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Airstreams have this odd little problem where if you shut the door just right, the lock can inadvertently jiggle into the locked position. I initially dismissed these stories when I encountered them online, assuming they were told by folks who owned older Airstreams or were perhaps trying to justify a silly mistake they themselves had made. (“Wasn’t my fault! The door locked itself! Really!”) But our dealer confirmed that, indeed, it’s not uncommon for the door to unexpectedly jiggle locked due to the force of being closed. Great.
Airstream doors seem to require an abnormal amount of force to close completely. My guess is that the cheapo mechanical components within the door handle get loose over time due to repeated door slams, eventually allowing the latch to jiggle locked without the aid of a human hand. This is just another example of the depressingly low-quality components you’ll still find in top-quality RVs like Airstream, but it’s not unexpected.
I’m determined to never get locked out of our Airstream. There are two things I do to substantially – if not completely – mitigate this risk. First, when I’m outside the Airstream, I nearly always keep my keys on my person, attached to a belt loop by way of one of these handy carabiner keychains. It’s pretty hard to get locked out when you always have your keys on you. Of course, you can’t always have your keys on you. Sometimes you might forget. Other times you might want to go swimming or paddle boarding and can’t take your keys with you. For those circumstances, I got one of these:
I’ve used these key safes for years. We’ve got one at home for spare house keys and another for my car key while swimming at the beach or pool. And now, part of our camp setup process includes putting our spare Airstream keys in one of these safes and attaching it to the frame. There are many key safes like this on the market, but the one linked above is my favorite. It feels more robust than others I’ve used and way back in 2015 it was highly rated by Wirecutter for its pick resistance. Its only downside is that it’s too small to hold a modern car key, but fortunately it’s the perfect size to hold both your Airstream door keys. And with our extra keys safely stored outside, we can use our Airstream without any worries of inadvertently getting locked out. Get a key safe for yourself here!