We all work hard for the items we own and do not want them to fall into the wrong hands (dun dun dun….) With the right amount of effort, anything can be stolen.
My wife and I always have our feelers out when it comes to protecting what we own and preventing anyone from stealing our items as we have been stolen from in the past, and its not a good feeling. It would be the worst to be out in the middle of nowhere and come back from a hike and find out your generator, trailer hitch, or whole trailer itself is gone. We go over RV and trailer anti theft devices, interior security as well as the security of your items when out camping.
The best way to protect your trailer from being stolen is to leave it hitched up to your vehicle, parked out of site, or with your vehicle parked in front of it. Other security measures include: a hitch coupler lock, hitch pin lock, wheel locks, replacing your factory door locks, and GPS monitoring.
Understanding Trailer Theft
Factors Attracting Thieves
Trailer theft is a common issue faced by many trailer owners. Thieves are attracted to trailers for various reasons, including their resale value, the ease of stealing them, and the opportunity to obtain items stored inside. Additionally, certain factors make specific trailers more desirable. These factors include:
- Lack of security features: Trailers without locks, wheel chocks, or immobilizers are more appealing due to the simplicity of stealing them.
- Location: Trailers parked in remote or unlit areas are at a higher risk as thieves can easily access them without being seen.
- Brand and model: Trailers from popular brands or specific models may have a higher resale value or demand, attracting more thieves.
Common Types of Trailer Theft
Trailer theft can occur in different ways. Some of the most common forms of trailer theft include:
- Hitch theft: Thieves detach the entire trailer from the towing vehicle, leaving the towing vehicle behind, and making off with the trailer.
- Wheel theft: In this case, thieves steal the wheels of the trailer, rendering it immobile and leaving the owner with costly repairs.
- Contents theft: If a trailer contains valuable items, such as tools or equipment, thieves may break into the trailer and steal those items without taking the entire trailer.
To protect your trailer from theft, consider implementing the anti-theft tips provided in the next section.
How to Lock your Trailer so it Won’t be Stolen
Below, we detail the best trailer anti theft devices available on the market today. With one of these, or a combination of all, your trailer will keep out of the clutches of anyone looking to take it.
Best Trailer Theft Protection and Anti Theft Devices
The items below will help keep your trailer secure from theft of the trailer itself, the hitch, or items within the trailer. There are several ways to protect your belongings, but you may also want to use several of these tactics.
Hitch Coupler Lock
The best way to prevent someone from stealing your trailer is to prevent them from hitching up to it in the first place. Whether you are out on a camping trip, or your trailer is parked in storage, it is best to always keep it locked up so no one else will have access to moving your trailer without your knowledge.
There are several different designs of hitch coupler locks, but we have found this model to be our favorite budget model and this model to be the best of the best. It not only protects the couple from having a ball inserted but rounds the front so cutting this off would be quite hard.
This coupler lock attaches to your coupler just like your trailer hitch ball does and locks into place. A thief would create quite a bit of noise if they had to grind or try to remove this from a hitch, so they should get caught before they are successful.
Hitch Pin Lock
We use a hitch pin lock with our hitch coupler lock which keeps the coupler locked so it would be impossible to fit the ball in making it unable to be connected. We also keep this lock on every time we tow just in case a pesky kid comes and flips the coupler up.
This would not be the best thing to happen while you are towing down the road at 60 mph. It is always recommended to have a pin in the hitch coupler so it does not wiggle loose, and this device will take its place and keep it locked on to whatever it is hitched to.
Whenever we are parked we install our X-Chocks to keep our trailer stable when we are walking around. The design of the X-Chocks puts pressure against the tires if you have a dual axle which prevents them from moving.
We then insert a cable lock to lock the X Chock to our wheels creating another way for the trailer to not move. Someone would have to cut your wire lock and remove your X Chocks in order to move your trailer. This is yet another layer of security to prevent your trailer from being towed away.
Read more about our X-Chocks on our article on the best wheel chocks.
Wheel Chock Lock
A wheel chock lock is another device that could be added to your travel trailer, rv, automobile, or anything on wheels to keep it from being stolen.
This is similar to the boot, where it goes around your tire and wheel and locks it in place. This works great as the unit cannot be towed, and this device would be very hard to tamper with and remove without damaging a tire or anything else.
How to Track your Trailer if it does Get Stolen
GPS Tracking System
GPS tracking systems have been available for vehicles for a long time now. This is not necessarily an anti-theft device, but if your trailer does end up stolen, you can point police in the right direction to its whereabouts. This device could be hidden inside the trailer or under the undercarriage. Either way, this will leave you able to track its every movement.
Incorporating a GPS tracking system into your trailer security strategy is a smart move. Should your trailer be stolen, the GPS tracking system will help you and law enforcement pinpoint its location and recover it faster. These tracking devices can be hidden discreetly, making it difficult for thieves to locate and disable them.
GPS tracking systems typically offer the following features:
- Real-time location updates that give you the exact position of your trailer
- Geofencing capabilities, where you can set a predetermined area, and if your trailer leaves that area, you will be alerted
- Alerts for when the trailer’s motion is detected or its ignition is turned on
- Monitoring through mobile apps or web browsers for easy access
Apple AirTag to Prevent Travel Trailer Theft
AirTag’s can be an economical way to track your trailer, luggage, backpacks, golf carts, or other items. These don’t require a monthly subscription like a GPS does, but will only ping if they are in close proximity of an iPhone user. We have several AirTags in our cars, trailer, and other items we want to keep track of.
They will also let you know when they are on the move, so that is nice to have for alerts especially if you are in winter storage and don’t expect your trailer to move anytime soon.
Battery life is usually around a year, so these little things are great to have. If you aren’t an iPhone user, then the
Battery life is usually around a year, so these little things are great to have. If you aren’t an iPhone user, then the Tile is another great option.
Game Camera to Prevent Travel Trailer Theft
A game camera like this model is a good idea to have to position on your trailer or travel trailer when it is in storage or parked in an area for a long amount of time. You will be able to monitor if anyone tampers with your RV, or if it is stolen be able to have pictures and video of who did it.
Another good idea would be a Game Camera with a cellular data connection so you can know on the fly instantly if someone is hanging around your RV that shouldn’t be.
How to Secure the interior of your Travel Trailer from Thieves
We have gone over the external items on how to keep your actual whole trailer from being stolen, but now let’s look into how to protect the items within your trailer from being tampered with or stolen.
Replace Hatch Locks
Many of the locks on travel trailers are keyed alike. The hatch lock keys may be the same as your neighbors with the same brand, or even a different one. These locks are usually very weak and can be picked easily.
It is recommended to replace your hatch locks with aftermarket locks that your neighbor will not have a key to. These locks can be replaced with combination locks that allow you to set your own combination, or with a different lock which includes a different kind of key for added security.
Hatch locks are very easy to replace, so leaving the factory locks on can be a mistake that could leave you out of many of your supplies or even a generator.
Electronic Door Lock
The door lock on your travel trailer may suffer from the same issue as your hatch locks. Anyone with that same kind of trailer may have a key. It is a good idea to replace your door lock as well when you are securing up your RV.
An upgraded electronic lock with pass code is wonderful as if you are hiking and misplace your keys, or go swimming and want to leave your keys in your trailer, this electronic lock allows you to do so. Our favorite keypad lock allows you to create your own combination and lock and unlock on the fly as well as has a key fob to lock and unlock remotely.
Interior Safe for Valuables
We installed a Tuffy Security lockbox for all of our valuables while we travel. This holds our laptop, iPads, passports, as well as cash while we travel. Keep in mind you can also fit your cameras or other devices while you are out on a hike. There is about 1″ of padding all around the interior so there is no need to worry about things getting damaged.
How to Lock your Travel Trailer Accessories
Lock your Expensive Batteries
Whether you have lithium or lead acid batteries on your travel trailer, they are expensive to replace. Lead acid can cost upwards of $300 to replace and lithium can cost upwards of $800. One thing you will want to make sure is locked up is your batteries
Coming to your trailer storage unit to find your batteries are gone is not a fun sight. This genius invention can save your batteries from becoming a target for a thief. It is available for single or dual batteries depending on how many batteries you have.
It is fairly simple to install, but provides great protection.
Secure a Generator
The generator you pack along on your camping trips is often one of the most stolen items. We recommend you lock it up to your ladder, frame, stairs, hitch, or anything you can fasten it to. As these units are becoming smaller and more lightweight, they have become easier targets.
A generator can range from $500 to $1,000+ so taking the added security is cheap insurance. We use a cable bike lock as well as a lock to fasten our generator’s handle to our rear bumper. Now at the end of the day, someone could still steal this with minimal tools, but at least it makes it apparent you are protecting your items and makes it a little more difficult for someone to steal.
Lock your Surge Protector
A surge protector is such a small item that can be stolen at the blink of an eye, you want to make sure it is locked up. Our favorite surge protector comes with an eye loop to enable it to be locked up with a simple cable lock. This can be a quick way to save your 100+ surge protector with minimal time.
Propane Tank Lock
By locking up your propane tank(s) you will prevent them from being stolen. They can be expensive to not only replace but if you have them full of propane, there is even more lost cost.
Keep your Weight Distribution Hitch Locked
We have made friends with others at many campgrounds and have listened to many horror stories. This one, in particular, must have been very hard. The couple we had met had left the campground hiking for the day and left their hitch attached to their truck.
Upon return, their expensive weight distribution hitch was gone. Not only did this cause them to purchase another hitch, but their campsite was 3 hours away from the nearest town with one. Their specific brand was not available from the two trailer stores, so they had to opt-out of a weight-distribution hitch and go with a normal one.
Towing their massive trailer with no weight distribution or sway control was horrible for them. Once they got back from their summer trip they still had to purchase a new weight distribution hitch. This small event of a 6 hour drive, $400 for a new hitch, and all the hassle could have been prevented with a sub $10 item.
We recommend this hitch lock to lock your hitch to your car’s receiver so it does not walk away. We also recommend storing your hitch in your trailer locked up so it does not walk away as well.
Parking and Storage Strategies To Prevent your Trailer from Being Stolen
Choosing a Safe Place
When selecting a location for your trailer, prioritize well-lit, secure areas such as dedicated camping or recreational vehicle storage facilities. These areas often have security measures in place that act as a deterrent to potential thieves. If you need to store your trailer in an unfamiliar area, try to choose a spot that is visible from your location, so you can easily keep an eye on your possessions.
Another option is to store your trailer in your own driveway or on your property. This allows you to have full control over security measures and can be an affordable alternative to commercial storage facilities. Just make sure your local regulations allow for it.
Using Security Measures at the Location
Reinforce the security of the location where you’ve chosen to park your trailer by implementing additional measures. These can include:
- Installing an alarm system: A trailer alarm system serves as an effective deterrent. In the event someone attempts to tamper with your trailer, the alarm will notify you or others nearby, possibly scaring off the intruder.
- Using a ball unit or receiver lock: A ball unit lock prevents unauthorized coupling of your trailer to a towing vehicle. Likewise, a receiver lock can secure the hitch to the vehicle, making it more difficult for a thief to just drive away with your trailer.
- Incorporating visible deterrents: Items such as wheel clamps, hitch locks, and chains are effective deterrents for potential thieves. The more difficult it appears to steal your trailer, the less likely someone will target it.
How to Secure and Prevent Trailer Theft in your Driveway
The best way to protect your travel trailer from theft in your driveway is to follow the guidance earlier in this article.
Use the following guidance to secure your trailer at home:
- Trailer Hitch Lock
- Wheel Lock
- Coupler Lock
- Install Cameras at your Home Focused on your Trailer
- Keep your Trailer behind a fence or gate
- Park a vehicle in front of your trailer at night
Keep in mind that no single security measure is foolproof. To better protect your trailer and your valuables, it’s wise to combine multiple strategies and frequently reevaluate the effectiveness of your chosen measures.
10 Helpful Items Mentioned in this Article:
- A trailer tongue lock will prevent your trailer from being stolen while you are away from it.
- This receiver and hitch pin lock set will prevent your expensive weight distribution hitch as well as trailer from being stolen.
- X-Chocks serve two purposes, first to reduce movement when walking around in your trailer, second to reduce the chance of theft. Tighten these up and lock them to your wheels and no one can move your trailer.
- This lock we mentioned above to lock up your x-chocks will also work perfectly for your surge protector. They come in packs of three so you can lock up two x chocks and your surge protector with one pack.
- The Trimax wheel lock will truly lock up your trailer and prevent theft. It basically works as a boot so no one can tow it. Just don’t lose the key!
- A portable GPS hidden in your trailer will track its whereabouts at all times if your RV does get stolen.
- Protecting the inside of your RV is also important, replacing your baggage locks with these will prevent a universal key from being used.
- As mentioned, many travel trailers have the same keys, so replacing your main door lock with a key code lock will eliminate you from having to remember your key, but also get you a different key set no one else has.
- A battery lock will prevent your batteries from being stolen saving you lots of money. A propane tank lock will keep your bottles mounted on your trailer away from thiefs hands.
- Having a good quality bike lock and cable will prevent your generator from being stolen. Always lock it up in your truck or while using to a tree or your RV.
We hope these tips help you from having items taken from your travel trailer or the whole unit taken itself. Keep yourself safe and protected from thieves as this could ruin your whole summer road trip. We use a hitch coupler lock and a hitch pin lock at all times when the trailer is unhitched from our rig as well as add the x-chocks locked to the tire when we are at a campground.
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