There are several different ways to look at this issue of Security from theft. One is when the trailer is in storage and the second is when you are travelling/camping.
Realise that 95% of all trailer theft is pre-planned. That means that the perpetrator has cased out the trailer at the location where it is being kept. That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen as an opportunity of circumstance – thus the 5%.
The assumption here is that you store your trailer in a “secure gated third-party location” (not in a locked garage). Realise that locked gates only add a false sense of security (even if video surveillance is available) because the trailer itself has not been secured. To be anti-theft you must immobilise your trailer. I have seen YouTube surveillance videos of trailer theft that took less that 60 seconds!
By-the-way, storing your trailer in your driveway at home is NOT a secure place (even though you may think it is), you need to take the same precautions as storing your trailer in a third party storage facility.
Watch the video below:
What Can We Learn From This Video?
- Theft can occur in broad day light (thieves that steal don’t need the night).
- Your trailer can be taken from your driveway at home (let alone from a gated storage place).
- A Coupler Vault/lock alone will not stop a theft (even the “Proven Industries Coupler Lock” can be drilled out in minutes).
- Breakaway chains “assisted” the thief in taking the trailer.
- It took the thief under 2 minutes to drive away with the trailer.
- Electric Jacks “can” be better than hand crank jacks for security (see below)
When travelling it is not unusual to park the trailer at a campsite and leave it unattended for short periods of time to go exploring, go grocery shopping etc. Often, trailer security doesn’t even enter one’s mind. I have also seen in our “safe” Canada people leave their campsites with all their camping equipment lying about (chairs, BBQ, stoves, portable solar panels etc.) with no thought that these present opportunities of circumstance. I call this the “Art Of Giving It Away”.
What We Do
While I’m not paranoid about theft, owning an Airstream is an investment worth simple precautions to protect. While nothing is impossible, the harder you make it to steal, the less likely it will be taken. We have adopted the following precautions when Blue Streak is in storage:
1. Emergency break-away chains are connected with quick connect links so that they can be removed. Theft has occurred by simply rapping these chains to tow hook on the back of a truck. Removing the chains helps prevent this (video above).
2. Coupler Vault such as: a) Mega Hitch Lock Coupler Vault Pro, b) Proven Industries Coupler Lock, c) BRHL Steel Ball and Ring Hitch Lock. There are many different coupler locks out there to choose from, some are cheap. Rule of thumb, “you get what you pay for”. A quality Coupler Vault is very difficult and time consuming to remove making it impossible to hitch the trailer – period.
3. Trailer Coupler Latch Padlock won’t allow the coupler to seat on the ball and is nice added security companion with the Coupler Vault.
4. Trimax Locking Wheel Chocks. If it can’t roll it can’t move. (you need to lock a minimum two wheels – dual axle same side; single axle both sides)
5. Disconnect the trailer jack from power. This will make it difficult to “hitch” the trailer if the jack is immobilised especially during long term storage. (don’t leave your trailer at the height you unhitched, rather lower the level of the coupler as low as possible, then disconnect the jacks power)
The simple take away here is that “nothing is absolutely theft proof”. The key to think about is “time“. The harder you make it and the longer it will take to drive off with your trailer, the more likely it will be secure and bypassed by a would-be Thief. The best practice is the use of multiple security devices. We always use all 5 ways to secure Blue Streak in our “gated, floodlit, video monitored, attendant live-in, storage facility”.
While we are not all that concerned when camping at Provincial Parks in British Columbia, we do chain our portable Solar Panel and Champion Generator so they don’t grow legs. I always think about how I can assist honest people to remain honest by removing temptation. Needless to say should we go for a walk or take the kayak out for a paddle, we close and lock the door! We also keep the truck locked as well.
PS. if we leave Blue Streak unattended while camping to take a trip into town or drive some were to explore, we secure as above. 😎