected for nothing. Roof top storage is accessible to a thief. During extended absences put two small locks on your cases. It will draw attention when a thief is not immediately retrieving a item. What’s that person doing just standing on his camper’s roof? Just a few thoughts I employ with thirty-two years of law enforcement.” – Mark H., 2013 Ford, F350, 2015 Hallmark
“I have upgraded to a tubular lock set on all outside locks. I also lock my camper’s main locks. We keep our campsite clean.” – Jay B., 2013 Chevy 3500, 2014 Chalet TS116