When you purchase a trailer, the fun is just beginning when it comes to travel trailer accessories or items to make your trip more enjoyable. On our first few trips out we recognized several items that you MUST have either in order to either leave the dealer, or use the trailer for your first trip camping.
Typically, a dealer will not let you leave the lot without a brake controller on your vehicle. Ours even inspected ours to make sure it was working properly. (I installed it myself which was a piece of cake but it was nice to have the additional assurance.) For this, we have the Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Controller. This is one of the top of the line controllers that fit our needs but is still under $150.00. Couple this with a quick connect harness and you can have it installed in under an hour. Learn more about our favorite brake controller. See my installation video on a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 below.
Hitch or Weight Distribution Hitch
A hitch is an item that you cannot leave the dealer without as you physically need it to connect the trailer to your tow vehicle. If you are not concerned with leveling your vehicle or in need of sway control, a basic hitch can be had here. If you need weight distribution and sway control, we recommend the Anderson No Sway hitch. Please see the fit guide here. The benefit of this hitch is that it is about half the weight of its competitors (bar type), as well as you can hook and unhook the trailer at an angle where the bar types you cannot. This hitch also does not make any noise which can be an annoyance with other hitching systems. We encountered screeching noises on a trailer we rented and wanted to make sure this did not happen to us. Our top recommended hitches are located here.
After you go on your first trip you will need to dump your gray and black tanks. This can be a messy situation without a hose and proper fittings. The hose we use and recommend is the Camco Rhino FLEX 20 foot. This comes in two sections of 10 feet as well as swivel fittings and a translucent elbow to let you know when you are done dumping and have clear water exiting the tank. Usually, you will only need 10 feet to reach the dump station, but having 20 feet is handy as sometimes you will need an extension to reach. All 20 feet will fit in your rear bumper so no need to worry about dirty hoses in your storage.
Leveling blocks are a must in order for your fridge and slide out to operate. It is also convenient for you to have a level trailer for sleeping, cooking, and walking purposes. We recommend Lynx Levelers if you want the block type and Anderson levelers if you want the ramp type. You can read all about leveling systems in our article about levelers here.
You don’t want your trailer moving once you unhitch, so wheel chocks are a must. Your wheel chocks will be used every time your vehicle is stopped. We utilize the X-Chocks as well as Camco bright yellow blocks. The X-Chocks work to stabilize the trailer to protect against sway while you are walking around in the trailer. The Camco chocks stop the wheels from moving. While purchasing the X-Chocks you can purchase a locking system here to make sure they don’t wander away. The lock set comes with three locks, one for each side and one for your surge protector. Our recommended chocks are explained in our article here.
Water Hose and Accessories
To fill your trailer with water or utilize city water you will need a hose or two. We have the Camco 25’ Premium hose as well as a 25′ basic version, the price difference is not much from the basic version, but the quality is better. There is nothing worse than bad hoses, but we have also had good luck so far with our basic version. A Camco water filter is a good idea to have as you never know the quality of water at campgrounds. Using the filter when you fill your fresh tank will help the quality of your water in the long run as you can guarantee that you are putting the cleanest water in that you have available. A water pressure regulator is a must when hooked up to city water. To have your pipes burst because you are over pressure can be a nightmare which can ruin your trailer. A simple item can save you from these potential disasters.
The manufacturer recommends every time you go out to check your torque on your wheels. The Tekton 24340 is a simple inexpensive torque wrench that will suite y our needs. This is an easy precaution to take as not to lose a wheel and ruin a vacation. You will also need a large wrench for your hitch setup. Make sure you have the appropriate sockets to fit your wheels on the trailer as well as tow vehicle and any other sizes you would need. Check out my whole tool kit I bring along here.
Shore Power Cord/Surge Protector
If you want to run air conditioning or charge your trailer to be off grid for a period of time you will need a shore power cord. Typically, your dealer will supply you with one when you purchase your trailer, but if not or need a replacement, the Camco heavy duty extension cord is great. Along with your cord, you will want to protect your electronics with a surge protector on your 30 amp or 50 amp trailer. Spending about $100 now could potentially save you thousands down the road with improper wiring at campgrounds or surges from many trailers coming on and going offline. Learn more about our favorite surge protector. With your power cord you will need a few adapters in case you want to plug in at your house, or need to plug your 30 amp trailer into a 50 amp outlet and vise versa. Always carry your adapters on you because you don’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere with no way to plug in.
As you may detect from my writing, I am all about security and prevention. It is important to keep your items locked up as they do not walk away. We were recently at a campground talking to some fellow RV’ers about their terrible experience. Someone had decided to steal their hitch while they were on a hike four hours away from the nearest town. Not only was this a $50-$300 loss, but the fact that they had a specialized weight distribution hitch made it worse. The local Walmart nor local trailer store carry them. The part had to be ordered, this meant that they had to waste $50 on a non-weight distribution hitch, but they had white knuckle driving experience with no weight distribution or sway controls the duration of their trip. What a nightmare if you have a heavy or long trailer. Read more on are article about RV Security. Simply by spending a few bucks on a hitch and coupler lock, and tongue lock can prevent your hitch and trailer from being stolen.
This travel trailer accessory may not be an absolute necessity, but it is important enough to make the list. We carry a Thorfire handheld flashlight with extra batteries, Stanley Fatmax spotlight, puck lights, and an LED lantern. We will never be caught in a situation without light. The rechargeable spotlight comes in handy when walking at night as well as if you had an emergency situation on the road. The rest of the lights are all around great things to have and that you may find useful for other situations such as reading with the puck lights.
It is fun buying travel trailer accessories and finding the ones that work best for you. Having these items will make your outings as successful as they can be. I hope this article was helpful to those who have a new trailer or are looking to get into the great hobby.
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