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Jake P.

Securing trailer from theft while hitched to truck

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Hello; First time travel trailer owner to be. We are picking up a small camper trailer (basically a bed on wheels) in two weeks and will be traveling 2,000 miles to bring it home. We have never towed or owned a trailer before, so this is new to us. We'll be staying at motels on our way home for several nights while the trailer is still hitched to the truck. What's the best way to ensure that someone doesn't unhitch the trailer from the truck and take off with it while we are sleeping in the motel? The trailer only weighs about 1200 lbs. I know there are anti-theft devices out there for when you are camping and the trailer is unhitched, but I can't seem to find anything on securing the trailer while it is still hitched to the truck and parked in a parking lot overnight.Thanks in advance.

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I’d make sure the insurance was in effect first thing. Then I’d take a small SS cable and thread it thru the wheels (one will do) and around the axle. You’ll at least have the box, and satisfaction the you ruined their day.

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9 hours ago, Jake P. said:

 I can't seem to find anything on securing the trailer while it is still hitched to the truck and parked in a parking lot overnight.Thanks in advance.

A padlock that can fit through the ball latch also works, and a receiver lock to keep it all attached to your truck so they don't use their empty receiver to fit with your stuff.

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But keep in mind that thieves now have access to battery powered tools and diamond cutting blades that will cut through such locks in less than a minute.  So the post about having insurance in place is a good one.

Depending on whether you are as paranoid as I am - and admittedly, few people are 😀 - you could think outside the box a bit.  Let the air out of your trailer tires and take the valve stem cores with you.  Put the cores back in the next morning and reinflate with one of those 12 volt compressors.  What are the odds that thieves will have valve cores and a compressor with them?  Or will risk taking the time to deal with the problem?

That's in addition to the locks, of course . . .

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1 hour ago, Optimistic Paranoid said:

But keep in mind that thieves now have access to battery powered tools and diamond cutting blades that will cut through such locks in less than a minute.

Very unusual to happen just to steal a small travel trailer that is sitting in a motel parking area which is most likely lighted. 

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Why don't you just buy stay in it at a campground? Then there is no problem.

You should stay in it a few nights at the dealer to make sure everything is working OK. Not just pick it up and go.

Edited by SWharton

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53 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Why don't you just buy stay in it at a campground? Then there is no problem.

You should stay in it a few nights at the dealer to make sure everything is working OK. Not just pick it up and go.

Where did you get the idea they were buying it from a dealer?  Where did you get the idea that they want to stay in a campground?  They asked how to secure it at motels, that leads me to believe that they want to stay at motels.

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I don't know whether they are buying from a dealer or not and neither do you, my bad. It may be they never thought of staying in it, newbies. Parking at motels with a trailer will be difficult, most motels don't have a parking lot layout conducive to park a car with a trailer.

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18 minutes ago, SWharton said:

It may be they never thought of staying in it, newbies.

Even more likely, they bought it with nothing inside. No bedding, no dishes, no pots or pans, no anything. And they have no experience they want to take it home and start learning. It sounds like a good plan to me. 

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I towed a uhaul once and finding parking at a motel was a challenge, had to park several times in a truck stop several blocks away.

Since they are driving out they could take basics with them.

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 11:26 AM, Jake P. said:

Hello; First time travel trailer owner to be. We are picking up a small camper trailer (basically a bed on wheels) in two weeks and will be traveling 2,000 miles to bring it home. We have never towed or owned a trailer before, so this is new to us. 

 

1 hour ago, SWharton said:

I towed a uhaul once and finding parking at a motel was a challenge Since they are driving out they could take basics with them.

Now here's something to consider Jake, and you probably already have. Consider this the maiden voyage and do some trip planning regarding possible sites to overnight at on your way back home. Look to Allstays Pro, freecampsites.net, Campendium, State Park locations, and an Atlas showing rest areas (I use a Truckers Atlas) for possible en route overnight stops. Some of these online guides will show Cabela's, WalMart, & Cracker Barrel locations that are friendly to RVers, and can also provide food and the comfort station. Be sure to ask first to confirm at these last three suggestions. You have a couple weeks to plan the trip, and your route may be a cold one for all I know, but with some preparation this could be a fun way to introduce yourselves to your new RV.

Edited by rm.w/aview

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On 10/23/2018 at 8:26 AM, Jake P. said:

Hello; First time travel trailer owner to be. We are picking up a small camper trailer (basically a bed on wheels) in two weeks and will be traveling 2,000 miles to bring it home. We have never towed or owned a trailer before, so this is new to us. We'll be staying at motels on our way home for several nights while the trailer is still hitched to the truck. What's the best way to ensure that someone doesn't unhitch the trailer from the truck and take off with it while we are sleeping in the motel? The trailer only weighs about 1200 lbs. I know there are anti-theft devices out there for when you are camping and the trailer is unhitched, but I can't seem to find anything on securing the trailer while it is still hitched to the truck and parked in a parking lot overnight.Thanks in advance.

Thank you guys for these suggestions. We will be towing the small camper trailer from MN to AZ in mid-November. We purchased it directly through a small builder (Escapade Campers) in Dassel, MN. We looked through a RV trip website ( I believe it was Good Sam) and could not find any campground that will be open during the time of our traveling. Rest areas and Walmart parking lots seem like a good alternative to a motel as they will provide the needed facilities. We'll be staying at a few motels on our drive up to MN and will check out if their parking lots are big enough to park the trailer and the truck and perhaps we can stay at the same motels on the way home.

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I would look at allstays.com and check off "open all year". You will also find many Mom and Pop cgs along the road that might be open, they do not advertise. Once you get out of the north you should be fine.

Since you are new to this you will be able to travel 250-350/day without exhausting yourself.

Since this is a new trailer and you are buying it from the factory they should have a small cg to stay at, probably only electric, to check out the trailer. Take advantage of it for at least 1-2 night. Nothing worse than getting on the road and something not working or your not knowing how to use/start it.

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I have previously towed a UHAUL that I was worried about being stolen while at hotels.  I got a driveway chime like this:

https://www.harborfreight.com/wireless-driveway-alert-system-93068.html

When I parked, I discretely tie-wrapped the sensor to the bottom of the tongue pointed downward.  Then I put the sensor on the nightstand next to where I was sleeping.  That way, if the trailer is moved the chime (alarm) will go off.  Of course, you need to park the trailer within 200-300 feet of your room so we selected a hotel with that in mind.

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1 hour ago, Jake P. said:

We purchased it directly through a small builder (Escapade Campers) in Dassel, MN.

Wow these are TINY.  Awesome little campers, but like you said, basically a bed on wheels.  So yeah...you'll need a campground open with bathrooms and such since they aren't self-contained.  That makes a LOT of difference.  Sure, you can use bathrooms in anyplace 24 hour, but do you want to?  Truck stops and 24 hour Wal-Marts are best bets until you are back down south where winter isn't off season. 

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Out motel of choice is Comfort Inn and they are spaced fairly well for driving south from Minneapolis. Three nights on the road puts us in Texas where all the parks are open.

Becky, of Interstellar Orchard, recently bought a similar trailer. You can read about her new systems here: https://interstellarorchard.com

Linda Sand

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You can get a length of chain long enough to go around the hitch frame on your truck and padlock it to the brake away chain on the trailer. There is also a place to put a lock on every hitch. Don't forget one for the receiver if you have one.

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Rest a little easy...I have never heard of a trailer being stolen off the tow vehicle...anywhere. I'm sure it has happened somewhere at sometime but the odds have to be 1000's to one. Put a padlock on it, make sure it is in a well lit space and you will be fine. FIY, I have stayed in many motels--usually the cheaper ones--where there are always long unoccupied areas in the parking lot. Motel 6, Motel 8, Red Roof...those types. 

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I fished Bass tournaments for 17 years. Always stay in motels, Always park with trailer backed to your room door. Always have a ball and receiver lock. 

Bass boats loaded with gear and electronics can easily top $150K 

Insurance for sure your best sleeping pill! 

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Would a electric fencer wired to the hitch latch...

dump a little water on the ground for the thief to be standing in when they complete the circuit...

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Probably wouldn't hurt a normal, healthy adult permanently.

What if the thief had a pacemaker?  I don't know what effect such a shock would have on that.

You might wind up looking at an involuntary manslaughter charge . . .

(Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.)

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