Awesome Vanlife and RV Padlock! The BOLT Lock.

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One of the great things about vanlife is that it forces you to think through the things you really need, and the things you can do without.  It’s challenging and freeing at the same time.  Well, thanks to this new padlock I’ve discovered, you can now take a minimalist approach to your keychain!  Check it out:


There are probably a lot of us out there that lock up other things on the outside of our RVs.  In our case, we have an exterior storage box, made of aluminum, for things we don’t want inside the van.  And while we don’t want them inside the van, we do want to keep them, so we had to padlock the box.  That meant carrying an extra key to get to our shore power cord and grill.

Well recently, I was sent a sample of the BOLT padlock.  The neat trick to this padlock is that it uses THE SAME KEY THAT YOU USE TO START THE RV!  Somehow, it “learns” your ignition key, and then you can use that key to lock and unlock the padlock.  All you need to do for this magic to work is to buy the BOLT lock that’s made for the same key as your RV’s chassis.  Brilliant! It really is as easy to do as you see in the video – that was my first time taking the lock out of the package.

(The key for our specific ProMaster van doesn’t seem to be on Amazon yet, but you can find it – and lots of other vehicles – on the BOLT site directly.)

We also typically carry bikes.  I have a heavy chain that I use, and I may pick up another BOLT padlock to use with that chain.  If I could do with less than the heavy chain on the bike rack, BOLT also makes a cable lock that would work nicely for bicycles.  Depending on the make and model of your chassis, there are even plain lock cylinders you can buy to lock up virtually anything using your same ignition key.

About the only thing that keeps this from being the *perfect* vanlife padlock is that they don’t seem to have a lock that works with a Mercedes Benz Sprinter key… Yet.  I’m hoping they’ll come out with that soon.

Oh – and Stef was really worried that people might think I was littering in the video.  lol.  Truth is, this video was shot in our own driveway, and that’s where we keep the garbage cans.  SO no foul there.

See you on the road (with one less key)!

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    12 thoughts on “Awesome Vanlife and RV Padlock! The BOLT Lock.

    1. larry

      great one more gadget to fail.
      sure not having one little pad lock key.. (roll eye icon here).
      i would rather the lock makers build locks that are pick resistant. as (sad) ALL key and combo locks can be picked.
      and all master brand and clone key locks use one of two style guts set (key size thing) and all are easy to pick, even for me. and i do not even qualify as a amateur lock pick.

      1. James - Post author

        I saw nothing to suggest that this lock would fail any sooner, or be any easier to pick than the standard padlock it replaced.
        And since I’m certain you haven’t seen it either, I’m pretty sure you’re just in a bad mood and making stuff up.

        Have a nice day!

    2. Peter Jollis

      Would you be willing to share the part number of the lock. I tried to order one to fit my 2014 ProMaster based RV and it did not work. My key is a center cut that flips out of the key fob. It appears to be similar to yours,

      1. James - Post author

        I went to a metal fabricator in Salt Lake City and had it custom made to my dimensions.
        It’s a total one-off piece.

      2. Buddy DAVIS

        Thanks for the information and the quick response. We just ordered a 2020 White Travato KL should be here in January can’t wait to hit the road maybe someday we will see you on the road. And again love all the great videos you put out.

    3. Kat DeStasio

      James- thanks for bringing us new and quirky solutions. I was just about to purchase another lock for our surge protector and said yes- gotta check this out first.

      You’re right- as we travel more it’s easier to remove the things we don’t need in a small space and value the items that fit our travels.

      Be well-

    4. Jimmy

      Ok you showed your key opening it, great, but I want to see you try to open it with the key to the other Promaster van in the background. If it’s actually tuned to your specific key and has no battery I’m interested.

      There’s a lot of lock picking videos on YouTube that have convinced me most consumer locks are not that secure…

      1. James - Post author

        I just went out and tried it, and I can confirm that the lock DOES NOT open with the key from the other Promaster. So, as you would expect.

        As to the security… I’m not exactly storing my Krugerrands back there. It should be fine for any of the outside RV accessories we’ve got in there.

    5. Roger Bohnke

      That’s pretty amazing James. Amazingly easy setup process. Does it allow you to reset it if you need to – say we buy a new Travato, or in your case, you want to use it with the NPF on a trip?


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