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Old 09-10-2015, 05:30 PM   #1
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Secret Compartments?

Anybody actively build secret compartments into their bus? I ask as I want a safe place to store my guns but I don't want the wasted dead space and weight of a gun safe. I will probably mount a small fireproof safe for important stuff like paperwork. Now I was looking at some of these, http://tacticalwalls.com but they seem a bit... I don't know somewhere between cliche and obvious.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:48 PM   #2
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Know some folks who built a section under their bed. Steel box locked from the inside with a hidden release latch. covered in osb to match the rest of the under-bed compartment and clearly labeled fresh water pump and tank.
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:10 PM   #3
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I have thought about this a bit myself. Easiest solution I can come up with is under bed or in a bench seat if you have built-ins like a dinette. False walls aren't that easy to fake in my opinion because there's not really that much space to begin with and any amount of 'missing depth' is pretty obvious. I feel like the most covert option is under a concealed panel in the floor between the frame rails but this also presents intrusion into valuable undercarriage storage space and you have to work around all the mechanicals, wiring, plumbing, etc.

Of course then I just end up asking myself why it has to be so secretive in the first place. I'm not gunrunning or giving tours of my skoolie so just sacrifice a closet and turn it into a vault behind a normal closet door is usually where I end up landing in that whole debate with myself.
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:11 PM   #4
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but if I had a tank and pump in another place wouldn't that be kind of suspicious?
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
Of course then I just end up asking myself why it has to be so secretive in the first place. I'm not gunrunning or giving tours of my skoolie so just sacrifice a closet and turn it into a vault behind a normal closet door is usually where I end up landing in that whole debate with myself.
1 Its cool, we all want a little James Bond in our life.

2 Busses are not the most secure homes what can't be seen can't easily be stolen.

3 I want to be a full time nomad I won't have a home to leave them at and I don't want to have to deal with any enforcement agent being a dick about them.

4 As a working artist if I got a commission paid in cash I don't want a blow hard highway patrol officer to seize it under some pretty bad civil forfeiture laws.

So What I was thinking is building a steel framed wall that separates the kitchen and bath that L's into a hall way Using some nice but rustic paneling over some kind of skin leaving about an 8"wall that will contain the plumbing run and a slide out shelf containing everything I want to keep hidden.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:09 PM   #6
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We set kitchen cabinets out from the wall on the left side of the bus
to accommodate the heater hose channel and rather than lose that
2 inches we built slide out panels to hold spices and cutlery, it could
also house other items. Both panels are 24" x 24" x 1 3/4". We also
added drawers under the toe kicks on the cabinets. There are 2, 24" x
22" x 4" drawers and 2, 30" x 22" x 4" drawers to handle lots of stuff.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:44 PM   #7
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I am building in several secret stashes. But I plan to keep their locations...well, secret. Lots of places on a custom built bus that will accommodate hiding places. And making at least one of them completely fireproof is worth the effort. Especially for full timers who have their whole lives on board.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:06 PM   #8
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Before you proceed with constructing them, check your state laws regarding secret or concealed compartments in vehicles.

I know here in North Carolina a vehicle found with hidden compartments can be seized by LEO. Doesn't have to have any contraband in them but intent is assumed. Anti-drug running measure.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:10 PM   #9
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I'm thinking of using the space under my kitchen cabinets. Cut a piece out of my toe kick and cover it with new trim.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:32 PM   #10
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Some crooks are not smart enough to know the difference between the floor and the ceiling but often when in a hurry something labeled is taken for granted.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfurr View Post
Before you proceed with constructing them, check your state laws regarding secret or concealed compartments in vehicles.

I know here in North Carolina a vehicle found with hidden compartments can be seized by LEO. Doesn't have to have any contraband in them but intent is assumed. Anti-drug running measure.
Well I will be a full time nomad so I don't think that will much matter. The goal is to just make someone look over it and keep moving. With modern X-ray you can't stop the govt unless you paint your rig in several dozen coats of lead paint.

https://reason.com/archives/2014/02/...en-compartment

I think you could get some leverage if its a motorhome. That and I think its a fail if your bus smells like you have a secret compartment full of nefarious agriculture. I also think you could say no argue its a locking closet that you were not trying to obfuscate but rather just keep closed. Because I am guessing most under bed storage and flush fit closets in almost all RVs would count as secret compartments according to those laws. So I wouldn't be too worried about those.
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:05 PM   #12
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Last time I checked, no matter where you are in the United States, a cop HAS to have a warrant, signed by a judge, to enter and search. That goes for search dogs as well. They may only search the outside. And of course, if you have contraband stored on the outside, well, stupid is as stupid does......

As far as Canada goes........ Idunnoaboutthat!

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Old 09-11-2015, 12:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Docsgsxr View Post
Last time I checked, no matter where you are in the United States, a cop HAS to have a warrant, signed by a judge, to enter and search. That goes for search dogs as well. They may only search the outside. And of course, if you have contraband stored on the outside, well, stupid is as stupid does......

-Doc
An important caveat to that is that when asked you don't give consent. Once you've consented then the search warrant requirement goes out the window and anything found is fair game to be used against you. Many people either passively consent for fear that refusal is an immediate red flag of guilt or they don't realize the implications of such an innocent sounding request as, 'care if I have a look inside?'. No that officer is not interested in your build-out - he's looking for a legal route to search without a warrant. And unless he has just cause which has to be demonstrated in any future legal proceeding relating to the search then there is no mandate for law-abiding citizens to submitted to unwarranted searches. You don't have to be a jerk but knowing your rights and the laws which restrain a totalitarian police state are invaluable.
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr View Post
Last time I checked, no matter where you are in the United States, a cop HAS to have a warrant, signed by a judge, to enter and search. That goes for search dogs as well. They may only search the outside. And of course, if you have contraband stored on the outside, well, stupid is as stupid does......

As far as Canada goes........ Idunnoaboutthat!

-Doc
If the search dog indicates a "hit", the LEO has probable cause and unfettered access to search your vehicle inside and out.

HINT: A search dog will indicate a "hit" if the officer gives it a command such as "LOOK THERE!" despite there being no contraband.
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:27 PM   #15
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I always give police every bit of resistance I can legally without breaking the law.

They are nothing special to me. Just people with red blood running in their veins.

I don't just let them walk all over me like some. To many people are gutless.

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Old 09-11-2015, 05:45 PM   #16
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In martial arts at a certain point you can't advance ranks if you don't teach so about the time I was working no my 3 rd or 4th degree black belt in jujitsu my school started teaching jujitsu to cops for free. I helped teach jujitsu to cops for quite a while. When you get that many of them in one place off duty they will inevitably start talking shop. What I learned has made not respect that entire profession. Good cops like good teachers get frustrated and leave the job after 5 years. They can get into your vehicle no matter what, PERIOD. Above all else cops hate to loose and they will push, bend and break what they think they can to win. The only thing you can do is make them jump through the hoops, or get them to violate you rights bad enough that what they find can't be used in court.

They don't need dogs to get into a motor home they can ask everyone to step out of the vehicle and then say we heard something inside the RV and had exigent circumstances to go in and look for more passengers who refused to follow the order leave the RV. Now that they are in they have plain sight rules and more things to find probable cause.

The goal isn't to hide things just from cops, its to hide it from the world. Given enough time and determination anything can be found my goal is to not make it an obvious target. Part of my reason for asking was to try and find out where the common places were and avoid them. Under the bed is a bit obvious just like the couch, I do like the toe kick idea but not for anything too important.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:21 PM   #17
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Under the steel floor, inside a wall, ect.

When doing the amount of fab some of us are, the sky is the limit.

Under the bed is kind of senseless.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:21 PM   #18
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I've always suspected that about law enforcement, so your observation confirmed it. After all, who in their right mind in this day and age wants to spend 20-30 years being shot at and then tried by social media before all the facts are even in?! So as a society we're basically creating a community of LEOs who are the bottom of the barrel.

Along that same line, that also kind of makes my point that while they do have plenty of tactics to surreptitiously avoid those pesky laws and basic rights, in this age where every phone is a video camera they have to be sure there's something worth taking that risk because you know the cameras were rolling the moment the red-and-blues started flashing. And all that footage can be used against them faster than they can bring charges against you. Such is the power of social media, and with great comes great responsibility! (Sorry, couldn't resist). So why I get your concern for stealth I guess I just don't feel as much onus for it and I think I'm a pretty paranoid individual when it comes to stuff like the downward spiral of society.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:43 PM   #19
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Mainly to keep stuff from getting stolen. I also want to keep as many windows on the bus as possible, so you want everything to look innocuous as possible. While I don't plan on inviting everyone I meet onto the bus, I still want somewhere that most people won't know about. Except all you guys of course.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:10 PM   #20
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Our secret compartment is located behind the "entertainment center"

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/...ps7ec73a02.jpg

It has changed considerably since this picture (promise to take recent pictures soon).

We divided the depth in half 12" in front & 12" in the rear. We cut a hole 12 & 14 on the left side for access to the back.

This is hidden by us cutting another cabinet we had 12X12X36 in half and placing on the left side. the front cabinet is secured while the rear cabinet is designed for us to pull out to access the rear of the entertainment center.

I have no problem sharing this info because all I plan to put back there is seasonal things we most likely won't be going into that area much. The reason for doing this is that we will have our CDs on the top shelf & DVDs on the bottom, two rows deep and we didn't want to have any fall waaaaaay to the rear, hence our hidden compartment.

It only became a hidden area when I decided that cutting the spare cabinet in half would fit perfectly otherwise a fold down desk top was to go in that space.
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