Van Life security, it’s something everyone considers at some point or other. We’ve been living in vans since 2014, and have amassed a good amount of knowledge about ways that we keep everything safe and secure, as well as giving us peace of mind in the process. Read on to see our 9 essential tips!
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We got our Reolink Argus 2 last year, and it has been our greatest asset whilst we’ve been on the road which works via hooking up to our wifi (learn about our super easy wifi setup here). We mainly use it to keep tabs on our cat, Ginjey Bear, if we’re out and about without her, but it is also fantastic as security and peace of mind. It has a number of helpful features:
Photos and videos
save images/videos to SD or the cloud
data or wifi
solar powered through micro-usb
Find out more about the Reolink Argus 2 here, and check out their other models.
This small but mighty device plugs into your vehicles ODB port, which most vehicles have. Through the app you can keep track of your journeys through the powerful GPS, as well as any sharp driving, vehicle starting and even if the device is removed. Read more about it here!
An oldie but a goodie, a wheel lock is simple but effective. Locking onto your wheel prevents any would-be vehicle thieves from getting very far, and also acts as a visual deterrent to people even thinking about having a go. You can grab one online here, they come in different varieties to work with different vehicles due to airbags etc…
When designing and building our van conversion we opted to have the kitchen along the front of the habitation area, effectively cutting off the cab from the living quarters. We left a gap big enough for us to get through in an emergency, which you can see Theo squeeze through here, but it’s also another method to put people off even bothering with your vehicle. Mashing the front window and gaining entrance to the cab doesn’t mean they can now ransack the place, they’ve still got a tricky climb.
We’re shipping our van to North America soon and will be completely closing off the cab from the habitation area, to prevent anyone from gaining access into the back during the crossing. Whilst it’s now pretty slim that people will steal your possessions during the week-long crossing whilst you’re not there, there’s still a risk. You may be wondering well surely closing off the cab doesn’t stop people from opening the sliding side door? Well…
Slam locks can take some getting used to (and it’s a good idea to get a couple of spare keys) but they are incredibly useful at giving you an extra layer of security. Our sliding side door and rear doors are equipped with slam locks, which work separately to the vehicles main locking system. A designated key is required to open the door from the outside at all times, regardless of whether the van is locked or not. This is another great way to make it harder for would-be thieves to gain access to your van.
Windows are probably one of the main ways thieves gain access to vehicles, it certainly is how they broke into our previous van. We made a conscious effort in this van conversion to have our sliding window (the easiest to break) pretty small, in fact, it’s so small only our cat can squeeze through! People are a lot less likely to smash our giant side window to get into the van, and coupled up with our pretty much closed off cab area this gives us peace of mind.
Ladders attached to vehicles seem to be a magnet for people, they just want to climb them! The number of times we’ve heard from other fellow vanlifers that they’ve been chilling in their van and felt someone climbing the ladder is crazy. There are methods to stop strangers climbing your fixed ladder by covering the rungs and so forth, but we opted to instead store our ladder inside the van. We have a collapsible ladder that we can position anywhere on the outside of the van depending where we need to get to on the roof, and it has also come in handy a couple of times when we need to get the cat out of a tree (much to her embarrassment!).
Whether you have CCTV or an Alarm it’s great to make your van too hot to handle, why would someone risk it when they could immediately trigger the alarm or CCTV? Cheap stickers from Amazon can act as another handy deterrent and really make people think twice about messing with your home on wheels.
Secure and safe space in your vehicle for valuables you don’t necessarily want to lug around with you is a great idea, and there’s a number of different places you could store it in your van. We have always had some form of impenetrable and immovable storage device for our belongings that we don’t want to be taken, and there’s a whole heap of different sizes and makes to choose from online.
Being filmmakers we’re big advocates of the Peli Case, pretty much indestructible and strong as heck. We secure it in our van in a hard to reach area, and also equip it with a couple of heavy-duty locks. They’re designed to be tough to break into, are waterproof and crushproof!