RV camping... you've spent the day out sightseeing or on the lake fishing only to discover when you return your camper has been compromised. The storage compartment where you locked up your valuable generator is open, the generator gone, and you are left wondering how someone got into your camper without tearing up the rig? Perhaps you stop at a busy Interstate highway rest area, and when you return from walking the dog or using the restroom, you see your storage compartment open and wonder how you forgot to lock it, only to discover your compressor is gone. RV theft is a common occurance, and knowing that hundreds of thousands of other RVers (as well as the bad guys) have a key to your RV may make you think twice about the stuff you stick in those outside RV storage compartments.
Most RV manufacturers have been using the same security lock and key set for years. CH751 keyed locks are used on the outside storage compartments of nearly every moderately and low priced RV available in the USA.
From a manufacturing and sales standpoint, using a standarized lock and key makes sense. Keeping track of hundreds of thousands of unique keys needed for each RV manufactured would be difficult, and few if any RV dealers inform their customers that the locks on their RV storage compartments are the same as every other RV on the lot. From pop up campers to class A motorhomes, the CH751 lock and key have been installed on every type RV.
Replacement locks are available to help protect valuables stored in your RVs outside compartments that currently have CH 751 keyed locks. Some locks offer combination activation so you don't need a key at all, while others use thousands of differing unique keys for their locks.
www.rv-camping.org prefers the key locks as we can open a storage bin in the dark without needing a flashlight as would be needed for the combination locks.
www.rv-camping.org did some shopping around and chose Industrial Lock & Hardware as our replacement lock supplier. Their prices are competitive and though we initially had a problem with our order, it was taken care of to our total satisfaction and based on our experience, we recommend their products and service.
From start to finish, it took less than an hour to replace our eight CH 751 keys\ed locks with ILH replacements. The replacement locks come shipped in a standard small USPS priority shipping box.
Inside the box was a neatly packaged set of locks and other necessary parts. I ordered six 1 1/8" locks for the storage compartments, and two 5/8" locks for our outside shower and speaker covers. Included in the kit of parts are keys, cams, and seals, as well as instructions. There are several different size locks available so you will need to measure your existing locks to order proper replacements.
Start by unlocking the storage compartment with your old CH 751 key. Open the storage bin and remove the cam. The cam is the metal tab that turns and secures the compartment when closed. On our RV, it required a standard flat blade screwdriver.
After removing the cam, remove the large lock retention nut with a pair of pliers or other adjustable wrench.
Remove the old lock and reverse the procedure to install the replacement locks.
That's all there is to it. Less than 10 minutes per lock to replace, the locks operate flawlessly, and we feel more secure when we're away from our RV.
USFS (US Forest Service) - Describes USFS policies and rules about RV camping. Information about dispersed camping, and tips on how to find great free RV camping sites.
NPS (National Park Service) - General information about RV camping and campgrounds in US National Parks. With campgrounds in the most historic and scenic places in the country, the NPS offers some of the best places for RV camping.
USACE/COE (US Army Corp of Engineers) - USACE (perhaps better know as COE) manages water recreation areas throughout the USA. Information about finding USACE lakes, RV camping possibilities, and rules and policies for use of these water based recreation areas is included.
Here's a list of places to consider when looking for a free overnight RV camping or parking location. We always recommend asking for overnight RV parking permission when looking for a free spot to spend the night. The smaller your RV, the better chances you will have finding places to stay if you choose not to ask permission. If you don't ask permission, you end up "sneaking" into places and hoping nobody bothers you or issues you a trespassing ticket before you move on.
Be smart and Be Safe...Ask Permission.
As you can see, there are a lot of free RV camping and parking possibilities. If you are not asking permission, it's best to keep a very low profile. If your RV has slide outs, jacks and TV antennas, don't use them so as not to draw attention to yourself. Consider your surroundings carefully and if you feel uncomfortable with the area, move somewhere else.