Hitching Made Easy
September 1, 2010
Filed under Trailer How To
Now there are some of us out there who won’t admit they need help. They think that, by doing so, they are admitting they’re not the alpha RVer they thought they were. They’ll continue in their ham-fisted ways, ignoring the pleas of their loved ones. For the rest of us, who just want to hitch up the trailer fast and get down the road to the campground, there are a variety of products that can help, ranging from simple mechanical devices to compact rear-view camera systems.
In truth, hitching to a trailer isn’t as bad as it can seem. With a bit of practice, help from a spouse or friend, and a functional system of hand and/or verbal directional cues you can painlessly make the connection the first time, just about every time. In some cases it may still improve your chances to use a hitching helper, and so we found some products to aid in the hitching process, along with some details and contacts to make your shopping easier.
E-Z Hitch improves hitching ease not by improving visibility, but by creating a larger “sweet spot” for you to hit. Instead of struggling to get the coupler in place over the ball, simply (and softly) hit the V-shaped Wedge Guide Plate, and it guides the coupler directly over the ball. Installation is easy; just remove your hitch ball, place the E-Z-Hitch Holder Plate in position, and then re-install the ball. The holder plate has two bosses that hold the guide plate in position. When you’re ready to hitch, drop the guide plate in place, and start backing. msrp: $89.95.
EZQuip, (606) 886-8322, www.ezhitch.biz
Solo Hitch Alignment System
If only you could bring the coupler and ball up to eye level when backing – wouldn’t that make things easier? That’s the concept behind the Solo Hitch Alignment System by Hidden Hitch. Consisting of two telescoping metal rods with magnetic bases, one rod goes on top of the coupler, the other on the ballmount. Florescent balls on the end of each rod make it easy to see your progress – and when the balls touch, you’re perfectly aligned. msrp: $23.62.
Hidden Hitch, (800) 632-3290, www.hiddenhitch.com.
It has been said that the best inventions are the simple ones, and it doesn’t get much simpler than the Hitch Helper. Made of lightweight aluminum, the Hitch Helper features a height-adjustable post with a magnetic base and an adjustable mirror. Simply place the base on the trailer’s A-frame, adjust the height and back up – the mirror will help you guide the coupler over the ball quickly and easily. msrp: $29.95.
Hitch Helper, (800) 736-4469, www.hitchhelpermirror.com.
Hitchin’ Rods consist of two magnetic rods – one of which is placed on top of the ball, the other on the end of the coupler. By looking in the rear-view mirror and keeping the two rods aligned as you back up, you’ll bring the coupler right over the ball. When the trailer bumps the rod off the ball, stop – it’s time to hook up! msrp: $24.95.
QWorks, (254) 823-6574, www.qwks.com.
A clever name for a cool product, the iBall is a wireless trailer-hitch camera that features a waterproof, submersible camera with a magnetic base (powered by a 9-volt DC battery) and a 2.5-inch color LCD monitor that plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter or accessory outlet. Place the camera low on your hitch for a dog’s-eye view, or on the tailgate to look down on the action. msrp: $139.99.
Outdoors Insight, (866) 755-6303, www.iballhitchcam.com.
What do padlocks and back-up cameras have in common? Well, nothing, really. But that didn’t stop this manufacturer of lock systems from producing a back-up camera – and it goes by the imaginative name of Hitch Alignment/Back-Up Camera. This system is unique in that both the camera and the monitor use a power source from the tow vehicle; the 3.5-inch color LCD monitor plugs into the cigarette lighter or 12-volt DC accessory outlet, while the camera plugs into the connector receptacle at the trailer hitch. The monitor can be mounted on the windshield, dashboard or even an air vent, and the camera bracket can swivel 90 degrees for increased visibility. msrp: $249.99.
Master Lock, (800) 464-2088, www.masterlock.com.
The aptly named Speedy-Hitch Camera System from Hardline Products features a wireless camera with infrared technology for day and night hitching, and a handheld LCD 960 x 240-resolution color monitor. The camera has a magnetic base and swivels for multiple viewing angles, and both the monitor and the camera use a rechargeable battery. A 12-volt DC charger and rechargeable batteries are included. msrp: $249.
Hardline Products, (805) 581-4700, www.hardlineproducts.com.
The Swift Hitch camera system offers thoughtful features that RVers should appreciate, because when you can view the coupler and ball at the same time, it builds your hitching confidence. It comes with the camera and receiver, weatherproof cover, 12-volt DC charger cable, display battery and two storage pouches. Optional accessories include a 120-volt AC to 12-volt DC adapter, triangular suction cup (for mounting to fiberglass), a windshield mount and storage case. The camera mounts securely to the tailgate with its magnetic mount. It seems to work best when the camera is mounted as high as possible, because it provides a wider angle and the transmission quality seems better. After using the product, we found holding the receiver in your spare hand – as opposed to mounting it to the windshield – feels more natural and allows you to move the display as close to your eyes as necessary. msrp: $309.
Swift Hitch/Two Loons Trading Company, (207) 445-5744, www.swifthitch.com.
Based in Tucson, Arizona, Total Vision Products offers everything from a single rear back-up camera setup (pictured) in a pickup’s third brake light to help you hitch up your trailer to complete custom multi-camera systems for off-road vehicles, travel trailers, fifth-wheels and motorhomes. Call for pricing information.
Total Vision Products, (520) 623-0790, www.totalvisionproducts.com.
Many back-up cameras can also be used for hitching, but as its name would suggest, the Digi-View from Trailer Vision is digital – a feature the company says will filter out all external interference from devices in the 2.4 gigahertz range. You could say this system is semi-wireless, because although the 3.5-inch color LCD monitor features a built-in battery (it charges through your vehicle’s cigarette lighter), the waterproof, wide-angle lens camera with night vision must be wired into a 12-volt DC source. This UK company does not have dealers in the United States as of yet, but they can ship to the states from its location. msrp: $414.
Trailer Vision, www.trailervision.co.uk.
The VisionStat portable wireless hitching camera from Mobile Awareness features a rechargeable handheld 2.4-inch color monitor with two mounting options and a night-vision enabled camera with reverse image control and a magnetic base. The system includes two chargers (AC power adapter and 12-volt DC accessory adapter) and two monitor mounts (windshield suction cup and vent clip mount). msrp: $300.
Mobile Awareness, (866) 653-5036, www.mobileawareness.com.