If you are ever going to leave your motorhome in a public place, even for a moment, then you should consider getting an alarm fitted. By public place I include your driveway at home, the supermarket car park and the service station forecourt. There are plenty of alarms for motorhomes and RVs, however, in the UK one of these stands head and shoulders above others, that is the “Strikeback” by VanBitz. These alarms are produced specifically for the Motorhome and RV market. If you have a panel van conversion, you may be able to get away with a regular car alarm, but anything bigger and you should opt for a system like the Strikeback, which is designed for motorhomes.
At the very least you should choose an alarm system that will immobilise the motorhome and sound an alarm if anyone tries to gain illegal entry to it. If you budget runs to it, a good alarm addition will allow you to protect individual lockers and secure the bikes on your bike rack as well. The best alarms will also be able to protect the interior whilst you sleep.
Additional Features of a good alarm system
No alarming chirps and beeps. When you set the system, the best ones will flash lights to show that the system is working. Those annoying chirps or beeps, often present in car alarms, have no place on a quiet caravan site.
The ability to sleep in your motorhome with the alarm turned on is very useful indeed. The best systems allow this by shutting down the internal sensors so you can get up to use the toilet or make a pot of tea without the alarm being activated, whilst all the time the immobiliser is set and the perimeter of the motorhome such as doors, windows and lockers are protected and will activate should anyone try to break in. This facility is even more useful if you have a pet as you can alarm the system and not worry about the pet activating the alarm whilst you shop or pay for fuel at a service station. The benefits of this system when wild-camping are obvious and plenty of wild-campers would not dream of parking up without having their system set to “exterior only.”
If I could only have one siren I would choose to have it fitted inside. An alarm that emits a very loud noise inside the motorhome is one that burglars will like the least. They do not like internal sirens as they have no idea what is happening outside or if anyone is approaching. If you choose to have a siren louder than 130db the sound of one of these in the confined space of the motorhome is very debilitating and makes it very difficult for the robber to think of anything other than getting out. The noise will make it extremely difficult for the thief to stay inside and carry out a systematic search. Most likely, the thief will just grab the nearest most valuable item and then escape the noise. I can remember working on a security team that had a very loud siren in a small windowless operations room. The alarm was very loud so as to alert people if the room was unoccupied. The keypad to silence this alarm was near to the siren. To silence the alarm a simple code like 2,4,6,8 had to be punched in. It was fun watching people try to do this, because the volume of sound made a simple thing like remembering a simple code and then keying it in very difficult. They needed one hand to punch the code, this only left one hand to cover two ears! The consequence of this was that very often it would take two or three goes at getting the simple dis-arm code correctly input. A loud alarm inside you motorhome will make it a very hostile environment for a thief; which is why I recommend you have TWO well hidden sirens inside even the smallest motorhome.
Choose an alarm system that is easy to arm and disarm, do not buy one off the shelf unless you have been given a thorough real demonstration of how it works. Arming the exterior whilst you are inside should be easy to do and silent. Some systems can be so confusing that many just don’t bother setting them at night; after a few nights without setting it, it soon becomes the ‘norm’ to not bother.