A big part of nomadic life is about exploring strange new places. Let’s face it though, there are some crazies out there. You may think we are crazy for living life full-time in a truck camper. But, we are referring to the more murder-you-in-your-sleep types. We camp in some out of the way places, as well as urban areas, and we want to make sure that we are as safe as reasonably possible. At the same time, we realize that if you spend your life dwelling on safety you probably won’t lead a very adventurous life. Despite what modern news networks would have you believe, most people don’t fall into the “murder you in your sleep” category. Still, we wanted to secure our home on wheels with an RV deadbolt.
Another consideration for us when deciding to travel full-time was that we would want to backpack for days on end, leaving our home in some very remote places. Yet another reason to make sure it is as difficult as possible to break-in to our home on wheels. So we decided to install new locks and went in search of an RV deadbolt that was more secure than the standard RV lock.
Why Do We Need Another RV Lock?
Let’s face it, the locks they put on truck campers are pathetic. It wouldn’t take much to bore the small bolt out or someone might just be able to rip it through the wall given enough leverage. Also, many of the RV locks have master keys that allow RV manufacturers easy access along with anyone else who is able to get their hands on them. So while we knew we would want to swap out the old door handle & lock for a new one (because we didn’t have a spare set of keys), we also went in search of an RV deadbolt system designed to work on the thin walls of a truck camper.
Changing Out the Standard Truck Camper Door Handle & Lock
Swapping out the old camper locks was fairly easy and can be done by anyone with a few basic tools. Here is a video explaining how we did that.
Why Not Use a House Deadbolt?
Truck camper walls are only a little over 1” thick. That isn’t enough space to warrant a traditional deadbolt as the bolt alone is usually as thick as the truck camper wall. Surprisingly there aren’t a lot of options for adding security to an RV. We found plenty of upgrades to the standard lock and handle that comes on most campers but most of these were just fancy versions of the same puny lock. We wanted something more robust.
The Milenco RV Deadbolt
It was about this time that we stumbled across the Milenco security door lock system, which is sold by Dometic in the United States. While not cheap the Milenco lock is a beefy system that is near to impossible to penetrate. The device bolts completely through the structure of the camper wall making it the most sound system available. It works by folding down in front of the door, blocking the door so that it can not swing open. It is simple and yet works very well.
The Folding RV Handrail
Some RV manufacturers put folding handrails on their mobile homes that fold and lock in place blocking the door in much the same way. However, unlike the Milenco that can be locked and turned while inside the camper, folding handrails can not. This makes the Milenco lock a superior solution when inside the RV and gives us extra protection. I’ve also heard stories of hoodlums using the handrail locks as a way of trapping the inhabitants inside their RV. This isn’t possible with the Milenco system since you have full control of the lock from inside the RV.
Another great option for security is to place cameras around the exterior of your mobile home and send the recording into the cloud. This, of course, requires not only a data uplink but also power. The cameras would therefore only really work in places capable of an uplink, not so much rural areas. Still, if you want a bit more peace of mind in more urban environments where an uplink is possible this would be a nice option. Many RV manufacturers have started offering these as upgrades on many new units.
Installing the Milenco RV Deadbolt
The Milenco lock is very easy to install. You only need a few inches of clearance on one side of the door frame in order for the unit to work which is nice because we only had about 3.5” on the inside for us to mount the security lock. Mounting it only requires a pencil or sharpie, a tape measure, and a drill with a 1/4” bit and a 1/2” bit. It also helps to have a few clamps and a scrap piece of wood to reduce the chances of marring the inside of the camper wall. Check out the video below to see how we installed our Milenco RV deadbolt.
RV Deadbolt Conclusion
We love our Milenco RV deadbolt and feel that it gives us a bit of added protection for our life of full-time travel. These devices can be mounted to almost any unit. Milenco even makes a version that is designed for use on a sliding van door to block it from opening and yet still allowing it to slide by when unlocked. If you are thinking about becoming a nomad or are already traveling full-time and looking for a bit more security on your mobile home I highly recommend getting one of these easy to use and install RV deadbolts by Milenco.