RV Camping - Protecting Your Equipment

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.

CH 751 Lock & Key Sets - Most RVs Use Them

RV Camping - CH 751 KeyMost 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 - Easy RV Security Upgrade

CH 751 Lock compared to ILH Replacement Lock
Old CH751 Compared To New ILH Key Lock

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.

How To Replace RV Cam 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.

RV Replacement Lock shipment

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.

RV Replacement Lock Kit Of Parts

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.

Screwdriver Removing Cam

After removing the cam, remove the large lock retention nut with a pair of pliers or other adjustable wrench.

Screwdriver Removing Cam

Remove the old lock and reverse the procedure to install the replacement locks.

RV Replacement Lock Installed

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.

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Federal Public Land
RV Camping Information

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.

Free and Low Cost
RV Camping Ideas

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.

  • Truck Stops - Asking permission is usually not a requirement Be considerate of the big rigs!
  • Walmart - Not all stores allow overnight RV parking due to city ordinances. Check store for policy.
  • Nightclubs - Had one too many or just pretending?
  • Grain Elevators - Ask where you can park your RV out of the way for the night.
  • Fraternal Organizations - VFW, Elks etc. may allow members free overnight RV camping.
  • Cemetery - Sounds creepy to us, but we've also heard they may have water available.
  • Fairgrounds - State and County facilities may allow RV camping when not otherwise in use.
  • Parks - City, County, State, and Community parks often have free RV camping.
  • Churches - You can almost make "reservations" by calling ahead for permission.
  • Hotel Parking Lots - Assuming a nightclub/bar is inside, had one too many or just pretending?
  • Truck Terminals - Parking areas for large trucks might allow you free RV camping permission.
  • RV Dealers - Pretty brave to us, but you could fit right in.
  • Cracker Barrel - These nationwide restaurants usually allow free overnight RV parking.
  • Movie Theaters - Too tired to drive home after the late show?
  • Highway Rest Areas - All rest areas allow a few hours of free RV parking, but noisy.
  • Drive In Movies - Got a small RV, park in the back row and enjoy the show. Fell asleep by accident right?
  • Vehicle Repair Shops - Need to see the repairman first thing in the morning?
  • Big Box Retailers - Kmart, Best Buy, Sams Club often allow free RV camping.
  • Roadside Parks & Picnic Areas - The early day version of the rest area.

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.