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Question Of The Week

Truck Camper Security Tips

“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).

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