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Key Exchange Methods

When completing a trip there are two primary methods for returning the vehicle keys to each other:

- Meeting on the trail or,

- Using a vehicle lockbox.

Each method has its own set of benefits, depending on the trail and preferences of the users. It is also a good idea to bring a spare key if you have one for additional peace of mind.

When meeting on the trail, both users start their trail from their respective trailheads and, if possible, arrange a predetermined spot to meet and exchange keys. Huts are ideal locations to meet as both parties will either be staying the night, or can at least have an extended break at. Alternatively, both parties can simply complete the trail at their own pace and exchange keys when they cross paths. Meeting un-arranged on the trail is only recommended if there are no alternative trail paths or deviations which could result in the parties missing each other. Meeting on the trail has an added benefit of ensuring both parties complete a check partway through the trip. If an emergency situation has arisen, the check in (or missed check in), may significantly reduce the time to raise the alarm.

Using a vehicle lockbox offers a more convenient, secure and flexible option. Before starting the trail, the two parties can place the borrowed vehicle keys into a lockbox which is attached to the vehicle. Once securely stowing the keys both parties can start their respective journeys with peace of mind, knowing that their own keys are safe and waiting for them at their vehicle. Using a lockbox removes the need for meeting up, making it the most suitable method for trails where deviations may be possible.

Importantly, if the vehicle has an electronic immobiliser the key should be wrapped in aluminium foil before being placed in the lockbox to ensure the signal is blocked.


Image courtesy of oceanfit

A lockbox is the easiest and most reliable form of key exchange.

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