How To Secure A Campsite From Theft

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.


When you go camping, it is quite likely that you’re going to be in the same area as other campers. It’s not uncommon, even in the most rural of places. As a result, knowing how to secure a campsite from theft can help you keep your stuff from being taken. Yet how does one do this?

There are a lot of ways you can avoid theft. First, we recommend you keep any of the most important personal valuables on your person. Taking stuff with you will usually result in them not being stolen, at least behind your back. However, you can also lock them in your vehicle if you’re camping on a big camping ground.

If you have a larger item or two that cannot be placed in your car and must be at your campsite, we’d recommend locking this stuff in your tent. If it cannot fit or would be a problem in there, make sure to put the item(s) out of plain sight. The idea here is to keep them out of the view of those who might be passing by.

If you plan to use the showers on camping grounds, then you’ll want to put them in a locker that they might have for you to use. If they do not, we recommend taking a dry bag to put important stuff in that won’t get be a problem to get wet. However, if none of this is an option, place your items in a place that you can see them from the shower

Choose Your Campsite Well

Sometimes, people simply do not choose a good campsite and will put themselves in the line of fire…for lack of a better term. If you do not research the grounds you plan to go to, you might have a theft problem that you would have known about prior to going…had you researched.

Many review boards online will tell you if anything like this is happening. Yet you might also need to know about other potential places you might go camping. There are larger national parks where camping is legal to do throughout the year. Some of which have theft problems during certain times of the year.

Other times, you might be preparing to go off the grid to a certain location that is not exactly a common camping destination. However, that does not mean people are not out there. Be sure to look up anything related to this before going. If you cannot find anything, perhaps ask locals who might have camped there if you need to be aware of anything before going.

Finally, we always recommend you do not camp right next to trails, roads, etc. You want to know where they are, and we even recommend you keep them potentially in your eyesight. Even if you need to stand up or hunch-over to see it. Yet camping right next to them can lead to a lot of theft issues. Camping away from them reduces that by a large percentage.

Ask A Neighbor For Assistance

We cannot stress how important it is to choose a campsite that will be great for any and all your specialized needs. Yet it is possible that others will have the same idea as you and will camp nearby. If you’re on a large camping ground, people might be incredibly close to you.

If this is the case, we recommend asking neighbors if they would not mind keeping an eye out on your campsite when you’re gone. Mostly just to see if anyone might be there looking around or looking through stuff. They could be your first line of defense to scare off potential thieves.

If you agree to do the same for them, most campers will be more than happy to help. Looking out for each other is a good thing to do, as it prevents a lot of problems. Most people are good and will be open to helping those who help them.

What Of Animal Thieves?

If you go into a forest, a National Park, or random off-the-grid location…you’re going to likely come across animals. Sometimes this is not a big deal. Most of them will stay away from people but might come close if people feed them a lot. This is why most Park Rangers will tell you never to feed the animals.

Some animals will be afraid to approach a campsite until you’re gone. Raccoons and Bears will often come through a campsite when they know people are not present. This is why it is recommended that you do a few critical things to keep your campsite secure.

  • Keep all potentially breakable items away from potential walkways or in the Tent
  • Put ALL food away in sealed containers that hide the smell (such as ice chests)
  • You can also gather your valuables and tie them up in a tree away (out of bear reach)

You might have a lot of different animal visitors depending on where you are and what time of year it is. Most bears hibernate during colder periods, but climate change had thrown this off for some…causing some species to not hibernate. Always be “Bear Aware” before going camping as well as while you’re camping.

Most of your other potential animals that might come into a campsite like Mountain Lions or other predatory cats will usually only steal food from campsites if they cannot find other animals to eat first. Yet you might randomly see Deer, Moose, or Elk run through a campsite at random.

Thus, we recommend not taking anything camping that you’re afraid to lose or isn’t built to be incredibly tough. You’ll thank us later for that.

survival quiz