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Surf Gear Reviews

Hitch Safe Review

Where To Put Your Keys When You Surf

UPDATE: This hitch safe review was originally written 9 years ago!  And since then I did have to replace the drawer as the dials eventually got corroded by all the salt over the years.  But a replacement drawer is only $20, a pittance over a decade of use.  If I had known about graphite at the time I probably could have just sprayed some lock graphite in there.  Anyway, we HIGHLY recommend this product.  What are you waiting for??

I bought a new car recently, and when they handed me the keys my first thought was, “How am I going to fit this in my wetsuit?”  It’s one of those electronic keys with about 12 buttons.  You don’t want to get those wet.  So, I decided to splurge a bit and bought myself the Hitch Safe to make my life slightly easier.   (There is a removable metal key that comes out of the electronic part, which you could probably make a copy of to stash in your car or take with you, but I had a few other reasons to get one of these hitch safe gadgets.)

The Hitch Safe turns your car’s hitch into a small safe where you can place keys, money, and other valuables.  It’s a great place to stash an extra key, and an even greater place to put your keys when you’re surfing.  I used to put my old metal key in my wetsuit key pocket, and that worked fine.  But there were a few close calls where it was dangling around when I took my wetsuit off, and I always wondered when the other shoe would drop and I’d lose it completely.  I hate putting my key in the leash cuff, so this was my only option.  Forget hiding the key near the car… I can do that back home on the East Coast but not here in Encinitas.

hitch safe review
The Hitch Safe Installed

Even if you’re not a surfer, the Hitch Safe is a great way to stash stuff when you’re going out for any sort of activity, whether it’s snowboarding (I hated carrying my keys around snowboarding), hunting, diving, hiking, mountain biking, etc.  Anything you’re doing where there’s a chance that either a.) the keys will fall out of your pocket, or b.) you’ll fall on the keys and they’ll stab you in the leg.

I also think one of the best things about the Hitch Safe is that if you’re surfing with your buddy and he gets cold, you don’t have to follow him in or toss him the key while in the water.  As long as he knows the combo he can get dry and warm while you enjoy a few more waves.

The Hitch Safe was easy to install.  Actually, the hardest thing about setting it up was getting it out of that horrid molded plastic packaging (note to manufacturers: please don’t do this).  Make sure you have a sharp powerful scissors on hand, or perhaps an angry pet gorilla.

The lock mechanism allows you to set your own four number combination.  It’s really quite easy.  The only downside is that obviously you can’t use your hitch for towing if you’ve got it installed.  The safe comes with a removable dust cover so that the lock mechanisms stay protected.

So far I have been loving this product.  I don’t have to worry about my keys while out surfing, knowing they are safe and dry right at my car.  The only thing I haven’t been able to test out is it’s durability as far as the lock mechanism and normal wear and tear / weather.  Obviously salt water and normal rain water would be of some concern, so I definitely suggest keeping that dust cover over the face at all times.

Overall this is a great Christmas gift for a surfer in your life.  Just make sure they have a hitch on their car that’s available and not being used.

You can buy the Hitch Safe key vault at your local surf shop (I got mine at Encinitas Surfboards), or online at

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Update TWO:

It’s half a year later 9 years later(!!!) since I wrote this review (time flies when you’re having fun!) and I continue to tell my friends that the Hitch Safe is the best thing I’ve ever bought in terms of surfy / car related gadgets.  It’s incredibly helpful.  Not only for surfing – if I go out to a club, or leave my car overnight somewhere when I go on a trip, I can leave my keys stashed in here and don’t have to worry about losing them somewhere.  I’ve used it for snowboarding (who wants keys in their snowboard pockets?) and hiking.  I definitely suggest that if you have a hitch, you get one of these bad boys.

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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Peter D. Schell
Peter D. Schell
3 years ago

I love your reviews. very thorough and detailed. I read the one you did for the drift car fresheners, and then the one for the hitchsafe. It made me want to try both out, even if I’m not a person who surfs. please continue to write these reviews. I really appreciate them

13 years ago

Great product, been using it for 3 or 4 years now. If you loose the dust cover (which I’ve done twice now) they will replace it for a small fee.

13 years ago

Looks like a good product – I’ve got a Surf Lock which works on same principle but you don’t need to have a tow-hitch (just a secure, accessible anchor point).

No major complaints about Surf Lock although Hitch Lock looks like it might have more room inside it.

John Holzenthaler
John Holzenthaler
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian

I had one. They smashed it with a hammer and the cast aluminum cracked like an egg. It was on the ground when i got out from surfing. They stole my truck but I had onstar so it was recovered. They make a better more secure version for less $. Beech Lane is the mfr.

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