Camper security is an essential ingredient in enjoying your vacation or full-time RV living. There are so many tips, ideas, and opinions about keeping your camper safe. Where do you start? Which RV security systems do you use?
These 11 Camper Security Tips will help keep you, your family, and your camper safe:
- Gated Campground or RV Park
- Trailer Hitch Lock
- Wheel Locks
- Clean Up Outside
- Outdoor Security Camera
- Motion Lights
- Electronic Door Locks
- Alarm for Doors and Windows
- Draw Curtains – Keep Valuables Out Of Sight
- Indoor Security Camera
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Camper and general RV security should be viewed as a multi-pronged approach.
We like to approach camper security just as we do home security – in layers. Layering your RV security system is about combining several RV security methods to form a cohesive and stronger deterrent rather than relying on one method alone.
As an example, the following is how we layered the security of our house:
Our home was in a gated community (Layer #1). Within that community, our house was located deeper within the subdivision (Layer #2). Our yard was fenced in with just one gate (Layer #3). I installed solar powered motion lights around the home (Layer #4). We had alarms on our doors and windows (Layer #5). Smoke detectors were installed throughout the home (Layer #6). The garage door opener had a locking feature (Layer #7). We had a dog that alerted us of any strange sounds (Layer #8). We were armed for the unfortunate scenario of a home invasion (Layer #9).
One of the security deterrent layers may have helped by themselves but combining them provided a better deterrent and gave us a strong sense of security in our home.
We wanted the same sense of security for our camper too so layering was the answer. Let’s explore the different security layers you could employ to have the best RV security system.
Gated Campground or RV Park
There are many gated communities in Florida. You would think all these communities would have million dollar homes. Surprisingly, it is very common for gated communities in Florida to have standard middle-class housing. So, it makes sense that there would also be gated RV parks in Florida.
The RV park we chose as our home base had several layers of security. If you were going to make this park your home base, you had to fill out an application and they ran a background check. This helped to ensure you and your fellow campers didn’t have any glaring problems nor had issues paying your lot rent.
The first physical layer was a convenience store at the entrance of the park just before the gates. The cashier’s window was positioned to see all the comings and goings of the park entrance off the main road and the gated entrance to the rest of the park.
Next was the gate to the rest of the park. You needed a remote to enter (similar to a garage door opener remote). Although not foolproof, it made you feel that someone needed to have a purpose and permission for being in the park. You were given a push-button access code if you were only going to be in the park for a short stay.
The RV park also had security cameras throughout to both act as a deterrent and record any nefarious activity.
The lots were large enough that it would be uncommon and cause suspicion for someone to be too close to your RV or parking on your pad.
Last, many seniors were full-timers or seasonal campers. As is the case with many seniors, they are fully aware of what is normal activity and behavior in their surroundings.
Trailer Hitch Lock
One way for thieves to steal your camper is to scout campgrounds and search for trailers that have not secured their trailer hitch. Once an unprotected trailer is located, the thieves just have to back up their truck, use a hitch with multiple ball mount sizes, match the size, hook up your camper and drive away.
One way to help prevent this from happening is using a trailer hitch lock. Other names used while searching are ball hitch lock or coupler lock.
Regardless of the name used, the method is basically the same – a ball hitch is inserted into the coupler and locked. The picture in this section is a trailer hitch lock with 4.6 stars on Amazon. Click the image for reviews.
Here’s a page to help you determine the best trailer hitch lock.
Many people use wheel chocks to help prevent the tires of their camper from moving. An alternative method is the use of an X chock. An X chock is placed between two tires and expands with the use of a ratchet to press against each tire so they cannot rotate. X chock type of products also come with a lock so they cannot be removed without first removing the lock. So, you get the benefits of a wheel stabilizer and theft prevention. Here are some to choose from.
Another method to lock the trailer wheel is to use a wheel chock lock. The wheel chock lock combines the idea of a traditional wheel chock with a locking mechanism.
They seem to be a quicker and easier installation than an X chock, plus the locking mechanism appears to be harder to pick.
Choose which one is best for your situation. Remember, these are not foolproof methods by themselves. We are layering to form a comprehensive RV security system.
Clean Up Outside
Another layer to our complete RV security system is keeping the outside of your camper in order.
Campers require general maintenance. When those maintenance times arose, I would open my storage hatches and pull out the various tools needed for the specific project. I would also pull out my Little Giant Ladder, which was especially great when I had to get on the roof of the camper for various reasons. When I finished the projects, it was time to clean up. I would fold up the ladder, slide it under the camper and lock it to the underside camper supports. I also gathered my tools, put them back in the storage hatches, and locked the doors.
We stayed in a nice RV park, but I didn’t want to tempt the transient nature of RV living. It would have been easy for someone to steal my tools and ladder if I left them outside.
Outdoor Security Camera
Another layer that can both serve as a deterrent and record events is an outdoor security camera. The physical presence of a camera tells would-be thieves “I’m watching you”. It’s enough to give them pause and reconsider whether targeting your camper is worth the risk.
Following are some outdoor security cameras with various features and price ranges:
- Ring has a stick-up camera that can be wired, battery-operated or solar powered. Ring is well known for its residential doorbell cameras.
- Zumimall also has something similar with a rechargeable battery and comes in a two-pack for about the same price.
- You might also want to check out the Zmodo outdoor camera too. They have a commercial look to them that screams “We mean business”.
- Solar cameras so you don’t have to worry about batteries. Here’s a link to find the best solar security camera.
I recommend having at least two cameras and positioning them on opposite sides of your RV to capture as much of your RV as you can and/or serve as visual deterrents.
One thing I hated was pulling up to our camper at night, fumbling with the keys, and trying to unlock the door in the dark. I researched, brainstormed, and came up with a great solution – solar motion lights. It wasn’t just having the solar motion lights, but rather the method I used to install them.
I found a 4-pack of solar motion lights for under $30. This was great because it allowed me to install one near each corner of the camper.
As you can see in the image, there are two mounting holes at the top of the motion light. I didn’t want to put screws into the camper, so came up with another idea. At the edge of the roof is a rain channel that runs along each side of the camper. I took two binder clips and attached them to the rain channel. Then I folded down one arm of each clip, ran a zip tie through the arm, and then through the mounting hole of the light. Boom – my solar powered motion lights were hung without putting holes in my camper!
What added to my love for this method was how quickly you could take these down before traveling and then how quickly you could put them up one you became stationary.
Give it a try for yourself. You could try doing something similar with solar flood lights. Here’s a link to check out some of the best solar flood lights.
Electronic Door Locks
Camper door locks don’t seem to be very secure. Why not change them out just like you would do when you buy a new house? While you’re at it, you may as well switch them out with electronic door locks.
I carry my keys every time I leave the camper because I still have difficulty figuring out how to close the door and make it lock automatically.
An option is to install RV keyless door locks. Not only will I not have to worry about having my keys on me, but it replaces the factory locks and gives me a more secure feeling.
There are many options to choose from and many come with a key fob. Here are some keyless door lock options when you consider changing your camper door locks.
Alarm for Doors and Windows
When thinking of alarms for doors and windows, many people envision a complete RV security system with monitoring, etc. While you could go that route and possibly pay a monthly fee, a simpler method is the battery-operated set for a one-time purchase..
This set comes complete with a keypad for the door and three window alarms.
The alarm has three different modes: Away mode offers a 45-second exit delay and a 30-second entry, Home mode with an instant alarm, and Chime mode that sounds each time a door or window is opened (similar to a door open alarm). Keep in mind, you might want to turn off the open door alarm if you have kids coming in and out of the camper frequently ; )
Draw Curtains – Keep Valuables Out Of Sight
One of the easiest layers to get started is simply closing your curtains and keeping your valuables out of sight. Sometimes crimes are crimes of opportunity. It could be very tempting for a would be thief walking by your camper window and seeing a $2,000 laptop sitting on your table with no one around. That could get them thinking about the other items you may have inside that you did put away.
There is no reason to tempt thieves. Be disciplined and always draw your curtains before leaving and make sure to keep valuable out of sight while the curtains are open and when you leave.
One way to protect valuables is the use of a fireproof safe. Search for “fireproof safe for home” on Amazon to see the many options available. I recommend getting one that is large enough to put important documents and valuable in, but can also fit in the storage area under the bed or something similar.
The Sentry fireproof safe in the image is a safe that should be large enough to hold important papers and valuables, protect them from fire and small enough to hide in your RV.
A fire safe is a good choice to add another layer to your RV security.
Indoor Security Camera
If by chance someone made it past the previous layers, then you would want to record them in your camper. There are options whether you wan to monitor your camper with a professional monitoring service, use an app on your smartphone or simply record while you are away.
This RV security camera allows you to insert and SD card and record while you are away. You can also download the app and monitor via a live feed and receive notifications if there is any movement in the camper. They also have an option to sign up for a montoring service.
It can also be mounted on the outside of your camper, but you would need to run power to it.
Another route for a camper security camera is a cellular security camera, which is a security camera without wifi. This is a good idea if you don’t have the ability to have wifi in your RV or don’t trust the wifi available. There are plenty of cameras available for you to review HERE.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
The last layer of camper security does not have to do with theft, but they do protect your life and possessions.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential in RV living. Most campers are equipped with them, but make sure you change the batteries at the recommended interval of at least every six months. There’s nothing like the irritating sound of the low battery warning of a fire and carbon monoxide alarm beeping.
If your camper does not have a smoke alarm, carbon moxide alarm or fire extinguisher, please check your options by clicking the following links:
It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Camper security is best obtained by taking a multipronged approach by layering your security methods. Employ the methods above and gain confidence in security for you, your family, and your camper.