If you are living in your van or car for any length of time, you’ll want a lockbox to secure your valuables. There are some pretty good reasons to spend $15-$20 on one of these vehicle “safes”.
- It’s difficult to carry everything of value on your person, at all times. Maybe you are going for a quick swim and don’t want to carry your wallet with you. Or you are just hanging around camp and want a safe place to secure things from casual visitors (RTR anyone?).
- If you are someone that travels with a firearm, it is your responsibility to keep it out of the reach of unauthorized hands. Even if you have a concealed carry permit, some places require that you leave your firearm in your vehicle. One example is the visitor center inside a National Park. Although the parks abide by local gun laws and you may be allowed to keep your firearm with you when outside, the restaurants and lodges do NOT (in every case that I’ve come across) allow firearms, concealed or otherwise. In such cases, you need some method to secure it from unauthorized access*
- Safekeeping of critical medications, especially opiates (note: make sure the heat of the vehicle will not affect your medications).
- Storing “emergency” money. Splitting your cash and cards between a couple locations is a good practice in case you get robbed or lose your wallet while traveling.
- Hiding your weed! No, I’m not advocating you break the law, but it would be tough for someone to say they “saw something that justified the search” if it’s locked in a safe. This is not legal advice, just a random thought 😉 Obviously, number 2 and number 5 do NOT mix.
Every safe or lockbox is a compromise between security, accessibility, cost, and size. For me, I want space to lock up my wallet and/or my firearm, with a box of ammo. I’ve tried a couple different safes and I really like the SnapSafe XL which measures 10″x7″x2″. At $17 it provides a decent level of security and is affordable by almost everyone. It also comes with a cable that can be used to secure it to a seat or something else that is difficult to remove. You only need to add a padlock for the complete install.
This safe provides a reasonable amount of space and is still small enough to conceal in the vehicle. For under $20 ($16.99 with free Amazon Prime shipping) it provides a very good level of security. They also have a combination lock model if you prefer. Just search SnapSafe on Amazon.
That’s the best price I’ve found, with free shipping. However, you can also find them at Bass Pro Shops for about $18 to $20. If you are not an Amazon Prime member (free shipping) Bass Pro is a good option. If you do use my link, it won’t cost you any extra and I will get a few cents to keep this site running.
Of course, if a thief has enough time, he can defeat any amount of security. But for the casual smash and grab, or break-in, a burglar would have a tough time defeating this lock box. Unless he brought something to cut the cable (uncommon) or a set of lock picks (not something a criminal wants to be caught with), it is unlikely a thief would have time to open or steal the box.
You can enhance the security of your lockbox by stashing it out of sight or covering it with a floor mat, or some rags. An old pair of underwear also discourages searching 😉
A fair amount of personal items can be stowed inside. As an example…
In closing, I’d say that the SnapSafe vehicle lockbox represents extraordinary value for the money. For $16 you get a way to secure your valuables that is easy for anyone to install and small enough to hide out of view. Some type of safe is a must-have for the vandweller and this one has some excellent features for the money.
*Note: You may have very strong opinions about private firearm ownership, one way or the other and I respect your opinion. Here, I’m simply stating a fact that many people DO have firearms with them and need a way to safely store them. This safe meets the TSA requirements for securing your firearm in your luggage (be sure to declare it when you check your luggage!) and meets the legal requirement for securing a firearm properly.