Tent locks (or security awareness, or organisational policies, or anti-virus, or any security control) are not a perfect solution, so why use them? Flip the question around: what would happen if you did not use a lock (or awareness, or policies, or AV)?
Any security control (that includes tent locks) aims to reduce risk. The hope of a control is simply to reduce the inherent risk at a cost that does not exceed the difference between the inherent risk and the residual risk (the risk after the control is applied).
The control makes sense if either:
- the residual risk is at a level that we can accept and that the cost of the control does not exceed the delta between the inherent and residual risks, or
- the delta between the inherent and residual risks has greater value than the cost of the control
Controls do not, and never will, eliminate risks.
In the Everest scenario, the impact of supply theft is death or mission failure (we do not ascend). The cost of a lock is almost nothing in both cash and weight. More secure means of preventing theft will be heavier, and weight in a climbing scenario has a cost that at some point cannot be borne (pun intended).
So, the options are:
- use a lock
- do not use a lock
Given the impact of theft, what justification would you have for not using a lock, even if it was not a perfect control?
I would also note that a lock is a "preventative" control. Inventorying, as you suggest, is a "detective" control. Detective controls would not prevent mission failure.