Friday, December 9, 2022


Around the Campfire: Should RVers be worried about nighttime theft in RV parks?


We were happy to welcome a “newbie RVer” to the campfire last night. His enthusiasm seemed to roll off him in waves! He’s beginning his full-time adventure in a previously loved (pre-owned) travel trailer. “Newbie” is a single guy who recently landed a “work from home” job. Only now it’s a “work from RV” job because this guy can’t wait to continue his travels. He’s really excited, but he has questions… and one big, disturbing question about nighttime theft.

The important question

One question prompted vigorous discussion. “What do you do with your lawn chairs, coolers, and BBQ grill at night?” That’s what “Newbie” wanted to know. I sneaked a peek at others gathered around the fire. The question seemed to take most of us by surprise.

Why this question about nighttime theft?

Turns out, Newbie’s question was prompted by his unfortunate luck. On his very first RV trip, his expensive Yeti cooler was stolen. “I left it outside, partially under the RV steps. In the morning it was gone. I was staying in a gated RV park at the time and figured it was safe. Guess I was wrong.”

Do nothing

My husband spoke up first, “We don’t do anything with the cooler, chairs, etc. They stay outside our RV because we use them every day. I never considered that someone might walk off with any of it.”

Most other folks agreed and said they leave their things outside at night, too. “What’s the world coming to?” wondered Barb. “If stuff is stolen inside an RV park, what happens when you boondock in Bureau of Land Management places?”

“Nothing is safe anymore,” John lamented. “I had two orange safety cones stolen out of my pickup truck bed. Who does this kind of thing?”

Lock it up

“If you want to keep it,” Sam said, “you need to toss everything in your rig’s basement overnight. No sense in temptin’ people. Those Yeti coolers are pricey and most folks know it.”

I admit we lock up our bicycles. Not sure why it never occurred to me to do the same with our other outside belongings. It just never entered my mind before now. Our camp chairs are probably too old and worn to tempt anyone. And our cooler? Well, suffice it to say it’s not a Yeti.

Does putting your name on it prevent nighttime theft?

“Just put your name on everything,” Judy suggested. “That will make it harder for someone to try and resell it and might make the thief think twice about taking it.” Maybe … but if a person is brash enough to nab your camp grill or expensive cooler, I wonder if having your name on it will be enough of a deterrent.


Everyone wanted to know where “Newbie” was staying when he experienced this nighttime theft. It was an RV park just off the interstate highway near a mid-sized city. He reported the theft to the campground management but that was three weeks ago, so he’s given up ever seeing his Yeti again.

“Hey, things happen,” Newbie shrugged. I was happy to see that misfortune hadn’t dinged his enthusiasm for RVing. “Not at all,” Newbie said. “A stolen cooler isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Wait until you hear about my black tank misadventure!”

Have you ever had something stolen while RVing? What do you do with your outside belongings overnight? Please share in the comments below.

Last time in “Around the Campfire”…


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Debbie Rhode
21 days ago

We have never had anything stolen (yet) at a campsite. We tend to stay in membership parks, though. However, we have had stuff stolen at HOME WHILE WE WERE HOME ugh. Lost a Generator and Pressure washer next to the trailer while my daughter and grandkids were sleeping in the trailer for a fun campout weekend. Makes me angry. But I am happy to read the Newbie did not get discouraged! If I knew where to donate to him for a new Yeti I would!

Stew n andrea
1 month ago

Camping theft: Huntington beach state park S Carolina summer 2022.

Mack B
1 month ago

We had the rear hub covers stolen from our Isata 5 motor home on two separate occasions. The first time they got both rear covers while in a campground just off the interstate. The second time we had one stolen off the rear driver’s side while in a campground about 8 miles off the interstate. Both times it happened while we were sleeping. With the AC on, we never heard them.

Thomas D
1 month ago

I have a park model in a resort in casa Grande Az. Recently bad people have been coming in and they’ve stolen 4 golf carts among other things. It’s gated . If you want it, lock it up. Since our government decided to give money away, there are people that since they can’t get any more feel that you and I should support them.
Not mine if you please. Arizona is a concealed carry no permit state.

Belinda Phillips
1 month ago

The big problem in recent years at the campgrounds in Myrtle Beach has been people coming into the campground from off the beach, and taking items from sites. The campgrounds are locked with gates after 11 or 12 at night, but the beach is wide open….

J Allen
1 month ago

We had a thief try to steal a road bike locked to the bumper of our motor home at a state park. He even climbed the ladder, erroneously thinking the bike was secured to the ladder. Since I was asleep in the bed next to the rear window, I heard him and gave him a surprise when I flashed my bedside light out the window. He left in a hurry!

1 month ago

Been camping for 30+years, and now we glamp. We cable lock our ebikes, grill, and sometimes the gravity chairs. That’s it for what we keep outside. We realize this keeps the honest people honest, and only slows down the thieves. We had a rogue medical emergency 15 years ago and since then, we keep our outdoor stuff simple and tidy up each evening, also keeps us from looking like white trash. The benefit, if we had to pack up in a hurry, we’re more organized. We also have a couple of motion sensor lights. Someone mentioned a windchime, which takes me back to my teen years. my mom had bells hung on the kitchen door so she knew when my brothers got home, became their low-tech security system. The bells were still hanging 40 years later when we sold the house. Think I’ll get a couple cowbells to tie to the bikes and grill.

1 month ago

The only thing we ever had stolen was a cheap cooler with water and soft drinks in it. There was a bunch of late teens in the campground tent camping, I figure they came a round late thinking they were getting beer.

1 month ago

I was camping in an out of the way campground and in the morning I was looking for my dog food stored in a covered bucket I had left under the 5th wheel, It was gone and on looking in the close by woods I eventually came across it. dragged their by raccoons. teeth and claw marks all over the bucket but they could not get the lid off. the bucket was heavy and no idea how they managed to drag it away. at least my dog get fed breakfast.

1 month ago

I’m a newbie RVer and it never occurred to me to lock anything up. Just 2 chairs and a table with plants on it. If you take my plants they don’t need alot of water. lol

Joseph Eafrati
1 month ago

I was in a park in Phoenix AZ, and I always had my bike sitting under the bed slide. I had it like that for four months and one night it got stolen. Several people had things stolen that night.

1 month ago
Reply to  Joseph Eafrati

Exact same thing happened to my nephew in Scottsdale

Last edited 1 month ago by Renee
a coupleoMacs
1 month ago
Reply to  Renee

Don’t leave your nephew outside under the slide overnight!

Debbie Rhode
21 days ago
Reply to  a coupleoMacs

That’s hilarious!

1 month ago

This past summer a woman returned to her campsite
after visiting friends for the day. Everything was gone, including her tent. This is a large, very busy park set back from any roads and you can’t get in without a permit. I’m guessing anyone who saw this happening assumed they were just packing up to leave.

Barbara J Maynard
1 month ago

Protect your surge protectors.

20 days ago

How’s the best way to do this?

1 month ago

I am finishing my second year of RVing and initially we would load everything back up each night. Now unless there is a storm or high winds we leave it all out. So far we have not had anything taken.

1 month ago

We’ve been camping and RVing for about 45 years. Been all over, but mostly the western states. We started in tents and have worked our way up. We leave all kinds of things out but we do lock the truck and the trailer whenever we’re gone from the site. The only thing ever stolen from us was two brand new batteries right out of our driveway!!

G Steward
1 month ago

I chain both my DISH Tailgater and my Stok BBQ. Both are very expensive. I chain them both to the trailer leg right under my bed and have 2 small windchimes attched to them for noise. I also purchased a 4 pack of solar LED motion lights. 1 is back by my electrical plugs, 1 is by where my BBQ, another if possible, by my tailgater and the 4th on a tree at the front of my campsite if needed. One other comment. Engrave your Drivers License number on your items. That is the only way the Police can trace your item.

BJ Wieland-Doucet
1 month ago

Where I am, a simple RV Park, folks have ALL their stuff set up like an outside den. Camp chairs, grills, bikes, all sorts of things. My set up is patio style. NOTHING has ever been lifted.
Some have their holiday decore out (I do too).
I guess it depends on the park.

Pierre Woody
1 month ago

I wonder if anyone is reading these and went ‘ Oh lol, that was me’……Karma will come!

Bob M
1 month ago

When I bought my first travel trailer, the guy that delivered it told me to chain the propane tank and battery box. He had a new propane tank that some one stole from his travel trailer. I secure everything when I’m away from my camper.

1 month ago

Our 3 year of camping at Piedmont Park on Clearwater Lake in southern Missouri our neighbor camper had his pontoon boat cleaned out of fishing rods and tackle…we just lost an extension cord and a $100 fan…all put under the fifth wheel to avoid rain. Very rare event…never lost anything since but started locking up anything valuable!