How To Lock A Tent: Complete Guide To Safe Your Valueables

How to lock a tent and not care about the thieves

Going camping? That’s great! For you, we have collected the best tips from outdoor enthusiasts, and avid campers, and tell you how to lock a tent and protect it from thieves, what security measures can be applied to feel comfortable and not worry about someone taking away expensive equipment while nobody is at the campsite.

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Why Do You Need To Lock Up The Tent

At first glance, it may seem that a campground is not a site where some grave danger can lie in wait. But you can predict what will happen to your tent when you are not around or while you fall asleep very soundly at night after a hike. Let’s face it: thieves are everywhere where there is a possibility of quick profit, and camping is no exception. 

When you return to the camp after a walk and find that your tent has been invaded, expensive gear or valuables have been stolen – this is not fun. Stress, disappointment, and material loss are not what everyone wants to get when going on a long-awaited camping trip. Therefore, the main reason why it is worth locking the tent is the high risk of theft.

Do I need to always lock the tent?

Whether you are camping in the wilderness hundreds of miles from the city, at an open-air music festival, alone or with family, it makes sense to take care of your security. If you leave your tent unattended for a long time, especially.

By locking the tent, you believe that stuff is secure and everything will be ok. Plus, the lock can prevent accidental unfastening of zippers. If suddenly a child wants to play with a zipper while you are sleeping, you will not worry that he will independently open the door and go in search of adventure.

How do I keep my tent from being stolen?

First of all, remember: tent locks cannot protect you from theft. That is an illusion. Even if the lock seems high quality and safe, you are at risk without taking additional security measures.

Locking your tent is a good idea. But you must understand that a tent is a super easy target for thieves. Even if you install several locks at once, robbers with any knife can cut through the tent in a couple of seconds, get inside and steal the camera, phone, and other things that you have no way to hide. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Right?  

How To Lock Your Tent With A Padlock 

Do you want to secure the tent from a person with bad intentions? Then don’t forget to take a padlock before you go camping. Note that it needs a small-size lock that you can thread through the door zipper loops. For this matter, a padlock used to protect a bicycle, suitcase, or bag is perfect.

And so, how to lock a tent:

  1. Zip up the door of a tent.
  2. Pass the lock shackle through the holes in the zippers.
  3. Close the tent lock by two or more turns.
  4. Check if the lock is securely closed.

You must figure out where to hide the key and how not to lose it in the forest. Are you stressed just thinking about it? Don’t worry. You can install a combination lock on the zippers.

Tip for campers: using the U-lock, you can secure your tent to some object, for example, a tree or a table. This is the best way to keep your tent from theft.

Can a lock on your tent keep thieves out?

A lock is a great way to minimize the risk of theft. 8 out of 10 times, thieves don’t expect to face a locked tent. Having a few minutes to do bad things, they won’t try to open the tent lock, and with a high probability, they will go to steal to another place so as not to make noise and not attract the attention of campers.

But there is another side of the coin. A lot of campers install a padlock outside. This is a big mistake. In this case, the tent lock works like a red rag to a bull, literally signalling to the thief: “There are valuables here. Go, hurry up!”. Therefore, the lock on your tent should not attract people. Hide it from prying sight.

How To Lock A Tent With A Shoelace

By asking the question of how to close a tent, shoelaces are probably the last thing on your mind. In fact, this is an incredible hack if you want to secure yourself, and there is nothing suitable for this deal at hand. Are you in sneakers? Excellent. This means that you can lock a tent from the outside as well as from the inside.

Follow these steps:

  1. Check that the tent locks are flush with each other.
  2. Thread the string through the holes in the zippers or tent loops.
  3. Tie the knot tightly.
  4. Tie a shoelace around an immovable object, such as a tree, pieces of driftwood 4–5 in diameter, or a table.

If you want to make a more difficult knot, make sure you can untie it quickly.

Locking your tent: lifehacks

You will be surprised how many things can be used while camping to secure. Instead of a padlock, you can take any material at hand that can be suitable to secure the zipper and block access to uninvited guests. Cable, wire, twine, belt – well, you get the idea. It is not necessary to carry all these things with you, you can choose one for yourself.

How do you secure a tent on a campsite?

To return to the camping and find that someone has stolen the tent is the fear of all everyone. That is why it is critical to properly secure your tent. Is there a tree nearby? Great! Take a cable, thread it through the tent loops and tie it to a tree. In the same way, the tent can be tied to a table, stone, and any other fixed object.

A locked tent is not a barrier for a wild animal that smells something tasty. To secure yourself from “forest bandits”, store any food in the car.

How do you lock a rooftop tent? 

A lot of people believe that a tent set up on the roof of a car is not an object of interest for robbers. There is a common misconception among tourists that it is more difficult to rob such a tent, and even more so to take it with you. But that’s not the case at all.

Could anyone guarantee that nothing will happen to your tent while you aren’t around or sleeping? The answer is obvious.

Here are a few ways to lock a tent:

  • Use a cable or strap made from a material that is difficult to cut (such as rebar). Pass the strap through the tent loops and secure it.
  • Install additional safety nuts on the roof of the machine. Without a special tool at hand, the robber will not be able to unscrew them and leave with nothing.

Also, don’t forget to fasten the zippers and check the combination tent locks.

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How do I protect my campsite?

If the thought of how to lock a tent gets you at a dead end, consider other ways to keep yourself safe. How about a group camping trip? This is not only a good opportunity to have fun, but also a great way to secure your tents from intruders. What does it mean? 

Tents located nearby one from the other are of little interest to criminals. If some person wants to intrusion the tent, there is a high probability that one of the camp neighbours will hear the noise and let others know about it. 

Have you taken valuables with you and do not want to carry them all the time? Then, at least one person should remain in the camp who can care about securing them. 

Choose a campground with security 

Perhaps this advice is more helpful for beginners who are just starting to get into the taste of outdoor travel. At a private campsite, you feel safer than “wild camping”, where danger can lurk near the first nearest tree. 

Here you can not worry about how to lock a tent. As a rule, there is secure parking nearby such as campsite. This is great as you can leave valuables in the trunk of a car or other vehicle. Plus, security cameras are in such campgrounds, and guard service is on the alert day and night, so you can be sure you are safe.

There is one more piece of good news. Owners of campgrounds securing for their visitors from wild animals. So the bear is less likely to wander into the camp while you sleep. Also, the security posts located around are a deterrent for those who want to steal something

Keep your gear in eyesight

Make sure that the camping gear is under constant supervision. If the picnic table is on one side of the campsite, and the gas lamp is on the other, it will be easier for an attacker to appropriate some of these things to himself while you are away for a while.

Leave valuables in the car

To leave valuables inside the tent unattended is not quite the right solution. Even if it seems to you that you have chosen a safe campsite, it is not worth the risk. 

Many beginners keep valuables in a sleeping bag. But it’s a big lottery. If there is no one at the campsite, the thief has access to everything there. The turned upside-down stuff is not what you want to see when you return to the campground. So if you decide to take a camera, laptop, or phone with you camping, it is better to store them in the vehicle trunk.

In the same way, you can secure small items that are valuable to you, for example, a knife donated by your grandfather.

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Take a dog on a trip

Everyone knows that a dog is a man’s best friend. If you decide to go hiking alone, a four-legged buddy can help you protect yourself from intruders. It’s not just about thieves.

The fact is that animals can come to the to the campsite without an invitation by smelling the food. If suddenly a raccoon or grizzly approaches in the hope of feasting on your sandwich, the dog will bark, warning you of the danger.


Should I lock my tent at night?

If you want to sleep soundly, our answer is “Yes, you should do it!”. This is to secure a tent from intruders. But locking your tent at night, you must ensure that you can get out of it quickly in an emergency. We are confident that nothing wrong will happen to you while camping, but you must be ready for anything.

First of all, check the serviceability of the tent lock. Zippers should open easily, without any jamming. If you set up a padlock, keep the key close to you.

Is it safe to camp alone?

It is true that not everyone likes noisy companies. It is ок to want to go camp alone as well as to be worried about your safety in this case. How to be?

This is where preparation for the camping matters. Beforehand, research in detail the place where you are going to camp. Many tourists leave reviews on websites, social media, and travel blogs. Check out with them, and pick up the best option for yourself. The right chosen site is your best defence!

Also, chat with people who have already gone hiking alone many times. They know exactly the best camping places and tell you how to lock your tent, protect yourself from wild animals, and what to do if something doesn’t go according to plan. Perhaps this is the best way to prepare for hiking.

A few more tips:

  • Keep your tent away from busy roads
  • Before going to bed at night, check the tent locks

Final Word

We truly hope that our tips on how to lock a tent have been helpful to you. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to share the article with your friends.

Happy camping!

In Case if Your Tent Zipper is broken, check my article about how to fix a tent Zipper.


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