The number of Australians who own caravans and camper trailers is huge today, and that’s a great thing. There’s nothing better than leaving your home behind and exploring this amazing country.
However, more vans and campers means that there’s more opportunity for theft, and not a single week goes by where I don’t see at least a couple of posts from a family, or individual, or couple who’ve had their plans ruined by someone who’s decided their van or camper trailer would be better off without them.
Caravan and Camper Trailer theft is a big thing in Australia, and it can happen to anyone, anywhere. In this post, we are looking at all of the Caravan Security options out there, and what you can do to reduce the chance of things going wrong.
To start with, lets talk about theft of items in, and around your camper trailer. This is by far and away the most common thing that happens, and in many cases its almost entirely avoidable, if not hugely able to be reduced.
Here’s a few things that you should be doing to reduce the chance of things being taken:
Put anything expensive out of sight
If you leave your expensive gear laying around, its going to grow legs. Things like Weber BBQ’s, fridges, camera’s, hand bags and the like should not be visible at your camp, if you are not there. Take the portable valuables with you, and put anything else away, under lock and key.
A huge argument for having fixed solar panels instead of portable ones is that they can’t be stolen. If you have a solar blanket, or portable solar panels laying around your camp they are the perfect item to unplug, tuck under your arms and walk off with.
Its simple, and it makes a big difference.
Lock your doors at night
The number of people who have their purses and wallets stolen, and often their vehicles simply because they don’t lock their van doors at night is staggering. Thieves are opportunistic, and if you leave a door open they’ll come in and take anything that is easy to grab.
We check our door is locked before going to bed each night every single night, regardless of where we are, and who is around. No exceptions.
Pick where you stay carefully
Some places have a reputation for bad theft, and although its not always the case, is it really worth staying there? Instead, pick somewhere out of town that is less travelled and stay there. There are some caravan parks in the northern parts of Australia that are rampant for thefts, and many of them are opportunistic.
We avoid these places entirely, as our gear and wellbeing is worth more than a couple of nights in that location. Ironically, caravan parks are often the worst places for things getting stolen from, or around your van, and a free camp can be much better.
Caravan and Camper Trailer theft prevention
If you’ve ever had a caravan or camper trailer stolen, our condolences to you. It’s a terrible situation to be in, and so often it happens at the worst possible time. Again, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the chance of caravan theft, and many of them simply involve making it too difficult to bother with.
If you have a van or camper trailer that is out in the open, you should buy a hitch lock. You can get them for 50mm tow balls, for DO35 hitches and for every other style of hitch out there. It means that the only way the trailer can be taken is if they attach the chains and drive off with it, or they swap the hitch over to something else.
Chain it up
A good set of chains is a great deterrent. Some people just feed them through the wheels so they’d bind up if anyone drove off, and other people put them through the chassis and around a concrete block in the ground, or something else. Our boat trailer is tied around the street light.
Of course, chains can be cut, but if you get a good one the only way to do it is to use a cordless angle grinder, which isn’t quiet and you’d hope someone would notice.
A great way to give yourself some peace of mind is to install a wheel clamp. We run the Nemesis unit, which works really well and fits larger tyres. Its heavy and bulky so we don’t take it away with us, but being bright orange you can see from a long way away that someone has gone to the effort to secure their van, and that its probably easier to target something that requires less effort.
There’s certainly some innovative ways to stop van theft, and you can purchase detachable bollards, that you set up in the middle of your draw bar. The van cannot be moved without the bollard being unbolted, and these often need special tools to do so. Its big, its obvious and its quick to remove, so it ticks a number of boxes.
Under lock and key
The best way to stop theft is to keep your caravan or camper trailer under lock and key, in a shed, or garage. If its out of sight you’ll have far less chance of anyone getting ideas. The problem, is that real-estate isn’t cheap and a lot of people simply don’t have the room to fit a van or camper. Our R2 doesn’t fit in the garage, so it lives on the driveway as that’s the only option.
Parked behind another vehicle
If you have a box trailer, or a boat, or a vehicle that doesn’t get driven too often, simply parking it in front of your van or camper trailer is enough to prevent theft. Who’s going to bother stealing a van when you have to move a whole heap of gear out of the way to get to it?
If you have a good set of security cameras that cover your van or camper trailer, it’s a pretty good way of letting others know that you mean business. Sure, if it gets stolen its not always going to help the situation, but its another method to make it harder to do.
GPS trackers for your caravan or camper trailer are hugely popular, and there are plenty of options out there. You can take an old mobile, buy a cheap plan and hide it in your trailer with a permanent power supply, and then just use the find my phone options.
Alternatively, you can buy proper GPS trackers, with plans that will monitor your van, send you notifications if it moves and a whole heap of other fancy gear.
Take the wheels off
If you’ve ever driven past a van and seen that it has no wheels, there’s a good chance its been done to stop someone taking it. If you have to bring wheels and tyres in to steal a van, it’s a lot of effort and thieves can’t be bothered.
You can get alarm systems today that are pretty nifty, for caravans. You press a button and they arm, and if anyone knocks the van or shakes it, the alarm goes off. Even better than this; if the van moves, the electric brakes come on and the van will have to be skull dragged anywhere.
Of course, all of these are just preventative measures and a thief that really wants to take your caravan and camper trailer will do it. This is where insurance comes in; and if you don’t have your valued van or camper insured for at least the market value (or its worth to you) then you are taking a big risk.
Take the appropriate measures to reduce caravan theft, and do everyone a favour. Its not pleasant reading of those that have had their vans taken, and its even worse to experience it!
Do what you can
At the end of the day, a lot of Caravan and Camper security comes down to common sense, and making it too much work to steal your pride and joy. If people really want to take something they will, no matter how challenging you make it, and that’s where you need decent insurance that covers you for the potential loss.
Be smart, do what you can and check your insurance is up to date. Other than that, enjoy your amazing travels in this great land!