You’ve finally got your travel trailer and want to get out on the open road! Now comes getting it stocked for travel and then towing! It may be tempting just to start packing it up but you need to keep in mind that, where you put things matters! If one area of the rig is much heavier than the rest, it can make for a dangerous situation! Lacking the proper equipment while towing can cause issues with handling and stopping. Here are 3 easy steps to load and tow your travel trailer that will make you road trip safer and easier!
1. Loading a Travel Trailer
Packing isn’t fun! Sometimes just the thought of it can be overwhelming. There are so many things to bring along on camping trips, from kitchen essentials and bathroom necessities to grilling tools and clothing. So when you finally have your bags packed and everything laid out, you can just toss everything into the RV and call it good, right? Wrong! How you pack your gear into your travel trailer can greatly affect the tongue weight of your RV. If a trailer is counter-balanced, it can cause damage to the RV and it can be dangerous to pull down the road at high speeds. A correctly loaded trailer will have about 10% of the total weight of the trailer as its tongue weight. So, when packing your gear into your travel trailer, pay attention to what you put where. Do not load all of your heavy items toward the rear of the RV. Also, do not load all of your heavy items, such as a tool box or a big box filled with canned food, in one spot in the RV. Your RV will lean to one side if it’s not evenly loaded, or it will ride low in the back if it’s loaded too heavily back there. So as not to create a top-heavy RV, store your heavy items on the floor and your light items up higher in cabinets or on shelves. How you pack does matter! To keep your travel trailer under control on the highway, make sure your cargo weight is evenly distributed and nothing will cause it to sway one way or another.
2. Equalizer Hitch
An Equalizer Hitch is used to redistribute the weight of the trailer over the entire tow vehicle. When the chains are set on the bars of the hitch, some of the tongue weight is transferred to the front axle of your tow vehicle. If there isn’t enough tension on the bars, your trailer will bounce out of place on bumpy roads. Setting the chains one link tighter will transfer enough weight to even out and help keep the hitch in place. An equalizer hitch can improve your tow vehicle’s ability to turn, brake, and steer, especially if you have a large, heavy load.
3. Sway Controls
Sway controls help prevent travel trailers from swaying back and forth as you go down the road. They apply friction to reduce the sideways motion when a trailer starts to sway. They attach to the side of the trailers tongue and to the side of the hitch on the tow vehicle. You can adjust the amount of friction it applies to increase the amount of restriction. If your travel trailer RV has the correct bar tension on the hitch and is loaded correctly, sway controls shouldn’t be needed.
Hit the Brakes!
If your travel trailer starts swaying, apply only your trailer brakes by pressing the lever on your electric brake controller. Using the trailer brakes to slow down will safely stop the swaying and you can regain control of your RV.