PacSafe 140
PacSafe 140 (courtesy, REI)

How can I safeguard my tent during an outdoor music festival?

I going to a three-day concert and will be sleeping in a tent. I have heard stories of people breaking into tents, so how can I protect mine from burglars? Are there lockable tents that are stab-proof? Chase Oxford, Georgia

PacSafe 140

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Seeing as your average backpacking tent is made of paper-thin nylon, let’s not pretend you’re toting Fort Knox. Sure, you could buy a small lock to secure the zippers, but any would-be thief with a pocket knife and an ounce of determination is going to be inside in five seconds anyway, so what’s the point?

PacSafe 140 PacSafe 140

In short, there’s really nothing you can do to secure your tent. Best you can do is try to ensure it’s as unattractive a target= as possible. Pitch it in a highly visible spot, where there are apt to be people around fairly often (OK, I admit, during the concert itself this probably won’t do any good). Maybe leave a small transistor radio playing softly inside, so someone walking by thinks someone is in the tent. Leave as few valuables around as you possibly can. And, if you’re camped near a tree or some other formidably rooted object, zip your gear into a duffel bag and attach that to the tree or telephone pole with a PacSafe 140 ($75,, a duffel-sized stainless-steel net that wraps around your luggage then can be locked to some immovable object. It won’t fully deter a thief with cable cutters, but it will slow them down while discouraging the snatch-and-run variety of thief.

The same rules really can apply to anybody camping out, whether in a campground or even on the trail. Mainly, try to remove temptation from easy sight.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, REI