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Old 01-28-2019, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default Security while Boondocking

Well I’ve been boondocking for many years and earlier tonight I had my first ever incident of what I would classify as a real potential threat.

First I am boondocking in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona about 75-100 feet away from the hiway on a BLM campsite and at 2:40 am I get woken up by a small dirt bike (<500cc thumper) driving around my RV that has made a definite trip off the hiway to ride around my camper in the middle of the night! The bike comes to a stop about 10 feet from my van for about 60 seconds and after shining its headlight on my van as I wake up from the motor sound speeds off back to the hiway and leaves. I am in the middle of no where (literally one other rooftop camper about 1/4 mile away on BLM land on other side of hiway) with the nearest town/village 30 miles either way on the hiway so there is NO reason for a small motorbike to be out cruising at this time of night except possibly looking to get into some sort of trouble. I am generally not much of an alarmist but this definitely got my attention and got me thinking about what I could or should do.

There is nothing flashy on the van although it is an older Pleasure-Way Sprinter van. Nothing was left outside and no bikes or other items to attract attention but this was a definate late night drive by someone trying to make some kind of point.

I am not carrying firearms nor would I want to, but I do have bear spray in the van for when we do hike in bear country that is/was stored away that I thought about after the motorbike left. The dog a big ‘lover-doodle’ just slept through the whole thing. Apart from the headlights the only outside light I have is a side light on the passenger side (all lights were off as it was the middle of the night).

This has got me thinking that perhaps more brighter lights on both sides of the van might be in order as a possible deterant or am I just getting overly paranoid about one strange and scary incident?

We boondock 90% of the time and although I don’t classify us as full time we have spent 6 months on the road in the last 12 months, so we are really heavy duty boondockers (frugal campers). Would like to hear others thoughts.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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Well I’ve been boondocking for many years and earlier tonight I had my first ever incident of what I would classify as a real potential threat.

First I am boondocking in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona about 75-100 feet away from the hiway on a BLM campsite and at 2:40 am I get woken up by a small dirt bike (<500cc thumper) driving around my RV that has made a definite trip off the hiway to ride around my camper in the middle of the night! The bike comes to a stop about 10 feet from my van for about 60 seconds and after shining its headlight on my van as I wake up from the motor sound speeds off back to the hiway and leaves. I am in the middle of no where (literally one other rooftop camper about 1/4 mile away on BLM land on other side of hiway) with the nearest town/village 30 miles either way on the hiway so there is NO reason for a small motorbike to be out cruising at this time of night except possibly looking to get into some sort of trouble. I am generally not much of an alarmist but this definitely got my attention and got me thinking about what I could or should do.

There is nothing flashy on the van although it is an older Pleasure-Way Sprinter van. Nothing was left outside and no bikes or other items to attract attention but this was a definate late night drive by someone trying to make some kind of point.

I am not carrying firearms nor would I want to, but I do have bear spray in the van for when we do hike in bear country that is/was stored away that I thought about after the motorbike left. The dog a big ‘lover-doodle’ just slept through the whole thing. Apart from the headlights the only outside light I have is a side light on the passenger side (all lights were off as it was the middle of the night).

This has got me thinking that perhaps more brighter lights on both sides of the van might be in order as a possible deterant or am I just getting overly paranoid about one strange and scary incident?

We boondock 90% of the time and although I don’t classify us as full time we have spent 6 months on the road in the last 12 months, so we are really heavy duty boondockers (frugal campers). Would like to hear others thoughts.
For 45 years I never owned a firearm. Moving to Florida altered my thinking a bit. The evening, local news was totally different from when we lived in the North East. Random type crimes that we were never accustomed to...........anyway, +1 to always having bear spray within reach and we do have a firearm when in remote areas as well. Please note I am not promoting bear spray or firearms and am just sharing what "we" do and no one should ever mimic what others do unless it makes sense to "you".
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:20 PM   #3
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OP, you went "years" without having something like this happen? You were very lucky. And maybe you benefited from traveling in areas where break-ins are less common. And maybe benefited from your gender. I'm female (a small one at that) and I frequently travel alone, so I may draw more potential predators than the average male.

I have had men bang on the van windows at night to try to get a rise out of me, to gauge how serious I was about defending myself.

Some are more stealthy than banging on the windows, however. One morning I woke up to find fresh snuff spit (chewing tobacco) on the ground 360 degrees around my van. Some guy had circled the van for a long, long time trying to decipher just the right strategy for breaking in without getting his head blown off. He had stood patiently on every side of the van, studying it with exquisite care, and leaving at least a half hour's worth of spit evidence in the process.

But that occurred at a boondocking location in Texas, and you WILL get your head blown off in a huge percentage of such break-in scenarios in our state. I am licensed to carry and I do carry in every jurisdiction that has established legal reciprocity with Texas (Arizona is one such state).

If you do not wish to carry a firearm, there are other options, remembering that security is best accomplished via a layering process:

(1) Our dog is a good guard dog. She can and does alert when someone comes too close. She gives me time to get into a defensive position.

(2) I'm never more than a few feet from a combat knife. I have them pre-staged everywhere in the van.

(3) I also keep a trucker's tire thumper in a dedicated location in my driver's door pocket. Those are handy little devices that can serve multiple purposes if needed.

(4) Bear spray within reach of the driver's seat, check.

(5) If you have a confrontation and you know that you have the time, start shooting the guy with your phone camera first instead of your firearm (if you have one). I've done this and it can be quite effective. They know that you will be immediately sending those images to law enforcement, before the aggressor is even able to get through the van window. If they have sense, they know it's over for them at that point - even if they make a successful break-in, their images are safely with law enforcement, and so their number is up. They will often vacate the area as soon as they see that camera come up.

(6) Expounding on the camera idea, I'm still looking for an in-rig DVR system that is worth paying for. They exist, but the high-def options are not where I'd like them to be yet for facial recognition (truckers use them - I'm looking for a trucking source, not an RV source). I'll be much happier once I finally get one of those systems installed. Right now we have "more than five" (I don't want to give away too many details) cameras on the van - 3 are tied into the backup system (one rear plus two side cameras for lane changing) and one dash cam, plus others. I would really like an entire system holistically designed to serve all possible purposes, rather than a patchwork approach which is what is on the market right now.

(7) I use an IP camera that broadcasts van status and live video over a cellular connect, but that's designed for use when I'm away from the van.

FWIW. I'm sure I'm forgetting other security measures that I've taken. It's all second nature to me now, so I don't think about it consciously.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:31 PM   #4
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( 8 large remote controlled grizzly bear sprays covering 360 degrees around the B. You don't have to know where anyone is, just push the button. And when away from the B, just use the on board cameras activating one or more grizzly bear sprays as needed.

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Old 01-28-2019, 01:37 PM   #5
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Maybe one of these posted on the outside?

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Old 01-28-2019, 01:45 PM   #6
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@Interblog Here's a possible source:

https://www.my12voltstore.com/
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Old 01-28-2019, 03:02 PM   #7
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I carry bear spray and one time experimented with an older canister I had laying around. There is a learning curve to use it effectively. It puts out big diffuse cloud of pepper spray. The recipient would be on the ground in misery for a considerable period of time. When I tried it though i got enough of a back spray that I was partially disabled for 5-10 minutes. You definitely wouldn’t want any remnant of it to get in the van. You would be best to carefully shoot it out a small crack in a window but It wouldn’t be easy to aim it properly to disable an intruder but not hurt yourself.

I also looked into a concealed carry firearm permit once. That was pretty complicated too. Every state has unique laws and permit requirements only some of which transfer from state to state. I would have had to pay for a training class and then get several different state permits to cover the states where we travel. It also requires quite a bit of skill and training to use a firearm effectively in an emergency situation. I bet most of the people that have permits don’t have these skills. You could easily do more harm than good with a firearm too.

There aren’t a lot of great options.
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Old 01-28-2019, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
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( 8 large remote controlled grizzly bear sprays covering 360 degrees around the B. You don't have to know where anyone is, just push the button. And when away from the B, just use the on board cameras activating one or more grizzly bear sprays as needed.

Bud
I need to get "Q" working on that right away.

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Old 01-28-2019, 03:12 PM   #9
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I need to get "Q" working on that right away.

.
In all seriousness, most incidents are just harassment, but it's good to be ready for a break in just in case. If that were to occur, the sky's the limit on what I'm prepared to do to protect myself and family.

You don't want to meet them with a firearm at the first sign of trouble, but neither do you want to project weakness or vulnerability. I'd probably set off the car alarm on the fob, turn on the porch light, then peek out curtains. With dark window tint and no interior lights on, I doubt they could see in as well as I can see out. At that point, they better not break a window or try to open my door.
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Old 01-28-2019, 03:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
In all seriousness, most incidents are just harassment, but it's good to be ready for a break in just in case. If that were to occur, the sky's the limit on what I'm prepared to do to protect myself and family.

You don't want to meet them with a firearm at the first sign of trouble, but neither do you want to project weakness or vulnerability. I'd probably set off the car alarm on the fob, turn on the porch light, then peek out curtains. With dark window tint and no interior lights on, I doubt they could see in as well as I can see out. At that point, they better not break a window or try to open my door.
.
I agree with all the talk of layering..........similar on our approach with bears.............first spray, then firearm, then knife........if he is on top of you after 1 and 2 fail you probably wouldn't have an arm left to grab your knife.....
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