VanLife Safety & Security

helping VanLifers Stay Safe!

None of this information should deter you in any way from enjoying your adventures. It is only here for informational purposes, is extremely rare, and provided here so you could be prepared, in the unlikely event that anything ever happens while you are out there.

Safety is something I think about, all the time. Being a technology professional, I have always followed what kinds of technology can help with our safety, and have been surprised how nobody is mentioning much about these. I will include those here, and hopefully, you will find them very helpful too!

There are some great videos from travelers on how they stay safe in their travels, but after hundreds of hours of watching YouTube videos, I have not found one that includes everything.

Since I already spend way too much time online watching this stuff, I figured I would offer my help by combining everything I have learned into one place, and hopefully, you will share with anyone else that could use this information.

Please be sure to share any of your own tips that you might have, so I can make this the most complete VanLife Safety resource available.

  • Situational Awareness every safety class I ever went to always put situational awareness at the top of the list. Just doing some pre-park planning and observation, can help decide if it is a safe location.

  • Phone signal? check for cell signal, test internet if you need that for work

  • Things to avoid rowdy people – mostly just ignore until they leave but in the case of someone trying to break in, just make noise so they know someone is in there. I saw a girl who used her phone to mimic having a conversation with a man that deterred some intruders!

  • No camping signs or any parking restrictions

  • If you get challenged? No need to open windows if someone comes knocking, unless it is the police, and they can be called to verify if needed.

  • Weather risks like dead trees, flood risks

  • Pick out a place of safety or fall-back spot. Plan out a safety route/location should you need to bug out

  • Stealth? Depends on location. City no, boondocking possibly

  • Lay up or sleeping? Sleep in one location and do your activities in another

  • Prep for sleeping. Get everything ready for sleeping before you even arrive at the sleep location

  • Maneuvering room parking without being blocked, don’t park where an out-of-control vehicle might hit you, don’t block anyone

  • Sleeping safety

  • Car keys in the same place every time

  • Make sure the driver’s seat is clear and easy to access if needed and try it before you need it.

  • Scary Noises – this is one area where outside cameras can help tremendously.

  • Some recommend not carrying any gun because, in their country, it shows premeditation. I don’t agree with this one, but of course, even then, the circumstances must be extreme for this to be warranted.

  • When parking where other travelers like truckers park, be considerate and do not block their access

  • Driving off. Leave enough space behind your parking space, when reversing into your chosen space that if anything is blocking you, you can backup and still get out.

  • Time to react

  • Control yourself

  • Imposters? Some hoodlums simply want to annoy you and they should just be ignored, and if they keep it up, retire to your backup location

  • Finding parking locations. Apps are the best for this and/or talking to locals

  • Apps are a wealth of additional info and are covered in detail elsewhere

  • Find your own on Google, Apple, orbing apps

  • Be considerate

  • Emergency options

  • Leave early

  • Final points

  • Don’t litter, don’t dump anything inappropriately, don’t outstay your welcome

  • Is it safe – observe, Daylight vs night, look for pubs or other venues where rowdy people might be around Risk assessment – drugs, trash – indicators of bad activity?

A few products that can help with your safety.

Many VanLifers may not have that “Inner Viking”, ready to jump out of their rig with an ax, or other weapon, so watch these VanLifer suggestions, and everyone should be able to find something that would work for them.

These are really things that everyone should be thinking about, not just VanLifers.

Weapon of some kind – everything from a sword to a gun.

Pepper Spray and/or Pepper Ball gun.

Leave men’s shoes outside for ladies so they don’t think you are alone.

GPS tracker device and/or app.

Security Cameras

Alarms, lights, whistles.

Departure check motorhome

Vehicle check

A couple of very unique solutions invented here

Everyone has their own ideas, and comfort levels with how to deal with intruders, whether they be animals or humans. Here are some of the items suggested by other vanlifers, and I will include some of the better “VanLife Safety” videos that I have come across.

Complete VanLife Security Playlist created for you


There are many stories around Vanlife safety, regarding how to stay safe, what equipment can help keep you safe, and a lot more, when you’re camping or doing the van life.

I’m going to focus on trying to cover the most effective ways I have found to stay safe, and examples of what can be done, in an emergency situation.

Many of us are locked up inside of our rigs, and the most obvious thing that everybody can do is just leave when a situation comes up.

However, if you’re in a van like mine, where I can’t see outside, and I hear a noise, or there’s a ruckus going on, I need to put cameras in, so that when that happens, I have a way to see what’s going on, and make a more informed decision about an appropriate response, if one is even needed.

There have been many stories recently of theft and vandalism.

Most times folks get spooked only because you just don’t know what’s going on, and we all make something out worse than it really is.

When something happens, you should use whatever means you can to capture it, ideally with motion activated cameras, and lights. Sometimes that alone is enough to make them move to an easier target.

You could also use an app like parachute, to record the event. It is very difficult for most of us to remember all the details without these records.

Most smartphones have emergency features, but apps are better , and more useful in many more situations.

Imagine someone is trying to break in or just harass you, and you come on and announce something like-

“Warning!, You are being recorded, and this is being sent to the police”. Could be very effective, and all you would need to do.

Probably most would bug out just from that!

There’s a lot of scary, and horror stories, that people have shared, of their own situation that they’ve come across while camping, or doing the van life, and while those are legitimate, and everybody should know about them, you need to assess what you might do in that situation.

These situations are extremely rare. I have been doing the #VanLife, even before it was a thing, and I have really had no issues, ever. The primary thing I want to figure out, is what can we do, to catch the would be criminals, or would-be attackers, and provide better details, and lessons learned for others.

Don’t be that “I wish I would have” person!

Please provide your own thoughts and stories on this, and let’s do waht we can to make this lifestyle safer for all.



Get Parachute

It just might save your life!

The other cool thing about parachute is it will most likely always be with you and can help you no matter where you are.