Guide to Gear


by Kristopher Bunker
August 5, 2015
Filed under Top Stories, Trailer Gear, Trailer How To


Tow vehicles and trailers come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not always easy to match them with the right accessories. The following roster of tried-and-true RV equipment can help you outfit a new rig or update a seasoned one


One of the most popular, and fitting, mantras of shade-tree mechanics is, “You gotta have the proper tools.” This rings true with RVs as well. To get the most from your rig — and make the most of your RV camping trips — it’s necessary to pry open your wallet and pick up a few accessories (“tools”) aimed at the RV market.

To spare readers the trouble of skimming the Internet and making random guesses at what’s needed, we’ve selected some of the most trusted and widely
used RV products in categories ranging from towing comfort to trailer livability and gathered them here in Trailer Life’s “2015 Guide to Gear.” Take your pick.

Care and Maintenance


Cleaners_ProtectAllMesses happen, at home and on the road. Having the proper cleaners is important when dealing with the surfaces in an RV, and many household products may not be suitable for RV use. The following companies specialize in cleaners that will help keep your RV spic-and-span.

Dometic |
Protect All |
Thetford |
Roadmaster/Voom! RV Cleaner |

Holding-Tank Treatments
holding-tank-care-EcoSmart_FamilyWithout proper waste management, RV bathrooms can stink. Holding-tank treatments do a good job of minimizing embarrassing odors, if not eliminating them altogether, not to mention helping to break down solids and keeping your RV’s holding tanks in tip-top shape.

Camco |
Century Chemical/Travel Jon |
Dometic |
Eco-Save |
Kronen |
Monochem |
Odorlos |
Thetford |

3X:Chemistry |
Valterra |
Walex |


Polishes_303-Aerospace_Gold-EagleYour RV is your castle on the road, as well as a pretty substantial investment, so it makes sense to keep it looking good outside as well. This not only helps prolong the life of your trailer’s roof, skin and finish but leads to admiration (and envy) from fellow RVers.

Dometic |
Gel-Gloss |
Gold Eagle/303 Aerospace |
Meguiar’s |
Poli Glow |
Protect All |
RejeX |
Shurhold Industries |
Thetford |
Roadmaster/Voom! Gold |
Wade Maid |


Backup Monitors/Camera Systems

Backup-Monitors_Hopkins-Smart-Hitch_50002Need a hand while hitching up? A backup monitor makes solo hitching an easier process and can help avoid collisions with trees and toys.

ASA Electronics/Jensen |
Furrion |
Hopkins Towing Solutions/Smart Hitch |
Outdoors Insight/iBall |
Rear View Safety |
RV Cams |
Toren Partners/Swift-Hitch |

Entertainment Systems

Entertainment-Systems_FurrionMany of us go RVing to get away from it all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a big-budget blockbuster from the comfort of our campsite. Adding — or enhancing — a home-theater system in your RV can offer a welcome respite after a long day of hiking or exploring.

ASA Electronics |
Furrion |

GPS Devices

GPS_Rand-McNallyA GPS navigational device uses satellite-based locations to get you where you’re going easier and faster, and keeps your RV free of folding-map clutter. Plus, the devices include things like campground locations, weather forecasts, local restaurants and change-on-the-fly capabilities.

Garmin International |
Magellan |
Rand McNally |

RV TV Antennas

RV-TV-Antennas_King_NEWIf you want to watch TV in your RV, chances are, the campground cable feed is limited, if it’s there at all. By using an over-the-air antenna, RVers can view local programming, network TV and maybe even some movie channels. These antennas can also be used in conjunction with residential cable providers.

King |
Shakespeare Marine |
Winegard |

Satellite Hardware

Satellite-Hardware_WinegardTo receive the signal from your favorite satellite provider (Dish, DirecTV, Shaw, et al), you need the proper equipment. These products can be roof-mounted or moved around the campsite for even better reception.

King |
Winegard |

Surge-Protectors_Progressive1Surge Protectors

To help protect electronics from potentially “dirty” campground power or spikes due to foul weather, a surge protector works exactly as its name implies to shield your investments.

Progressive Industries |
TRCI/Surge Guard |

Tire-Monitoring_Tire-MinderTire-Pressure Monitoring Systems

Getting a flat on the road can be dangerous, but it can be difficult to constantly monitor the tires on your tow vehicle and trailer. A TPMS allows constant surveillance from the driver’s seat and alerts RVers with an audible alarm if tire pressure falls below a predetermined safe level.

Doran Manufacturing |
HawksHead Systems |
Hopkins/nVision, |
Minder Research/Tire Minder |
Pressure Pro |
RViBrake |
TireTraker |
Truck System Technologies |
Valor |

Wi-Fi/Cell-Phone Boosters

Wi-Fi_SmoothTalkerCan you hear me now? Probably not, if you’re at a remote camping destination that gets little to no cell-phone service. And you can forget about Wi-Fi in many locations. Plenty of products can help with both situations, meaning you can be texting — and working on that proposal for the office — with no interruptions.

C. Crane |
PDQ Connect |
Shakespeare Marine |
SmoothTalker |
WeBoost |
Wilson Amplifiers |


Fifth-Wheel-Hitches_B&WFifth-Wheel Hitches

If you want to tow a fifth-wheel, you need a hitch. The following companies make fifth-wheel hitches that can be installed in just about any truck and are designed for the long haul.

Andersen Hitches |
B&W Trailer Hitches |
Camping World |
Curt Manufacturing |
Demco Products |
Draw-Tite |
Husky Towing Products |
PullRite |
Reese Products |
Torklift International |

Weight-Distributing Hitches

Weight-Distributing-Hithc_Equal-i-zer90-00-1000_RightFor a safer, more enjoyable ride, weight-distributing hitches help to evenly distribute the hitch weight of
a travel trailer.

Andersen Hitches |
Blue Ox |
Camping World |
Curt Manufacturing |
Draw-Tite |
Equal-i-zer |
Fastway Trailer Products |
Hensley Manufacturing |
Husky Towing |
PullRite |
Reese Products |
Torklift International |

Tow Vehicle

Air Springs

Air-Springs_HellwigTowing a trailer can greatly affect tow-vehicle ride comfort. All that weight out back can make the occupants feel every bump, dip and seam on the highway. Air springs can help tame the ride and level the playing field.

Air Lift |
Firestone/Ride-Rite |
Hellwig |
Michigan Truck Spring |


Batteries_FullriverSelecting the proper battery for a trailer is a bit more involved than you might think. Do your research to find the battery type that best suits your needs, then check out these manufacturers to help power your rig.

Exide Technologies |
Fullriver Battery |
Interstate Batteries |
Lifeline Batteries |
Optima Batteries |
Trojan Battery Company |

Engine Oil

Engine-Oil_Shell-Rotella2Changing the engine oil regularly and using the right product can lead to trouble-free towing. Both conventional and synthetic motor oils are formulated to withstand the stress that towing a heavy trailer or truck camper can put on an engine.

Amsoil |
Castrol |
Delo |
Havoline |
Lucas Oil Products |
Mobil |
Pennzoil |
Quaker State |
Royal Purple |
Shell Rotella |
Valvoline |

Extendable-Mirrors_MckeshExtendable Side-View Mirrors

When towing with a vehicle without factory towing mirrors, permanent or removable extendable side-view mirrors will be necessary. These simple add-ons help eliminate blind spots and enable the driver to keep an eye on the trailer as well as the surrounding lanes.

Cipa USA |
JR Products |
McKesh |
Power Vision |

Fuel Additives
Fuel-Additive_Red-LineWhether you’re looking to squeeze out a few more mpg from your tow vehicle or are simply on the hunt for a product to cut through the grime in the fuel system, these companies offer additives designed to improve engine performance on the road.

Amsoil |
Bardahl |
Lucas Oil Products |
Marvel Mystery Oil |
Red Line |
Royal Purple |
SeaFoam |
Sta-Bil |
Star brite |

Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

fuel-tank-tranfer-flowTowing a trailer definitely leads to a noticeable drop in the miles between fuel stops. Adding an auxiliary fuel tank increases capacity to keep you on the road to your destination.

KSH Marine |
Titan Fuel Tanks |
Transfer Flow |

Steering Stabilizers/Sway Bars

Steering-Stabilizers_Safe-T-PlusIt’s exhausting to fight with your RV to keep it on the straight and narrow. Adding a steering stabilizer or sway bar to your tow vehicle helps keep its nose pointed down the road, which can improve tire life and drive time, as well as soothe jangled nerves.

Hellwig Products |
Roadmaster |
Safe-T-Plus |

Trailer Exterior


Awnings_SunbrellaEnjoying the great outdoors can be a difficult proposition when the sun beats down on overheated, not-so-happy campers. An awning is your best line of defense when it comes to the sun. Fabric upgrades or complete replacements are worth the expense to keep the family outdoors.

Awnings by Zip Dee |
Carefree of Colorado |
Dometic |
Girard Systems |
Lippert Components/Solera |
Sunbrella | /en_us
Sun-Wave Enterprises |

Brake Controllers

Brake-Controller_Hensley-TruControl-SilverOwning a trailer-brake control is a no-brainer (and the law, in most states) when towing a trailer weighing more than 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. But beyond the legalities, knowing there are trailer brakes that can be controlled from the cab of the tow vehicle works wonders toward peace of mind, not to mention stopping the combo safely.

Dexter Axle |
Hayes |
Hensley Manufacturing |
Hopkins Towing |
RVibrake |
Tekonsha/Primus, Prodigy |
Tuson RV Brakes/DirecLink |

Breakaway-Device_FastwayBreakaway Devices

In the devastating event that your trailer should disconnect from the tow vehicle on the road, these devices automatically engage the trailer brakes to help minimize an already unfortunate experience.

Fastway Trailer Products |
Hopkins Towing/Engager |
RVibrake/Breakaway System |
Tekonsha/Shur-Set III |


Once you’re in camp, it’s necessary to ensure your trailer won’t roll around on an uneven surface. The simple chore of wedging a chock under the tires will keep the trailer steady on the site.

Camping World |
Fastway Trailer Products |
Tri-Lynx Corporation |


For most of us, there will come a time when you have to store your home on wheels. An RV cover protects your investment from harmful weather effects (rain, snowstorms, hail, etc.) and can save thousands of dollars in repair bills caused by damaging UV rays.

ADCO Products |
CalMark Cover Company |
Carver Covers |
Classic Accessories |
Covercraft |
Coverking |
CoverQuest |
Elements |
Empire Covers |

Leveling Systems

Leveling-Systems_HWHA leveling system minimizes the rock-and-roll feeling of a trailer on an uneven campsite or other surface. Not only can you sleep better, but slideouts and other systems are happier when the trailer or fifth-wheel is level.

Bigfoot |
HWH Corporation |
Lippert Components |
Power Gear |

LP-GAS-vikingLP-Gas Cylinders

Propane is a valuable part of the RV experience, from heating and cooking inside to grilling outside. Make sure the RV’s LP-gas cylinders are in good shape and up to code. If not, the following companies offer practical replacements.

Manchester Tank |
Viking Cylinders |
Worthington |

Portable Generators

Portable-Generators_HondaWhen your travels take you off the grid, it’s difficult to enjoy many of the comforts an RV has to offer without 120-volt AC power. Bringing along a portable AC generator allows users to run power-hungry devices like the air conditioner, microwave or entertainment system (but be mindful of your neighbors and the noise and exhaust).

Boliy Generator |
Champion Power Equipment |
Cummins Onan |
Generac |
Honda Power Equipment |
Powerhouse |
Yamaha |

Sewer-Hose_Thetford-SmartDrainSewer Hoses

We may not like to talk about it, but sewer hoses are absolutely necessary to remove waste from our tanks. Since having a bathroom to call your own is one of the biggest draws of owning an RV, selecting a durable sewer hose should be near the top of everybody’s list.

Blueline, Prest-o-Fit |
Lippert Components |
Thetford |
Camco |
Valterra |

A-Frame Jacks

A-Frame-Jacks_HuskyAdding another element of stabilization to levelers, an A-frame jack helps keep the nose of the trailer level relative to the body, spreading out the load while you’re parked in camp.

Atwood |
Barker Manufacturing |
Camping World |
Fastway Trailer Products |
Fulton |
Husky |
Lippert Components |
RV Improvement Systems |
Stromberg Carlson Products |
Ultra-Fab |


A bit more specific in design and operation than levelers, stabilizers used on the corners of any trailer ensure that it’s not only parallel to the uneven surface on which it sits but that it stays that way for the duration of your visit.

Atwood |
JT’s Strong Arm |
Lippert Components |
Stromberg Carlson Products |
Ultra-Fab Products |

Solar-Panels_Nature-PowerSolar Panels/Systems

A little extra power never hurt anybody. A solar-power system harnesses the power of the sun to capture energy that can be used to extend battery life and time spent off the grid.

AM Solar |
Nature Power |


Trailer Interior

Refrigerator Fans

Fans-Refrigerator_Smart-RV-ProductsRV refrigerators are often built into cabinets and/or locations that don’t allow for proper cooling-fan operation, which can ultimately lead
to improper function — and hundreds of dollars of replacing spoiled food. A simple fix is a refrigerator fan to help improve airflow.

Camco |
Smart RV Products |
Valterra |

Fans-Roof_Fan-Tastic-VentRoof Vents

A roof vent in an RV is a great idea, but most of the stock vents actually do little to move air inside the trailer and improve ventilation. Many aftermarket vents contain low-draw electric fans that get the air moving at a surprising clip and help control unwanted odors.

360 Siphon |
Fan-Tastic Vent |
Maxxair |

Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen-Appliance_Dometic_Americana-3-WayAn RV galley isn’t quite a kitchen without the right appointments. Adding — or upgrading — creature comforts such as a refrigerator, stovetop or oven can enhance the RVing experience.

Atwood |
Brown Stove Works |
Dometic |
Furrion |
Norcold |
Suburban |

LED Lighting

livability---Jirah-LED-2LED lights are perfect for RVs. They’re bright, don’t generate a lot of heat and, perhaps best of all, use only a fraction of the power when compared to traditional bulbs.

Alpenglow Marine Lights |
Arcon LED Lighting |
Coast Distribution |
Command Electronics |
Diamond Group |
Jirah Company |
M4 Resale |
Star Lights |


Every castle deserves a throne. But an RV requires a bit more planning than going to the local home-improvement store and buying the first porcelain potty you see. These two companies market toilets specifically designed for RVs.

Dometic |
Thetford |

Water Filters and Purifiers

Water-Filter_Hydro-LifeRoughing it doesn’t mean you have to deal with smelly, foul-tasting water that leaves mineral deposits wherever it touches. Adding a filter/purification system helps remove contaminants from the campground water supply and can lead to a longer life for the faucets inside as well.

Culligan |
Shurflo/Everpure |
Flow-Pur |
Hydro-Life |
Multipure |
WaterKing USA |

Window Shades

Window-Shades_Magne-ShadeKeeping the sun’s heat and UV rays out of the trailer goes a long way toward protecting interior fabrics and surfaces, and preserving A/C use until absolutely necessary. Plus, many of the shades from the following companies look “cool” as well.

Auto-Motion Shade |
Dicor Corporation/United Shade |
Magne Shade |
MCD Innovations |

Miscellaneous Trailer and Towing Accessories

misc---hitchgrip-03Didn’t find your dream accessory yet? Here’s a handful of helpful items for both the tow vehicle and trailer. From bedliners to hitching helpers to disc brakes for your trailer, these products are designed specifically to help enhance the towing lifestyle.

Arrowcraft/Dual-Wheel Conversions |
B&W Trailer Hitches/Adjustable Ball Mount |
Blue Ox/Fifth-wheel BedSaver |
Dakota Metal Works/Hitch Hugger |
DualLiner/Bedliner |
Miscellaneous_DualLiner-BedlinerGiraffeG4/Overhead Collision Alert System |
Hitch Grip/Coupling Tool |
Pixus/Oil-Drain Valve |
Roadmaster/Quiet Hitch |
Titan International/Disc-Brake Conversion |
Toren/Swift Taillights |


Brought to you by Sun RV Resorts

Brought to you by Sun RV Resorts



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