FTC Disclosure: I was compensated in product by Arlo Home Security for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own.
If there’s one thing that keeps me awake at night it is the safety and security of my family. This concern became considerably worse when we decided to sell our home and live full-time on the road in an RV. I suspect RV security is a concern for many full-time families.
While we never had an incident, you never know what to expect at campgrounds throughout the country. We’ve learned during this adventure that pictures don’t tell the truth and travel review websites are outdated and unreliable. There is no guarantee of RV security – and I don’t expect there to be – much of that responsibility is my own. So we keep our locks engaged while lounging at home or adventuring outside. Our privacy shades are almost always closed, keeping valuables from peeping eyes. We also installed an Arlo Wire-Free home security system.
Arlo Wire-Free for RV Security
The Arlo Wire-Free Smart Home Monitoring System is produced by Netgear, an American company and global manufacturer of networking equipment. Along with Arlo Wire-Free, Netgear offers the 1080p wired Arlo Q. Both devices are one of many internet-of-things security cameras hitting the market lately, but I believe the Arlo Wire-Free offers the best mix of features desirable for RV security. These are my top six features for the full-time RVer:
Arlo Wire-Free utilizes a wireless camera that can be mounted almost anywhere in an RV. Because most trailers and motorhomes do not have the ability (or space) to run wires, or have multiple AC outlets available, Arlo Wire-Free’s battery-operated cameras are an ideal solution.
Do you keep personal items outside your RV? Whether it’s my prized Weber grill or the family’s expensive bikes, I can monitor their security with weatherproof motion-detection cameras mounted on the RV. No worries when it rains.
Free Cloud Storage
Arlo provides 7 days of free cloud storage for all camera recordings up to 1GB. This is enough for me and does not require I maintain additional hard drives. Elite plan allows 60 days, 100GB.
The Arlo Wire-Free cameras transmit their video to a base station attached to your home router via an included ethernet cable. Download the Arlo app from the app store and create an Arlo account. Insert batteries into cameras and sync with the base station. It’s really that simple.
The Arlo Wire-Free is expandable up to 15 cameras with an elite membership, or 5 on a free plan. We have 2 cameras inside and will be expanding to cover both sides of the motorhome outside.
Live View and Nightvision
We recently spent a day at the beach and could login to see what was happening back home! Our kitty was perfectly fine lounging about the house. Oh, and it can also see in the dark!
RV Security Installation
Arlo cameras attach to magnetic pods that are mountable almost anywhere. We chose to use 3M for the mount instead of the included drywall screws, after all, our walls are mostly decorative wood cabinets and we didn’t want permanent holes. The 3M solution looks and works great. We have one camera pointed toward the RV front door so we can monitor people hanging outside the only entrance. The second camera observes the entire main cabin, which includes all of the home’s largest windows. If someone were to break into our motorhome, the system will see it happen. Arlo includes two additional mounts, so we also use one outside the RV when we have toys unsecured. We simply move a camera to the temporary location. We plan to expand our system to eliminate the need to move cameras.
Base Station Ready
The base station is the easiest part of the install as it only requires AC power and an available ethernet port on the home router. Our entire coach system is maintained in a small overhead compartment above the driver seat and the petite Arlo base station fits-in perfectly. Our Netgear Nighthawk router communicated with the Arlo unit flawlessly, requiring zero tinkering with the network settings.
The Arlo Wire-Free cameras require four C123A batteries. The kit includes a fresh set of high-quality (very important) batteries. Once the batteries are installed and the compartment is closed, the unit will power cycle automatically. I’ve had the unit running for three weeks and the batteries are still fully charged, but I also haven’t had very many recording events. Your usage may vary.
App & Account Setup
Download the app by searching “Arlo” within iTunes or Google Play store. I also used the Arlo website through my Safari browser. Setting up an account is pretty standard operating procedure, and did not require any credit card info for the free account.
With both the camera and base station powered on and within three feet of each other, press the sync button on the base station. An indicator light will begin blinking to signal the unit is ready. Press the sync button on the camera until an indicator on the camera begins to blink. If sync is successful, the light will blink rapidly, if it fails, the light will turn amber. My cameras synced without any issues.
Customize & Support
I appreciate the Arlo system’s customizability as well. From the app or Arlo website, you can dial in the camera settings and if on a schedule, set the cameras to start detecting motion at set intervals. You can set night vision or invert image if required. Arlo also sells additional mounts and silicone skins to wrap the cameras in style. The Arlo website features a detailed FAQ, setup videos and a very active community of users to assist in troubleshooting the system.
Overall we are very happy with the Arlo Wire-Free Smart Home Monitoring for our RV security needs. While there is no 100% guarantee of the security of our belongings, Arlo Wire-Free is providing an impression of control that we would not otherwise have; it’s an effective deterrent. We also have visual evidence for law enforcement and insurance purposes. It’s important for RVers to remember that Arlo (and most other internet-of-things devices) require an always-on connection to the internet to be effective. If you have any questions about Arlo Smart Home Monitoring devices, visit the website at ARLO.com or follow them on Twitter. You can also feel free to leave a comment below.