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5 Ways To Prevent Camping Theft

Travel trailer sits at a campsite in the woods.

Camping Theft Increases As Inflation And Fuel Prices Soar

For the most part, RVers have been able to be fairly lax in their overall security while camping. The mutual respect for the lifestyle has typically allowed folks to wander away from camp or turn in for the evening without worrying about the state of their belongings. While common sense always prevails, a few reminders might be needed to avoid being a victim in the rise of camping theft.

While there is no reason to panic, as fuel prices and inflation continue to rise almost as fast as the popularity of RVing, having a few basic tricks up your sleeve, for new and veteran RVers alike, never hurt anyone. Here are five ways to dial in your situational awareness and help prevent camping theft.

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1. Use good sense when leaving items outside your RV

The only thing worse than having to drag all your stuff out of the RV to set up camp is having to put it all back again. At the end of a vacation or long weekend, fine…but not every single day. Being cautious doesn’t mean having to pack up your entire campsite for a day trip or lights out. Having some common sense about what you should leave out might be the difference between experiencing camping theft or not.

Camping tablecloths, moderately priced larger grills, a few camping chairs, and your muddy shoes probably aren’t going to attract a ton of attention. However, leaving out an expensive portable power pack, a high-end air compressor, or an unattended kayak might be another matter. Ultimately it boils down to what can I afford to lose if I am a victim of camping theft?

Other items that you might consider locking up these days to dissuade camping theft are gas cans for generators or ATVs, expensive Yeti coolers, and fishing gear. Don’t forget to close and lock any external TV or kitchen features that may have come with your RV.

2. Keep your campsite tidy and organized to prevent camping theft

When you do leave your RV for a day trip or a hike, or when you head inside in the evening for some shut-eye, a clean and well-organized campsite sends the message that you are paying attention, you know what you have, and you know exactly where it is.

A haphazard camp with items strewn all over the place makes it more difficult to quickly recognize something is missing, and it sends a message that you are disorganized and a potential victim for camping theft. 

3. Keep the blinds open when you can

If weather and circumstances allow, try not to completely black-out the camper if you can help it. Leaving some blinds open so you can see outside the camper isn’t always a bad thing. If others know you are watching, or even have the potential to watch, you won’t be first on the camping theft target list. 

This same general awareness should prevail when you are outside the camper, walking the campground, taking the dogs out, or just sitting by the fire. Some know it as condition yellow or situational awareness, but you can know what and who is around you pretty easily without staring them down directly. Contrary to popular belief, it’s still ok to wave and say hi to your neighbors!

4. Keep RV & vehicle doors locked

Keeping your tow vehicle or toad locked at all times just makes good sense, no matter where it is parked. Keeping your RV locked should be the same, though we know it goes against our desire to experience a bit of yesteryear and not have to worry about locking the doors to our camper when we go out.

The irony is that camping theft might not be our greatest concern here. There are so many stories of RVers getting locked out of their campers. Locking your RV and taking the key with you might be the best way to get accidentally locked out of your own RV.

As much as it may irk us, locking things up is still the best defense against camping theft. That should include your basement or bay doors, locks you have around golf carts, kayaks, generators, bicycles, and any other valuables. 

5. Use GPS trackers to mitigate camping theft

Having a GPS tracker on your more expensive or coveted items will help you track and potentially recover items that were stolen during a camping theft. Motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, electric bikes, golf carts, kayaks, boats, and even vehicles can all be tracked using digital GPS devices. 

RV owners are increasingly installing GPS trackers in motorhomes, travel trailers, campers, toy haulers, and fifth wheels in order to stay connected to their RV investment while at the RV park, boondocking, when the rig is in storage, in the driveway, at home, or rented out.

GPS tracking providers like WhereSafe, who specialize in RV protection, have a simple-to-use mobile app that shows the real-time location, speed, route, and more of your RV, boat, ATV, or other camping toys. The app provides instant notifications by text message or email, if your asset moves when it should not, or if the tracker is being tampered with. In the event of theft, app access can easily be provided to law enforcement for the greatest chance of recovery.

The latest in the line of GPS tracking protection from WhereSafe is the XTracker Solar GPS Tracker. The XTracker Solar is an upgraded version of WhereSafe’s XTracker, which was ultra popular in the RV space for its long life extended battery. This new GPS tracking unit features an integrated solar charging panel built right into the unit. The internal 10 Ma battery can last up to 4 years in standby mode (1 ping per day), and even longer when installed where sunlight can reach the unit, to trickle charge it. With a simple two wire trickle charger, it can also be wired directly into an external battery, if installed in an area where sunlight is not available. The XTracker Solar can be installed with an optional magnetic mounting cradle or a more permanent fastened mourning cradle. This unit is great for road trips, RV storage and RV rentals.

The solar powered gps tracker from WhereSafe.
A small GPS tracker like this WhereSafe Xtracker Solar can help you track and recover stolen items.

Another new solid RV option from WhereSafe is the MiniMax GPS Tracker. The MiniMax is small, very portable, and super versatile. With the IP67 waterproof magnetic case, it can easily be placed on an ATV or ebike, in its sheath, on a belt, or on a pet’s collar, and stay charged for 20 days. It also can be wired onto 12V for trickle charging or for storage or off season; use the XPack for stand-alone extended battery life for months. 

Conclusion

In short, you can help mitigate camping theft by doing a few common sense things around the campsite. When you aren’t at the campsite and need to keep track of valuable items, including your RV, a GPS tracker is a great solution. When camping season is over and your RV is in storage, that GPS tracker acts as your boots on the ground, letting you know your RV is still where it is supposed to be.