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How to Pick a Camper Lock With a Bobby Pin: A Detailed Guide

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to pick a camper lock with a bobby pin

It’s not a crime to lose your key or get locked out of your RV. These can happen to anyone, be it by a jammed lock, an accident, or a moment of forgetfulness. Thus, it’s always handy to know how to unlock a camper door without a key.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to pick a camper lock with a bobby pin. The key to this skill is to understand how the lock mechanism works. Once you know this, it’ll be easy to loosen the lock using the two bobby pins.

Step-by-step Guide to Pick a Lock With a Bobby Pin


What you need to pick an RV lock

  • Two Bobby Pins – To unlock a lock with a bobby pin, you need the two sturdy standard pins. Make sure bobby pins are new or at least without any rust.

Camper locks are slightly different from normal door locks since they have two lock mechanisms. The first one locks the handle so that you can’t open the door even if the deadbolt is unlocked, and the second, the deadbolt—the main lock of your RV door.

Whether it is the handle or the deadbolt you don’t have access to, simply follow these steps I’ve enumerated below to pick a camper lock successfully.

Step 1. Be aware of the concept of the lock mechanism

Learning what’s within your camper door is the first step to understanding how the lock mechanism works. To give you a visual, two components make up a lock — pins and barrel.

The barrel is where your key goes into. If the barrel can be turned, the mechanism is unlocked. The pins, pushed down by springs, disable the barrel from rotating.

What a key does is push the pins back up in one line to clear the barrel’s way. Once the pins are lined up, you can use the key to turn the barrel, opening the lock.

Step 2. Remove the rubber knobs of your bobby pins

If you want to pick a door lock with a bobby pin without anything getting in the way, just remove the rubber knobs on the bobby pin as they can take up space.

Besides, you don’t want the rubber coming off and clogging the barrel while picking the pins.

Step 3. Transform Your First Bobby Pin Into a Pick

So, unfold your bobby pin until it is as straight as possible.

Then fold half an inch at the curly end of the bobby pin into a 45º angle or to an angle for you to grip the pin and manipulate it properly. The point is to make something you can hold on to properly.

Pro tip: Make your handle a loop so that it is modeled like a key, duplicating the functionality of an actual key handle.

Step 4. Transform Your Second Pin Into a Lever

Unfold your bobby pin and straighten it like the pick to make the lever.

Measure a third of an inch from the ridge end of the bobby pin. Then, bend the bobby pin until it reaches a right angle or 90º angle, where you should end up with an L-shaped tool.

Pro tip: Insert the ridge end of the bobby pin into the keyhole until it is half-inch deep. Then, apply a force to bend the bobby pin until it reaches the desired 90º angle.

Step 5. Secure the Lever at the Bottom of the Barrel

Holding on to the longer side of the bobby pin, carefully insert the lever into the keyhole, pointing to 3 o’clock, placing it at the bottom. Be as gentle as possible.

When the lever is secure, apply light pressure and turn it the way you would have with a key. The keyhole is now slanting, and the lever is now pointing to 4 o’clock or beyond, depending on your lock. This means the lock mechanism is loosened.

Maintain this pressure until it’s time to turn the barrel.

Note that you should be able to turn the barrel slightly. If not, try the other direction.

Step 6. Start Picking

Finally, it’s time to insert that pick into the keyhole, directly above the lever but pointing it upward since the pins rest above the barrel.

Even if the goal is to unlock a camper door without a key, you need to do what a key does. As you go deeper, the pins will brush against the pick. One you feel the brushing motion, push them all upwards until you feel that they have all lined up.

You’ll know that your pins are pushed back when you hear or feel them click.

Step 7. Turn the lever

When you feel that the pins are all lined up, and there are no pins pushed against the barrel, apply more pressure on the lever and turn it all the way to the direction you have been leaning on while you picked.

Don’t be frustrated that you didn’t get it the first time. After all, this is your first time. Just do step 6, which is picking, again until you are able to turn the lever and open your RV door.

You also can use this bobby pin method to pick a car lock and even any deadbolt lock.


Isn’t it just cool to understand how a lock works and learn how to pick a camper lock with a bobby pin? Besides solving the dilemma of unlocking a camper door without a key, it certainly boosts your confidence too.

Just remember how a lock works, transform your bobby pins into a lever—the L tool, and a pick—the pin-driver tool, and you’re all set.

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