Guide to Gear

accessories-lead

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

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 | www.dometic.com/usa
Protect All | www.protectall.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com
Roadmaster/Voom! RV Cleaner | www.roadmasterinc.com

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 | www.camco.net
Century Chemical/Travel Jon | www.centurychemical.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com/usa
Eco-Save | www.eco-save.com
Kronen | www.kronen1.com
Monochem | www.worldwidemonochem.com
Odorlos | www.campingworld.com/odorlos
Thetford | www.thetford.com

3X:Chemistry | www.3xchemistry.com
Valterra | www.valterra.com
Walex | www.walex.com

Polishes/Waxes/Protectants

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 | www.dometic.com/usa
Gel-Gloss | www.gel-glossrv.com
Gold Eagle/303 Aerospace | www.goldeagle.com/brands/303-products
Meguiar’s | www.meguiars.com/en
Poli Glow | www.poliglow-int.com
Protect All | www.protectall.com
RejeX | www.rejex.com
Shurhold Industries | www.shurhold.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com
Roadmaster/Voom! Gold | www.roadmasterinc.com
Wade Maid | www.wademaid.com

Electronics


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 | www.asaelectronics.com
Furrion | www.furrion.com
Hopkins Towing Solutions/Smart Hitch | www.hopkinstowingsolutions.com
Outdoors Insight/iBall | www.iballhitchcam.com
Rear View Safety | www.rearviewsafety.com
RV Cams | www.rvcams.com
Toren Partners/Swift-Hitch | www.swifthitch.com

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 | www.asaelectronics.com
Furrion | www.furrion.com

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 | www.garmin.com
Magellan | www.magellangps.com
Rand McNally | www.randmcnally.com/category/rv-gps

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 | www.kingconnect.com
Shakespeare Marine | www.shakespeare-ce.com/marine
Winegard | www.winegard.com

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 | www.kingconnect.com
KVH | www.kvh.com
Winegard | www.winegard.com

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 | www.progressiveindustries.net
TRCI/Surge Guard | www.trci.net/products/surge-guard-rv

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 | www.doranmfg.com/tirepressuremonitorproducts.htm
HawksHead Systems | www.tpms.ca
Hopkins/nVision, | www.nvisionsafety.com/tire_safety
Minder Research/Tire Minder | www.minderresearch.com/tireminder
Pressure Pro | www.advantagepressurepro.com/home.asp
RViBrake | www.rvibrake.com
TireTraker | www.tiretraker.com
Truck System Technologies | www.tsttruck.com
Valor | www.valortpms.com

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 | www.ccrane.com
PDQ Connect | www.pdqconnect.com
Shakespeare Marine | www.shakespeare-ce.com/marine
SmoothTalker | www.smoothtalker.com
WeBoost | www.weboost.com/us
Wilson Amplifiers | www.wilsonamplifiers.com

Hitches


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 | www.andersenhitches.com
B&W Trailer Hitches | www.turnoverball.com
Camping World | www.campingworld.com
Curt Manufacturing | www.curtmfg.com
Demco Products | www.demco-products.com
Draw-Tite | www.draw-tite.com
Husky Towing Products | www.huskytow.com
PullRite | www.pullrite.com
Reese Products | www.reeseprod.com
Torklift International | www.torklift.com

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 | www.andersenhitches.com
Blue Ox | www.blueox.com
Camping World | www.campingworld.com
Curt Manufacturing | www.curtmfg.com
Draw-Tite | www.draw-tite.com
Equal-i-zer | www.equalizerhitch.com
Fastway Trailer Products | www.fastwaytrailer.com
Hensley Manufacturing | www.hensleymfg.com
Husky Towing | www.huskytow.com
PullRite | www.pullrite.com
Reese Products | www.reeseprod.com
Torklift International | www.torklift.com

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 | www.airliftcompany.com
Firestone/Ride-Rite | www.riderite.com
Hellwig | www.hellwigproducts.com
Michigan Truck Spring | www.truckspring.com

Batteries

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 | www.exide.com
Fullriver Battery | www.fullriverbattery.com
Interstate Batteries | www.interstatebatteries.com
Lifeline Batteries | www.lifelinebatteries.com
Optima Batteries | www.optimabatteries.com
Trojan Battery Company | www.trojanbattery.com

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 | www.amsoil.com
Castrol | www.castrol.com
Delo | www.deloperformance.com
Havoline | www.havoline.com
Lucas Oil Products | www.lucasoil.com
Mobil | www.mobiloil.com
Pennzoil | www.pennzoil.com
Quaker State | www.quakerstate.com
Royal Purple | www.royalpurpleconsumer.com
Shell Rotella | www.shell.com/rotella
STP | www.stp.com
Valvoline | www.valvoline.com

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 | www.cipausa.com
JR Products | www.jrproducts.net
McKesh | www.hensleymfg.com/products/mckesh-mirrors
Power Vision | www.powervisionmirrors.com

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 | www.amsoil.com
Bardahl | www.bardahl.com/en
Lucas Oil Products | www.lucasoil.com
Marvel Mystery Oil | www.marvelmysteryoil.com
Red Line | www.redlineoil.com
Royal Purple | www.royalpurpleconsumer.com
SeaFoam | www.seafoamsales.com
Sta-Bil | www.goldeagle.com/sta-bil
Star brite | www.starbrite.com

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 | www.kshmarine.com
RDS | www.campingworld.com
Titan Fuel Tanks | www.titanfueltanks.com
Transfer Flow | www.transferflow.com

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 | www.hellwigproducts.com
Roadmaster | www.roadmasterinc.com
Safe-T-Plus | www.safe-t-plus.com

Trailer Exterior


Awnings/Fabric

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 | www.awningsbyzipdee.com
Carefree of Colorado | www.carefreeofcolorado.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com/usa
Girard Systems | www.girardrv.com
Lippert Components/Solera | www.lci1.com/solera-power-awning
Sunbrella | www.sunbrella.com /en_us
Sun-Wave Enterprises | www.rvawningsmart.com

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 | www.dexteraxle.com
Hayes | www.hayesbc.com
Hensley Manufacturing | www.hensleymfg.com
Hopkins Towing | www.hopkinstowingsolutions.com
RVibrake | www.rvibrake.com
Tekonsha/Primus, Prodigy | www.tekonsha.com
Tuson RV Brakes/DirecLink | www.direclink.com

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 | www.fastwaytrailer.com
Hopkins Towing/Engager | www.hopkinstowingsolutions.com
RVibrake/Breakaway System | www.rvibrake.com
Tekonsha/Shur-Set III | www.tekonsha.com

Chocks_FastwayChocks

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.

BAL | www.norcoind.com/bal
Camping World | www.campingworld.com
Fastway Trailer Products | www.fastwaytrailer.com
Tri-Lynx Corporation | www.trilynx.com

Covers_5th-Wheel_ElementsCovers

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 | www.trilynx.com
CalMark Cover Company | www.calmarkcovers.com
Carver Covers | www.carvercovers.com
Classic Accessories | www.classicaccessories.com
Covercraft | www.covercraft.com
Coverking | www.coverking.com
CoverQuest | www.coverquest.com
Elements | www.campingworld.com/elements
Empire Covers | www.empirecovers.com

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 | www.bigfootleveling.com
HWH Corporation | www.hwhcorp.com
Lippert Components | www.lci1.com
Power Gear | www.powergearus.com/products/leveling-systems

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 | www.mantank.com
Viking Cylinders | www.vikingcylinders.com
Worthington | www.worthingtonindustries.com

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 | www.boliygenerator.com
Champion Power Equipment | www.championpowerequipment.com
Cummins Onan | www.power.cummins.com
Generac | www.generac.com
Honda Power Equipment | www.powerequipment.honda.com
Powerhouse | www.powerhouse-products.com
Yamaha | www.yamahamotorsports.com/powerproducts

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 | www.prestofit.com
Lippert Components | www.lci1.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com
Camco | www.camco.net
Valterra | www.valterra.com

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 | www.atwoodmobile.com
BAL | www.norcoind.com/bal
Barker Manufacturing | www.barkermfg.com
Camping World | www.campingworld.com
Fastway Trailer Products | www.fastwaytrailer.com
Fulton | www.fultonperformance.com
Husky | www.huskytow.com/product_categories/brute-power-jacks
Lippert Components | www.lci1.com
RV Improvement Systems | www.rvimprovementsystems.com
Stromberg Carlson Products | www.strombergcarlson.com
Ultra-Fab | www.ultra-fab.com

Stabilizing-Jacks_LippertStabilizers

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 | www.atwoodmobile.com
BAL | www.norcoind.com/bal
JT’s Strong Arm | www.jtrv.com
Lippert Components | www.lci1.com
Stromberg Carlson Products | www.strombergcarlson.com
Ultra-Fab Products | www.ultra-fab.com

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 | www.amsolar.com
Nature Power | www.campingworld.com

 

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 | www.camco.net
Smart RV Products | www.smartrvproducts.com
Valterra | www.valterra.com

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 | www.360productsnorthamerica.com
Fan-Tastic Vent | www.fantasticvent.com
Maxxair | www.maxxair.com

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 | www.atwoodmobile.com
Brown Stove Works | www.brownstoveworksinc.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com/usa
Furrion | www.furrion.com
Norcold | www.norcold.com
Suburban | www.rvcomfort.com/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 | www.alpenglowlights.com
Arcon LED Lighting | www.arconelectrical.com
Coast Distribution | www.coastdistribution.com
Command Electronics | www.commandelectronics.com
Diamond Group | www.dg-usa.com
Jirah Company | www.jirahled.com
M4 Resale | www.m4resale.com
Star Lights | www.starlightsinc.com

Toilets_ThetfordToilets

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 | www.dometic.com/usa
Thetford | www.thetford.com

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 | www.culligan.com
Shurflo/Everpure | www.shurflo.com
Flow-Pur | www.flowpur.com
Hydro-Life | www.hydrolife.com
Multipure | www.multipure.com
WaterKing USA | www.waterkingusa.com

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 | www.automotionshade.com
Dicor Corporation/United Shade | www.unitedshade.com
Magne Shade | www.magneshade.com
MCD Innovations | www.mcdinnovations.com

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 | www.arrowcraft.com
B&W Trailer Hitches/Adjustable Ball Mount | www.turnoverball.com
Blue Ox/Fifth-wheel BedSaver | www.blueox.com/fifth-wheel-hitch-accessories/bedsaver
Dakota Metal Works/Hitch Hugger | www.dakotametalworks.com
DualLiner/Bedliner | www.dualliner.com
Miscellaneous_DualLiner-BedlinerGiraffeG4/Overhead Collision Alert System | www.giraffeg4.com/rv-info
Hitch Grip/Coupling Tool | www.hitchgrip.com
Pixus/Oil-Drain Valve | www.oildrainvalve.net
Roadmaster/Quiet Hitch | www.roadmasterinc.com
Titan International/Disc-Brake Conversion | www.titan-intl.com/trailer-components
Toren/Swift Taillights | www.swifttaillights.com

 

Brought to you by Sun RV Resorts

Brought to you by Sun RV Resorts

 


 

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