by Naomi Fiddes-Baron
Campervan security ideas have been very much on my mind of late. There are two reasons for this. 1 – I’m about to trot off on a 12-month European campervan adventure. 2 – the A.I in my Facebook seems to be focussed on telling me about van theft. The two could, I am sure, be linked by my search history, but enough about how companies find out all about my personal data and make use of it for targeted advertising….
I realise I must resist the urge to transform my campervan into a veritable Fort Knox that, inevitably, I would also lock myself either in or out of. Instead, I set about researching the best security options for campervans out there.
You’ve got a beautiful campervan. You put a lot of time, love, and effort into it. Some people just aren’t that patient…. So, this bit focusses on some options to stop someone stealing your whole van.
Keep a Track on it
There are several different types of trackers available. And many, many more opinions on the best options on the various forums I found myself digging into! Some people suggest using an old mobile phone with a “find my phone” function and a cheap PAYG SIM. Others advocate firing your own satellite into space and having a dedicated third eye on your van at all times. The latter may prove cost prohibitive….
If you choose to use vehicle trackers as campervan security, they usually have an ongoing cost associated with them. At the top end, they can link to a call centre who will liaise directly with the police to recover the vehicle if it is stolen. At the lower end, you will need to fund a SIM card and do the tracking yourself.
It goes without saying really, (but I’ll say it anyway) trackers work best when they’re hidden like a hide and seek expert on level 1000! Response time is critical too, because the longer a thief has the vehicle, the higher the chance they’ll find and remove the tracker.
- Cost from £100 base unit including a 12-month SIM contract;
- 2G or 3G – remember that some countries, like Australia, have switched off their 2G network;
- You can get high-end models with engine immobilising features;
- You need to check that your SIM card doesn’t need replacing and you can renew the contract! This would be really annoying to replace every 12 months if you’ve hidden it like a boss!
Lock it Down!
If it’s bolted down, it’s difficult to move! Steering wheel and wheel locks are a great portable bit of kit to use when you’ve parked up. Whether you’re in the van or not, to be honest. Again, the level of engineering of these devices varies, as does the price point!
Disklok steering wheel locks are widely recognised as one of the best options. The benefit of these is that they pose both a visual deterrent as well as needing an angle grinder to get off; in our opinion, these are a super investment.
- Steering wheel and wheel locks vary from £30 to £120
- You need to get into the habit of locking it every single time you get out of your campervan!
If Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In
So, what about people breaking in to steal your hard-earned stuff? If you’re living full time in your van, you’re likely to have a whole variety of kit with you. From kayaks to climbing equipment and laptops to drones; it would really suck if someone took them from your campervan.
You need to make sure that you have the right type of insurance for your belongings. That’s a whole other topic but, in short, personal possessions cover differs from travel insurance which again differs from your actual campervan insurance.
If you want to make it difficult to gain access to your vehicle, then a visible deterrent is a good first option.
A Bit Alarming!
There are many, many retrofit alarms available. From devices that stick on your windows, to booby trapped fog horns there will be one that suits your campervan setup the best.
You could put window alarms on the windows that are easily accessible. When we say accessible, we mean side windows as opposed to roof vents. You can buy motion triggered or magnetic window alarms. They work by triggering a rather loud alarm when the connection is lost. The magnetic type is probably more appropriate for your campervan, as they are less likely to be triggered accidently by the movement of the vehicle.
- £5 – £10 per alarm – you can buy them on Amazon
- Very easy to fit yourself
If someone is determined to smash the windows, the only way I found to make this difficult (aside from not having any windows) is to install window security film. I think this is a great campervan security option.
This is a retrofitted film that goes on the outer of the campervan windows. It makes it very difficult to break the glass from the outside for anyone trying to get in. However, and quite importantly, it does not impede you smashing the glass from the inside in case you need to escape that way in an emergency or an accident.
Close, but no Cigar
Let’s imagine the Ocean’s 11 team has managed to get access to your campervan. Without stating the obvious, it’s unlikely that your insurance will cover any belongings left out on display in an unattended vehicle. So, how can you best protect your gadgets and gizmos?
A safe may seem like something that’s going to take up space in an already tight build space. However, it’s worth thinking about what items you would be devastated by if they were stolen. Hard drives with all your photos and video footage? Laptop? Diary? You don’t need a safe to hold everything, just the things you really, really value.
Having one that bolts directly to the chassis of the campervan is a brilliant security option for your personal belongings. Some companies guarantee that they cannot be broken into though, of course, this will affect the price you pay.
- From £100 upwards
I don’t want to sound flippant when I suggest that having your very own personal security guard with added bite is a pretty awesome campervan security option.
First of all, you don’t actually need to have a dog to benefit from the deterrent they can provide. You can buy “dogs on board” stickers which will act as a good initial deterrent.
Secondly, your dog will act as an excellent first alert – usually by barking very loudly and repeatedly. This is likely to scare a potential intruder away, or at least wake you up so you can join in the barking!
Thirdly, they give really excellent snuggles in the morning, so, a van dog is a brilliant option all round really.
There are a lot more campervan security options available out there. Deadlocks will prevent someone entering your vehicle and are commonly used by tradespeople to protect their tools. Having something that makes your campervan instantly recognisable is also a good idea. For example, a large decal on the van helps if it is white. Alternatively, you could have it wrapped or painted which will make it stand out from the crowd.
This way, if the worst does happen, you stand a really good chance of someone recognising the vehicle after it’s been shared far and wide on social media.