Whether the lock suddenly jammed or you misplaced your keys, getting locked out of your RV can be frustrating.
If you do not have access to any tools, the most feasible way to unlock a camper door without a key is to pick the lock with a readily available item such as a bobby pin or paper clip.
With a little patience and the right instructions, you should be able to gain access to your RV in a few minutes.
To unlock your camper door by picking the lock, you will need:
- 2 bobby pins/paper clips/thin wires
Step-by-Step Guide to Unlock a Camper Door Without a Key
Follow these simple steps to open a locked or jammed camper door.
Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the inside workings of a lock
Before you start picking the lock, it helps to understand how it works. Visualizing the inner workings of a lock will go a long way in helping you to manipulate the lock and open the door.
Generally, a deadbolt lock consists of pins and a barrel. The hollow in which you put the key is the barrel while the pins press against the barrel and move up and out of the way when you insert and turn the key to open a door.
When picking a lock, your objective is to push the individual pins up and out of the way. With the pins no longer pressing down, the barrel can turn easily, allowing you to open the door.
Step 2. Turn the wires into a picking tool and lever
Like most RVs, yours likely comes with a deadbolt type of lock. To open the door, you will first have to repurpose your item of choice, whether that is a bobby pin, paper clip, or wire into a pick and the other into a lever.
- You will use the pick to push the pins up and out of the way. The lever will act as a key and will aid in turning the barrel once the pins are out of the way.
- To make the pin, straighten the wire or bobby pin then fold one end as if to create a handle. For the lever, bend the piece of wire into a right angle.
Step 3. Insert the lever into the lock
Push the bent side of the lever into the lower part of the keyhole. Go as deep as you can to ensure that the wire pushes up all the pins pressing down on the barrel.
Step 4. Loosen the lock mechanism
Before busting the lock open all of a sudden, prep it first.
- With the pin still deep in the barrel, turn it the same way you would turn your key to open the door. Use minimal force while turning the wire to avoid damaging the pins, which would make it impossible to open the lock.
- Be sure to turn the wire in the correct direction. If you experience resistance turning it in one direction, try the other direction. If you hear a clicking sound as you turn the wire, this is a sign that you are turning it in the wrong direction.
Step 5. Insert the picking wire
- Use the picking wire to move the pins up. Insert the wire with the bent side facing up. The lever should still be in place acting as a support as you move the picking wire up and down.
- Continue moving the wire up and down. This will push the pins up and out of the way. You should be able to get a sense of the number of pins inside the lock and determine how many move easily and the ones that won’t move.
Pro tip: If the pins won’t move at all, take the lever out of the keyhole, ease the right angle a bit, and reinsert it. This helps to minimize the tension, making it easier for the pick to push the pins up.
Step 6. Go all out and push up all the pins
- To unlock the door, none of the pins should press against the barrel. Apply enough pressure to push up any pin that will not move. Do this until you hear the stubborn pin make a clicking sound. This is a sign that the pin is no longer pressing against the barrel.
- Continue with this process until you have lifted all the pins out of the way. When this happens, the lever should be able to turn the barrel to open the door.
- Repeat this process until the lever turns the lock completely and the door opens.
Extended Tips on How to Unlock a Camper Door Without a Key
Check for other possible openings
Before picking the lock, check if there is an open window through which you can pass and open the lock from the inside or access the keys. If possible, find a flathead screwdriver or a similar tool you can use to pry the emergency window and open it from the outside.
Practice proper door lock maintenance
Regular maintenance will keep your lock from jamming and therefore finding yourself locked out of your RV. Lubricate the lock and hinges using a silicone-based lubricant or even better a dry graphite lubricant that will not attract dust and debris. Simple maintenance routines will keep your camper in tip-top condition.
Install a keyless lock
Most modern campers already have coded locks. If your RV is key-operated and you keep misplacing your keys, consider installing a keyless lock. These systems also come with a remote control so you can conveniently lock or unlock the door when you are close by.
Let yourself into your camper without the help of a locksmith
If you are stuck out in the woods, waiting for a locksmith to unlock your camper door might not be an option.
Even if you can access their service, why not save the money and unlock the door yourself.
As you can see, you do not need to be a pro to pick a lock. If you do not have access to a professional door picking kit, you can still get the job done using any thin wire you can find.
Avoid locking yourself out again by keeping your locks in good condition or replacing your deadbolt lock with a coded one.
Have you been locked out of your camper before but found a way to open the door? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!