HitchSafe Key Vault

HitchSafe Key Vault-1.jpegI do a lot of outdoor stuff like fishing, hunting, diving, etc and when I leave my car I am always trying to figure out what to do with my keys. In the past I had three places I hid the keys but I never felt really comfortable about it. I never liked taking keys with me because I worried too much that I might lose them. I used to be able to take them diving, but now that most keys have electronics attached, it has made it impossible. I recently discovered the HitchSafe, an attachment that slides into my tow hitch that has a compartment that can hold credit cards, drivers licenses, keys, etc. The hitch has four dials on the drawer allowing you to create a custom unlock combination. And it comes with a cover that conceals the HitchSafe. HitchSafe2.jpg I recently bought a second for my wife as she is always getting locked out of her car and so she now keeps her spare key in there. In the past she has tried those magnetic boxes that stick to the underside of the car, but they kept falling off and it was hard for her to find it, let alone reach underneath and grab it. This is exactly the kind of tool I wish I had thought of. -- John Davis HitchSafe Key Vault $65 Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools. And remember to submit a tool!


  1. Our solution for diving is to make a copy of the car key without the electronics, then lock the regular key in the car. The copy won’t start the car, but it will unlock the door. Then, you can carry the non-electronic key in the water.

  2. Hrm, so if someone comes along and finds a truck so equipped parked in a dusty campground parking lot there’s only four digits between them and the keys and other important stuff?

    Depending on the lock structure, that might just be a few minutes of fiddling, most briefcase and bike lock combination locks that work that way can be solved one digit at a time if you know how the tumblers feel.

    Of course, I guess a dedicated thief could just break a window anyway, and is unlikely to find the hitchsafe (unless they get really popular).

  3. And naturally, it’s too bad that none of these methods are good for many recent cars with push-button starters, as the key merely needs to be detected near the car in order to open it up. If this thing was hidden in the trailer hitch, it wouldn’t let a thief start the car, but because the key would be detected in the back, they’d be let in the trunk of the car and could take whatever’s inside.

    But it’s a neat idea…

    1. Are you sure about that? I mean that’s pretty thick steel. I’m not sure radio waves could penetrate it.

    2. The RFID built into most keys are really only good for about a yard. And I think the hitch frame would act a pretty good RF shield as well.

      I keep a key hidden in the gas tank filler door. There’s a space between the hinge and the filler door, it’s safety wired right in there. It’s impossible to see, even when filling up. I only needed it once in 7 years, but it’s cheaper than a locksmith.

      I did modify one of those magnetic key boxes for my moms car, replaced the magnet with an old hard drive super magnet. It’s not falling off.

  4. @Matt:

    I’m not so sure about that. The key is near the car, sure, but it’s pretty much in a Faraday cage…

  5. My van pre-dates electronic keys. I knotted a loop of shock cord through the spare key and I wear it around my neck when diving.

    BTW I am pretty sure this device has been on bb previously.

  6. I think I’m having the same reaction as most other people on this thread. First knee jerk reaction way “Hey! That’s kinda cool! and a pretty good idea!”…. On second thought I can think of a better solution for much cheaper.

    Realistically It’s no better then turning your car into a vehicle no harder to steal then a bike with a cheap lock. Except that when you go canoeing there’s less crowds around then when you park your bike on the street.

    I like the idea of just taking a key blank and locking your keys in the car. Extra FOBs can run like $200, but an rfid-free blank is like $5. You save $60.

    On a side note, I use the same system, but not for hiking, just as an every day “in case I lock my keys in the trunk” precaution. An electronic-free key sits in the drawer in the house in case of such an emergency, and never moves in the circumstances of a misplaced set of keys while running short on time leading to temptation to remove the spare.

  7. I just put my keys, wallet etc in the glovebox or that compartment between the front seats and lock the car. When I come back I use the PIN I’ve programmed into the driver’s door handle of my mid 90’s Subaru.

    As far as I know, all Legacy’s and Imprezas have this system, but few owners know about it.


  8. Nothing says “Hey!! valuables inside!!” like crap like this. You’re going to hide the keys for your expensive vehicle in this? Really? Any thief with a hammer and chisel will get through that “lock” in seconds. If you feel you have the need to conceal a key, don’t advertise.

    1. If you feel you have the need to conceal a key, don’t advertise.

      Last sentence in the BB article:

      comes with a cover that conceals the HitchSafe.

      1. You can be advertising just with that cover. You know those suitcases that come with a “secret compartment”? Well, so do the baggage handlers who steal shit, and they prefer those because they can open the suitcase and go directly to the spot in the bag where anything valuable is. The only training consists of looking in stores for suitcases so you recognize which ones have the secret compartment and where they are.

        Do you think that car thieves wouldn’t soon learn to look for the trailer hitch with the built in key container?

      2. The cover itself is advertising. Most hitch receivers I see are either “empty”, have a hitch in them, or some other novelty “Toys Go Here”. Also, thieves like to hang out in busy parking lots…and you can bet they’re watching you play with your trailer hitch on on your $75K SUV.
        Perhaps I’m overly cynical of devices like this. I much prefer what others have posted… carry a spare (simple mechanical only) key.

        Finally, I tend to feel these solutions get forgotten if never used. And chances are, unless you use the damn thing regularly, you’ll forget the combination. Of course you could write the combo down, and stash the paper somewhere… :)

  9. I keep a key taped to the back of my license plate,all I need is a coin,used it once over the past twenty years.

  10. My wife’s 2004 Prius has a neat feature: if you leave the key in the car, you can’t lock the door. But it doesn’t work when the car is in an area with high RF energy. Like the parking lot of her workplace. After she twice locked her key in the car, we made a copy of the mechanical key that she keeps in her desk drawer.

  11. I removed the hitch on my Honda Pilot in about 10 minutes. There were only 6-8 bolts. If I really wanted to break into a similar vehicle, I’d just throw that hitch through the window.

  12. I can’t believe anyone would spend $130 to hide keys. There are an infinite nunber of ways to hide a key that are no-cost, or involve the cost of one nylon tie strap. Safes like the one you recommend are not secure (can be opened easily with standard tools) and are not dependable (combination locks should not be exposed to moisture and grit, even if there is a cover).

  13. I’m sure it works great.

    As long as you’re not out on your boat or you bike wondering where your keys are.

  14. It’s a slick idea, but WAY too expensive. I spent about $20 on a realtor’s lock box, and just hang it off my car and put the keys into it. Those suckers are way harder to get into than the car itself. They’ll just smash the window if they want in a car that bad.

    Ultimately, the best answer was to get a plain metal key and just lock the electronic key inside. That was VERY hard to pull off, since the dealer really only wants to sell you the expensive keys and charge an absurd amount to program them to your car. Finding out how to get the blank involved quite a bit of research, and even then I had to find a dealer willing to sell me one, since they consider them to be “for internal use only” and not something they usually sell. Also, modern car keys are pretty complicated, so it’s not like you can go to the corner locksmith to have them cut. They often have to be cut at the dealer, who, again, will vastly overcharge you for cutting a simple key.

    Still, combined, I spent less than half of the cost of this hitch lockbox for my dumb key and realtor’s box together, which covers any situation I want. Not as cool as the hitch box, but equally effective, and arguably more (or as) secure.

  15. While no solution will satisfy the haters, here is the method that I’ve used.

    1. Purchase a square hitch cover w/ LED brake light (Price: $9.99),
    2. Purchase one of “those magnetic boxes” (Price: two-pack for $1.99)
    3. Purchase a stainless steel trailer hitch receiver lock (Price: $24.99, you can go cheaper, but this is a solid & serious lock)
    4. Place the key in the magnetic box,
    5. Place the magnetic box in the hollow of the hitch lite,
    6. Place the hitch lite in the trailer hitch receiver,
    7. Secure the hitch receiver lock and take its all metal key with me.

    Not only does the price come in at under $40 (less if you need to buy everything retail) it gave me in a third brake light that I use every day and that keeps the wiring of my trailer lights out of the muck.

    Happy camping!

  16. I just built a computer to put in my car that recognizes me and lets me in, keeps others out…I call it KITT.

  17. For very little money, AAA will make you a card key–shaped like a credit card (slightly thicker) with none of the electronics, it will open your door but not turn on your ignition. Mostly I carry it in my wallet, but I can also just leave everything but it in the car.

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