Not all of us had the privilege of growing up in a family which went camping. However, once family life comes knocking at your own door, one of the best sources of collective enjoyment is spending a weekend in the outdoors. As hitch-pulled RV trailers are the most convenient method of environmental excursion, knowing a bit about the mechanism of safely securing said trailer to your truck is sure to be a useful skill before trekking out into the wilderness.
First off, what are the basic parts of a hitch rig? At the simplest level, there are truly only two parts: the vehicle and the trailer. A hitch is attached (either as a fixed receiver or a removable mount) to the vehicle, which allows the driver to bring a trailer along for the ride. The most important objective of a successful trailer hitch isa safe trip, especially when a family depends on it.
A standard hitch will either be drawbar (fixed) type or receiver type. A receiver type is typically the most recommended, simply because a fixed-drawbar will be less compatible with third-party hitching accessories. The receiver will have a (typically square) opening, allowing for a trailer's ball mount to move effectively during turns. For once, a round peg in a square hole is the correct answer!
A ball mount is a (sometimes adjustable) spherical attachment to a trailer which allows it to safely conjoin with a towing vehicle. Similar to the ball joint in the human shoulder, a ball mount allows for freedom of motion while staying firmly attached, so long as the ball is correctly sized. The two most important factors when choosing a ball mount are two specific measurements: the GTW and the TW. The GTW, or Gross Total Weight, is simply the overall weight of the trailer (and its load). The TW, or Tongue Weight, is the weight of the trailer tongue at the point at which the trailer and hitch meet. Ball mounts are classified mainly according to these two ratings, so calibrate your hitch setup accordingly! In addition, alignment is key when selecting a mount. It is always a good idea to measure the distance from the ground to both the receiver and ball mount to confirm your rig is level. If it isn't, drop mounts and rise mounts are available to adjust the height for a safe trip.
The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, and such may be the case for your camping trip. Should the trailer become unhitched for any reason, such as hitting a pothole or particularly large bump in the road, safety chains go a long way. Chains are rated for weight much like the ball mounts themselves. Loop the chains through the tongue and vehicle (not the hitch) in a criss-crossed pattern, leaving only enough slack that the hitch can still move enough to make turns. Attach safety pins through the chains to complete your rig.
Camper, caravan, and camaraderie in tow, the outdoors awaits! Contact a business, such as Camping World of Ocala, for more information.