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Our Camper Pick-up Kit

Recently, my husband and I picked up our brand new 2022 R-Pod RP-192 from Ansley RV in Altoona, PA. We found the RV online and put a deposit on it to hold it until we drove up there and saw it in person. We bought it and brought it home the same day. However, we didn’t realize that we should have pre-purchased several items as part of our camper pick-up kit. So, here’s my recommended list for those of you looking to invest in and pick up a small travel trailer.

By the way, I’m not an affiliate and make no money on this list. I’m hyperlinking them for your shopping convenience.

Towing-related Gear

The first group of fear is related to hitching up, pulling, and braking the wheels of the travel trailer.

1. Your car will need a tow hitch installed. If you drive a Tesla like we do, Tesla Service has the right tow hitch for your vehicle. (And yes, a 2016 Tesla Model X 90D can tow up to 5,000 lbs!)

2. You will need a trailer hitch mount that raises or lowers the tow hitch to the exact height of your travel trailer hitch. The one we ordered from Amazon did not have the right drop but fortunately, Ansley RV Service had one that fit (pictured below), which they installed on-site. Phew!

3. You will need a trailer hitch ball to go into the mount. I think this is the one we have, but I’m not quite sure, because we also bought it at Ansley RV.

4. You will need a brake controller so that your trailer brakes when you push your car brakes. My husband bought the controller below but is thinking of upgrading because the one we got calibrated to the upper limit of the brake controller. (The RV Service department calibrated it for us, which was a big help.)

My husband had to splice the Ford adapter wiring below to the tow control wiring of our Tesla to make it work (and it did!). Our Tesla Service could have done this for us, too, but we couldn’t get an appointment in time.

5. You may want a sway-controlling weight-distribution hitch. We didn’t get one yet but if we feel our trailer sways too much during travel, we will. Our RV Service department also offered to sell and install one on pick-up day but we turned it down because we wanted to try towing without it first.

Parking-related Gear

The second group of gear has to do with unhooking, parking, then driving up to hook up again.

1. You must have wheel chocks (at least 2 but we got 4) so that your trailer doesn’t roll away from you when you unhook. If you drive an EV, you at have to unhook for every charge. If you drive a gas vehicle, you could get away with gassing up at truck stops so you don’t have to unhook. But at some point, you will need to park!

2. You will want a hitch lock so that no one can pull up to your trailer, hook up, and drive away with it while you’re out hiking or charging your EV. I call this our trailer’s chastity belt. 🤣

3. You may also want a wheel lock to prevent unwanted towing while you’re away from your trailer. We got one because, well, why not?

4. You may want a license plate camera to attach to the back of your car and a back up camera to attach to the back of your trailer so that you can back that car up to align with your trailer hitch and back that trailer up to align with your parking spot easily. Make sure to recall those inappropriate 90’s rap songs about backing that thang up while you’re doing it. Or don’t—you may be better off if you don’t. 🤣

Your cameras should have night-vision and come with a split-screen video monitor.

Although it sounds like a good idea, we did not get this yet for two reasons: first, because our car comes with a license plate camera already (very, very helpful for driving up to hook up), and; two, because being military and/or country, we are used to one person ground-guiding the other during parking with hand-and-arm signals. Some marriages, however, may benefit from the video option, so below is a system that could do the trick. 🤣

That’s it! This is not a cheap or simple hobby… it’s a lifestyle. I hope this list helps demystify the process a bit.

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