My top ten tips for safe wild camping
For those people lucky enough to live in the countryside; crime is not as high on the agenda as it is for those that live in our towns and cities. Yes there is crime in the countryside but it is statistically a much safer place to live. Wild camping in the countryside is as safe as living in a country cottage. In fact it is probably safer as you can easily move on; but of course there is always some risk. If you are parking on the fringes of large cities or in other parking places we should always do our very best to negate any risk that might exist so to this end here are some security tips when choosing to spend the night in a wild camping or off site parking spot.
- Look carefully at the area, does it feel right? Is the place littered with rubbish, used condoms, skid marks, this might indicate that idiots use the place at night.
- Think carefully before camping anywhere that there is no mobile telephone signal. Emergencies do happen!
- Don’t be a Nosy Parker! Always park in such a way that you can drive away, nose out, without having to do a 7 point turn!
- Don’t put screens (sliver screens insulation) on the outside of windows; these will impede your ability to drive away. Driving away is the very best defence for many security situations.
- Try to be as inconspicuous as possible, I know this can be difficult in a 25 foot long bright white motorhome. However you can lower your profile; do not put awnings and deckchairs out or light that barbeque unless you are pretty sure your actions are not going to attract attention from undesirables.
- Make sure when you turn in that everything is stowed, doors are locked so that you are able to drive immediately away if an incident occurs.
- Secure your entry doors. Too often people awake to find someone in their motorhome because they have forgotten to lock doors or windows. Use deadlocks that cannot be opened too easily. Some people place chains between cab doors. These can be effective, but can trap you inside in the event of a fire, if you are going to use a chain, practice undoing it so that it is so easy you can do it quickly in the dark. You might have to!
- Be prepared to move on. I heard about a couple on a remote French aire that didn’t like the look of a bunch of youngsters that arrived at the aire and proceeded to light a fire and drink spirits. In the early hours of the morning when the youths had run out of things to burn they amused themselves by throwing stones at the two motorhomes. They were asked to stop and things got worse. The story ended with both motorhomes leaving the aire under a barrage of stones. Don’t let this happen to you. Go with your gut feeling, if you feel at all unhappy; move on, there are literally millions of places that you can find to park. The best way to avoid risks is to drive away from them. Don’t hesitate, get out of there, in a motorhome moving on is easy.
- Do not ignore other risks, such as medical emergencies. Parking up 3 days away from civilisation can pose problems. Have a plan already worked out.
- Use an alarm, if you have an alarm fitted then make sure you can set it to guard the exterior whilst you are inside. So if anyone touches your lockers or bikes etc the resulting alarm should wake you and frighten off the thief. Dogs work the same way and I know of some people who do not have a dog, but place a large dog bowl just outside to give the impression that a monster of a dog is asleep inside.
Normally; talking about security leaves people feeling a little nervous. They ponder the things that might happen and feel uncomfortable. You should remember that literally thousands of people park up for the night all over Europe; they give absolutely no thought to their security at all and nothing happens to them, this is because the chances of being a victim of crime are in reality very small. Just by giving it a little thought, you reduce those chances to the point of being almost non-existent.