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The flexibility of being able to fit a camper shell to your pickup truck and head out into the wild is incredible and allows you to create some awesome memories. There’s nothing like parking under the stars in the heart of nature, but if you’re anxious about being broken into, this can affect your whole trip!
So, are camper shells easy to break into?
Camper shells and other RV-type vehicles can be easy to break into. There are, however, some precautions you can take to help prevent thieves from breaking in. Choosing a hard-sided shell, covering windows, adding locks and alarms, parking in appropriate areas, and removing valuables from your camper shell can all help prevent a break-in.
I always think if someone wants something bad enough, they will do their best to get it, and unfortunately, this goes for camper shell break-ins too. Try not to be put off by this though, as arguably, similar break-in risks come with all types of RVs, vehicles, and even houses.
If you’re concerned about the security of your camper shell, it’s worth taking some extra measures to help make it safer, so let’s see what you can do!
Are Camper Shells Easy to Break Into?
Thieves tend to be opportunists, so if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, a break-in can happen. I was broken into when traveling Europe in my campervan a few years ago. Unfortunately, the thieves must have seen me leave my camper unattended and they managed to get in, causing some damage and stealing valuables along with sentimental items.
This experience hasn’t put me off camping at all though, and I have now been a full-time RVer on the road for 3 years. However, I did learn the hard way that if you want to leave your RV or camper shell unattended, then there are a few things you should do to make your rig more secure.
How Do You Prevent a Camper Shell From Being Broken Into?
Although no one can guarantee you won’t get broken into, there are a few things you can do to help prevent a break-in when traveling with your camper shell.
So, let’s take at some of them!
1. Choose a Hard-Sided Camper Shell
Having windows in a camper shell is great as they let you see the beautiful surroundings you’re parked in, as well as keeping the space light, fresh, and airy. However, there is a downside to having windows in your camper shell as they can be prime areas for thieves to smash and gain entry.
If you know your travel will be centered in urban areas or near cities, it might be a good idea to choose a hard-sided camper shell. A camper shell without windows can be safer as it keeps everything inside the shell hidden away without easy access.
2. Cover Windows
Many camper shells have windows, and if that includes your shell then it’s probably worth investing in some good black-out curtains or making some window covers yourself. If potential thieves can’t see in, they are less likely to try and break in, so it’s a good idea to cover your windows and keep your belongings out of the sight of prying eyes.
For a more permanent option that can also work well and deter thieves, you could add tinted film to your windows. This is a relatively cheap option and is great if blinds or curtains aren’t your kind of thing. You can choose the percentage of light the tint allows in, so if you want it to be really hard to see into your camper shell, you’ll want to choose a tint that lets 15% or lower light in.
I have used tinted film on the windows in my campervan, but because I still enjoy plenty of light coming into the camper, I chose a higher percentage. This is an ideal, quick option for making your camper more secure and keeping belongings out of sight.
3. Add Locks
You can never be too safe, so investing in some high-quality locks can give you peace of mind that you’ve taken the extra measures to secure your camper shell. Even an old-school steering lock can act as a great deterrent as you can secure your pickup truck at the front and be stress-free in the back, knowing it would be difficult to break into.
If you have to spend the night in an area you don’t feel 100% secure, then this video gives a great tip on how to lock your camper shell from the inside!
Also, if thieves see bolt locks or power locks, they are less likely to proceed with the break-in. At the end of the day, if you’ve hidden things out of sight with a curtain or tints, and added additional locks to your camper shell, you’ve taken a lot of precautionary steps.
4. Remove Valuables
As a general rule of thumb, I never leave valuables in my campervan. If I know I will be out hiking for most of the day, or trekking into town for groceries and to see friends and family, I make sure my valuables are kept with me.
By removing the valuables from your camper shell, if the worst happens and you get broken into, at least the thieves won’t have your camera, laptop, phone, or important documents. When traveling, and especially when crossing borders where things can sometimes get confusing and complicated, I keep documents like my passport on me at all times.
Losing something as valuable as a passport in a break-in can be a nightmare, especially if you’re in a different country. If things are irreplaceable and of high importance, my advice would be to keep them on you whenever you leave your camper!
5. Add an Alarm to the Camper Shell
Adding an alarm system to your camper shell can be a fantastic way of keeping thieves at bay. Although having an alarm may not stop thieves from initially attempting to break into your camper shell, when the alarm activates, hopefully, they will stop and flee from fear of being caught.
An alarm can also signal that you may need help from passers-by if an attempted break-in happens. When you’re not inside your rig, it may be useful to have a motion detection alarm system that will activate when it senses motion on the camper shell.
I have one of these on my campervan and although it can sometimes be activated during windy conditions or by broken tree branches falling on the roof, it gives me plenty of peace of mind that my camper has a little extra bit of protection when I’m not in it and will definitely go off if someone tries the door handle.
6. Choose an Appropriate Camping Spot
If you’re traveling in a new area or you’re unsure of where to park your rig, it might be useful to head to an appropriate camp spot like a camping ground for the night. It’s important to adhere to the often varying rules about wild camping in the area you’re traveling in.
When heading into, or near, cities, it’s a good idea to check out designated camp spots, as densely populated areas can often be a higher risk for break-ins than out in the wilderness. One of the joys of camping with wheels is that if a place doesn’t feel quite right and for whatever reason, you don’t feel completely safe, you can jump in the front and drive away to another spot.
Although camper shells can be easy to break into, certain measures can be put into place to improve security. Covering windows, locking the camper shell, setting an alarm, and keeping valuables on you are some awesome ways to help prevent your shell from being broken into.