May 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm #1316749
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
Do you carry your car keys with you on the trail, or you do hide them at the car? There is no point to carrying extra weight, and car keys certainly fall into that category. I leave all of my keys in the car EXCEPT the car key itself. That goes in my pack.
Or do you really practice ultralight backpacking, and leave the car key artfully hidden somewhere so that you don’t have to tote the extra weight? (And no, please don’t tell me or anyone else WHERE you hide those keys…)
Of course, true ultra-lighters will either take public transportation to the trailhead…or buy a car with keyless entry!May 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm #2101728
I do pack the single key that will gain me access to my vehicle.May 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm #2101733
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I only have ever carry a house and car key in the "real" world so carrying 2 keys is not a big deal.May 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm #2101738May 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm #2101742
@djayersLocale: SF Bay Area
My car happens to have a plastic 'valet' key that weighs only ~3 grams so I take that and hide the rest inside the locked vehicle.May 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm #2101747
@arizona1979Locale: DESERT SOUTHWEST
I'm not ultralight, but hang house key & car key from front belt loop. This is so they will clink together when I walk and the animal around the next turn will know I'm coming before I get there. I guess that's packing your fears? :)May 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm #2101748
My truck has a keypad for entering code to unlock doors.
It has never failed, but still "what if the battery goes dead somehow"
So I bring A key. Just not THE key. I wouldnt want to lose THE key. THE key is left in the vehicle , in a "hidden" compartment along with my wallet and housekeys.
The key I bring will only unlock the door. So Ive got 2 ways to get in the vehicle, and no risk of losing the key that will drive me home.May 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm #2101750
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I'm less concerned about someone finding a key hidden on my car than that I might drop it along the trail (last did that in Hawaii a year ago, and had to do a mile roundtrip while the family waited in the rain) or lose my whole pack in some catastrophic river crossing. So I leave it on the car. Very handy if I should unexpected have to exit on another trail and call someone to pick up my car. Also, if companion (s) tire first, all my hiking buddies know I do this, so then can be warm and dry at the trailhead in the car.
Pro-tip when renting cars: They put the key plus a bulky plastic label and sometimes put BOTH copies of the car key on the same, un-detachable key-chain. Even around town, I want ONE key in my pocket (modern keys are the remote), not that whole bundle. So I travel with an extra split-ring key ring ($0.59). The first hardware store, Walmart or even supermarket I past, I go to the tool aisle, use nippers to cut their chain ring, put one key in the my pocket, and leave the rest of the stuff in the glove box until I return the car. Then I put it all onto the split ring. No one has ever said anything when I returned the car.May 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm #2101789
I carry the car key in my pack. And that's it. Garage-door opener will get me into the house when I get home, so no point in a house key.May 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm #2101795
single key attached to the handy clip inside the inner pocket.May 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm #2101808
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
I figure trailheads are a lot like boat launches. Around here, they're often one in the same. Biggest concern is from break-ins and theft of contents, not the actual theft of the vehicle. An isolated, unpopulated area makes a prime target.
Following the old rule of not leaving valuables in your car, I don't leave the house with anything of value that I can't pack with me. Then I just stuff the car key in a fender well or something, sometimes I don't even lock the car door, let them look. It's better than replacing a broken window. Maybe they'd pop the trunk and heist my jumper cables, but that's still cheaper than a window, especially if it rains on top of it.
Stashing a house key outside your home isn't an uncommon practice, so that's already covered anyway.May 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm #2101825
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
Do you carry your car keys with you on the trail, or you do hide them at the car?
Both. One car key goes with me, tucked into a cuben-fiber wallet with ID, insurance card, credit card, permits, and cash, then that wallet is tied to the inside of the pack with a short length of Triptease. Much harder to lose that way.
On my truck is a spare key that always stays there, well concealed and hard to get to. After 25+ years of whitewater rafting, anything can get lost on the river, I want some way to get home.
As Glenn mentioned, I don't keep valuables in the car. I've had two cars broken into (one at a rafting takeout, one at home), and I've seen the aftermath of car breakins at rafting putins and takeouts, and at trailheads.
I'm not a big fan of leaving cars unlocked, unless it's a junker – too many people who will trash something just because.
— RexMay 13, 2014 at 2:22 am #2101884
I wear the valet key on cord around my neck along with a Pico eGear light (.2 oz and usually my only light).May 13, 2014 at 9:41 am #2101972May 13, 2014 at 10:25 am #2101984
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Years ago the Eightmile Creek parking lot at the lower end of the Enchantments hike in Washington State was notorious for breakins (may still be).
A typical trip was to drive to the upper trailhead, drop everyone off, then one person drove to the lower trailhead and hitched a ride back to the upper trailhead.
My friend dropped us off, drove down and hitched back, but left his (old) car door unlocked with nothing of value inside. A few days later, sure enough there had been a bunch of breakins, but all they did to my friend's car as far as we could tell was check out the glove compartment. I guess they rightly figured that someone who left his car unlocked had nothing of value inside.
Much better than a broken window!May 13, 2014 at 10:32 am #2101987
Plastic key? Haha! That's a clever idea, but it could potentially broke on trail or using it to open the car… I wonder if someone have made it using titanium (joke).
I normally take my key on a very light wallet with ID, credit card, some cash and health card. It's not a big deal.May 13, 2014 at 11:06 am #2102000
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I carry my car key and house key on me. Vehicle break-ins are rampant at Alaska trailheads, so I don't leave a house key or a garage door opener in my vehicle. My car registration has my house address on it, I don't want to give any thief carte blanche to get into my house while I'm out.
I had my Jeep broken into last year. A thief had hit every parking area for miles, and busted out people's windows to steal their valuables. I had my soft-top on the Jeep and the thief was considerate and rather than bust a window or slash my soft-top, he just peeled the soft top back from the door and reached inside and unlocked it. He got caught and is being prosecuted (for something like 48 counts) but I do appreciate the fact that he didn't damage my vehicle. All he got from me is a couple bucks in change.May 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm #2102014
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I don't leave ANYTHING behind. I take my van's registration & insurance cards with me – I don't want anyone to know who I am if my car is broken into. I take my keys, wallet, mobile phone. The point is…before you go, slim it all down. Only carry your DL, a credit card and debit card, insurance card, and your car and house keys.
Who leaves a key outside their home?? I've never done that. Then again, I also have had alarm systems for the past decade, so if someone comes in, it is going to go off.
DO NOT leave your garage door opener in your car at a trailhead! All you need is that and the address on your registration and it is the easiest break in of your home.
I've had friends had their cars broken into badly and had to have their keys at home redone due to this. Would you want to go hiking and have a burglar show up at your home, if your wife and kids were home alone?
Seriously. People. Quit feeding crooks! Take your keys, your wallet and phone. When they get rewarded with your ID, they know it is worth it.
On the other hand, if you have never had to deal with criminal ID theft, carry on. I have. Anyone who has hiked with me has seen the laminated paperwork I carry due to this happening to me when I was around 17-18. It is beyond one of the worst things you can have happen to your self.May 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm #2102034
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
"Who leaves a key outside their home??"
Well, a lot of people. There's plenty of info online about how to do this safely. Buried in a flowerbed, hidden in a brick retaining wall, fake sprinkler heads, or the commercially available hide-a-key rock, all come up with a quick search. Ok, that last one's kinda hokey, but the point remains, it's a common practice, although I don't think anyone keeps it under the welcome mat anymore, at least I hope not. Actually, you're not supposed to keep it anywhere within 15 feet of the lock that it opens. A garden shed with a combination lock on the door would be a good place. Of course they sell bolt on combination type lockers for keys, like the Realtors use, but that seems too obvious.May 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm #2102055
I leave my keys hidden on the car for a different reason than anyone has mentioned.
I usually hike with a friend and I am afraid if I get lost or fall over a cliff how will my friend be able to get out to get help with out the car key? Also on more than one occasion I have found other peoples car keys laying in the trail. I do not want to be one of those.May 13, 2014 at 4:51 pm #2102101
@aggroLocale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
The last time I inquired, AAA stopped doing the credit card keys.
That's what I carry.May 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm #2102181
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We're on pretty different pages, and that's okay. HYOH, Lock your own door.
>Who leaves a key outside their home?? I've never done that.
I don't either. The door is unlocked. Otherwise, it would be hard for the neighbors to water the plants, borrow a cup of sugar or use my tools.
>"and had to have their keys at home redone due to this."
A bother, but not a huge one. $40-$50 for two matching entry lock sets and about 5 minutes to install each one – the holes and strike plate would already be ready to use – I could get that on my drive home. Taking two lock sets in to get rekeyed would be an 8-mile round trip and 2x$10. Cheaper but a little more time.
>"criminal ID theft. . . It is beyond one of the worst things you can have happen to your self.
I have found the death of one's child worse. Friends report sexual assault and injuries causing amputations to be worse.
But I've always been good with numbers – it doesn't take me long to memorize my new ID and CC card numbers.May 13, 2014 at 10:10 pm #2102183
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
My last 3 vehicles have had a keyless entry system. It is a prime requirement. I carefully hide my keys inside.
I do the same thing as David with the rental car keys (several times a year) only I stop at a car dealership and ask a technician to cut the little cable. On these trips I car one key with me.May 14, 2014 at 12:16 am #2102216May 14, 2014 at 2:29 am #2102222
I am amazed at the level of worry over this issue. Worry of someone figuring out who I am or where I live are pretty non existent in my case. Them getting my house key is almost equally so.
First, any house I have lived in could be broken in to in 30 seconds if worried about damage and less if not.
Second, I typically am parking for any trip hundreds if not thousands of miles from home.
Third, there is usually someone home while I am away in addition to a protective dog.
Fourth, I don't own all that much theft worthy stuff.
I really don't see ID theft as that likely to occur due to a vehicle break in. Maybe if you leave drivers license and SS card there. I do take a very limited amount of wallet stuff on trips and do not leave it in the car, but it isn't something that would keep me awake at night either.
The notion that "It is beyond one of the worst things you can have happen to your self" is absolutely absurd. It would be a problem, but if it is the worst thing that ever happens to you you should consider yourself very fortunate.
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