It’s easy to let your guard down while enjoying some carefree time with friends and family. Unfortunately, not everyone we encounter in the “Great Outdoors” is as honest or law-abiding as we might like. So, we must take measures to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property from others – even when in the relative solitude of nature.
Sprucing up your campsite security needn’t be expensive or time-consuming. It’s mostly a matter of being aware of your surroundings and other campers while relying on common sense regarding safety precautions.
Safety Starts Before You Leave Home
Consider any potential negative aspects of camping before heading out. Unpleasant experiences can often be avoided with preparation, foresight and a realistic approach to planning your trip.
Research the location you plan to visit and begin the process to obtain any necessary permits or reservations. Most privately-owned campgrounds and those at state or national parks do require reservations, some of which must be made months in advance.
Ask the campground office or ranger station for a map of the area, a copy of the site’s rules and regulations and any other pertinent information.
Make copies of all maps, rental agreements/receipts, the name, address and contact number of the campground and include the following information:
- the location and identifying number or letter assigned to the campsite itself
- a copy of your travel itinerary and stopping points
- your name, home and email addresses and contact number(s)
- the make and model of your RV or the vehicle you will be using
- the license plate number of your vehicle
- your driver’s license number
Put this information in a folder or packet and leave it with a relative or trusted friend before leaving home.
Maintaining a Secure Tent Campsite
Most people feel completely safe when camping and tend to worry more about an encounter with wildlife than the security of their campsite or valuables. But even the simplest precautions can mean reducing the chance of damage or theft.
Keep your valuables with you. When using public showers or facilities, keep all valuables in sight or secured in a small bag you can keep on or with you. Better yet, if camping with friends or family, use the buddy system: have someone hold your valuables until you return to the campsite.
If you plan to lock valuables in your car, make sure to do so when no one is around to see where they’re being kept. When spending a day hiking, fishing or enjoying the water, your vehicle will be unattended. Experienced campers often use diversionary decoy safes and lockboxes to hide their valuables in plain sight or invest in a lockbox that can be securely installed beneath a car seat or in the trunk.
Maintaining a Secure RV Campsite
Everyone would like to believe that campgrounds are safe, secure havens for fun and relaxation, but it’s best to never let your guard down – no matter where you park your RV. Never leave your motorhome unlocked and don’t leave expensive equipment, such as hitches, tow bars, bikes and other recreational items lying around or stowed in exterior storage compartments. Too many RV manufacturers use the same make and model of the key for outside storage areas. To keep your fishing gear, tools and recreational equipment truly secure, it may be worth changing the locks.
Whether you’re new to RV camping or RV living, always keep your personal valuables locked inside the RV, preferable in a small, fire-proof safe that’s installed in a secure area.
While the threats of theft, damage or robbery certainly exist at campsites, it’s not realistic (or much fun) to set up a full security system around your RV or tent. Fortunately, early planning, common sense and extra care in protecting your belongings can help secure your campsite from theft or damage.