Friday, January 3, 2020

What Do You Put Away When You Walk Away from Camp?

A question was recently posted on a tiny trailer group regarding camp routines and security. "When you are set up in a campsite and want to go exploring in your vehicle, do you pack up and lock down everything? Rugs, tarps, tables, chairs?"

My wife and I have a routine we follow, although we have never actually sat down and discussed how we secure our camp when we're leaving, whether in our car or for a long hike. Sometimes when camping locally, we have even left our tiny trailer unattended for the night when we've gone home for some reason, planning on returning the next day. This article gives me the chance to concretize for myself those procedures we've followed. Perhaps they will be useful for you.
  1. Have a few basic steps to take--and then follow them, noting that it's "nothing personal" in regards to neighbors or campground. My wife and I put away camp chairs, electric cookery (such as our induction burner), and at the very least if we don't put our Yeti cooler in the trailer, we store it in an inconspicuous space at the campsite.
  2. Don't obsess; be willing to modify procedures according to different camping environments. This might sound contradictory to the first concept, but the basic idea is that security procedures should increase the joy of camping, not overwhelm the fun. We might leave the Yeti next to the trailer at one campground and place it inside in another. Find a balance that is comfortable between trust and security.
  3. Consider the difference between boondocking and camping in established campgrounds with hosts. There will probably be a difference of opinion between these two as to which kind of camping has the most security risk. Some campers will say, "If nobody's around, where's the security risk?" Others will say the opposite. I feel that in either case, having a few basic security procedures and following them is all that one can do.
One of the ironies of tiny trailer ownership is that our tiny trailers attract attention! One owner wrote, "We've awakened to people outside our teardrop wanting a tour! They didn't mean any harm, but it made us want to lock up when we left. We have loved our camping experiences so far!" The fact that our tiny trailers don't look like their larger huge, square, camping box-trailer rigs is something to consider. They're "cute." Another camper adds, "I tend to trust fellow campers, but I do close the galley and lock the doors of our teardrop. I only do this because our teardrop has drawn attention!"

What to put away, and what to leave out?

Some folks are very trusting. "I would never camp anywhere I didn’t feel safe keeping my stuff out while away." This flies in the face of the "it just takes one person" philosophy, but quite a few campers echoed the sentiment. "I tend to agree with you, just hope they don't disappoint," and "I clean up some, and lock the camper. It’s always been just fine."

Other campers are a bit more cautious. "Oh, we always lock it if we leave for an extended amount of time. We just don’t put everything away," is one camping family's method. One camper guy added some specifics: "I don’t worry about much about the basic stuff, but I wouldn’t leave a generator, expensive bicycle, or Yeti cooler without securing them. A professional thief can defeat just about any kind of security device, but it will keep honest people honest. I always lock the doors and galley hatch, and do have tire and hitch locks."

This article doesn't address trailer theft security, such as the above individual's mention of tire and hitch locks, which is covered in these articles:
All your extra stuff, though? As one camper put it, "If you notice what other people are doing in campgrounds, it's all over the place. Some leave everything hanging out, others get super tidy." She finishes by saying, "I might be somewhere in between. Whatever feels right to you is right for you."

My security solution for camping equipment is that I put away the more expensive items automatically when leaving camp. The word "automatically" is key for me; if I just do it as a matter of course, then I don't put much "new" attention on security and can enjoy the day. It works for me--what about you?

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  1. Not owning a camper, as of yet, I camp in a tent. I've always gone by the honesty system. I've never put things away or reloaded stuff into my vehicle (other than securing away from Raccoons, as of late). To date, knock on wood, I've never had anything bad occur (other than pesky raccoons and so far that has been an isolated incident). I will, however, probably lock a camper when the time comes, if camping by myself. But if I know the people beside me are going to be around while I'm out I doubt I will. Just the kind of person I am, I guess.

    1. We've never had anything stolen, either. We just take reasonable precautions--out of sight, out of mind.

  2. I'm in a tent. When I leave my site I take my laptop, camera, with me. Otherwise I leave my camp chairs out, my coolers out. I'd put my cooking stuff somewhere out of sight, but I don't have much of anything expensive. More worried about marauding animals and birds, so never leave food out.

  3. This was our system when we tented. Important stuff in the car, and just tidy up camp, putting things away.