How to Lock a Tent from the Inside: 3 Effective Methods

How To Lock A Tent At Festival Or Campsite

Locking a tent isn’t typically advised unless camping in areas where animals such as baboons might open a zipper. People can easily slash a tent open, so it is less expensive just to leave it unlocked. However, locking it from the inside is safer when camping with pets or toddlers.

Locking a tent from the inside helps prevent pets and small children from slipping out at night. Here’s how to lock a tent:

  1. Tents Can Be Locked With Twistable Wire Bread Ties
  2. Use Shoe Laces To Lock The Tent Making A Bow, Not A Knot
  3. Suitcase Size Padlock To Thread Through The Tent’s Zippers

How To Lock A Tent From The Inside

Locking a tent isn’t something we normally do because it puts a very expensive piece of equipment at risk of being slashed beyond repair. However, there have been times our friends, or we have done it.

  • At a festival where there was a high likelihood of a drunk accidentally trying to get into the wrong tent in the middle of the night (highly alarming if a woman)
  • Camping with pets, especially clever cats with dexterous paws
  • Camping with small children, especially adventurous toddlers

However, we never lock the tent from the outside. Our South African friends did it while camping in an area where the baboons were particularly clever. However, they didn’t use a real lock, but bread ties.

1. Tents Can Be Locked With Twisty Bread Ties

Twisty bread ties are simple but highly effective at locking a tent from the inside. Refreshingly, they are inexpensive, something you rarely say about camping gear. You just thread them through the two zippers and twist. Easy to undo to take a bathroom break and resecure. The wire is also difficult to break.

The only con to using these is some toddlers have skills the CIA would admire. Most can’t work them, but we suggest option three if your kid is a future spook.

2. Use Shoe Laces To Lock The Tent

The shoelace option is another great one when you just want to keep a random drunk from wandering into your tent by accident. (Alas, it doesn’t stop them from peeing next to your tent, which is a pity.)

We suggest doing a bow tie, like you would with shoes. The reason is that if you need to leave in a panic, you don’t want to be messing with knots.

However, this is not a good one for pets. They like to play with strings and can easily pull out a bow. Toddlers can also make a mess of this one.

Alternatives to this method are using hair bands or mini bungee cords. However, these are also poor choices for pets and toddlers, as they can cut themselves on the bungee hooks, and hair ties are just begging to be played with by small fingers and paws.

3. Padlock A Tent’s Zippers Together

Suitcase locks are the best inner tent lock if your toddler or pet can work a bread tie. However, there are cons to this method, as you are either left working the combination in the dark or fumbling for a key that small fingers might have “helpfully” put in a “special” place.

If you go for the key option, experienced parents say it is best to wear it as you sleep. If you go for the combo, have a headlamp ready and, for some, your reading glasses.

Otherwise, we advise avoiding the lock. Nothing like needing to flee your tent in a hurry due to wild animals, avalanches, fire, or whatever, and not remembering the combination to your tent or fumbling with a key.

How To Lock A Roof Top Tent

Locking a rooftop tent from the inside is the same as above. However, if you leave your car for an overnight adventure, you might want better roof rack security. Thus, you use the same tools as you would for a surfboard or kayak.

  1. Candy lock straps: wrap like a tie-down and lock
  2. Kayak locking cable: wrap it and secure
  3. Security Nuts: these require special sockets to use
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