Caravan Hitch Locks – What are Your Best Security Options in 2019?

Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

Protecting your caravan from thieves is important whether your caravan is at home, in storage or on a pitch. At Horton Common we have a lock on the entrance gate, however many of our guests also fit various security devices when setting up their caravans. This includes hitch locks, but also other security products such as caravan wheel clamps and leg locks. Properly addressing caravan security not only provides peace of mind but in most cases its also important to meet insurance terms and conditions. Therefore, before you purchase a hitch lock for your caravan its important to know if your insurer recommends or even requires a specific product to be used.

Caravan Hitch Locks
You don’t want to pick just any caravan hitch lock, you need one that properly fits your caravans tow hitch and is approved by your insurance provider – Image: Amazon

Hitch Lock Compatability

As well as discussing suitable hitch locks with your caravan insurer, you also need to check which hitch lock will actually fit your caravan. Now, I would probably estimate that at least 95% of the caravans that visit us here at Horton Common have AL-KO caravan hitches. However, there may be the odd caravan with a Knott-Avonride hitch or Winterhoff hitch. For instance, large/heavy Airstream caravans are fitted with the Winterhoff WS3000.

AL-KO Caravan Hitch Locks

I would say that over 95% of the caravans that visit us at Horton Common come with an AL-KO hitch, most with the AKS 2004/3004 seen in the image below. However, there are some caravans with the black-handled AKS 3004 MK2 hitch.

AL-KO Caravan Hitch
AL-KO hitches are fitted to most caravans in the UK today – Image: Practical Caravan

Al-KO Premium Hitch Lock

Now, AL-KO has recently changed the hitch locks they offer. Most of the AL-KO hitch locks I see fitted to guests caravans are red. The red AL-KO hitch locks are the old version and they are just not a secure as this newer premium hitch lock in black. I did have one guest in the past tell me that at home their old red AL-KO hitch lock was broken off, luckily they also had a wheel clamp fitted which stopped the theft. Therefore, while you can still purchase the older/red AL-KO hitch lock its not a product I want to draw your attention too. The AL-KO premium hitch lock is suitable for caravans with AKS 2004/3004 Stabilisers.

AL-KO Premium Caravan Hitch Lock
AL-KO Premium caravan hitch locks provide much more security than the old red hitch locks – Image: Amazon

The AL-KO Premium hitch lock is rated to the Sold Secure Gold Standard, where the older red lock was not. It is quite heavy at 5.1kg, but that’s representative of the heavy steel construction. Interestingly, of all the hitch locks I’ve referenced in this post, AL-KO is the only brand to state “Can remain fitted whilst towing“. However, it should be noted towing with a hitch lock is not best practice according to most manufacturers. What is also worth noting is this Premium hitch definitely has a premium price point. It’s definitely the most expensive of the selection below.

AL-KO Premium Hitch Lock Features

  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • Can remain fitted whilst towing (see above)
  • Weight 5.1kg

AL-KO Premium Hitch Lock – Check the latest price on Amazon

Purple Line / Fullstop Saracen AL-KO Hitch Lock

I don’t want to refer to the Purple Line/Fullstop AL-KO hitch lock as a ‘budget option’, but it is significantly cheaper than the official offering from AL-KO. And when I mean significantly cheaper, we’re talking half the price. So, is this product less secure as a result? Well, we can only really go by the industry-standard Sold Secure rating. And this Fullstop hitch lock secures the same Gold Standard. What I do believe though is that the orange appearance of this hitch lock does provide more of a visual deterrent.

Purple Line Fullstop AL-KO caravan hitch lock
The Fullstop Saracen is a more affordable alternative to the official Premium AL-KO hitch lock – Image: Amazon

The Saracen has a weight of just 3.1kg and is suitable for AKS2004 and AKS3004 caravan hitches. Something, I have also noticed while researching hitch-locks for this post is the range of Bailey hitch locks. They have obviously got a working relationship with Purple Line to produce their own range of blue branded caravan security products, including hitch locks.

Bailey AL-KO caravan hitch lock
Does this Bailey AL-KO hitch lock look familiar? – Image: Amazon

Now, if these two products were at the same price you may consider going with the Bailey branded AL-KO hitch lock. However, for the Bailey branded product on current pricing, you’re going to have to pay a bit more. Also, I personally don’t believe it provides a good visual deterrent compared to the bright orange Saracen.

Fullstop Saracen AL-KO Hitch Lock Features

  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Weight 3.1kg

Fullstop Saracen AL-KO Hitch Lock – Check the latest price on Amazon

Winterhoff Caravan Hitch Locks

Below is a section of the most popular hitch locks compatible with the Winterhoff WS3000 hitch found on some caravans. If your not sure what type of hitch is fitted to your caravan your manual should state. If you have lost your manual a quick call to your dealer or caravan service company and they should be able to inform you. Also, as referenced above your insurance company will also likely know.

Winterhoff WS3000 Caravan Hitch
The Winterhoff WS3000 caravan hitch sometimes has a blue or black appearance – Image: Winterhoff

Winterhoff ROBSTOP WS3000 Caravan Hitch Lock

As referenced at the start of this post, when it comes to choosing a hitch lock for you caravan your insurance companies requirements need to be considered. If you own a caravan with a Winterhoff hitch, it’s likely they are going to require you to fit the ROBSTOP hitch lock.

Winterhoff ROBSTOP WS3000 caravan hitch lock
The Winterhoff ROBSTOP WS3000 caravan hitch lock may be a mandatory requirement in the terms and conditions of your insurance company. Image: Amazon

It’s a very light product (1.85kg), the lightest of the other Winterhoff compatible hitch locks below. Furthermore, it is rated to the Sold Secure Gold Standard, as are the other products. However, there is quite a notable difference, and that’s the price. For the ROBSTOP you will have to pay more than double the cost of the other hitch locks below. However, as previously referenced, if your insurance company requires it, you really have little choice. The cost difference is not worth invalidating your insurance if the caravan was stolen.

Winterhoff ROBSTOP WS3000 Features

  • Insurer approved product
  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • Weight 1.8kg

Winterhoff ROBSTOP WS3000 – Check the latest price on Amazon

Milenco Winterhoff WS3000 Caravan Hitch Lock

Milenco, as you are probably aware, produce a wide range of caravan accessories, including security products such as wheel clamps and hitch locks. They produce a specific heavy-duty hitch lock for Winterhoff WS3000 hitches. This hitch lock features a very large and sturdy bolt which passes through the 4mm steel frame of the hitch lock over the caravan stabiliser.

Milenco WS3000 Caravan Hitch Lock
The Milenco hitch lock for Winterhoff WS3000 hitches features a 4mm heavy-duty steel construction – Image: Amazon

As you would expect the hitch lock is resistant to drilling and has been rated at the Gold Standard by Sold Secure. Another important point with this large bright yellow lock is visibility. Thieves are mainly looking for easy targets, therefore first your trying to put thieves off even trying to steal the caravan. Therefore a hitch lock which is highly visible is the first feature of its defence.

Here is a quick review from Andrew Ditton on fitting the Milenco Winterhoff hitch lock on an Airstream caravan.

Milenco WS3000 Hitch Lock Features

  • Heavy-duty 4mm steel construction
  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • Supplied with 3 keys
  • Weight 3.5kg

Milenco WS3000 Hitch Lock – Check the latest price on Amazon

Maypole Stronghold Winterhoff Hitch Lock

Maypole like Milenco is another very popular brand when it comes to caravan towing and touring accessories. Like Milenco, Maypole also offers a hitch lock specifically for Winterhoff WS3000 caravan hitches. According to Maypole as you can see from their video below, 5,000 caravans are stolen in the UK each year.

Maypole Winterhoff Caravan Hitch Lock
The Maypole Winterhoff caravan hitch lock is a lighter than the Milenco at only 2.5kg – Image: Amazon

The construction of the Maypole product is a little different from the Milenco. It comes in two separate pieces that fit under the stabiliser instead of over it. However, the Maypole hitch lock still received a Gold Standard rating from Sold Secure. Notably, the Maypole (2.5kg) is lighter than the Milenco product (3.5kg). While the Maypole hitch lock is more discrete when it comes to crime prevention and the high visibility of the Milenco product is notable.

This quick video shows how the Maypole Winterhoff caravan hitch lock can be fitted in under 10 seconds.

Maypole Winterhoff Hitch Lock Features

  • High-security pick-free lock
  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • Fitting in under 10 seconds
  • Weight 2.5kg

Maypole Winterhoff Caravan Hitch Lock – Check the latest price on Amazon

Purple Line / Fullstop Saracen Winterhoff Caravan Hitch Lock

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed more of our guests choose to go with Purple Line’s range of caravan security products, especially their wheel lock the Nemesis Ultra. Well, Purple Line also produce hitch locks and their specific product for Winterhoff hitches is the Saracen.

Purple Line Saracen Winterhoff caravan hitch lock
The Purple Line Saracan Winterhoff hitch lock with its bright orange appearance provide a good visual deterrent to potential thieves. – Image: Amazon

The Purple Line Saracen is highly visible with its bright orange paint job. In terms of weight, it sits in the middle of the competition at 2.4kg. It’s also one of the cheapest caravan hitch locks you can get while still meeting the Sold Secure Gold Standard.

The Purple Line Saracen hitch lock is quick to fit and leaves little space around the Winterhoff caravan hitch.

Purple Line Saracen Features

  • Highly visible hitch lock
  • Sold Secure Gold Standard
  • Competitively Priced
  • Weight 2.4kg

Purple Line Saracen – Check the latest price on Amazon

FAQ

Can you leave the Hitch Lock on your Caravan while Towing?

The appeal of leaving the hitch lock on the caravan while you tow is pretty obvious. Let’s say you’re on your travels going down the motorway and you want to stop at the services. In my previous post about caravan wheel clamps, depending on how easy that is to fit and remove that alters your perspective on that security option. If you were able to tow with your hitch lock on, there would be a security device always fitted to the caravan. Currently, as I personally understand it, UK law doesn’t specifically stop you towing with hitch lock on. However, you will have noticed above from the hitch lock manufacturer videos, they all (apart from AL-KO) state you should not fit the hitch lock during transit.

As with most things, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean its a good idea. You also have to consider what would happen in an emergency situation if the caravan needed to be separated from the car. The emergency services have apparently commented in some cases, requesting hitch locks are not fitted during transit. Therefore, I think that’s the advice to follow.

Should you take your Hitch Lock to your Annual Service?

So really you should be taking your caravan to a service centre for an annual service. Many service centres will want you to leave the caravan with them for a week or so. Therefore, its a good idea to take your hitch lock with you so the caravan will have additional security while in the service yard. While most service centre yards will have CCTV or even a security guard, fitting the hitch lock is also often a requirement of your insurance company.

Chris - Site Manager

Hi, I’m Chris, I along with my father Robert we operate and maintain Horton Common.

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