Have you ever wondered how to keep your car and the belongings in your car/truck/SUV safe while it is parked at a remote trailhead?
When I’m out on a solo hiking adventure or just out hiking with our trail baby one of my biggest fears is showing up at the trailhead after several miles and hours on the trail to discover that my car has been broken into, my tires have been slashed, and the spare water that I keep in my car has been consumed by some jerk. And I’m stuck, alone at an isolated trailhead without cell phone reception.
I’m convinced that nothing would ruin a good day on the trails more than a trailhead break-in. And it’s easy to get complacent, especially for those of us who think we live and play in safe places. A little bit of common sense and street smarts are a vital part of break-in prevention.
1. Chose your trailhead wisely. Stay informed, check the news or a good social media news monitoring site to see if there have been any trailhead break-ins in areas you want to explore. If we hear of trailhead break-ins in Wyoming and Colorado we’ll keep you posted. If there have been break-ins be extra vigilant when planning an adventure–but a recent break-in is no reason to stay home or avoid a trailhead since local authorities will likely be checking trailheads more often.
2. Keep a clean car. I’m not talking about dirt and mud on the exterior of the car, cars are supposed to be muddy! I’m talking about reducing the amount of clutter inside the car. If a thief looks into a car and can see a bunch of clutter, loose change, and gear it’s an invitation to smash open the window with a rock and see what else they can find.
3. Park your car in a smart place. Check the ground for broken glass or evidence of vandalism. An article on the REI website recommends parking “your vehicle with the trunk or rear-access door facing the most exposed section of the parking lot,” to expose any thieves tampering with your vehicle.
4. Stash items in the car before you pull into the trailhead. A lot of times we leave extra gear in our car while we are hiking, everything from food to clothing to a diaper bag for our baby. It’s inevitable that we aren’t going to carry everything we bring in our car to a trailhead. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department recommends stashing items like this in a trunk or other hidden place before we pull into the trailhead, chances are if someone wants to break into a parked car they are watching every move at the trailhead and they’ll pay close attention to where we are hiding our gear before we lock our doors and head out on our adventure.
5. Drive a beater. Leave your beamer in the garage and bring your hoopty to the trailhead. No thief wants to steal the am radio out of your grandma car or your old rusted truck. Plus, old trucks are cool, especially in Wyoming.
Anyone have personal experience with a trailhead break-in? What do you do to prevent trailhead break-ins?