Protecting Your Home or Camp with Early Warning Systems, Part 2

I’m not sure when I picked up the odd habit of looking over my shoulder and, in general, being paranoid about my surroundings, but I did. My wife tells me I “look scary”, even when I’m totally relaxed and on vacation in Disney World. So be it. That’s my lot in life and she married me anyway. When I think of scenarios in which my home and family could be in jeopardy, you can bet I’ve researched plenty of home security plans, gear, and, yes, weaponry. My paranoia will pay off someday.

If you haven’t yet read the post titled, Protecting Your Home or Camp with Early Warning Systems, Part 1, stop and read it now. It’s a short list of cheap, low-tech, and simple methods to create as much noise as possible when your home or property is accessed by an intruder. In this article, you will see some of those systems illustrated with photos and a couple of additional tactics.

For the purposes of this post, no efforts have been made to camouflage anything in the pictures. In fact, the opposite has been done to make everything more visible. Now, these are all early warning systems that can be used around your campsite or home to warn you of the approach of animals or prowlers.

First, let me give you a couple of additional ideas for early warning systems and then we will review the strategies mentioned in Part 1.

Almost free early warning systems

Plastic bottles are everywhere. When was the last time you stepped on one? They make a lot of noise, especially if they are grouped together with duct tape. A group of plastic bottles spread in a path and covered with a dark cloth makes a good early warning system in the dark.

early warning systems
Rock ins the landscaping around your home make noise when someone approaches.
early warning systems
Lay a number of plastic water bottles on the ground and cover with a dark cloth. This works well at night.


When you landscape your yard,  put small rocks around the outside, this makes it hard for someone to quietly approach your home both during the day and at night, and if you have an alert watchdog, you now have two layers of early warning devices.

More about low-tech tripwires

early warning systems
A tin can of rocks works for an improvised bell
early warning systems
Cow bells or fishing bells work well




Tripwires will work both day and night if you use line or light wire that blends into your surroundings. If you use monofilament, remember that it will reflect light. The whole idea with tripwires is to set them in areas that you know someone will have to cross to approach their objective. Use Google Earth as explained in this article to locate paths an intruder would likely take to access your home and property and then lay your tripwires accordingly. Depending on the terrain around your home, you may want to set them in depth.

The tripwires can be rigged to various types of early warning systems, such as tin cans containing rocks and various types of bells. Remember, if you use cans, run them through the dishwasher or wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water to remove all food residue. You don’t want animals messing with them at night. Flares and electronic devices can be attached to tripwires as well.

early warning systems
The YoYo fishing reels can be rigged to drag something across the ground when they are tripped. This works best on asphalt or concrete.
early warning systems
A bell on a tripwire will make a surprising amount of noise at night
early warning systems
With a higher tripwire you can hang a can over something so that it is jerked upward, making noise
early warning systems
A can of rocks and a line stretched Across the backside of a gate will make noise when someone opens it. I darken the lines to make them easier to see


I feel that if you intend to use early warning systems, you should understand the simplest systems first, such as the ones in this article.  You need to go out and try these for yourselves.  They are not always as easy to set up as you might think. At some point, your life could depend on them. Practice setting them up, practice tripping them to see the results, and then practice some more.


4 thoughts on “Protecting Your Home or Camp with Early Warning Systems, Part 2”

  1. Rocks in the yard is a good one, at one point I was going to put a path beside my house leading to the back gate. On the advise of my wife she said she liked the rocks as she could hear when people where beside the house. About a week ago home alone she heard someone coming up to the gate when she was working in the back yard. She started making noise with the shovel and she then heard them run off. A simple thing like rocks paid off. Who knows might have just been kids, could have been much worst.

  2. I’m surprised no one has suggested using bubble wrap under windows in general and ultimately at vulnerable entry points during high security times. It’s easy to secure it with garden pins or just rocks and to cover with a light layer of mulch or dark plastic. And for vegetable gardens — I hear that deer hate to walk on bubble wrap too.

  3. Don’t want to be Debbie-downer but there will be problems for anyone relying 100% on their dog as their alarm system. If it gets bad enough for long enough, people will hunt our pet dogs and cats just like deer. Also packs of abandoned dogs can kill/maim your pet and there is no veterinarian to run to for assistance. Rabies and other diseases will become more of a problem. Don’t let your dog outside unaccompanied. When you run out of dog food, what then? Alternate diets can kill your pet. Prep for your dog like you would for yourself.

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