Saturday, February 4, 2023


Play it safe when boondocking

By Bob Difley
Get out of eyesight or earshot of another RV and you’ll find some RVers get a bit nervous. Concerns about personal safety abound. Are there bad guys around every corner? How can you play it safe when boondocking?

First, remember that thieves do not hang out in the boonies, though you should consider the following safety tips to thwart the “thief through convenience” if you make it too easy.

Tips to play it safe when boondocking

• Never open your door to anyone you don’t know after dark. For instance, once a couple knocked on my door at about 8:00 on a winter night in the desert and said their car ran out of gas. I told them, through the window, that I couldn’t help them. (I had no sympathy for them if they actually let that happen.)

• Don’t tell strangers that you meet in town, even those that seem perfectly harmless, where you are camped. If you want to socialize, do it in town until you get to know them better.

• Lock your door when you leave (I admit that I don’t always do this). You don’t want to come back and find a homeless person inside your rig.

• Boondock with friends or with club members. Many solo RVers belong to solos clubs (such as Loners On Wheels) and often camp together.

Theft prevention

• Don’t leave stuff laying around outside your rig when you leave. Camp chair, table, rug — OK. Portable generator — put in a locked compartment, or make sure you chain it up with a heavy-duty chain — not one a simple bolt cutter could cut through.

• Close your blinds and drapes so the curious can’t see what you have inside.

• Lock all your outside locker doors.

• Re-key your lockers. Most RVs have the same key to open lockers, which is easy for a would-be thief to acquire. (Here are some security locks on Amazon.)

• If you still feel uncomfortable, buy a simple red LED light and mount it near your entry door, operated by a switch on the inside. When you go out, flip the switch. The red light looks like you have a burglar alarm that is set. (Or check out these fake security cameras on Amazon.)

In all my years of RV boondocking I have never had a problem or felt in danger (even from the couple who ran out of gas), and the only theft was out of a campground.

RVers must take responsibility for their own safety

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.


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2 years ago

As a retired police officer, I make one more suggestion I think a little training might cover for many folks….a reliable pistol. Its a visual thing. Answering the door at strange hours with a hand-held reliable gun and some training is a terrific detriment to thugs, as I see things. It may not be a good suggestion for everyone depending on personal intelligence and training.  Brandishing a weapon may not be for everyone but….consider the worst and the strange hours first. The decision is yours, of course.

2 years ago

Don’t take anything of great value with you camping. Unless you are a full timer, why would you need much worth stealing out in the boonies?

2 years ago

How can you play it safe when boondocking?……1. Dont go to states, cities, counties, or districts that infringe on your 2nd Amendment right. 2. Carry 9mm (or .45, or 12 Gauge, or,…..)

2 years ago
Reply to  George

That won’t do much good if you aren’t around when the crime occurs.

Julie d
2 years ago
Reply to  George

I feel far less safe around people brandishing weapons. They seem too interested in using them and too careless about safety. Hence I stay out of any situation where anyone is carrying a gum. It’s just statistically less likely I’ll be shot.

2 years ago

The only theft issue we have had was in a state park. We rinsed off our ground rug and laid it out in the sun to dry in a common area next to our site that had sunshine. Turns out, a couple from Ohio decided it was fair game and Made off with it! Luckily, we caught up with them a while later. Very frustrating!

2 years ago

Rekeying by replacing all the common locks is a simple task. We replaced all with the round key type. Hard to pick.
Only 2 locks that did not change, and they are not the common “751”.
Cordless angle grinder is hard to defeat.

2 years ago

Good points, all. The issue of safety, for me, has always been top of mind. Because of that, we have not done alot of boondocking aside from the odd overnight where we stay with the trailer. Quartzsite appeals to me, but if we do go, it’ll likely be to the LTVA.

Annita Quiggle
2 years ago
Reply to  littleleftie

I go to Imperil Dam LTV not Quartsite, no thefts and more dump and fresh water sites. (60 miles away)

Scott R. Ellis
2 years ago

Best to get that generator (or other high-value items) out of sight, if you’re worried about it. “Simple bolt cutters” are for amateurs, these days: any serious thief is now armed with a cordless angle grinder equipped with a cut-off wheel . . . and no chain or cable will resist that tool for more than a few seconds.

Brian Holmes
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

If you feel the need to be so far out in the “Boonies” your out of sight or ear shot of another camper you deserve what happens to you or your stuff. So no whining allowed. Thieves are opportunists and if you give them the opportunity to do their deeds they will.
Like the guy said above the 4″ angle grinder will defeat any lock of any kind in seconds. And a medium crowbar will open any door on your camper without much effort and if that won`t work they will just break out a window, so one would be a fool to keep anything of any real value in your camper.

Bluebird Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Holmes

So, we are “Fools” who live and travel fulltime with our home?

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago
Reply to  Bluebird Bob

Apparently so, Bob. Always be afraid of everyone and everything, and of course, enjoy your life . . .

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