Trailer Life Everything about Travel Trailers and How To RV from Trailer Life Magazine 2020-01-19T23:10:38Z https://www.trailerlife.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Bruce W. Smith <![CDATA[Tiny Trailer: Into the Wild Overland Boreas AT]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44865 2020-01-19T23:10:38Z 2020-01-19T23:10:01Z

Built with steel, aluminum and high-tech composites, and no wood, the entry-level Boreas AT is a rock-solid off-grid camping trailer

View of underside and tire of Boreas AT.
Into the Wild Overland uses Timbren axle-less independent suspensions under all of its Boreas Series trailers. The combination of 32-inch BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A tires and the Timbren suspension provide 20 inches of ground clearance.

Colorado is a hotbed of tiny trailer manufacturers focusing on off-grid/off-road adventure campers, and Into the Wild Overland (ITWO) is one of the premier builders. The company offers two fully equipped models, the Boreas XT and Boreas MXT, the latter of which is designed to carry a motorcycle or up to five bicycles.

The new entry-level model is the Boreas AT. “Don’t call it a base model,” says ITWO’s Matt Reichel. “It just not full-featured like our other models.” The AT comes equipped with a full 12-volt DC/120-volt AC electrical system, 125 amp-hour battery and Timbren independent suspension, and it’s built with ITWO’s Zero Wood construction process.

Two people in camp chairs in front of trailer with awning extended.
The Boreas AT is designed for towing behind smaller vehicles such as Jeeps, midsize pickups, SUVs and crossovers with tow ratings greater than 3,500 pounds. It’s ideal for one or two people who enjoy getting away from it all for a few days.

Living Area

Like its stablemates, the Boreas AT’s fiberglass-composite cabin is built on a robust, powder-coated 2×3-inch tube chassis supported by an axle-less Timbren independent suspension, giving it more than 20 inches of ground clearance. The sleeping area inside the 60-inch-wide, 108-inch-long and 48-inch-high insulated cabin consists of a 4.5-inch memory-foam queen-size mattress, oversize compressed PVC cabinetry and fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) composite paneling.

The dimmable LED lighting wrapping around the ceiling complements a nice array of 12-volt DC and 120-volt AC plug-ins mounted in the cabinet face. The translucent 10-speed Maxxair 6200 roof vent and the windows in the doors provide excellent ventilation inside the cozy living space.

Person reclining on bed of trailer with cupboards straight ahead.
A queen-size memory-foam mattress provides a restful night’s sleep. The built-in compacted PVC cabinetry offers a decent amount of storage, while the 1.5-inch-thick insulated walls and composite paneling help keep the elements at bay.
Back of trailer with two pillows on bed and two entry doors.
Entry into the AT is via two side doors. LED ceiling lighting and a 10-speed roof vent fan are standard, as are 12-volt DC, 120-volt AC and USB outlets mounted in the face of the overhead cabinets. The camper is wired for battery and shorepower.

Kitchen & Storage

Where the difference in features shows up between the entry-level AT and the full-featured MX models is at the rear of the camper where the exterior galley is located. The AT is prewired to accommodate a 12-volt DC fridge, and it has the upper PVC cabinetry installed. But how the rest of the bare rear space is equipped is up to the end user. It can be a storage space for gear and equipment, or buyers can install their own cooking setup. There are also a number of upgrade options for the galley area.

Rear galley of Boreas MX with powered cooler and cook top.
The Boreas AT doesn’t come equipped with a ready-to-use rear galley, as do its higher-priced MX siblings. It has the built-in cabinet and is prewired for a 12-volt DC portable fridge. How the rest of the space is utilized is left up to the buyer.

Special Features

The 1,850-pound (dry) Boreas AT, which lists for $18,900, is built to handle the rigors of off-highway use and the needs overlanding brings with it, from the aluminum roof rack and ARB side awning to load-bearing fenders and Lock N’ Roll hitch coupler. The trailer is prewired for solar power, too.

Into the Wild Overland guarantees the Boreas AT will never suffer from rot or mold, or from degradation of wood materials because there are none.


Manufacturer’s Specifications

2020 Into the Wild Overland Boreas AT
Exterior Length: 15′ 3″
Exterior Width: 7′ (fender to fender)
Exterior Height: 6′ 3″
Freshwater Cap.: N/A
Black -Water Cap.: N/A
Gray-Water Cap.: N/A
LP-Gas Cap.: N/A
UVW: 1,850 lbs.
Hitch Weight: 195 lbs.
Axle Weight: 3,500 lbs.
GVWR: 3,500 lbs.
MSRP, Base: $18,900
MSRP, Fully Loaded: $29,500
www.boreascampers.com

Line drawing of side of trailer showing dimensions


Bruce W. Smith head shot with tan capA respected automotive and RV journalist and longtime Trailer Life contributor, Bruce W. Smith has held numerous editorial titles at automotive and boating magazines, and authored more than 1,000 articles, from tech to trailering. He considers his home state of Oregon a paradise for RVing and outdoor adventure.


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Kerri Cox <![CDATA[Family-Friendly RV: Keystone Passport 3400QD GT]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44776 2020-01-15T18:36:21Z 2020-01-12T23:57:59Z

Featuring a separate entrance to the rear bunk room and four double-over-double beds, the 2020 Keystone Passport 3400QD GT sleeps up to 14.

Even before the 2020 Keystone Passport 3400QD GT arrived on dealers’ lots, it was generating buzz. Offering what are said to be the industry’s first quad double-over-double bunks, the 3400QD can sleep a whopping 14 people. Large families and those who like to bring along friends will want to take a look at this innovative new floorplan with a starting price of $36,243.

Entertainment center and corner kitchen in Passport trailer
Frosted glass, stainless steel and light-colored flooring contrast with the rich wood tones of the 3400QD. Hidden behind the main entertainment center is a walk-in pantry.

Sleeping Space

The rear bunk room is the star of the show. Step inside to find four 51-by-74-inch beds in a slideout. With dedicated sleeping for up to eight, this is the perfect space for epic sleepovers. The two bottom bunks are hinged and flip up to create roomy cargo spaces.

See Related Story: New RVs for 2020: Travel Trailers

Across from the beds is another feature that kids will love: a massive entertainment center anchored by a 43-inch television. There’s plenty of room to store gaming systems and more in the cabinets below. A rear entry door makes the bunk room easy to access from outside, a feature that keeps kids from tracking messy shoes through the rest of the rig.

Up front, the master bedroom offers a 60-by-80-inch queen bed, which is flanked by deep, mirrored storage cabinets and topped by an attractive shiplap accent wall.

Side view of four bunks in Passport trailer
Double-over-double bunks provide sleeping space for up to eight. Built-in ladders make the top bunks easily accessible.

Living Area

The family can gather in the wide-open living area for meals and fun. The U-shaped dinette and trifold sleeper sofa (or optional theater seats) are located in a large slideout. Across from them, an entertainment center holds a TV and conceals a spacious walk-in pantry.

The adjacent corner kitchen includes everything needed, from an 8-cubic-foot refrigerator to a microwave, three-burner cooktop with a cover and a high-output range. Shaker-style wood cabinetry and seamless countertops provide a modern touch.

Throughout the 3400QD, vaulted ceilings open up the space, as do the light-colored walls, laminate flooring and frosted-glass cabinet fronts, all of which nicely contrast with the rich wood tones.

Doors leading to bedroom in Passport trailer
Two-tone wood-panel doors provide privacy in the front master bedroom, which houses a 60-by-80-inch queen bed.

Exterior

Although the 3400QD is a relative beast at 38 feet, 4 inches long, it is surprisingly lightweight for the length, with a 7,525-pound unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) and 9,640-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Keystone is on-trend with the simple exterior, featuring minimal graphics set against smooth laminated fiberglass.

As part of Passport’s Grand Touring series (the “GT” in the model name), many upgrades are included, among them an electric tongue jack, LP-gas cylinder cover, black-tank flush and a fold-away grab bar at the main entrance. MORryde StepAbove entry steps come standard.

It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers add a bunkhouse with quad double-over-double beds to their lineups. Until then, Keystone’s 3400QD is leading the pack.

Exterior kitchen of Passport trailer with fridge door open.
For easy outdoor meal prep, the pullout kitchen serves up a two-burner cooktop and a small fridge.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

2020 Keystone Passport 3400QD GT
Exterior Length: 38′ 4″
Exterior Width: 8′
Interior Height: 6′ 11.5″
Exterior Height: 10′ 11”
Freshwater Cap.:  43 gal.
Black-Water Cap.: 38 gal.
Gray-Water Cap.: 38 gal.
LP-Gas Cap.: 10 lbs.
UVW: 7,525 pounds
Hitch Weight: 845 pounds
GVWR: 9,640 pounds
MSRP, Base: $36,243
www.keystonerv.com

Floorplan illustration of Keystone Passport 3400QD



Author, blogger and photographer Kerri Cox.With her small bunkhouse travel trailer in tow, Kerri Cox has traveled near and far with her husband and two teenage sons, documenting their adventures on her blog, Travels with Birdy. When not on the road, she spends her time teaching and writing. Her words and photographs can be found in print and digital publications, including Trailer Life and the Good Sam Club Blog.


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Jerry Smith <![CDATA[Sweet Retreats: Valentine’s Day RV Getaways]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44100 2020-01-09T19:27:46Z 2020-01-03T20:14:08Z

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now’s the time to start planning for a sweet RV retreat with your significant other, family or friends

It probably doesn’t occur to you as you’re draining the black-water tank or chasing out the mice that may have called your RV home over the winter, but RVing can be a very romantic activity. Picture you and your significant other snug in your own private honeymoon suite and the possibilities for a romantic getaway are endless.

Well, maybe not endless at this time of year, which is why we’ve compiled a list of couples’ activities in the warmer parts of the country. Take a look at some of our finds for cities that offer romantic RV getaways during the cold months. We’ve included some RV parks nearby where you can park your home on wheels while you explore. But don’t wait too long to make reservations. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and some campgrounds and attractions are bound to be crowded as peak romance season approaches.

The Battery, a landmark civil-war defense seawall, in Charleston.
The Battery, a landmark civil-war defense seawall, stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula and is also famous for its antebellum homes.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, the oldest and largest city in South Carolina, is rich in history. The downtown area is known for venues dedicated to the arts, fashion, music and unique local cuisine. Charleston’s Historic District, in particular, is an ideal place to stroll down narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways past ancient oaks, hidden gardens and antebellum houses.

The Charleston City Market calls itself “the Cultural Heart of Charleston Since 1804” and features restaurants serving certified local food, Gullah artisans weaving traditional sweetgrass baskets and special events throughout the year.

An Old South carriage takes visitors on a tour of CharlestonCharleston is the home of America’s first theater, and is rated as one of the top 10 cities for theater in the United States. The Dock Street Theater is home of the Charleston Stage Company, the state’s largest professional theater company.

For the ultimate romantic experience, book a sunset sail on the Schooner Pride. Cruise the peaceful waters of Charleston Harbor and see the city from a new perspective while watching for pelicans, gulls and dolphins.

Charleston’s famous Southern hospitality with its streets lined with moss-draped trees, white-sand beaches, fine food and mouth-watering cuisine all make it an ideal place for couples to connect or reconnect.

Charleston County Parks Campground has 124 RV sites in a 643-acre park with many recreational possibilities. All sites have picnic tables and most have full hookups, with some electric and water only. A campground store, bathhouses, laundry facilities and accessible sites are available.

Oak Plantation Campground, a Good Sam Park, is one of the closest campgrounds to Charleston, just minutes away from its historic plantations, the downtown historic district, beaches, shopping and golf. There are more than 200 campsites in a parklike setting with a pool and a convenience store.

Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian
Venice, Italy, is the design inspiration for the Venetian, which uses architectural replicas of Venetian landmarks. Gondola rides feature a leisurely float past cafés and under bridges and balconies while your gondolier sings. Photo: Las Vegas News Bureau/Convention and Visitors Authority

Las Vegas, Nevada

There’s no shortage of ways to say goodbye to your money in Las Vegas, but there are plenty of places away from smoke-filled casino floors and the deafening noise of slot machines where your dollar actually buys you something.

Start with the High Roller at the Linq. At 550 feet high, it’s the world’s tallest observation wheel. One revolution takes 30 minutes, and around sunset is the prime time to book a turn on the wheel. Upgrade to the open-bar ticket for as many drinks as you want from start to finish.

Gondola rides at the Venetian offer a four-seat shared ride or private trips for two. If you’ve always wanted to visit the real Venice but couldn’t find a Good Sam Park in Italy, this could be the next best thing.

SlotZilla zip line
You can zip-line sitting up seven stories high or fly super-hero style 11 stories high on SlotZilla at Fremont Street. Photo: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is a great way too cool off during the heat of the day. The aquarium is home to more than 2,000 animals including endangered green sea turtles, giant rays, saw fish, piranha and the rare golden crocodile. Become Aquarists for the day and feed stingrays, sharks or turtles in the Animal Encounters program.

Hitchin’ Post RV Park is gated and has almost 200 RV sites with full hookups, a heated-year-round pool, on-site fitness center, two dogs runs and a dog wash, and a golf practice facility. There’s also a saloon and gaming on the premises.

Las Vegas RV Resort is restricted to guests 18 years of age or older, and is just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. It has full hookups and accommodations for pull-throughs and multiple slideouts. A fitness center, spa, pet area, laundry and 24-hour guard are all included.

Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort is beautifully landscaped and has full-hookup sites. It includes a beachfront family pool and waterfalls, an adult pool and spa, 24-hour courtesy patrol, an on-site fitness center and complimentary WiFi at each site. A fully stocked convenience store, laundry facilities and free showers are on-site.

Newton Winery Garden, Napa Valley
Surrounded by panoramic views of the Napa Valley, visitors can take a stroll through the iconic garden at Newton Vineyard in St. Helena.

Napa, California

The Napa Valley, in Northern California, is a hub of romantic adventures, including picnics in vineyards, spa treatments at natural hot springs, gourmet dining and hot-air balloon rides.

Start by exploring the justly famous wineries of the area, including Inglenook, originally founded in 1879 by Finnish sea captain and wine connoisseur Gustav Niebaum. Film director Francis Ford Coppola bought the winery in 1975 and meticulously restored the 19th-century chateau and its formal gardens. Advance reservations for tastings are recommended. Newton Vineyard, on a terraced mountain estate, has rose gardens, a French garden, an Asian red gate, a pagoda, lanterns and an English phone booth on the grounds. Wine tasting tours take you below ground to Newton’s barrel caves.

Get up early at least one day for a sunrise flight in a hot-air balloon over the Napa Valley with Balloons Above the Valley. Various balloon flight packages are available, including one that ends with brunch at C Casa restaurant with champagne and Mexican coffee.

Three hot air balloons above the Napa Valley Expo RV ParkThe city of Napa itself is worth exploring, this time on foot instead of from the air. Have a drink at the rooftop bar, Sky and Vine with live music Thursdays and Sundays, enjoy a picnic lunch at The Village on the expansive lawn, and wind up your stay with a visit to a 13th-century Tuscan castle winery. Castello di Amorosa offers tours and wine tasting, as well as events from grape stomping to a Royal Hearts Italian-style dinner on Valentine’s Day. RV parking is available.

Napa Valley Expo RV Park is nestled in the heart of downtown Napa at the Napa Valley Exposition Grounds, which boasts a year-round state-of-the-art Bingo hall and hosts special events throughout the year.

Vineyard RV Park in nearby Vacaville offers pull-through sites and premium pond-front sites. It’s conveniently located to both the Napa Valley and San Francisco, and offers cable TV, laundry facilities, pools, a clubhouse, free WiFi and two spacious off-leash dog areas.

Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego
Built in 1924, the Balboa Theater in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego was a vaudeville and movie palace. Today it hosts diverse local, national and international performances and presentations. Photo: Pablo Mason

San Diego, California

A city the size of San Diego is bound to have some unique adventures in store. If amazing food is your pleasure you’ll find it almost everywhere. Atypical Waffle, tucked behind a laundromat, is home to sweet and savory Belgian waffles. Underbelly reportedly has the finest ramen bowls in town. For dessert visit Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro and see how many of the hundred-plus handmade chocolate creations you can make it through.

Rooftop bars and restaurants are another San Diego specialty. Share a cocktail at Top of the Hyatt 40 stories high, which looks out over San Diego Bay (and on a clear day, Mexico on the horizon). The GlassDoor in Little Italy, atop the Porto Vista Hotel, features high-back chairs that line the al fresco viewing area.

No trip to a city on the water is complete without a romantic cruise. The Bahia Belle is a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that cruises Mission Bay for sunset and night cruises (operates seasonally; cruising resumes the first week of March 2020). Or if shipping out on a more stately vessel is your dream, climb aboard one of San Diego Sailing Tours’ vintage yachts and book a group tour or an individual charter.

There are miles upon miles of walking and biking trails in the San Diego area, from casual waterfront walks to bike trails with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean to stunning Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The Reserve is a special place to enjoy nature and has certain restrictions in place (no dogs allowed).Aerial photo of Chula Vista RV ResortChula Vista RV Resort (shown above) is situated right on San Diego Bay and on 17 beautifully landscaped acres with convenient access to the Chula Vista Marina and Bayside Park. The campground includes amenities such as a swimming pool and spa area, a clubhouse, and picnic and pet areas.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve 20 miles west of San Diego includes amenities such as WiFi, an off-leash Bark Park, showers and restrooms, two swimming pools, a spa and laundry facilities in its 300 full-hookup-site campground.

A couple storolls on the street in St. Augustine
Photo: Florida’s Historic Coast

St. Augustine, Florida

Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States. Its location on Florida’s Historic Coast makes it the ideal base for experiencing attractions like the Marineland Dolphin Adventure and the St. Augustine Aquarium where you can go on a snorkel adventure, feed the sharks (hopefully not at the same time) and hike the nature trail.

Keeping fit on vacation is a challenge, so give yourself a workout by climbing the 219 steps of the 165-foot St. Augustine Lighthouse for a breathtaking (if you have any breath left) view of historic downtown St. Augustine and the nation’s oldest port.

Less strenuous entertainment is on hand at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall where you can enjoy intimate concert sessions by performers such as Graham Nash (March 2020) and the Florida Chamber Music Project (May 2020). Al Stewart fans can be treated to a concert on Valentine’s Day! Or opt for an open-air concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and sing along with John Fogerty (February 2020) or Ringo Starr and His All Star Band (June 2020).

For a much-less-structured visit stroll at your own pace along the 42 miles of beaches in Florida’s Historic Coast, the perfect place to watch the sun rise or set, or book a private carriage ride through the streets of St. Augustine.Waves roll in along the beach at Beverly Beach Camptown in St. Augustine

Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort and Campers Village (shown above) in the nearby retro town of Flagler Beach (35 miles) is convenient to St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. With 1,500 linear feet of Atlantic Ocean shorefront, it’s located directly on the seawall along the beach. This year-round park has laundry facilities and bath houses and welcomes pets.

Compass RV Resort offers full-hookup sites, patio sites and buddy sites. Three sections: the Grove, the Pond and the Oasis each deliver a different experience. Attractions include a spacious dog park, a swimming pool, a fitness center, a laundry room and a nature trail that winds through the resort.

North Beach Camp Resort is bookended by the Atlantic at one end and the saltwater North Tolomato River on the other on 30 wooded acres. Riverfront sites are available in the 162-RV-site park. A top-rated casual-dining seafood restaurant in on the premises with deck seating riverside. The camp resort also has its own ship for scenic and narrated St. Augustine cruises.

Stagecoach RV Park is a pet-friendly campground with 80 RV sites all with 30/50-amp electric, water, sewer, cable TV and WiFi. Sites are gravel or concrete and surrounded by grass.


Aerial photo of Pechanga RV Resort bathed in soft, sunset lightPhoto: Pechanga RV Resort and Casino

Temecula, California: Pechanga RV Resort and Casino

For a sweet way to spend time with your sweetie, the 12th annual Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival, March 6 and 7, 2020 is a delectable event to attend. Hundreds of sweet and savory chocolate confections are yours for the tasting, as are a variety of wines and gourmet-food samples. Bring your sweet tooth, dance to live music and make a bid at the silent auction. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley’s programs that provide housing needs and home repairs to senior citizens and those unable to do the work themselves.

SChocolate cupcakes at chocolate festival at Pechanga resorttart the weekend off with the Chocolate Decadence from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 6, featuring more than 30 wine varietals and chocolate confections and desserts as far as the eye can see. Admission is $60 and includes a souvenir wine glass and unlimited samples of wine, spirits and, of course, chocolate. Designated driver tickets are $35. VIP tickets for $80 include early entry and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Friends raise their glasses in a toast at Pechanga RV Resort
Photo: Pechanga RV Resort and Casino

Food bites at wine festival at Pechanga resortSaturday, March 7, from noon to 5 p.m. guests can sip and savor wines, gourmet finger foods from Pechanga’s 13 restaurants and more chocolate at the Wine Festival. Admission is $65 and includes a souvenir wine glass and unlimited drink and wine samples. Designated driver tickets are $40, and VIP tickets go for $90 and allow early access to the more than 100 wine selections. General admission combination tickets for both events are $100 and VIP combo tickets are $140.

The casino features more than 150 table games, a nonsmoking poker room, 4,500 slot machines, Bingo and private gaming rooms. Journey, the resort’s par-72 links-style golf course, is surrounded by rolling hills and views of Temecula Valley’s Wine Country.

Pechanga RV Resort has more than 200 spacious sites that can accommodate any size RV, including luxury sites with an oversize picnic area and open-air pergolas. As part of a recent renovation, the resort has added a lounge with a giant flat-screen TV and games, and newly opened stores are at the Great Oak Marketplace shopping center. The RV park offers incentives for frequent visitors with pets, and park guests receive discounts on day passes to the 4.5-acre Pechanga Resort Casino Cove pool complex.

The RV resort has a pool, a fenced pet area, horseshoe pits, wireless internet access at each site and laundry facilities. Mobile detailing is available. A free 24/7 shuttle service will pick you up at your site and take you to anywhere on the Pechanga property, including to the 200,000-square-foot casino. And take you back to your RV site, of course.


Author Jerry Smith with Gumby and PokeyJerry Smith has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years. He’s not picky about the topic as long as it rolls. If it has two, three, four or more wheels, he’ll write about it. He travels with his editorial assistant and morale officer, a golden retriever named Dickens, from their home base in Oregon to wherever the sun is shining that day.


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Chris Dougherty <![CDATA[Hands On: Keyed-Alike RV Locks]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44246 2019-12-31T18:46:50Z 2019-12-30T23:22:53Z

A simple DIY upgrade to a one-key-RV system improves security and provides convenience.

There are a couple of things that have driven RVers crazy over the years. If the RV has two or more entry doors, separate keys are needed for each, plus there are compartment and hatch keys. And if the handles or tumblers haven’t been upgraded, it’s likely the old standby CH751 key is used for locking and unlocking the compartments. The CH751 key has been in use for the past 40 or more years, and there are millions of them in distribution, which means that anyone with the key can enter the compartments and “go shopping.”

The solution is one easy project, thanks to RV Locks and More, the retail arm of Global Link Distribution and Creative Products Group (CPG), lock suppliers to many RV manufacturers. Global Link’s and CPG’s technology allows the tumblers in its locks to be easily removed and changed, and unlike in some locks, both the dead-bolt and handle tumblers can be changed by using a combination of the proper key and the re-key tool, which the company provides.

If your RV has square-top keys for the entry doors, the RV Locks and More tumbler replacement may work for you. If not, it’s easy to change the lockset to a newer design that will allow use of the keyed-alike system. The company offers replacement paddle locks and twist-cam locks for most compartment doors that fit the cylinder kits. Cams are available in four lengths, and the throw arm from the original lock is reused.

Fitment exceptions include certain shallow locks, like the ones used to conceal a leveling-jack control panel or outside shower. Since there’s typically not enough room for the deeper cam, this lock can be left as is, and even though it usually uses a CH751 key, easy access doesn’t lead to anything thieves are interested in stealing.

The key system provides 90 different combinations, reducing the chance that someone will have access to your RV. Cylinders are available with or without master-key access, which gives dealers entry when the internal dead bolt isn’t locked.

ONE-KEY RV

A keyed-alike upgrade was tested on a 2015 Keystone Montana. The fifth-wheel’s entry doors had Global Link locks, but the other locks were different brands. The cylinders on the original entry locks could have easily been replaced, but we opted to upgrade to larger pull handles. Since the paddle locks on the compartments were a different brand, they were changed along with the CH751-keyed locks.

Two Ultra M Pro pull-handle locks ($79 each), five slam-latch paddle locks ($47.73 each), two cam locks ($11.99 each) and the cylinder replacements were installed in less than two hours, with no modifications to any door. If your RV has full-body paint, replacing the paddle locks may require some body-shop time for touch-ups, but the matte black perfectly matched the originals on the Montana fifth-wheel.

Ultra M Pro Locks benefit from a larger handle to grip and pull to enter. Only one side of the handle pulls out, but once acclimated, it’s a great feature. The locks don’t have a separate dead-bolt throw like the ones they replaced but instead have an interesting internal dead bolt that locks from within.

Replacements were installed for the original Kenco slam-latch locks, but models are available for other brands, all at different price points. Compression latches for toy haulers and hybrids are also available. Cylinders run $7.99 each if you’re replacing them in existing Global Link locks but are included and installed when ordering new locks from the RV Locks and More website. Each cylinder comes with two keys; LED-lighted keys ($6.99 each) are also available. Lastly, if you’re changing any cylinders in existing locks, you’ll need to rent the re-key tool. There is a $50 charge up front; $40 is reimbursed upon return of the key. This is done for security reasons.

The entire project cost $445, but we would have saved $158 by keeping the original entry-door locks. The most expensive part was replacing the five slam-latch paddle locks, which ran just under $240. If better security and the convenience of one key sounds good, then this easy DIY project is well worth the effort and expense.


Black electronic lock keyGlobal Link’s new electronic RV lock with a pull handle, the Ultra E Pro ($205), offers the benefits of a built-in touchpad and reprogrammable four-digit lock/unlock code for keyless entry, along with the keyed-alike feature.


Chris DoughertyChris-Dougherty-headshot is technical editor of Trailer Life and MotorHome. Chris is an RVDA/RVIA certified technician and a lifelong RVer, including 10 years living full time in an RV. He and his wife make their home in Massachusetts and hit the road in their heavy-duty truck towing their travel trailer every chance they get.


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Jeff Johnston <![CDATA[RV Tech Q&A: January 2020]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44199 2020-01-17T18:43:01Z 2019-12-30T00:00:04Z Solar-Panel Size

Red letter QI was wondering how big a solar panel I need to keep a wet-cell Interstate SRM-24 battery (CCA-550, MCA-690, RC-140) charged to run a water pump, refrigerator light and interior lights (sometimes) in a Keystone Hideout 175LHS trailer.

Robert Schanz | Middleburgh, New York

See Related Story:
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See Related Video:
RV Smart: Installing and Testing the Zebra Sunsparks RV Solar Kit

Green letter AIf you’re sticking with just one battery for your RV, then something along the lines of a 100-watt panel, minimum, should keep the battery up, given the modest power demands. In this case, I’d go with something like a 160- to 200-watt setup that would provide an extra edge for charging and help if the skies are cloudy or you park in a shady spot. The extra output would also come in handy if you opt for a dual-battery setup sometime later on.


Fifth-Wheel Fit with 2020 GM

Red letter QWe recently purchased a 2020 Chevy truck to use for hauling our fifth-wheel. Then we learned that the old hitch won’t fit the puck mounts GM installs at the factory. They changed the pattern for 2020. The dealer wasn’t much help and said we’d have to contact the aftermarket for the right hitch. Our favorite hitch shop said, “No, not yet,” when asked if it had a hitch mount or adapters or something. Do you know when someone will have a hitch setup for our truck?

Dawane Peterson | LaPine, Oregon

Green letter AThe truck manufacturers make new-model-year engineering changes, like the hitch mounts, based on expertise and testing, Dawane, and regardless of how much it costs or inconveniences the truck buyer, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Pulliam Enterprises (www.pullrite.com) has a PullRite hitch that will fit the new 2020 GM trucks, and by the time this is in print, it may also have adapter mounts ready. B&W, Curt and Demco also have products for GM’s 2020 HD trucks. Other hitch manufacturers will undoubtedly jump on that market soon as well, and that would give you more selections.


Front-Window Swap

Red letter QI’ve been reading your magazine for almost two years and have never skipped a page! I’m wondering if there’s a way to change the front window of a Jayco Jay Flight trailer to a screen-and-window combination. I’ve checked at Camping World RV & Outdoors and was told it didn’t have anything, and Jayco has nothing either. It would be nice to have better airflow when it is not super-hot or cold outside.

Ben Rogers | Moline, Illinois

Green letter AYou’ll need to check with the aftermarket suppliers of windows, but it is unlikely since the front window is manufactured and installed as a windshield. Keep your window measurements handy and check with ParKin Accessories, Dometic, or Lippert Components. These are suppliers to RV factories and also sell to retail customers.

Also, Cleer Vision Windows and Easy RV Windows can manufacture custom windows to your specifications. An online search will likely reveal a company that can handle your replacement-window needs.


Fifth-Wheel Gooseneck Clearance

Red letter QI have a big problem. We’re getting a new Chevy Silverado 2500HD and realized it sits 4 inches higher than our old one, 2 inches higher to the truck bed and 2 inches more to the side of the box. I have a Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel that, because of this, will be 2 inches closer to the top of the truck bed. So now it will be down to 4 inches of clearance and will be out of level, being 2 inches higher in front. There’s no place to adjust, and people say
I have to raise the trailer.

This brings me to my question: Do you know of a place in Indiana where they are making a kit for raising a trailer? I’ve heard there is a small company that is making square tubing and welding mounts for the spring shackles onto the tubing. You then have a shop remove the old tabs and weld this tubing to the frame, lifting the trailer 2 inches.

I have also heard of people switching to 16-inch LT E-rated tires and saying they are much stronger and less prone to blowouts than trailer tires, and would also lift the fifth-wheel nearly a couple of inches. I have found online that there are a lot of people having a problem similar to mine, and some say a couple of inches higher in front shouldn’t hurt anything.

Mike Jones | Omaha, Nebraska

Green letter AYours is a fairly typical problem, Mike, as the manufacturers are designing their pickups with higher and higher beds, and trailer manufacturers are not making changes to comply with the new dimensions. Lacking any other means of adjusting the trailer- to-bed-rail minimum of 6 inches clearance, raising the trailer at the axles is a realistic solution. Placing the springs above the axle instead of below it is a solution that many RV, hitch or custom-fabrication shops can handle with ease, and it gains several inches in height. New weld-on spring pads are available from the axle manufacturer to facilitate this swap.

We aren’t familiar with the kit or the Indiana company you mentioned, but it seems like something a competent fabrication shop could put together for you. That’s another realistic solution that could help you make the proper truck-to-trailer adjustments.

The use of larger-diameter tires, provided you have adequate tire-to-tire and wheel-well clearance and the wheels are rated properly, is another effective solution for bumping up that height. If you choose higher-rated tires in the process, you also gain some extra weight-carrying capacity per tire, and that’s always a good thing.


READER’S TIP: Tent-Camper Comfort

I’m writing about the “Additional Insulation” letter from Chris Tromel in the October 2019 RV Clinic concerning heating a tent camper. We had tent campers for 17 years and really enjoyed them. Heating any canvas-covered enclosure is problematic, but we found a way to at least stay warm while sleeping. We purchased rigid 1-inch foam insulation with foil on one side. We cut it to fit under the mattress and put it in place with the foil side up so it would reflect body heat back. This is very effective for staying warm.

If you are in a campground with electricity, you might also consider an electric blanket, especially if one person sleeps “warm” and the other sleeps “cold.” This will keep you comfortable, at least until you have to get out of bed.

Robert Courval | Nampa, Idaho

I can understand your interest in staying warm while camping, Robert. Your part of the country gets downright chilly! Thank you for the suggestions; they make a lot of sense.
Home-supply centers typically sell polystyrene foam with a foil backer and a rigid spun fiberglass-type board with the foil surface. Users should stick with the foam type because wear and tear on the fiberglass board material can release fiberglass shards into the air where they can be drawn into the lungs or picked up on the skin and cause irritation.
Owners of canvas-sided trailers can also check out the various solar covers on www.popupgizmos.com.


Have a Tech Question?

Email rvclinic@trailerlife.com and include your full name and hometown. Selected letters will be answered in the monthly RV Clinic column, but time does not permit individual replies.


Man leaning over engine wearing blue shirtJeff Johnston served as technical director of Trailer Life for 20 years and has been an RV enthusiast, mechanic and writer since he could hold a wrench. In his monthly RV Clinic column, Jeff replies to Trailer Life readers’ technical questions about RVs and tow vehicles. He also serves as associate producer of Rollin’ On TV, a nationally syndicated television program for RV enthusiasts.


 

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Bob Dawson <![CDATA[Staff Pick: GreenPan Levels Stackable Cookware]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44230 2019-12-24T17:43:26Z 2019-12-29T21:55:02Z We’re always looking to use the space in our RVs as efficiently as possible. One great way to do that is to stock the galley with a set of nesting cookware. The GreenPan Levels six-piece set of stackable pots and pans has proven to be an exceptional add to our RV’s kitchen. The 11-inch grill pan, 10-inch frying pan, 6-quart stockpot and 3.2-quart saucepan all nest into the 11-inch footprint of the grill pan, topped with tempered-glass straining lids for the stockpot and saucepan.

GreenPan cookware takes its name from the toxin-free manufacturing process of the nonstick ceramic coating. Beyond the health and space-saving benefits, we found the GreenPan collection to be excellent cookware. The pots and pans heat quickly and evenly, and the silicone handles stay cool and are a comfortable size for gripping and moving around the kitchen. The sets are offered with hard-anodized outer surfaces (pictured) or stainless-steel. MSRP: $349.99

Eleven-piece sets are also available. MSRP: $519.99.

Two black pots and two frying pans

Photo of production director bob dawsonSTAFF PICK >>

At the risk of being practical, we think one of the best features of the GreenPan set is ease of cleanup. From grilled chicken breasts and sautéed green beans to chicken stew, the scourings from our camp feasts were washed away with just soap, water and a sponge. Honestly, a sponge.
Bob Dawson, Trailer Life Production Director

 


STAFF PICK ARCHIVE >>

Find more new RV and travel products handpicked by the Trailer Life staff.

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Bob Marr <![CDATA[Small Trailer, Big Adventure]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44180 2020-01-02T22:35:20Z 2019-12-28T19:05:52Z

To escape the winter cold, a Michigan couple heads south in their 16-foot Scamp and discovers a dozen state parks, abundant hiking trails, Mardi Gras celebrations and the oldest hippopotamus in captivity

It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning in Eunice, Louisiana, and we’re milling around with a few dozen people, mostly local folks, snacking on boudin (a spicy Cajun sausage) and doughnuts, and sipping strong coffee. Pretty soon some of the musicians in the crowd move to the circle of chairs at the front of the room and begin playing. The sound of fiddles, guitars, a triangle and an accordion fill the air. This is homegrown, authentic Cajun music at its finest.

My wife and I (and our 19-year-old kitty, Zeke) were on a mission of sorts, one that is undertaken by thousands of Northerners annually: escaping the snow and cold of winter. We were spending four months traveling around in our 16-foot Scamp molded-fiberglass travel trailer. The trailer is actually an upgrade for us as we spent two months the previous winter towing a 13-foot Scamp, so the 16-footer seemed huge.

A Scamp travel trailer covered in snow
The author’s Scamp covered in snow the day they left for greener pastures.

Michigan to Arkansas, Dodging a Snowstorm

Our journey started last January when we left our home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. By the second day, we were camped at the beautiful and nearly deserted Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Illinois, a wintering ground for hundreds of bald eagles at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Hiking trails with fantastic surrounding views as well as the historic lodge make this a great stop. The limestone-and-timber Pere Marquette Lodge was handmade during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It’s a wonderful building with a 50-foot vaulted ceiling and a 700-ton stone fireplace in the Great Room.

Illinois state park campgrounds are open year-round with electric hookups available at the sites, which is all we need to be comfortable. Our little Scamp has no bathroom, but it serves us well. We have a propane furnace and electric heaters for warmth, a 3.7-cubic-foot refrigerator, a two-burner stove, roof fan, city-water hookup, gray-water tank and plenty more to take care of our basic needs.

Leaving Illinois just as a snowstorm was threatening, we made our way across Arkansas, staying at state parks. We enjoy camping in state parks since they are usually in scenic locations and plenty of outdoor activities are available. An advantage of having a small trailer is that we have our pick of campsites; even sites that are designated as “tent only” will sometimes accommodate us. With our small rig, back-in sites sometimes can be accessed as pull-throughs.

The entry sign at Millwood State Park in Arkansas
Millwood State Park in Arkansas offers excellent boating and fishing on the adjacent 29,000-acre lake.
Photo: Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism

A favorite is Millwood State Park near Ashdown, Arkansas. The park was still recovering from flooding that occurred a few years ago, although it remains a mecca for anglers, having largemouth bass in the 5-to-10-pound range. Birders will also love it here, as the park has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society since nearly three-quarters of the birds known in the state can be found in the vicinity.

Besides the state park, Millwood Lake also boasts seven U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) RV camping areas. While there, we acted on a tip from the state park superintendent and visited the White Cliffs Natural Area, which is adjacent to a quite nice USACE park. Trails lead past and onto huge chalk cliffs, which are dotted with fossils.

Arkansas to Texas and into Mexico

From there it was onward through Texas, where the lowest price we saw for gas was $1.65 per gallon. When towing a small trailer on long trips like this one, our 2010 Ford Escape V-6 averages around 15 mpg. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, and our trailer weighs only about 2,000 pounds loaded. At the private park we stayed at outside the Rio Grande Valley city of Mission, we met people who were traveling in rigs smaller than ours, as well as folks in Class A motorhomes and big fifth-wheels, a reminder that RVing is something that can fit most any budget and lifestyle.

Exterior of the refectory at Lake Corpus Christi State Park in Mathis, Texas
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the Mediterranean-style refectory at Lake Corpus Christi State Park in Mathis, Texas, has a great view from the tower. The 21,000-acre lake is a mecca for swimming, fishing and boating.
Photo: Bob Marr

Just down the road from that park is Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Although it used to have a campground with RV sites, it is now walk-in only. As a result, there are smooth roads to walk on but no traffic to watch out for. It is known for birding, featuring numerous feeding stations with observation blinds. If you get tired of walking, a tram makes regular circuits of the park.

The Mission-McAllen area has long been known as a snowbird gathering area with countless RV parks of all descriptions. Flea markets and Mexican restaurants abound. One day our friends went with us across the border to Mexico at Nuevo Progreso for a day of sightseeing and shopping. Cheap dental work and prescription drugs are apparently a major draw for U.S. retirees visiting Mexico. We contented ourselves with lunch and a few souvenirs; one of our friends even enjoyed a pedicure.

Leaving the state park, we headed south to visit friends in Florida. Since everything is big in Texas, including driving distances, we stopped at a couple of state parks on our way out. Lake Corpus Christi State Park is a beautiful spot on a large reservoir with fishing, hiking and some very nice campsites, including pull-throughs with full hookups. Our time there was made more special by the fact that we camped in the same site that my wife’s parents stayed in when they visited the park with their Airstream in 1978.

costumed locals engage in Mardi Gras street performance in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana
In Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, the town celebrates Mardi Gras Cajun style with costumed locals going from home to home begging for ingredients for a community gumbo. Photo: Darryl Lejeune

Texas to Louisiana and Mardi Gras

This brought us to Chicot State Park near Ville Platte, Louis­iana, and our fantastic Mardi Gras experience. We had no idea it was going to be Mardi Gras when making reservations. It was only when we arrived at the park that we realized our good fortune. After dinner in Ville Platte at the highly recommended Café Evangeline, we got to talking with the chef-owner and the director of the local tourist bureau. This area is smack-dab in the middle of Cajun Mardi Gras country, which we ­were told is very different from the glitzy New Orleans Mardi Gras scene.

The celebrations in this area center around food, family, music, dance and a (to us) rather peculiar custom called the Courir de Mardi Gras. This tradition descends from traditional medieval begging festivals and involves a group of masked and costumed folks on horseback going from house to house and farm to farm asking for ingredients for a communal gumbo pot. If the farmer is willing to donate a chicken, he tosses out a live one, and the participants make a big show of catching it. Each town follows its own version of this tradition, and many have music and dance celebrations as well.

In Eunice we attended the Cajun jam session described at the beginning of this article. Marc Savoy has been playing and building accordions for most of his life. His shop is located in Eunice and is called the Savoy Music Center, a modest-looking building that houses his workshop, musical paraphernalia and, on Saturday mornings from 9 to noon, some of the finest truly authentic Cajun music you will ever hear as folks from near and far gather to play and sing. The jam session here has been going on for more than 40 years, with reportedly only one break while a hurricane passed through. Visitors are welcome; a donation of boudin sausage or a bag of cracklins (deep-fried pork rinds) is suggested.

Chicot State Park in south-central Louisiana is a neat place to camp, with Lake Chicot for fishing and boating, as well as extensive hiking and biking trails and canoeing opportunities. But watch out for alligators! The Louisiana State Arboretum is located within the park and has several trails with lots of signage describing and identifying the native vegetation. Two campgrounds offer nicely wooded sites, and laundry facilities are free; that’s the first time I’ve seen that at a state park.

Visitors on a sightseeing boat take in the view on the Homosassa River at Florida’s Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
A boat ride at Florida’s Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park takes visitors to the headspring of the Homosassa River. Photo: Miles Saunders

Hip-Hippo-Hooray for Florida!

In Florida we stayed at a private RV park just outside Inverness, located south of Ocala and north of Tampa. The Inverness area has an incredible number of attractions for anyone who enjoys outside activities. For one thing, it is only about 20 miles to the Gulf Coast, where there are a multitude of attractions. One of our favorites was Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where it is possible to see hundreds of manatees when the weather conditions are right. It’s also home to the oldest hippopotamus in the United States, Lu, who will be celebrating his 60th birthday this January. Lu is the only non-native animal in the park, which was a private park and zoo until the state took it over in 1990.

The other non-native animals were parceled out to other institutions, but Lu had such a large group of local admirers that then-governor Lawton Chiles made Lu an honorary citizen of Florida so he could remain in the park. Among the native animals that can be seen are alligators, black bears, red wolves and many species of birds. An underwater viewing station makes manatee watching especially fun.

Lu, the oldest hippopotamus in captivity
Lu, the oldest hippopotamus in captivity, celebrates his 60th birthday in January 2020 with a special cake and busloads of schoolchildren coming to sing to him at Florida’s Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Photo: Kate Spratt

For hiking enthusiasts, Crystal River Preserve State Park north of Homosassa has several trails, including the Seven Mile Loop Trail, which winds through a variety of coastal habitat types and is a great place for birding and observing wildlife. For something a little more exotic, EARS (Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary) near Ocala has around 20 tigers, along with a liger, monkeys, bears and other animals that have been rescued from circuses, private owners and other situations where they could no longer stay. These are all animals that cannot be released back into the wild, so they are given the care and space they need to live out their lives in comfort. Membership tours are held twice a week and are well worth the small fee that is charged.

Fresh seafood abounds, and trying to describe all the wonderful restaurants where we ate is impossible, except to say that summoning up the willpower to cook meals in the trailer was difficult!

Homeward Bound through Georgia and Tennessee

My webcam at our Michigan home showed that the snow cover was gradually retreating, so in mid-April we slowly headed north since there was no need to hurry. Driving through Georgia, we watched as the “summer” weather of Florida turned back to spring, and when we reached Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area in Tennessee, spring was in full swing with redbud tree blossoms and ephemeral wildflowers in abundance. Named for the highest mountain in the park, Frozen Head is a hidden gem that encompasses 24,000 acres
in the Cumberland Mountains.

The author and his wife, Janet, with their cat, Zeke relax outside their travel trailer
The author and his wife, Janet, with their cat, Zeke, enjoy shorts-and-T-shirt weather on a four-month journey to escape the cold in their 16-foot Scamp. Photo: Bob Marr

Miles upon miles of hiking trails wind up, over and through the mountainous terrain. The campground is nestled right at the base of the mountains. Places like this one are where having a small trailer is a real asset. On the park’s website, the sites are described as “rustic” and “primitive tent campsites.” This is because there are no hookups, not even electric, and a few of them would not even accommodate our Scamp. There is a modern bathhouse with hot and cold running water, showers, drinking water and a dishwashing station, but no dump station. We were probably the largest unit there, but since we can run on battery power for several days, we had no problems. Solar would not be a viable option here with the amount of tree cover.

The rest of our trip home was spent visiting friends and relatives along the way and camping in their driveways. The whole experience was a blast, and we are spending the bulk of this winter on the road again. We encourage anyone to give extended traveling a try, regardless of the size of your RV. We never felt like we lacked for space, and towing such a compact unit was a real pleasure. Good things truly do come in small packages!


Stay and Play

RV accommodations on the author’s 14-state driving route range from national, state and local park campgrounds to privately owned RV parks. The Good Sam website offers a search tool to help find them.

Map of author's driving route


Bob MarrBob Marr is a freelance writer who lives with his wife in the log cabin they built by hand in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Lately they have been spending their winters (along with their two kitties) traveling southward away from the snow and cold in their cozy Scamp trailer.

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Rick A. Diaz <![CDATA[Stay Connected: 18 Trailer and Fifth-Wheel Hitches]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44156 2019-12-24T18:48:05Z 2019-12-28T00:11:29Z

Serious hardware for safely towing travel trailers and fifth-wheels

Travel-trailer and fifth-wheel buyers typically put a lot of thought into floorplans, features, upgrades and creature comforts, but unless you have owned several trailers, you probably don’t know much about the types of hitches and tow-ball mounts that are available. You likely took the dealer’s recommendation for your RV’s hitch setup or just ended up with whatever brand and style the parts shop had in stock.

Considering that hitches are big-ticket items, especially weight-distributing (WD) models and those for towing fifth-wheels, it’s not like you can just buy a bunch and try them until you find the one you like best. And one type or brand of hitch of a lighter-weight rating may work fine for that 17-foot trailer you started off with but not so much for a new 31-footer. Your tow vehicle has a lot to do with the equation, as well, and the hitch is the most important component for a safe, reliable and trouble-free hookup.

Knowing what is out there will help you make an informed choice about this critical piece of trailering equipment. With that in mind, the following guide presents some of what the towing industry has to offer. Of course, it’s not possible to cover every hitch from every manufacturer on these pages, but the sampling below should help you get started on the journey to determine what may work best for your specific configuration.

B&W Trailer Hitches

B&W Companion OEM Fifth-Wheel HitchDoing business in Humboldt, Kansas, since 1987, B&W offers products from adjustable load-carrying ball mounts to fifth-wheel hitches. B&W Companion Fifth-Wheel Hitches use rail-less mounting for ease and simplicity and are available in stationary and sliding models. For use in late-model Ford, GM and Ram trucks with factory puck mounts, the company also offers a line of B&W Companion OEM Fifth-Wheel Hitches. Available in stationary models (MSRP: $1,162 to $1,415) or with sliding base mechanisms (MSRP: $1,780) that provide extra versatility, Companion OEM hitches are known for their simple two-piece design, ease of hookup, 1-inch-thick locking jaws and heavy-duty construction. Since no mounting rails are required, the truck bed can easily be converted for non-towing usage, leaving nothing in the bed to get in the way of hauling chores. With a sliding base, the OEM Companion fifth-wheel hitch can provide up to 12 inches of maneuverability for getting the fifth-wheel into tight spaces without damage. All Companion fifth-wheel hitches are made in America and come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Comfort RideComfort Ride 245 trailer hitch

Comfort Ride was recently acquired by Roadmaster, which has been manufacturing dinghy-towing products since 1974. With its proprietary urethane spring suspension, the Comfort Ride fifth-wheel hitch is claimed to ride “as soft as a Zamboni.” Having distinct advantages over air bladders that can leak, blow out and require a compressor and increased maintenance, the hitch not only isolates and cushions the tow vehicle from the fifth-wheel trailer, it does so by absorbing road shock rather than displacing it, according to the manufacturer. The standard four-way articulating coupler and latching system (also proprietary) mean no grease or lubrication plate is required, saving money and simplifying the hookup process. One of three models, the Comfort Ride 245 (MSRP: $2,825) mounts to standard four-pin fifth-wheel-hitch rails, with options available to fit late-model Ford, GM and Ram puck-mounts or the popular B&W Turnover Ball system. The 245 is rated for a maximum 5,000 pounds of pin weight and a total capacity of up to 24,000 pounds. All Comfort Ride fifth-wheel hitches are covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

DemcoDemco Autoslide 18K Under Bed Mount

Demco is known in heavy-hauling circles for its line of towing products for various industries including agriculture, material handling and liquid transport. The company’s RV product line focuses on fifth-wheel hitches, tow dollies, tow bars and towing accessories. Its Autoslide automatic sliding fifth-wheel hitch is designed for shortbed trucks and can provide a full 90 degrees of turning ability, depending on application, to help get fifth-wheels into tight spots while keeping a safe distance between the truck cab and front cap. The Autoslide uses a patented wraparound jaw for a secure ride, and no special locking plate is required for standard pin boxes. It is available for use with industry-standard rail mounts, and under-bed mounts (for most trucks) that leave the bed clean when the hitch is removed. The Demco Autoslide 18K Under Bed Mount (MSRP: $1,745) is one of nine models with three height adjustments and capacities from 13,000 to 21,000 pounds to accommodate almost any fifth-wheel. All Autoslide hitches carry a five-year warranty and a made-in-the-USA label.

Eaz-LiftEaz-Lift Recurve trailer hitch

Camco makes and markets a number of products for the RV industry, covering almost every aspect of RV operation. Camco designed its Eaz-Lift Recurve R3 and R6 WD hitches to be user-friendly. The same can be said of Eaz-Lift fifth-wheel hitches. Features include adjustable height, adjustable pivots, secondary locking-bar handles, enclosed rollers and durable powder-coat finishes. Engineered around industry-standard four- and 10-bolt mounting rails, the hitches are available with weight ratings to accommodate almost any size fifth-wheel and any truck bed, in stationary models as well as sliders that allow additional clearance for tighter turning and trailer maneuvering. Six fifth-wheel models include the Eaz-Lift 18KS Slider (MSRP: $1,324.99) with an 18,000-pound rating and a 9-inch hitch displacement. All Eaz-Lift hitches are covered by a five-year warranty.

Equal-i-zerEqual-i-zer Sway Control trailer hitch

With a 70-year presence in the market, the Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch (MSRP: $745 to $993) combines weight distributing with four-point sway control in an easy-to-use-and-adjust package. The Equal-i-zer is available in seven models with hitch-weight ratings from 400 to 1,600 pounds and overall capacity ratings from 4,000 to 16,000 pounds. The patented design relies on spring bars, the ball mount and specialized brackets to combine weight distribution and sway control. It is compatible with almost all travel trailers, according to the manufacturer. A shank-less model for use with your own drop shank provides versatility with different trailers. Carrying a lifetime warranty, the Equal-i-zer is made in America by Progress Manufacturing, which also owns Fastway Trailer Products, maker of the e2 WD hitch.

HensleyHensley Cub Anti-Sway Trailer Hitch

Hensley Manufacturing Company’s Arrow WD trailer hitch takes a unique approach to controlling sway and hooking up. The same technology is also available in the Hensley Cub Anti-Sway Trailer Hitch (MSRP: $2,170), aimed at trailers weighing 6,000 pounds or less with a hitch weight under 600 pounds. By moving the trailer’s pivot point away from the ball and closer to the tow vehicle’s rear axle, eschewing conventional friction-type designs, the Cub is said to literally eliminate sway. Hensley offers a 60-day money-back guaranty and a lifetime warranty. Another advantage of the Hensley design is that the bulk of the hitch remains on the trailer A-frame, making it easier to hitch up and unhitch at the campsite.

ProPrideProPride 3P Trailer Sway Control Hitch

The ProPride 3P Trailer Sway Control Hitch (MSRP: $2,745 to $2,895) is claimed not just to control trailer sway but to eliminate it. The 3P uses a patented innovation called Pivot Point Projection, hence the three P’s in its name. The design shifts the trailer’s pivot point from the hitch ball to nearer the tow vehicle’s rear axle, resulting in a stable ride that still allows for smooth turning and backing. The most expensive WD hitch in this guide, the 3P comes in four models with hitch-weight ratings from 300 to 1,400 pounds, with each overlapping the next model in the lineup. This allows users to move moderately up or down in trailer size without necessarily having to replace the hitch. All ProPride 3P models are backed by a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.

PullRitePullRite SuperGlide OEM Puck Series Hitch

New to PullRite’s SuperGlide line of fifth-wheel sliding hitches are models designed to fit Ford, GM and Ram puck-style mountings. The PullRite SuperGlide OEM Puck Series Hitch (MSRP: $1,299 to $1,899) makes installing a fifth-wheel hitch simple and easy, leaving little or nothing behind when it is removed to use the truck bed for other chores. PullRite calls this Clean Bed Technology (CBT). In addition, the hitches can easily be converted to a gooseneck configuration, making them a versatile choice for those who use their pickup trucks for towing other types of trailers. For owners of older trucks or models without the factory puck system, PullRite offers a number of other fifth-wheel hitches. All PullRite products are made in America and come with a three- or five-year warranty.

10 More Ways to Stay Connected

AirSafe Gooseneck Hitch AirSafe

AirSafe’s broad line of hitch receivers, fifth-wheel hitches and goosenecks features air bladders and shock absorbers to cushion and isolate the connection between the tow vehicle and trailer for a claimed smoother, more controlled pulling experience. Available in square or round, the AirSafe Gooseneck Hitch (MSRP: $1,895) features airbags and shock damping to soften the ride when towing even the heaviest trailers.

Andersen

Andersen Weight Distribution HitchAndersen makes a full line of trailer hitches, and the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch (MSRP: $519 to $569) has an almost cult-like following among the trailering crowd. Weighing less than 60 pounds, having a greaseless connection between the ball and coupler, and described by the company as being anti-sway, anti-bounce and practically noiseless, the hitch is economically priced and made in America.

Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distributing HitchBlue Ox

Blue Ox offers WD trailer, fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches, and provides drawbars, brake controllers, sway bars and a host of accessories for towing. The Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distributing Hitch (MSRP: $725) is claimed to eliminate sway and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

BulletProof Ball Mount trailer hitchBulletProof Hitches

BulletProof Ball Mounts (MSRP: $199 to $349) feature hefty construction and quality materials for any application, according to the company. Products are available for vehicles in stock height or lifted, with adjustable drops as low as 12 inches, and with extreme-duty weight ratings as high as 30,000 pounds.

Curt Rebellion Drop Hitch Curt

One of the most prolific names in the industry, Curt makes everything from all types of hitches to tow balls, ball mounts, wheel chocks, tow straps and just about anything you’ll need for safe towing. The Curt Rebellion Drop Hitch (MSRP: $594.21) uses what the company calls Shockdrop Technology to isolate the tow vehicle from inherent vibration and rattling of trailer components.

Husky Centerline TS trailer hitchHusky

Husky supplies products for towing RVs that include WD and fifth-wheel hitches and brake controllers, as well as power-lift jacks for the trailer A-frame and manual scissor-jack-stabilizer replacements. The Husky Centerline TS (MSRP: $549) combines weight distributing with sway control in a lightweight package that is claimed to be easy to install and noiseless in operation. The company recently introduced a line of fifth-wheel hitches that work with Ford and Ram puck-system under-bed prep packages.

Torklift SuperHitch Everest 30K Weight-Distribution SystemTorklift

Torklift has grown into a manufacturer of a wide variety of products not just for the RV world but the automotive and power-sports industries as well. Torklift’s SuperHitch Series offers features like dual-receiver mounts (2- and 2.5-inch) and models with no drilling required to install. The Torklift SuperHitch Everest 30K Weight-Distribution System (MSRP: $1,384.99) is rated to tow up to 3,000 pounds of hitch weight and 30,000 pounds overall. Many Torklift products are covered by a lifetime warranty.

Gen-Y Boss Hitch Torsion Flex Drop HitchesGen-Y

Gen-Y focuses on products that make hooking up trailers easy and safe. Gen-Y Boss Hitch Torsion Flex Drop Hitches (MSRP: $589 to $1,199) feature a rubber-isolated design that prevents shock transfer to the tow vehicle, providing a smoother ride and less wear and tear on equipment, according to the company. The hitches allow use of different ball mounts at varying drop heights, making them versatile for those who tow more than one style of trailer and use different ball mounts.

Reese 22K Fifth-Wheel HitchReese

Owned by Horizon Global, parent company of Draw-Tite, Hidden Hitch and Bulldog, Reese is a major player in the towing industry and has a wide array of towing products and accessories covering all types of hitch styles, receivers, ball mounts, trailer-accessory parts, and electrical wiring and connectors. Rated to tow up to 22,000 pounds, the Reese 22K Fifth-Wheel Hitch (MSRP: $2,105.72) features quick installation and removal, and comes with a five-year warranty.

Weigh Safe True Tow Weight Distribution HitchWeigh Safe

Weigh Safe offers a unique integrated hitch-weight measuring scale. The scale is not to-the-pound accurate, but it does give a good idea if you are below, at or exceeding the tow vehicle’s rated hitch-weight capacity. Weigh Safe drop hitches are available with vertical ranges from 4 to 10 inches and 2-, 2.5- or 3-inch shanks. The Weigh Safe True Tow Weight Distribution Hitch (MSRP: $899 to $999) features the same technology with a built-in scale that measures hitch weight. It can easily be moved between various tow vehicles and trailers.


Fifth-wheel trailer hitch lifting device

Heavy Lifting

The new B&W Fifth-Wheel Lifting Device (MSRP: $35) makes moving a B&W Companion or Patriot hitch in and out of the truck a snap when used with a mechanical hoist or other type of lift. Made of powder-coated heavy-gauge steel, the tool simulates the kingpin on the fifth-wheel to give a lifting point for installation and removal of the hitch from the truck bed.


Headshot of author Rick A. DiazResiding in West Palm Beach, Florida, Rick A. Diaz is an avid mountain biker, woodworker and former Hollywood, California, custom Harley-Davidson shop owner, as well as a motorcycle and truck journalist. Rick will be taking his fiancée, their two retired racing greyhounds and an Italian greyhound puppy on adventures in their Winnebago Minnie Plus while contributing to Trailer Life.


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Linda Nichols <![CDATA[10-Minute Tech: Secret Storage]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44141 2019-12-17T18:38:33Z 2019-12-26T18:23:37Z We have a 2019 Keystone Outback. My husband was looking for the water pump, and during his search he noticed that the end tables on each side of the couch had screw-on fronts. One side housed the water pump, and the other was empty space. He removed the screws from the panels and took them off. I added a wooden knob to each panel, which I painted to match the other fixtures, then my husband placed hook-and-loop fastener material along the side edges of the frame and inside the new door. Now we have easy access to both spaces, and the one that was empty space is large enough to store five or six rolls of paper towels. The cost was less than $5, and it was done in no time at all.

Linda Nichols | Wintersville, Ohio

Tech Editor’s Note: This is a good use of empty space, but if there is wiring or heating equipment inside, do not store items in the space as it could present a fire hazard.


10-MINUTE TECH ARCHIVE >>

Read more tips and tricks for making RV travel easier, safer and more pleasurable, submitted by Trailer Life readers, based on real-life RV experiences.

To submit an RV DIY tip of your own, email an explanation of the idea to 10minutetech@trailerlife.com and attach at least one high-resolution photo.


 

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Trailer Life and RVBusiness <![CDATA[New RVs for 2020: Toy Haulers]]> https://www.trailerlife.com/?p=44333 2019-12-24T20:27:35Z 2019-12-24T20:17:45Z

The latest toy haulers have one thing in common: a rear garage or platform for transporting recreational toys or other large gear. Here’s a preview:

Black Series HQ22T

Black Series HQ22T Toy Hauler exteriorA luxury model in the popular HQ19 toy-hauler line, the HQ22T features a longer and wider rear garage at 13 feet by 7 feet. “It is designed so that larger ATVs can be parked inside,” said Richard Barrios, a marketing representative for Black Series.

With sleeping room for six people, the 28-foot HQ22T features a queen-size bed in the master bedroom and four bunks in the rear garage area that fold up against the walls. Other amenities include a refrigerator, microwave, wet bath, marine-grade speakers and an exterior kitchen.

A hot-dipped galvanized frame, independent suspension and 16-inch wheels/tires ensure the toy hauler can leave the beaten path. “They are not made to just sit at an RV park,” Barrios said. “They are designed to go out in the middle of nowhere.”

With a UVW of 6,504 pounds and a base MSRP of $85,999, the HQ22T is equipped with two 150-watt solar panels when not plugged into traditional power pedestals.Black Series HQ22T Toy Hauler exterior with awnings extended


Dutchmen Voltage 4195

Dutchmen Voltage 4195 Toy Hauler exteriorLuxury fifth-wheel toy haulers are growing in popularity with manufacturers designing in more features and bigger garages. Dutchmen’s Voltage 4195 delivers on all of the above, according to Josh Bowerman, district sales manager for Voltage.

Stepping into the den-style living room of the 45-foot, 2-inch, triple-axle fifth-wheel makes it clear that the designers had luxury and daily family use in mind. Gone is the single row of theater seats cramped into a slideout. Instead, two banks of reclining Thomas Payne seats are situated in opposing slides with a third bank perpendicular to the other two, making for a more usable and inviting space, adjacent to the U-shaped galley.

Of particular note is the new Stack ’N’ Pack 13-foot garage with a half-bath, designed to accommodate a side-by-side vehicle by folding the bath walls against the side wall of the trailer. The 4195 also features the Polar Breeze air-conditioning system, allowing up to three units to be run on a 50-amp service. An LP-gas-powered 5.5-kilowatt genset and 50-gallon fuel station complete the package.

Full-body-paint options continue to move the needle in the fifth-wheel segment, and the new black, gray and white Shadow paint scheme is certain to garner attention. Base MSRP is about $112,000, and the GVWR is 20,000 pounds.Dutchmen Voltage 4195 Toy Hauler interior


Forest River XLR Hyperlite 3310

Forest River XLR Hyperlite 3310 Toy Hauler exteriorWhen XLR introduced its Nitro XLR405 front-living-room floorplan, brand manager Brent Stevens understood that not everyone would be able to afford the big fifth-wheel, so the division devised a similar layout in its triple-slide XLR Hyperlite 3310.

“This is a popular layout in a traditional travel trailer, so we modified it and put it in a toy hauler,” said Sales Manager Rob McCartney. “It’s a mid-bedroom design with opposing slides — in fact, there are three slides in this unit,” something McCartney said he has never seen in a toy-hauling travel trailer.

“The layout includes a big wraparound front kitchen and, out back, a 10-foot garage with its VIP porch patio,” McCartney said. The 37-foot HD3310, which retails for about $51,000, also includes a central-vacuum system. “That’s something that’s always been reserved for fifth-wheels,” he added.


Forest River XLR Nitro XLF405

Forest River XLR Nitro 405 Toy Hauler exteriorAmong a host of new XLR models, the Nitro XLF405 43-foot fifth-wheel melds a front-kitchen layout with a full 11-foot garage. The bath-and-a-half floorplan places the living room and kitchen on one floor, “which provides two huge pass-through storage compartments below,” said XLR General Manager Brent Stevens.

With a starting price of $89,000, the XLF405 includes a front windshield, a slate fireplace and backsplash, a central vacuum “and more countertop space than any high-end fifth-wheel,” explained Stevens. The XLF405 features an entertainment center, triple power awnings, a six-point leveling system, and opposing slideouts in the master bedroom to really open things up. XLR also eliminated carpet in all of its 2020 Nitro and Hyperlite lines.Forest River XLR Nitro 405 Toy Hauler interior


Forest River No Boundaries 19.1

Forest River No Boundaries 19.1 Toy Hauler exteriorIt’s safe to say that the No Boundaries brand has made an impact on the “adventure camper” market since its introduction two years ago. It’s also safe to say that the division continues to push the envelope with the introduction of the 19.1, the first toy hauler in the NoBo line, and its first dual-axle trailer.

“The 19.1 is just 24 feet, 11 inches, weighs in at under 5,000 pounds towing weight and still is capable of accommodating a RZR 1000 side-by-side, which at this point is unheard of in the marketplace,” said Cody Schade, national product sales manager.

The 19.1 has a garage that’s 102 inches long and 7 feet wide, and includes “things that you’d see in a higher-end toy hauler like steel inner fenders, multipurpose flooring and 1,000-pound D rings that are attached right to the frame,” Schade said. Like a bigger toy hauler, it also allows the ramp to be set up as a patio, and like all No Boundaries products, it features aluminum-cage construction and Azdel substrate side walls. Additional features include a cold-weather package that boasts a fully enclosed underbelly and roof-mounted Rhino-Rack.Forest River No Boundaries 19.1 Toy Hauler interior


Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro G19TH

Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro G19TH Toy Hauler exteriorThe 20-foot Geo Pro G19TH is designed to be towed by larger SUVs or smaller trucks, according to Zach Rininger, Rockwood’s regional sales manager. With a dry weight of 3,407 pounds, the G19TH has a 1,600-pound carrying capacity in the cargo area. “It really is designed to get up into the mountains or other places where maybe a traditional toy hauler can’t reach,” Rininger explained.

Featuring an air-ride suspension, the rear end of the G19TH can actually dip down slightly to assist in getting a motorcycle or ATV over the back lip and into the garage. A 100-watt solar panel on the roof is standard, Rininger said, adding that it will recharge the battery enough to power everything in the toy hauler except the microwave and air conditioner.

Inside, the G19TH can sleep up to four people, with two sofa beds in the garage area that fold up when not in use. There is also an entertainment center and refrigerator in the garage. The kitchen features overhead shelving and cabinetry, a sink and a stovetop cooking surface. Base MSRP is $24,457.Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro G19TH Toy Hauler interior


Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored 351

Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored 351 Toy Hauler exterior“The 351 is a dual-axle, 43-foot bath-and-a-half floorplan with a king-bed slide,” said Vengeance Sales Manager Brad Short of the 17,035-pound-GVWR fifth-wheel that’s expected to retail for about $85,000. “We’ve created a traditional fifth-wheel bedroom that you would not typically see in a toy hauler, along with the elegance you’d expect to see in a traditional high-profile fifth-wheel.”

That elegance includes an island kitchen on the lower level, featuring a farmhouse sink, oversize microwave and a 14-cubic-foot Furrion residential refrigerator with a black-glass front.

More upgrades are found in back, with an epoxy material adhered to the floor of the 13-foot garage. “It is chemical-resistant, easy to clean and has a look unmatched by anyone,” Short said. The garage also offers a half-bath and a manual bed system that can be set up in less than a minute without electricity.Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored 351 Toy Hauler Interior


Genesis Supreme Overnighter

Genesis Supreme Overnighter exteriorGenesis Supreme builds only toy haulers. Its new Overnighter travel trailers are a unique combination of a large open-cargo toy-hauling ramp behind a smallish cabin with basic amenities. Cargo lengths are 14½ feet to 18 feet.

The concept is to load a vehicle up the ramp and quickly get away for the weekend. Any size side-by-side vehicle will fit on the platform. When the vehicle is off-loaded, the outdoor furniture comes out and a large shade structure is popped-up over the platform to make a roomy patio.

Available in five 31½-foot floorplans, the Overnighter is equipped with a 50-gallon freshwater tank, 30- and 20-gallon gray and black holding tanks, respectively, as well as a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen.

“I’m always listening to the customers,” explained CEO Pablo Carmona. “They give me feedback, and I listen. The feedback on the Overnighter has been tremendous.” Retail prices are in the $21,000 to $22,000 range, and GVWR is 8,200 pounds.Genesis Supreme Overnighter Toy Hauler Interior


Grand Design Momentum 29GO

Grand Design Momentum 29GO Toy Hauler exteriorWhile the toy-hauler market continues to grow, there’s no denying that carrying a garage around with an RV means the living quarters will be impacted. Like most toy-hauler manufacturers, Grand Design mitigates this compromise quite easily, but with the new Momentum 29GO, the company didn’t have to. Instead, the 29GO is essentially a well-equipped travel trailer with a permanent “open cargo” ramp out back.

“It’s an attached open garage,” said Momentum General Manager Nate Goldenberg. “It’s kind of tailored to hunters, tailgaters or maybe a wife who doesn’t want a smelly side-by-side near the living room.”

Like other Grand Design toy haulers, the 29GO has a ramp that is designed to transform into a patio, but it takes that social aspect one step further: the exterior rear wall opens to reveal a fully equipped outside kitchen and flat-screen TV, along with an access door to the interior. Inside, the 34-foot, 11-inch 29GO is capable of sleeping six and features an LED TV, electric fireplace and 100-gallon freshwater capacity.

“It’s actually pretty mainstream as far as the consumer we’re targeting, but it’s still something totally outside the box and new for them,” Goldenberg said of the 29GO, which has a 12,000-pound GVWR and retails for about $43,000.Grand Design Momentum 29GO Toy Hauler Interior


Heartland Cyclone 4214

Heartland Cyclone 4214 Toy Hauler exteriorConsumers could easily gravitate to the Cyclone 4214 for its comfortable front-lounge floorplan, but the real selling point of the 44-foot fifth-wheel is its unique patent-pending “hidden garage.”

“A lot of our competitors are building front-living-room floorplans with a garage beneath the rear bedroom,” said A.J. Jones, Heartland’s director of sales. “However, they are usually limited to about 60 inches of width and have restricted height. We went about it differently. Instead of dropping the frame, we developed a new technology with our patent-pending telescoping hidden garage. There’s a full 14-foot garage back there that will fit all toys including side-by-side RZRs — without compromising the bedroom.”

Heartland Cyclone 4214 Toy Hauler InteriorAccording to Jones, the switch-actuated mechanism is used to raise the entire floor of the bedroom, providing 74 inches of headroom for the garage. Even with the bedroom in the “down” position, there’s a 6-by-8-foot space behind it.

“Certain other under-bedroom garage models also don’t have party decks because they don’t use a full-size ramp,” Jones added. “We have a true 8-by-8-foot garage door on the back that provides the longer approach angle needed, plus it transforms into a patio deck.”

The concept, explained Jones, was more than a year in development. And, while it may find its way onto other models, for now it’s exclusive to the 4214, which retails for about $100,000 and has a 20,000-pound GVWR.


Heartland Lithium 3116

Heartland Lithium 3116 Toy Hauler exteriorAccording to Heartland’s A.J. Jones, there was a real need in the market for a toy-hauler line at lower price points. The new Lithium 3116 fits the bill with a base price of less than $30,000

“It was really important for us to come out with a new toy hauler that was at a price point where most of the competition was at, but we didn’t want to take away from a lot of the feature comforts and everything else that most toy hauler consumers have come to expect from a Heartland product,” Jones said. “We knew it needed to be a wide-body construction, it had to have a taller, bigger ramp door and had to be able to haul all the side-by-sides.”

The Lithium stick-and-tin lineup currently offers four front-bedroom floorplans, from 28 to 38 feet. The 3116 is 36 feet, with a 17-foot garage, and features a single streetside slideout that houses a sofa and galley. Boasting 102-inch wide-body construction, the 3116 has a 12,000-pound GVWR.Heartland Lithium 3116 Toy Hauler interior


Hoooroo Boomer

Silhouette of Boomer trailer showing rooftop tent and tandem wheels“Hoooroo is Australian slang for ‘see you later,” said Brad Stoll, president of Hoooroo Overland Camping Trailers, “while our brand names — Boomer and Joey — are related to kangaroos. We’re just trying to carry through with our intent, to create something that’s ‘off the path.’”

Of the two models, the 16-foot Boomer might be characterized as a “toy hauler meets adventure camper.” Outfitted with Dexter Torflex axles, it has a rooftop tent with a king bed, and a dedicated 12-foot toy-hauling area with a rubber floor, aluminum ramp and E-track tie-down system. The pullout kitchen provides a sink and stove, and a side ramp doubles as a table. An on-demand water heater, 42-gallon freshwater tank and awning come standard.

Base MSRP is $20,350, and UVW is 3,700 pounds.Boomer trailer on grass with two ATVs.


Jayco Seismic 4013

Heartland Lithium 3116 Toy Hauler exteriorThe triple-axle Seismic 4013 is a “luxury fifth-wheel that just happens to have
a garage,” according to Mike Aplin, director of product development for the North Point, Pinnacle and Seismic brands. What allows Aplin to make that claim, he explained, is the 4013’s patent-pending floorplan featuring a step-up kitchen, which in turn leads to a step-up master suite.

“There are other manufacturers that have similar floorplans, but with our patent protection, they cannot do the step-up kitchen — or what we refer to as the ‘split-level home,’ which gets you a double pass-through basement storage,” Aplin said.

The U-shaped kitchen deserves further mention, as the elevated level means not only a commanding view of the lower living area, with its theater seating opposite the entertainment center and freestanding table and chairs, but the upper cabinets are easily within reach of most RVers.

The 45-foot, 8-inch 4013 has a $113,043 base MSRP, a UVW of 15,869 pounds and a claimed 4,826-pound CCC. Like many of Jayco’s other lines, the Seismic is available in the contemporary Modern Farmhouse decor or more traditional Cashmere Cottage.Jayco Seismic 4013 Toy Hauler Interior


Keystone Fuzion 373

Keystone Fuzion 373 Toy Hauler exteriorMaking changes to a popular floorplan is not without its challenges. You run the risk of alienating some customers while attracting others. That’s why the big changes for the Fuzion 373 are found below deck, according Max Villa, district sales manager.

“We’ve developed the first full-production independent suspension,” said Villa. “It’s an automotive-grade suspension — on a toy hauler.” According to Villa, the rubberized modified A-arm suspension makes it easier to tow and creates less wear-and-tear on components. Developed in conjunction with MORryde, the system was tested at Navistar’s proving grounds and yielded a 35 percent better shock-absorption rate, Villa said.

Of course, there’s a lot that’s new upstairs in the 39-foot fifth-wheel, as well. “We were able to put in a larger east-west bedroom arrangement in front of the unit without sacrificing garage space,” said Villa. “That gives us a wardrobe closet, washer-dryer prep up in the bedroom, more walkaround space and a dual-entry bathroom.”

With a 19,000-pound GVWR, the 373 will retail for about $95,000. The new suspension — which ultimately will be available across the Fuzion lineup — adds $1,995 to the sticker price.Keystone Fuzion 373 Toy Hauler Interior


Sunset Park Rush 24FB

Sunset Park Rush 24FB Toy Hauler exteriorWith a 13-foot garage compartment, the 24-foot Rush 24FB was designed to handle larger ATVs, according to Johnny Yoder, part owner of the company. But with a dry weight of 4,280 pounds, it doesn’t require a larger truck to tow it.

Instead of offering a separate bedroom, the 24FB has a queen-size bed that folds down from the side of the garage. The dinette also transforms into sleeping quarters once the table is removed. The kitchen features a double-basin sink, microwave, oven and stove, and a gas/electric refrigerator. The bathroom includes a toilet and walk-in shower.

Yoder highlighted a large exterior storage space up front. “We made sure to include a ton of space for storage in this unit,” explained Yoder. Base MSRP is $27,000.Sunset Park Rush 24FB Toy Hauler interior


See Related Stories:

New RVS for 2020: Travel Trailers
New RVS for 2020: Small Trailers
New RVS for 2020: Fifth-Wheels
New RVS for 2020: Truck Campers


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