In a world that gets more expensive by the day, it’s hardly surprising that alternative living situations continue to gain so much traction. But choosing to live in an RV or van comes with its own share of ups and downs, including unique security concerns. An RV is nowhere near as secure as a house.
Get to grips with van life and RV security risks, and discover how AlfredCamera is changing the lives of mobile home dwellers around the world.
Table of Contents
8 Major RV Security & Safety Risks to Know Now
1. Unfamiliar Places
The great appeal of van life and RV living is the ability to go anywhere, any time.
In some ways, moving around has security benefits. A moving duck is a difficult target, after all. But overall, it exposes you to greater risks than those faced by conventional homeowners and renters.
When traveling in an unfamiliar place, there isn’t always a clear idea of how safe a parking space is or how crime-ridden the area is. The more movement, the higher the chance of eventually running into issues. Surveillance is a major help in such situations because you can leave your vehicle with greater confidence.
2. Vehicle Theft
If broken into, both the entire contents of the home and the vehicle itself are at risk of theft.
Therefore, much more is at stake than in a conventional home burglary. A lack of security measures puts the owner’s entire livelihood at risk.Location research is key in finding a safe space to park and leave the vehicle for the day.
3. Gas Leaks, Fires & Explosions
The trend towards DIY motorhomes as part of the ‘van life’ movement means that non-professionals increasingly fit highly flammable and dangerous objects.
The majority of mobile homes are powered by Diesel or Propane, which is stored in canisters. It’s extremely flammable.
As great as the DIY approach is for saving money, ensure professional installation of gas tanks, electrical wiring, and other objects that are highly flammable and dangerous.
If you’re unsure about how to do something, don’t feel bad about foregoing DIY! Always complete wiring and other installs outside insulation and other ‘hiding’ materials to enable easy access whenever needed.
‘DIYers should do wiring outside the insulation. I had to re-do so many decisions along the way… I couldn’t imagine making all the right wiring decisions before the insulation step! The pros have perfect blueprints to work from. Us DIYers need the flexibility’.Rick_R, Project Van Life Forum.
All mobile and tiny home owners come to feel great affection for their builds, which are made with love from the ground up.
To see it defaced is demoralizing, but prepare for the possibility of vandalism.
Consider taking out an insurance policy if you’re worried about mobile home vandalism.
‘When choosing your RV insurance, we think it’s a good idea to be sure there is coverage in such cases and that you’ll be reimbursed for hotel or Airbnb stays while your van is fixed.’Katie Diederichs, Two Wandering Soles
5. Car Crashes
In fact, for most converted home vehicles, dash cams are necessary 100% of the time, because the cab won’t have a window in it. Install a cam to the back of the vehicle to improve visibility while driving.
Likewise, black out or cover up the back window to preserve visibility. Use the dash cams to make up for the loss of visibility.
6. Police Checks and Forced Relocation
Regular homeowners are hopefully unfamiliar with having the police knocking on their door at 5 in the morning.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for those living on the road. In fact, interactions with police are a regular part of a life moving to and fro.
Always cooperate with law enforcement–it isn’t worth putting up a fight, particularly when in a different country.
5 Van Life Tips for Dealing with the Police
1. Know the relevant vehicle search laws to anticipate fake officers attempting burglary.
2. If given the option to leave the area or be subject to a search, always leave.
3. Carry out thorough research well in-advance of arriving in a new location, especially if it’s an unfamiliar country or state.
4. Prioritize campsites, trailer parks, and 24/7 parking spaces for a peaceful stay, but avoid staying for extended periods.
5. Keep noise to a minimum. Barking dogs and loud speakers are disruptive.
7. Tickets & Fines
The possibility of parking fines is high if you’re living on the road.
Research is once again the key to success, and when in foreign countries, that means learning some vocab!
In urban areas, obvious signs are displayed to indicate if parking is permitted for certain vehicles, as well as how long a vehicle can park in the space.
Security cameras are the eyes and ears when the owner is away. Get notified if the camera spots an officer writing up a ticket.
8. Losing your Vehicle
Mislaying your vehicle in a multistory car park is one thing, but when that vehicle is also your home, it’s a loss of a monumental scale!
Get acquainted with location tracking to avoid the worst possible scenarios. Wooded areas and forests are especially easy to get lost in.
When you leave your RV or van for the day, simply add it to your private map as a Place. Alfred keeps the location tracked, and notifies the members of your Circle when you leave and exit the area.
For novices to nomadic life, location tracking is among the most useful tools at your disposal, and is an effective way to keep loved ones informed while traveling the world.
DIY a Free RV Security Camera with AlfredCamera
Hit the road on a whim and suddenly freaking out about security? Alfred’s got your back.
Get motion detection, live viewing, sirens, push notifications, and even a low light mode on a spare phone or tablet by simply downloading the app to it, as well as your current device. You’ll view the camera feed and get notifications here.
It’s not unusual for money to be tight on the road, but Alfred ensures you don’t cut corners when it comes to security. No wonder AlfredCamera is one of the best kept secrets in the van life community.
How to Mount Security Cameras on RV or Van
Temporary mounting is better suited to security cameras monitoring an RV or van because it is more convenient than permanent mounting. In nomadic life, your needs frequently change.
Do not attempt to drill a security camera to mount it to an RV or van unless there are wooden or brick surfaces installed inside the vehicle.
The materials used to construct vehicles are markedly different from those used in a conventional house.
Metal sliding, for example, shouldn’t be drilled into.
This effectively mitigates the risk of it dismounting and breaking while the vehicle is moving.
Easy RV Security Camera Mounting with AlfredCam Plus
Security cameras with an abundance of mounting methods are more advantageous to people living in a van or RV.
AlfredCam Plus is an advanced 2K security camera that provides users with plenty of easy mounting options. While conventional screw mounting is possible, so too is desktop viewing, magnetic mounting, sticker mounting, and even zip tie mounting.
Zip tie mounting is especially useful for attaching AlfredCam Plus to awkward shapes, like cylindrical surfaces or poles. Mount it upside down if needed—you can easily flip the live feed image on the AlfredCamera app.
Experiment with different temporary mounting methods to find what works best for you.
Where to Mount Security Cameras on RV or Vans
Feasible locations for RV security cameras are limited. Dash cams are necessary to drive safely when visibility is minimal, so they already account for the front and back of the vehicle.
Outdoor security is necessary when the vehicle is parked up.
Try sticking the camera to the top of the vehicle or high up on the door using a magnet or sticker. If you move furniture and other things outside when parked up, use plastic ties to attach it to objects (like the legs of a stool or fold out chair).
Remove outside cameras on the vehicle and store them safely inside before leaving a location to avoid them falling and breaking. Mount with a magnet, sticker, or plastic ties to do this with ease.
Mount the camera to the ‘ceiling’ for an ideal vantage point if you have modified the interior (i.e. with wood planks). Make sure it is safe to drill by measuring the depth of the surface.
How do you hook up a security camera to an RV?
- Check what materials the RV is made out of to determine if drilling is possible or not.
- Avoid drilling if there are no brick, plaster or wood surfaces.
- Use a magnetic mount to hook up a security camera to metallic surfaces inside or outside the RV.
- Use sticker mounts or plastic ties to mount the security camera to other surfaces.
- Install dash cams to monitor the front and back of the RV rather than using security cameras.
Can you put a security system in an RV?
Putting a security system in an RV is possible, but it’s easier to simply DIY a system using security cameras and dash cams. Like any vehicle, alarm systems are also beneficial, and like a house, window sensors are also potentially useful in the event of a break in.
How can I make my RV door more secure?
- Install door alarms onto the RV door to make it more secure. Arm RV door alarms after leaving the vehicle and disarm them upon returning. While armed, they sound a loud alarm if the door is opened, attracting attention from anyone nearby and potentially deterring intruders.
- Fix a specially designed deadbolt onto the RV door to make it sturdier. Standard cylindrical deadbolts don’t fit RV doors for the most part, so a custom order from a specialist company might be necessary.
- Place a security camera so it observes the RV door. This could be looking outside one of the windows of the vehicle toward the door area, or directly behind it.
- Get into the habit of locking the door whenever leaving or entering the vehicle. Think of it in the same way as a conventional home.
- Have the vehicle properly serviced by professionals prior to setting out on the road. They will assess the state of the door and recommend any fixes if needed.
Are all RV locks the same key?
Shockingly, many RV locks are exactly the same, especially in older models. Lots of RV manufacturers simply key all their vehicles exactly the same.
Take the vehicle to be serviced by professional mechanics or RV specialists to find out if the lock is a conventional, mass-produced one. If it is suspected to be one, replace it with a unique handle lock and a deadbolt.
Swapping regular life for one on the road or is a really exciting adventure. But it’s important to be well informed of all the positives and negatives about a nomadic or alternative lifestyle, not least of all security.
By taking some simple steps, security doesn’t have to be compromised in an RV, and van life and other types of alternative lifestyle can be enjoyed to the max. Install RV security cameras to ease your security concerns on the road.