Every spring, as new T@b owners take possession of their new or new to them “baby”, the discussion of security arises. What kind of locks should I get? Do you use GPS trackers? What about that video with the $250 coupler lock? What about GPS trackers? What about insurance? If you are new to owning a travel trailer, as I was, it can be a little overwhelming and you might not even know the right names to look for security devices. I want to help demystify this for you and help you feel a little less confused or overwhelmed.
Do trailers, including T@bs get stolen? Yes. Every year we see some alerts from stolen trailers. As T@bs gain in popularity, I expect that the number we see stolen, will increase. Often, even when a stolen T@b is recovered, it isn’t before substantial damage has been done. Let’s look at how we can use some basic locks to help secure your T@b.
In addition to the door locks, people generally consider options for locking:
- The wheel,
- The hitch receiver,
- The coupler, and
- The coupler pin.
Wheel Lock – I really like the Trimax wheel lock. Your T@b will not go far and will raise quite a racket if someone tries to take off with a wheel lock securing your T@b. The nice thing about a wheel lock is that it also doubles as a very secure wheel chock.
Hitch Receiver Lock – I am now on my third receiver lock. Why? Wear and tear. These take a beating from road rash. The third time around, I finally got smart and went with a stainless steel pin. These locks prevent anyone from pulling your receiver out of your tow vehicle and putting it in theirs. I do not recommend the Trimax locks. They look secure and get decent reviews, but they have not help up for me, at all.
Coupler Lock – This keeps someone from easily sliding the T@b coupler onto the ball on their hitch. These seem to somewhat vulnerable, but will certainly slow down a thief. I had this Masterlock unit, but I found it particularly flimsy. I have since upgraded to this, stronger, Masterlock.
Coupler Pin – this is good for safety and security. The coupler pin lock prevents anyone from sliding your coupler up, thus securing it while on your TV.
What about GPS Trackers?
The capabilities of GPS trackers are improving, regularly. There are 2 basic kinds that people use. One type relies on a satellite for transmitting data, which then can trigger an alert. The other utilizes cell phone signal. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The SPOT Trace gets excellent reviews, is relatively inexpensive, and has reasonable service fees, right around $100/year. I have used SPOT devices for a number of years and they are solid devices.
Other tactics to slow down a thief
Keep your stabilizers down, when possible. A thief would have to have the right crank, adapter, or remove all of your stabilizers.
The BAL leveler. This leveling tool would require a would-be thief to have the right wrench to remove and could create enough effort to dissuade a thief.
A dog. Most thieves don’t want to deal with your dog barking at them while they are trying to get away with the goods. Besides, isn’t a dog a good answer to anything? 🙂
A security camera. You might consider the various options for a wireless web cam or go with something like a trail cam, used by hunters. If your T@b were stolen, images might help expedite the recovery.
Don’t forget the insurance
Make sure you have good coverage on your T@b, both for liability and replacement. Make sure you want coverage for the cost of replacing the T@b. You can generally get insurance through your car insurance company.
Lock it up!
I use a variety of methods, and for obvious reasons, I won’t confirm or deny which methods I use. Can someone break them if they are passionate about stealing your T@b? Sure. But that is true of almost any device, even the $250 coupler lock with the video scare tactics. I do think, however, that properly securing your T@b will slow down the average thief and draw additional attention to your T@b as someone tries to meddle with your T@b. Don’t forget your common sense, too. If you live in an area prone to theft, go the extra mile. If you have a bad feeling at a campsite – lock your T@b up to the best of your ability or move to a new campground. I hope no one who reads this (or myself) have to endure the heartache of finding their beloved T@b stolen.