??? Campground Theft, How Often ???

rob.mwpropane

Active Member
Aug 11, 2021
365
I'm always nervous that something will walk away. I lived in the city (Baltimore) for a bit and if you didn't chain it down it was gone, so maybe it's leftover from that. So far nothing has "walked" away, but I'm always a little nervous. Having a PUP doesn't make it any easier either as it's just velcro to undue and you're in.

How often is theft a thing? Have you experienced it? I tell the kids not to leave wallets or anything of value just laying out inside the camper, but I haven't locked the door yet. On our trip last weekend I did turn the music on inside down low just to make someone think someone might be in there while we were out.

Maybe I'm being paranoid. For the record, I've never met campers that are a--holes, so my feelings are not at all based on experiences I've had. I was just curious to see what others have gone through. I mean, a stolen hitch or part from a WDH or whatever could make for a very unpleasant dilemma.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,622
Northern Virginia
I live in Northern Virginia and can so relate to your feeling of being worried. Honest in all my years camping I’ve only had problems with critters walking away or breaking into food boxes than from The two legged kind. Camp neighbor claimed to have lost a few beers from his cooler, but not sure if he just forgot he drank them or if someone helped themselves. I Did find a kid trying to play with my stuff without permission once but I was around to tell them no. I am still cautious to lock bikes when camping to keep anything valuable at home or in the tow vehicle etc. Even though I feel way safer where I camp than I do at home, I still won’t be careless. With that said I camp mainly at state or national parks and try to avoid those private and ”rv parks” as I’ve found Ive had more issues with drunks there.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,079
Southeastern PA
Well, it can happen if you let it happen, crimes of opportunity.

I try to always put things away or out of site, whether I'm at the campsite or not. Anything electronic goes in the truck if I leave the campsite.

It's a shame we have to worry about these type of things while trying to enjoy the great outdoors but that's life.
 

rob.mwpropane

Active Member
Aug 11, 2021
365
I live in Northern Virginia and can so relate to your feeling of being worried. Honest in all my years camping I’ve only had problems with critters walking away or breaking into food boxes than from The two legged kind. Camp neighbor claimed to have lost a few beers from his cooler, but not sure if he just forgot he drank them or if someone helped themselves. I Did find a kid trying to play with my stuff without permission once but I was around to tell them no. I am still cautious to lock bikes when camping to keep anything valuable at home or in the tow vehicle etc. Even though I feel way safer where I camp than I do at home, I still won’t be careless. With that said I camp mainly at state or national parks and try to avoid those private and ”rv parks” as I’ve found Ive had more issues with drunks there.

Personally I don't particularly like the rv "parks" either, but we were invited and went this past weekend. Our neighbors were by far the loudest and drunkest in the place. They were cordial and did quiet down when asked. Their dogs were running loose (were very nice dogs) but they decided to poop right in our driveway. We also had to ask the neighbors to clean that up, we don't own dogs so it wasn't ours. It was all more annoying than anything, thankfully for the most part we hung out at our friends camper.

I can see kids being mischievous is probably more concerning than most campers, might even have helped themselves to your neighbors beer.

I have never had a problem.

I know 2 or 3 people who have had Yeti coolers stolen in recent years. Honestly, I could have predicted that because they said Yeti on the side. I doubt if a Coleman would have gotten taken.

Well thank goodness we don't own a Yeti, lol.. bought our Igloo at a year sale for $1. It's way bigger than we'll ever need.

I'm really big and sort of scary looking so nobody's ever messed with me face-to-face.

But I understand the paranoia while away --- and this is what I do. I leave a note taped to the door:
"Steve, if you get here before we get back, start the fire. We just ran to town for more beer and ammo. Be right back."

Maybe a note that says "Please be quiet when you get back, laying down with a migraine"... and a sign next to it that says something about owning a gun, lol. My wife gets migraines and she owns a gun... that would work pretty well.

Well, it can happen if you let it happen, crimes of opportunity.

I try to always put things away or out of site, whether I'm at the campsite or not. Anything electronic goes in the truck if I leave the campsite.

It's a shame we have to worry about these type of things while trying to enjoy the great outdoors but that's life.

I agree about the opportunity part. I just didn't know how "relaxed" a lot of you get. I like to think I'm pretty organized so doing a quick once over and making sure nothing is in plain sight is just natural.

It really is a shame that we live in that world where it's even a topic.



Does anyone actually lock their PUP?
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,745
Albuquerque, NM
Theft at most campgrounds seems to be rare, but there are places that it may be more common.
In 33 seasons of camping, mostly in US Forest Service, national, and state park campgrounds, we have never had anything stolen. These days, we still do mostly public campgrounds, mixed in with KOAs or other private ones, mostly as transition stops, occasionally for an actual stay in an area. That said, we do take some theft-reduction precautions, but they also tend to act as reminders for us to have things secured correctly (i.e. so the draw bar is securely in place). They will deter the opportunistic thief, but a determined one will still steal our LP tanks, batteries, etc. if so inclined.
We've camped in tents, two popups, and now a small travel trailer, we are used to keeping things put away when not using them. It is always sort of amusing to me to see the caution at some trailhead and scenic parking lots to not leave anything of value in a vehicle - especially when tent camping, I'm not sure what the alternative was. Years ago, we got back to a trailhead to find a scout leader had left his wallet in his truck while the group backpacked, and was surprised to find it had been stolen. Remote TH, in an area that people know vehicles are left for a long while, don't know what he was thinking.
The only theft we heard of while camping was when someone returned to find their cooler, placed in a site to indicate it was occupied, gone and new inhabitants there. The camp host found the cooler in the trash, but no proof the people had done it to snag the site. I knew someone who had his tent and everything stolen while they were fishing, again in an area where locals or semi-locals are opportunistic and/resentful of "outsiders (even though plenty of locals use the same spots), so have no problem with stealing. (It is what it is, we were warned years ago not to use a couple of THs because people regularly vandalized or stole from vehicles there.)
We don't lock up chairs, tables or our older solar panel. We do lock our newer solar panel, but the cable is also helpful in marking the path of the power cable in some sites, less trip hazard for me. We do lock the EMS (electrical management system) when we have power, because it is a $300 piece of kit that could walk off easily
 

xvz12

Super Active Member
Apr 6, 2017
925
ID
In over 40 years of camping, we've only had one theft....a cooler full of beer that I had left under our picnic table turned up missing. The kicker was, a couple of days later, the empty cooler found it's way back to our camp.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,849
Virginia
Have seen some real azz hats over the years camping, nothing heisted YET lol; I have Yeti/RTIC coolers & recently picked up an Igloo Overlander, & I have on occasion used a cable lock to secure a cooler to a tree or table, but rarely. Wife's Chihuahua can hear a gnat pi$$ at 50 meters, so after hours, no worries...only valuables I have are keys/wallet/phone. Yaks are cable locked in the back of the truck at night...
 

rob.mwpropane

Active Member
Aug 11, 2021
365
Theft at most campgrounds seems to be rare, but there are places that it may be more common.
In 33 seasons of camping, mostly in US Forest Service, national, and state park campgrounds, we have never had anything stolen. These days, we still do mostly public campgrounds, mixed in with KOAs or other private ones, mostly as transition stops, occasionally for an actual stay in an area. That said, we do take some theft-reduction precautions, but they also tend to act as reminders for us to have things secured correctly (i.e. so the draw bar is securely in place). They will deter the opportunistic thief, but a determined one will still steal our LP tanks, batteries, etc. if so inclined.
We've camped in tents, two popups, and now a small travel trailer, we are used to keeping things put away when not using them. It is always sort of amusing to me to see the caution at some trailhead and scenic parking lots to not leave anything of value in a vehicle - especially when tent camping, I'm not sure what the alternative was. Years ago, we got back to a trailhead to find a scout leader had left his wallet in his truck while the group backpacked, and was surprised to find it had been stolen. Remote TH, in an area that people know vehicles are left for a long while, don't know what he was thinking.
The only theft we heard of while camping was when someone returned to find their cooler, placed in a site to indicate it was occupied, gone and new inhabitants there. The camp host found the cooler in the trash, but no proof the people had done it to snag the site. I knew someone who had his tent and everything stolen while they were fishing, again in an area where locals or semi-locals are opportunistic and/resentful of "outsiders (even though plenty of locals use the same spots), so have no problem with stealing. (It is what it is, we were warned years ago not to use a couple of THs because people regularly vandalized or stole from vehicles there.)
We don't lock up chairs, tables or our older solar panel. We do lock our newer solar panel, but the cable is also helpful in marking the path of the power cable in some sites, less trip hazard for me. We do lock the EMS (electrical management system) when we have power, because it is a $300 piece of kit that could walk off easily

Specifically went with a hard wired EMS to avoid people dropping it or it walking off (or having to lock it up). Was a bit of a job, but it also keeps it out of the weather.

Not sure what "TH's" are? Trail head?

only theft I've ever seen was when camping in foreign countries. pro tip, never leave your passport in your tent...

I'm surprised the tent was still there. It's not necessarily foreign countries, just anywhere there's mass poverty. I've seen some things in Baltimore City that almost make you ashamed to be human. Sometimes people walk away with stuff that they don't even know what it does, they'll never use it... they just know without it they're making your life harder, and that for whatever reason is reason enough.
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,318
For decades now, I've had nothing stolen except by critters as well.

I used to lock up the bikes but quit doing that as it was a hassle I didn't want. The only thing I will lock up is the pair of Inverter generators if I want to pull them out of the TV for mild off-roading. They're portable and expensive enough that opportunity might knock on their door. I lock them up with steel cable, a lock and cover with a tarp so they're not that interesting. They have never been messed with that I can tell.

I did lock the doors recently out in very populated campgrounds and urban RV parks (bleah) in touristy areas during the 2 week vacation we just got back from.
 

GalsofEscape

Super Active Member
Nov 26, 2013
1,112
Maryland
camping in and around maryland for over 20 years - we have not had any issues other than one cooler walking away while it held a bottle of wine - i think it was kids.... but we do take care of anything we don't want to walk away to be stored or locked if we are away from the camp site. no valuables in the camper and bikes are locked. - hitch stays on the vehicle with a locking pin and the WDH bars goes in the locked front storage of the camper.
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,318
...I raise stepper door and lock it, but the key is a 751 🙄.
I have a drawer full of them if you ever need a replacement, or twelve. Who doesn't, right??

I'm about to rebuild all of the cargo doors on mine and going to trade out the CH751 locks for something a little more "real".
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,745
Albuquerque, NM
@rob.mwpropane yes, TH=trailhead
We decided to stick with the plug in EMS for 2 reasons, although we did leave our first one behind on the power column after a few years, when my just-broken ankle messed up our routine.
We have not found a good place to install one in our Retro 177. The most logical spot would be close to where the power comes into the trailer, but that area is already crammed with wiring, converter, water pump, and piping, all under the fridge, not to mention it's seriously difficult to work in that space. My husband has replaced the converter (once) and the water pump (twice) and it requires contortions not easy for most of us.
It also made it easy to replace the second one when it went bad after 3 or 4 months. Progressive replaced it for us, although we had already bought another, so we have an extra we tote along. We don't know if it was early death for the EMS< or if the bad storm we had killed it.

@bondebond One of the first things we did with the Retro was change out the locks on the two storage doors. We're on the third door handle, and this one is different than the others were. With door or storage area, again we know someone determined can force any of them, but it's nice to know our keys aren't being carried by a whole host of folks, mostly honest they may be
 

rob.mwpropane

Active Member
Aug 11, 2021
365
Does anyone use the hitch locks that they sell on Amazon??
1656607912213.png

@rob.mwpropane yes, TH=trailhead
We decided to stick with the plug in EMS for 2 reasons, although we did leave our first one behind on the power column after a few years, when my just-broken ankle messed up our routine.
We have not found a good place to install one in our Retro 177. The most logical spot would be close to where the power comes into the trailer, but that area is already crammed with wiring, converter, water pump, and piping, all under the fridge, not to mention it's seriously difficult to work in that space. My husband has replaced the converter (once) and the water pump (twice) and it requires contortions not easy for most of us.
It also made it easy to replace the second one when it went bad after 3 or 4 months. Progressive replaced it for us, although we had already bought another, so we have an extra we tote along. We don't know if it was early death for the EMS< or if the bad storm we had killed it.

I had to replace my converter and figured what better time than now. I took the wire from the converter and pulled about 8' into the camper, drilled a hole and ran it underneath under the bench seat. I mounted the EMS watchdog upside down on 2 2x4's directly in the middle of the 2 storage openings (so it's not in the way putting stuff in there). I had read the light was very bright so I thought it would serve as a light in there, but it isn't all that bright. I bought new wire and ran that back over to the converter. So the camper looks stock, you'd never know it was there... but it's nice knowing it's doing it's job.

I still have about 20' or so wire that I can pull from the camper to plug in the 30amp.

I just saw more potential for the plug in version to get left, broken, stolen, or damaged. About 1/2 way through the install I was kind of wishing that I went with the plug in though!
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,318
IMO those hitch locks are largely designed to separate you from your money. I watch a lot of LockPickingLawyer on YouTube. Those types of locks are easily defeated with multiple methods, much like everything else available to us as consumers. It is better than nothing, but not much. Those are probably fine for use while in a campground where you're fully deployed. But for areas where you're leaving the PUP all closed up and in storage, that takes an extra 30 seconds to remove for the thief, depending on the method they use. Outside of my price range but seems to be a SOLID performer if you're seriously concerned with security is Proven Industries lock. It's just too expensive for me but my storage is literally next to my house.
 

rob.mwpropane

Active Member
Aug 11, 2021
365
IMO those hitch locks are largely designed to separate you from your money. I watch a lot of LockPickingLawyer on YouTube. Those types of locks are easily defeated with multiple methods, much like everything else available to us as consumers. It is better than nothing, but not much. Those are probably fine for use while in a campground where you're fully deployed. But for areas where you're leaving the PUP all closed up and in storage, that takes an extra 30 seconds to remove for the thief, depending on the method they use. Outside of my price range but seems to be a SOLID performer if you're seriously concerned with security is Proven Industries lock. It's just too expensive for me but my storage is literally next to my house.

I'm not sure that I'm seriously concerned with security. I just didn't know if other people were.. my experience so far has been that I can relax a little at the campground. Most people seem descent.

As far as storage I just keep it at the shop. There are friends of the family that keep their MUCH nicer campers here... nobody is driving past them to grab mine, lol. In 25 years we've never had anything stolen from the farm.
 




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