Detection is always your first defense against any kind of harm. In our minivan camper conversion as well as anywhere else, you have to be aware. That means using your own built in senses to stay alert as to what’s around you.

Most people that live in scorpion country know better than to dig in anything with their bare hands! In snake country, you have to both watch AND listen, and not stick your hands anywhere you can’t see! In larger wild animal country, you have to use sight, sound, and even smell to stay aware of what could be around you. In the southwest, and even other parts of the country, it pays to watch overhead, too, and listen for things like bee swarms. NOTHING beats your own human awareness of your surroundings…when you’re awake.

When you’re sleeping, or even at night, when you may not be able to see what’s out there in the darkness, other methods of detection may be needed. There are motion detector lights available that can alert you to warm blooded intruders into your camp. Some are wired, just like the kind you may have at home, and as long as you have an inverter to run them, they will still work when you’re out camping in the “boonies”. But you may not see only lights if you are sleeping. You may have to have an audible alarm.  There are also portable units available, with lights and/or alarms to warn you when something approaches. The alarm type will even wake you up!  Well… OK… “most” people, anyway!

A pair of infra-red night-vision binoculars are a neat thing to have, also, because you can see what’s outside the perimeter of your camp without shining a flashlight. We have detected deer many times lying down for their evening nap, and didn’t have to scare them away.  It could also work for bigger and more dangerous things, just as well.

There are also motion detector alarms that work during the daytime, too, with loud alarms on them to protect your gear when you’re not looking. Most of them have remote controls on them so that you can disable them when you yourself come too near. You can “arm” them when you’re out of range, and then “dis-arm” them to move them or put them away. One of those very good models is the Yeti brand.  They are even used on construction sites to protect equipment from “walking off”.

Most motion detectors with only lights won’t work during the daytime, because they have a photocell to shut them off during daylight hours to conserve the bulbs. If you need daytime protection, make sure you get one that is designed for the purpose.

Sometimes, you have to “make do” in an emergency, and even some fish line can be strung around the perimeter of your camp and tied to something that will make a lot of noise, like a bucket full of empty soda or beer cans set up high. When a tug on the fish line dumps it over, that will certainly wake up most people! My story on that experience is in our books!

Other types of detection are a smoke detector for inside your minivan camper conversion. You may think you are safe inside your minivan, but anything could happen. Your campfire could get out of control while you’re sleeping, a wire could short out, your little space heater could get too close to your blankets, a forest fire could start somewhere away from your camp, or any number of things. Even camping, a smoke detector could save your life!