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Locking yourself out of your camper is bound to happen at least once in your camping life. The door could be jammed too without any apparent reason. When this happens, the key doesn’t seem to buzz at all. Losing the key is another embarrassing but completely normal occurrence to happen. Whatever the reason is, you should know how to unlock a camper door without a key to handle these inconvenient situations.

How to Unlock a Camper Door Without a Key

Here are some effective ways regarding how to open camper door without keys. Remember that picking or removing the lock may damage it, costing you a new one.

Pick the Lock

Most RVs have a deadbolt lock, consisting of a barrel and several pins. You have to put something into the hollow to put pressure on the pins, so they move out of the way, allowing the barrel to turn to unlock the RV door.

Having a lock-picking kit will make this task easier, but you can use some everyday items too, such as paper clips or metal wire. You need two of these items, one for picking the lock and the other for using as a lever. Straighten the paperclip on the wire and then fold one end like a handle to make the pick for the picking purpose. Bend another piece of wire into an angle to create the lever.

how to open RV door without keys
You can pick the lock.

Your main aim for doing the task is to push the pins out of the way with help of the pick and use the lever to turn the barrel. Here’s how to do it step by step:

  • Insert the lever

Push its bent side as deep as you can into the keyhole’s lower part. It should reach up to the point where it can press the pins down on the barrel. Now, turn it the way you would turn the key inside the RV door lock. Don’t apply too much force as it can damage the internal components.

However, if the direction you’re turning the lever feels too stiff, change the direction. Try to listen carefully during this time because a clicking sound would indicate that you are doing it in the wrong direction.

  • Use the picking wire

Now it’s time to use the picking wire to finish the task. Keeping the lever in its place, insert the picking wire with its handle facing up. Move it up and down to strike the pins out of the way.

Try to feel the pins with the wire and continue putting pressure, so they don’t press against the barrel anymore. The door won’t open until the pins are not lifted from the barrel’s surface. You have to apply some pressure to push all the pins.

How to know if the pins have been moved out of the way or not? Well, you will hear a clicking sound when this happens. The sound indicates that the pins are no longer attached to the barrel.

  • Open the door

You have to continue pressing with the picking wire to move all the pins out of the way. Once this is done, use the lever to turn the barrel.

Keep repeating this process until the door opens. This is how to unlock a camper door without a key.

Remove the Door Lock

If picking the lock doesn’t work, removing it or the entire door can be an alternative. Removing the lock or door of older campers is much easier than in the newer models.

However, removing an entire door and putting it back requires the right tools and expertise. Don’t go for this method if you don’t know what to do.

Get Professional Service

Taking a professional service will cost you money but this is better than damaging the lock in the process of removing it.

If you’ve lost camper keys, call for roadside assistance that is often covered by your RV insurance plan. This is likely to be the best cost-saving option in a non-emergency situation.

If your insurance plan doesn’t cover this service, you can either call a tow truck or a local locksmith. There are plenty of companies and you should choose the one that offers services in your area at a reasonable price. However, if you want a cheaper service, call a local locksmith. Ask the campground staff if there is any locksmith business nearby or search online to find an affordable service.

Your last resort could be calling the RV manufacturing company or the rental business you have rented the camper from. They can either send assistance or give advice regarding how to pick the lock or remove the door.


Getting locked out of the RV can happen to anyone. So, whether you’re an occasional RVer or a full-time veteran, you should know how to unlock a camper door without a key. Use any of these methods that seem convenient for you.

About Peter Wade

Peter Wade is a co-ordinator and writer at His hobbies are coffee, RV camping and photography. He now enjoys exploring the U.S. by RV with his two dogs. After obtaining a MA degree in Public Relations and Journalism, he had 8 years of experience working for the R&D Department of Outdoorsy. Peter provides a unique look and insightful knowledge about the RV lifestyle, and fills his blog with everything from RV camping guides to reviews about necessary RV accessories. If you are an RV enthusiast and want to get the most-updated trends of the RV industry, Peter’s articles are the must-visit contents.

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