Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Security: A Starter Pack for New Teardrop Owners

OK, you've bought your teardrop and have your rig all wired and ready to go. What are the first acquisitions before you hit the road? Owners from a couple of Facebook groups have responded with quite a few adventure-tested suggestions, which can be organized into four important categories: security, stability, emergency, and convenience. This first in the series focuses on security. Links to examples of products will be provided, but everyone should study product descriptions, Q & A's, and reviews before buying, making your decisions based on your individual needs.

Let's start with an item that fits into both the security and stability categories--a hitch tightener. When you tow your trailer (or if you have a bicycle rack or box fitted to a hitch behind your trailer), you don't want to have a lot of banging and bouncing behind your vehicle. A hitch tightener--designed to minimize hitch noise, wobble, rattle and hitch movement for cargo carriers, hitch receiver, trailer ball mounts, bike racks, hitch racks, and the like--might make your towing more safe and enjoyable. Many brands are for sale. The one I linked to has over 1,600 reviews.

As a new owner, the last thing you want to happen is for your new tiny home to be stolen. Don't worry, there are several security devices that will deter thieves, although one owner said, "I think people worry about their trailer being stolen way too much. If a thief wants your trailer, there's little you can do to stop them. So relax and enjoy the trailer and your experience. Stop looking over your shoulder." This, of course, is not a suggestion to do nothing, or to place a sign beside your hitch that reads, "I'm OK with you stealing my trailer." Teardrop trailers, especially the smallest have the additional danger of being so small. "For some, four guys could lift them onto a flatbed!" said one owner. Just take security measures that seem to you sufficient measures to discourage theft.

The first three anti-theft devices focus on the ball and hitch: a locking pin to secure the ball mount to be locked to the hitch, a coupler lock to make the coupler ball socket to be unavailable, and a special padlock to secure the coupler licking clamp. With these three items, your trailer should not be an easy mark. The prices can be expensive to cheap. Choose what makes you feel comfortable. There are many brands on the market. Below is a representative selection (the top four mentioned by trailer owners), but I have used none of these. I'm using a brand (which I'm soon going outside to check) that my son-in-law bought me at Menard's when I first purchased the trailer. (After this research, I'm thinking I might research and re-think what I'm currently using.)
  1. (expensive) Proven Lock Model 2178
  2. (expensive) GusHill Industries
  3. (mid-range) Gorilla Guard
  4. (mid-range) Deadbolt Blockhead
  5. (low-mid range) Master Lock (at TSC, a combination set)
  6. (low-range) Tow Ready (at Walmart, a combination set)
Moving to the wheels and tires, a vehicle (trailer) wheel lock and also perhaps a locking lug nut would complete the picture of a secured trailer. The wheel lock interferes with the trailer tire being able to roll. There are various models on the market. As for lug nut locks, they must fit the wheel, so research or perhaps even have a knowledgeable shop check out your trailer's wheels and order them for you. I've linked to two wheel lock brands, the Trimax TCL65 and the Stallion Trailer Wheel Lock, since they were mentioned by a couple of owners. Executing a search brings up a long list of brands and styles (although many look similar).

Here is a YouTube video on the subject of trailer security, which includes a hitch lock and a chock lock. I also follow the videos of the Long, Long Honeymoon YouTube station, a married couple that live in their Airstream. They have videos both on the wheel lock and the coupler lock. Be aware that their YouTube station activities are part of their livelihood, although I feel they are credible.


In conclusion, researching products by reading reviews and by watching YouTube videos is a way to make informed decisions prior to buying the security system that you feel meets your needs. I'd like to thank the folks who took the time to respond to my FB group posts. I've learned a lot from the interchange, and I feel my tiny trailer will be safer in the future because of our sharing.

In the final analysis, it's kind of like the Inspector Gadget movie where the inspector finds himself wearing an unfamiliar pair of underwear-- go with what you're most comfortable with--boxers, boxer briefs, or whitie tighties. Some decisions we just have to make ourselves. Each of us has to determine own level of comfort when it comes to security. I hope I've provided some food for thought. If you have suggestions or observations, please make a comment on the blog so that it will always be available when someone accesses the article. Thanks!

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