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RV Pro Tip: Use Apple AirTag to Track Stolen RV & Much More

| Updated Jun 20, 2023

RVers have come up with a nifty hack to deal with RV theft and lost items. Instead of leaving it up to chance to find your stolen RV or lost valuables, you can rely on a tiny little Apple AirTag…

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. You can spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on security systems and tracking systems, but there’s a shockingly easy and affordable option, too.

An Apple AirTag.

Yep, a small little device that can fit on your keychain or, as you’ll see, be hidden anywhere in your RV.

I’m going to tell you all about this Pro RVer tip that helps you combat RV theft. And, more so, how it can help you keep track of other valuable items from your wallet to your pet!!

We are not affiliates of Apple AirTags but may use Amazon affiliate links to receive a small commission on purchases at no added cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

Is RV Theft Worth Worrying About?

apple airtag
Wait. How many? Only 26?

Compared to auto theft, RV theft is rare. After all, it’s pretty hard to quickly get away and hide a bulky RV. But that doesn’t mean it’s unheard of, especially in recent years.

In 2020, RV theft increased by 867%. Yep, 867%! That number likely jumped significantly because of the pandemic. During that time, more people were RVing and more people were desperate for money or a place to live. So, that combo likely led to higher RV theft.

Now, mind you, 867% is a shocking number, but not when you look at the total number of RVs that were stolen. That number was 26. Yep, only 26.

You might think, why the heck am I worried about RV theft then?! And, well, I’d say you’d be thinking right. Overall, you have bigger concerns to deal with.

For instance, you’re much more likely to deal with catalytic converter theft, which is becoming its own sort of pandemic. So, you should read up on How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft from Your RV.

BUT! If you’d still rather be safe than sorry when it comes to RV theft, then I recommend the following hack. This hack can also help you to find ANY LOST ITEMS, from your keys to your RV (and even your luggage if traveling by plane!

Using Apple AirTag to Combat RV Theft

If your standard security measures don’t do the trick and your RV is stolen, your best chance to recover it is a tracking system. Because, in truth, the police aren’t going to launch a full-scale search and rescue mission for your RV. If it pops up or is spotted, great! If not, you’re out of luck.

Now, there are some pretty cool, high-tech GPS tracking systems available. To no surprise, those systems can be very expensive.

But really all you need is a cool, high-tech device that easily fits in the palm of your hand: an Apple AirTag.

What is an Apple AirTag?

AirTag is a small tracking device that makes it super easy to keep track of your stuff. It’s about the size of a nickel. Attach one to your keys. Put another in your backpack. Or hide it in your RV! 

And just like that, the Apple AirTag is on your radar in the Find My app, where you can also track down your Apple devices and keep up with friends and family. Note that this is an Apple product, and only works with Apple devices, like an iPad or iPhone.

How it works is whenever it’s in range of your phone or any other Apple user’s device, it pings its location. And only you can see that ping. 

If the lost item your tracking is nearby, like a misplaced wallet, the app will direct you with “you’re getting hotter” or “you’re getting colder” guidance. 

If your lost item, like a stolen RV, is farther away, it’ll show you its location on a map. You can then show the authorities exactly where to find your stolen RV.

Apple AirTag Limitations

Let's make it clear that an Apple AirTag is not designed as a theft tracking device. It is designed to find lost or misplaced items. So, using them to track a stolen RV has limitations.

The first big limitation is that the tracker has to be within range of an Apple device to ping its location. So, if the thief has an Android phone and doesn't drive anywhere near an Apple device, you'll only see its last known location.

The second big limitation is time. Your Apple AirTag may only be useful for about 8 hours after the theft. Why?…

Because after 8 hours of being separated from your connected Apple devices, the AirTag will emit loud beeping, which the thief will likely hear. That, and nearby Apple devices will get a notification that an unknown AirTag is nearby.

This beeping and notification is a safety feature designed primarily to ensure that stalkers (or the like) can't use Apple AirTags to track someone without their knowledge.

So, if the RV thief hears it or sees the notification, they'll likely find and toss the tag. However, if they park the RV and leave, then you can see where your RV is long after 8 hours if it's able to ping its location.

Is an AirTag Worth It With These Limitations?

With those two big limitations, you may wonder if an AirTag is worth it. I think the answer comes down to price (which I go into more below). Despite its limitations, an Apple AirTag does significantly increase your chances of finding your RV quickly. And since it's such an affordable option, many people think it's worth giving it a shot.

Where Should You Hide the Apple AirTag?

apple airtag - where to hide it in an rv
Where are you going to hide it?

You need to remember that thieves are smarter than you’d think. Most are very aware of this hack for any stolen items. So, experienced thieves will look for hidden AirTags, whether in a wallet or a purse.

But, as we mentioned, RV theft isn’t very common and most thieves know it’s hard to pull off. So, a thief who steals an RV may not be the sharpest thief in the jail cell, so to speak. Having an AirTag anywhere might work just fine.

However, you might as well put it in a clever place just in case your thief is cleverer than expected. Just be sure to put it where people walk by it since it relies on signals from nearby Apple devices. 

Like, for instance, near the driver’s seat of your RV or along the driver's side of your travel trailer, or by its entry. Just make sure you attach it in a discreet and hidden way that blends in with its hiding spot.

How Long Does an Apple AirTag Battery Last?

You might be thinking that this AirTag is not worth the effort if you have to charge it as often as your other Apple devices. You’d be right, except it has a very impressive battery life. 

Most Apple AirTag batteries will last a year. So, you can really just set it and leave it. Plus, what’s nice is you’ll get a notification when you need to change it. 

How Much Does an Apple AirTag Cost?

An Apple AirTag costs $29 for 1 or $99 for a 4 pack. I highly recommend getting the 4 pack. For starters, it’s basically a buy 3 get 1 free. More so, you’ll easily find ways to put the other 3 AirTags to use.

As RVers who move around and explore so much, AirTags can really help you keep track of your items. I recommend you put one in your travel bag or backpack, your wallet or purse, your keys, and on your dog. Yes, your dog!

Pet owners are attaching Apple AirTags to their dogs so they can easily track them without having to rely on people to turn them into rescues. Amazon offers many different attachment options from collar AirTag holders to special AirTag dog collars

SAFETY NOTE: Air Tags are relatively new products and were not designed for dogs, and there is talk that they emit radiation. So, you may not want to keep one on your pet at all times. Perhaps only when you're in a high-risk situation of losing them, like on a hike or when you're away from your RV.

If you have a pet, you may also want to check out our other 10 Best Pet Accessories for Camping.

Mike and Jennifer Wendland's Yellowstone Travel Guide

3 Beautiful Boondocking Sites Outside Yellowstone

At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild, and so big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again.

Everywhere you look are waterfalls, fast-moving rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering lodgepole pines, all framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.

It’s spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and personal with it. Enjoy Yellowstone for RV travel.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-04-07

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

8 Responses to “RV Pro Tip: Use Apple AirTag to Track Stolen RV & Much More”

April 07, 2022at11:30 pm, Kevin Davis said:

It should be somewhere not blocked by metal. For a 5th wheel, I was thinking in the basement on an outside wall. Like behind your water stuff. But it has to be close enough to change the battery. I was also thinking of taping it to the belly under a piece of Eternabond. Just have to cut it out and replace the tape.


April 09, 2022at12:17 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks, Kevin. This is helpful info – Team RV Lifestyle


April 07, 2022at11:03 am, Rosemary Yull said:

Put apple tag on your little kids too when camping or in large crowds like festivals or concerts even shopping. .


April 09, 2022at12:14 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

That is something to think about, isn’t it! Thanks Rosemary Team RV Lifestyle


April 07, 2022at9:44 am, Him Brown said:

The latest generation of airtags will bleep loudly if they are moved without your mobile phone being present. Thus making them useless for tracking your stolen RV. Unless…. You hide it where it won’t be heard, but then you risk it not being found by others mobiles, or you open it and remove the small speaker, easier than it sounds.


April 09, 2022at12:13 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thank you for sharing this this important information. Team RV Lifestyle


April 07, 2022at9:38 am, Roger Bohnke said:

Airtags can be helpful if the item is in an area where there is a cell phone signal. If not, a nearby phone could see the item, but not transmit data to the mother ship. In addition, to actually find something, you need an Apple iPhone with the latest “U1” chip to support the “Precision Finding” feature. Device also needs to support IOS 14.5. This is the iPhone 11 and up. The 2020 iPhone SE can give you a general wide area location in the “Find My” app, but no precision guidance as it does not have the “U1” chip. The 2022 iPhone SE does have the U1 chip.


April 09, 2022at12:12 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Excellent points – and important details. Thanks for sharing this here where others can see. Team RV Lifestyle


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