How do you keep mice out of your RV? Aside from a slew of house cats, we learned of another option when we recently had the chance to speak with Tom Sharp, inventor of a device called the BoxKat. And, to be upfront, BoxKat is an RVtravel.com advertiser.
The BoxKat is, very simply, a corrugated plastic barrier that you assemble around your RV. The barrier is 14” tall, and there are interconnecting accordion-style panels that allow the individual pieces to adjust to uneven surfaces. It’s one of those simple but brilliant solutions that could help you eliminate the mouse problem from your RV.
Mice and RVs
The typical mouse that is all over the U.S. is an interesting creature in that the teeth of the mouse continue to grow. As such, it’s always wanting to chew. Of course, it is looking for food. But while it’s on the hunt it’s always chewing.
So when it comes across things like electrical wiring, it chews on that. That ruins wiring and it can be a very expensive insurance claim to have this repair done. The problem is, you could redo the wiring in your RV and have the same problem return in short order if you don’t solve the source—mice.
Further, mice leave trails wherever they go, and those trails are mouse poop. So, if you don’t mitigate the mouse problem, then you also have a poop problem. That’s gross.
Traps and poison
The obvious solutions that a lot of folks use are mouse traps and poisons. These can work to get rid of some of the mice, but not all of them. And mice aren’t stupid. If they see their friends and neighbors caught in a trap, they learn very simply to avoid the trap.
If poison is your solution, know that if a mouse eats the poison, that mouse may also be eaten by larger predators such as your dog or cat, and that poison now becomes the larger predator’s problem. It just ate a mouse full of mouse poison.
Of course, dealing with dead mice in traps is also not enjoyable. I’ve been asked to deal with this on numerous occasions because the owner of the RV or classic car couldn’t or wouldn’t do it themselves.
Essentially, the BoxKat works by forming a physical barrier around the RV or whatever you would like to protect. It’s a plastic wall with accordion sections that keep the mice away in the first place.
I got to speak with the BoxKat’s inventor, Tom Sharp, about the impetus for the idea and how he tested it. Tom has a classic 1991 Acura NSX sports car that was the target of mice. He tried several approaches and finally came up with the BoxKat.
But since the panels that form the BoxKat are rigid plastic, he needed to accommodate the imperfections of the ground on which it set. After much deliberation, he happened to see how the Space Shuttle’s window shades were made. He came up with an idea based on the same origami principles as those window shades.
After more than a year of investigating, he found a company who could produce the plastic accordion panels—and the BoxKat was born.
Set up and use
Since the BoxKat is comprised of simple plastic corrugated panels. The panels have a cut in the bottom where you put cross-pieces sort of like what you’d see in a cardboard wine carrier. These hold the BoxKat up and form the legs.
To accommodate various surfaces, you fit in the accordion panels and you then have a barrier against mice. These can fit into a baggage compartment when you’re on the road. An entire barrier for around an RV is relatively lightweight.
This works well if you’re parked in an enclosed structure. But it is also a really good idea if you put your RV in storage for any length of time. I can’t tell you how many times I read posts on social media of people coming back to their RV at the end of winter only to find that it’s been infiltrated by mice. With the difficulty in finding RV parts nowadays, a heavily damaged RV may be out for the season waiting for parts if the mice have attacked it and ruined electronics in it.
Should you be parked outside, there are also provisions to weight the BoxKat panels down with a variety of things. These include PVC pipe and rebar, or even permanent mounts into the ground.
Since the BoxKat is essentially white plastic panels, it gave me an idea. If you happen to be an RV content creator, you could use this around your RV to also show off your various outlets such as your YouTube channel. So you would be protecting your RV from rodent damage while also telling others about what you do for a living.
The BoxKat originally came out of the love of a collectible car. It would make sense to park one’s cars of any vintage with a BoxKat around them to keep the rodents out. In fact, I know of quite a few folks who have had many thousands of dollars of damage to their cars due to mice.
But if you’re into going to car shows with a collectible car, perhaps bring the BoxKat with you as a barrier to keep humans away from the valuable paint job on your collectible car. You could also have the story of the car and pictures of the restoration on the BoxKat to further enhance the story of your car. (When Tom shows his classic Acura NSX at car shows, the BoxKat around it keeps the little kiddoes, and their sticky fingerprints, away.)
A good idea
Setting up the BoxKat isn’t that difficult, even if you have to incorporate weighting it down, should it be parked outside. The cost of the system is considerably less than even many insurance deductibles. Plus, it’s nice to know that mice haven’t taken root in your RV while you’ve been away.
This is one of those ideas where it’s a very simple solution to a common problem. And it’s probably one where I’m sure there are more than a few folks asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Well, Tom Sharp did—and we RVers are the beneficiaries.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping, where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.