Province wide campfire bans in place - learn more.  Campers know before you go camping.

RV Security Tips to Prevent Break-Ins and Minimize Camping Theft

Whether people RV for months on end or a couple of times a year their unit is their home on wheels for as long as they make it. Just as you protect yourself on the homefront it’s smart to do so while on the road or at a campsite as break-ins and gear theft do happen.

Here are some tips to help prevent RV burglary and camping gear theft.

Rolley Lake Provincial Park | BC Parks/Iain Robert Reid

Situational Awareness

Be aware of your surroundings and follow that gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s likely not. If the park is not sufficiently well-lit at night walk about with a headlamp or flashlight; untrustworthy humans aside, you never know what type of animal you might encounter. While afoot, be on the lookout for tripping hazards such as tent pegs and tree root systems.

Ask the park or campground management about security such as nighttime patrols and what their rules for visitors are. Try to obtain a site in the heart of the campground if being on the periphery or near a road or highway makes you feel uneasy. Report any unsavory incidents to the office. BC Parks encourages all campers to report any security issues to park rangers, park operators and the RCMP to “ensure BC Parks and campgrounds are a safe and welcoming space for everyone”, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said.

Respect Staff & Signs | Glacier National Park, Parks Canada

If stopping for the night outside of a designated campground, find a well-lit spot where you’re allowed to park and RV. When driving in and around new cities do some research and avoid high-crime neighbourhoods and don’t flash cash or valuables when out and about.

Verify your location in case of emergency – such as the closest highway exit – and know where the local hospitals are. A camper recalls, “When I was young my father badly injured his thumb while chopping firewood. These were pre-Internet days but thankfully my mother knew where the closest hospital was as it certainly was a chaotic moment!”

When at a campground or park for an extended period get to know the neighbours should either party need to watch the campsite in case of an emergency. Also, know where the fire extinguisher is. One RVer’s suggestion is to keep a couple of metal extinguishers in strategic places around the rig to double as a safety device against intruders and bee and wasp swarms.

Practice Fire Safety | Parks Canada

Lock It Up

Lock car and RV doors and windows and close shades when leaving the campsite and invest in locking systems for high-value items such as bicycles, surge protectors and trailer hitches. When away for a few hours or a day-trip store items that you don’t want stolen in a cargo box or storage area and don’t leave cool camping gadgets, electronics, speakers or phones out when away from the site. Stash and secure smaller valuables such as jewellery or cameras inside the RV or leave them at home if grandma’s pearls are not a camping necessity.

A BC Parks’ spokesperson said: “BC Parks and our park operators take public safety and security very seriously – it’s our highest priority. Because parks are public spaces, we encourage all campers to secure their campsites, vehicles and valuables, especially when unattended.”

If the RV’s locks, including the window locks, are rusting or aren’t closing properly it’s time to change them. Door locks can be upgraded to keyless locks with code pads for added security.

Light It Up

Motion-detector lights, including solar and LED options, are a smart choice to scare off furry or unfriendly intruders and see what’s going on at night. Be considerate of nearby campers if using motion-detector lights as no one wants lights flashing on and off in the dark when they’re trying to sleep. Use a solar light to illuminate the RV’s interior when out in the evening or as a night-light for the kids.

Smile, You’re On Camera

Arlo Go 2 RV Security System | Courtesy Arlo

Camera and audio security systems are a good investment to make campers feel at ease and sleep more soundly at night. Plug-and-play and battery-operated options with wireless smart-device monitoring and real-time alerts are popular as are systems with on-site camera angle flexibility; some systems even monitor for leaks or water damage. With many RVers working from their units post-Covid-19, security systems are a good way to protect computer and audiovisual gear. Arlo offers a suite of security systems including ones specifically for the RV. Arlo also indicates that the GO 2 is the best camera for RVs due to its WiFi and Cellular connectivity. Note that different parks and campgrounds may have different rules about the use of personal cameras and security systems. BC Parks, for instance, does not allow individual security cameras if they collect images outside of campsites.

Theft-recovery tracking devices also exist. The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA) has partnered with KYCS Locate to educate dealers on vehicle theft, enhance lot protection and assist with inventory management and theft recovery. KYCS Locate is sold to new RV owners as peace of mind to safeguard their purchase. KYCS is partnered with Crime Stoppers in Canada and the US and has a number of solutions for the identification of assets and equipment.

Juniper Beach Provincial Park | BC Parks/Iain Robert Reid

Overall, RVing and camping are very safe activities when it comes to personal theft and campers are respectful of their ‘neighbours’, but it doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to good people. Be aware and cautious of your surroundings and educate young campers to do the same. Stay safe and have a fantastic camping season!

While you keep camping security in mind also think of camping safety. Take the Campers Pledge to follow the nine rules to making camping an awesome experience for everyone: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos, Control Your Pets, Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter, Practice Fire Safety and Plan Ahead and Be Prepared, Respect Others and Respect Staff and Signs. Check out the blogs below.

Be a Respectful Camper and Practice the Camper’s Code
Follow the Camper’s Code and be a Responsible and Safe Camper

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

For campgrounds and RV parks in BC go to the BC Camping Map.

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtags #CampinBC #explorebc

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Published: May 14, 2023
Last Updated: May 17, 2023

Camping RV in BC by Camping RV in BC

The Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition is a non-profit marketing entity created to raise awareness of the wide range of camping and recreational vehicle (RV) experiences across the province of British Columbia (BC).