The feeling of having something stolen is one of the worst feelings in the world. We experienced this gut wrenching feeling when our bikes were stolen from us on one of our RV adventures. Even if the thieves take something of nominal value, it can still be extremely frustrating. Unfortunately, it can happen almost anywhere, even at campsites.
So why do people steal camping gear and how can you prevent it? Today, we’ll help you take the proper steps to avoid another camper walking away with your stuff.
- Do People Steal Camping Gear?
- Can You Leave Your Tent Unattended?
- Can You Lock Your Tent When Camping?
- How Can I Keep My Tent Safe While Camping?
- Is It OK to Go Camping Alone?
- How Do You Prevent Theft While Camping?
Do People Steal Camping Gear?
There’s no way to predict who will walk by your campsite or what might attract their attention. The reports of stolen camping gear are generally low, but they do occur. Some people will take any opportunity to take something they want, even if it belongs to someone else.
Camping gear is hard to identify because many mass-produced products look the same. An identification label won’t stop a thief who raids your tent when you leave it unattended, but it can help identify your belongings if law enforcement gets involved.
Can You Leave Your Tent Unattended?
You don’t want to spend all of your camping trip sitting inside of your tent. You’ll like leave your campsite for an extended time to enjoy your surroundings. Some of the best hiking trails could require hours to complete, which means you will need to leave your tent unattended for the better part of the day.
Many campers do this every day without issue. However, there’s no guarantee that others will leave your belongings alone while away from your tent. Whether it’s humans looking for a five-finger discount on camping gear or an animal that smells your food, an unattended tent is a target. The good news is, there are a few things you can do before leaving your tent to help ensure your gear is safe until you return.
Can You Lock Your Tent When Camping?
We don’t leave our RV without locking our front door and we view our tent similarly. You can and should lock your tent while camping with a tent lock. These locks attach to the zippers on your door flap to make it hard for someone to get inside.
Of course, these locks may provide some protection to your tent, but if a thief is trying to get into your tent, they can easily cut through the thin canvas and take what they want. Unlike a thief busting a window to get into your vehicle, cutting through canvas is relatively quiet and won’t attract much attention.
Even if you lock your tent when camping, you should limit what you can leave unattended in your tent while you’re away. Always take all valuables with you or leave them at home before you even head out to your campsite.
Pro Tip: If you overpack while camping, you might be making yourself an easy target for thieves. Make sure to avoid packing these 7 Things You Honestly Should NOT Bring Camping.
How Can I Keep My Tent Safe While Camping?
We want your gear to go home with you at the end of a camping trip. If you want to avoid being an easy target for a thief, there are a handful of things you can do to keep your gear safe. Let’s take a look!
Stay In Safe Areas
One of the best ways to avoid having your stuff taken is to stay in safe locations while camping. We like to use resources like Campendium and iOverlander to read reviews from other campers before we pick a spot to stay at.
If other users state an area has frequent traffic from locals or other activity, it might not be a place where you can leave your tent unattended. Anytime you feel you or your gear is not safe, you should take action.
Never stay in a location where you feel unsafe. This can be a spot that is overly populate or completely isolated. While items are replaceable, your safety is more important than any piece of camping gear. If you arrive at a spot and don’t feel safe, look for a different area.
Don’t Take Valuables
If possible, avoid taking anything of value with you while camping. If you have to take it with you, keep it on you or secure it when you leave your campsite. This may mean locking it up in your vehicle for better protection. If you cannot take it with you, leave it out of sight and secure it as best as you can and try not to let others around you see when you do have it.
After our bikes were stolen, we started to use a lock with an alarm on it to stop thieves from grabbing our gear. These can help secure your items but are not tamper-proof. We’ve noticed many people who use generators will put it away or lock their generator and fuel up when they leave their campsite.
Hide Trackers In Your Gear
While this is not a method of preventing theft and more for if theft happens, tracking devices could help you recover your gear if stolen. These small devices can be hidden deep in pockets or put in protective cases and zip-tied to items.
AirTags, or other similar tracking devices, can potentially help prevent theft by allowing you to locate your lost or stolen items. These devices work by connecting to a network of devices through Bluetooth and can be tracked using the Find My app on an iPhone or iPad.
The effectiveness of a tracking device depends on various factors such as the device’s range and the availability of other nearby devices to connect to so it’s not foolproof, but it can help.
Use A Security Backpack
Security backpacks are a great option to keep your stuff safe. These backpacks often use slash-proof materials that make it very difficult for thieves to access the contents. They also may have lockable zippers and hidden pockets that can slow down or prevent a thief from taking your stuff while you leave your tent unattended.
However, a security backpack will not do much good if the thieves take it to get into later. If you’re storing anything valuable in the pack, it might be best to take it. Still, security backpacks can do a great job of making it difficult for someone looking for an easy target.
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Familiarize Yourself With Your Surroundings
You should always be alert to what’s going on around you. Be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, and don’t be afraid to report it to authorities. If you suspect that someone has bad intentions, it’s worth reporting. Something as simple as a drive by from local law enforcement or park rangers might be all it takes to get someone up to no good to leave the scene.
Pro Tip: Going camping in an RV instead of a tent? Keep your stuff safe with these tips on How To Prevent RV Break-ins.
Is It OK to Go Camping Alone?
Many people enjoy camping alone. However, while camping alone can be a great way to relax and connect with nature, you should be aware of the dangers. Camping alone can make you an easy target if you leave your tent and gear unattended.
If you’re planning to spend much time camping alone, it’s a good idea to check in regularly with a friend or loved one to let them know you’re doing okay. If they haven’t heard from you in a while, they can come looking to ensure you’re safe. Carrying a personal locator beacon can also help others find you if you get lost or have an accident in a remote location without cell service.
How Do You Prevent Theft While Camping?
The best way to prevent theft while camping is to avoid being an easy target for a thief. Minimize what you leave out when you leave your campsite and take any valuables with you. If someone does go through your property while you leave your tent unattended, make it so they can only take things that have little value or significance to you. There’s no 100% guarantee that theft will not occur while camping, but you can minimize the impact by taking a few precautions.
Have you ever been the victim of a theft while camping? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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