There are 3 things I consider must-haves for any RVer. With that in mind, I am going to focusing on proper and safe towing, protecting water lines that are susceptible to leaks if not cared for properly, and how to protect your electrical system so that your precious appliances and electronics are kept safe. To tackle these issues, we are going to discuss weight distribution hitches, water pressure regulators, and surge protectors.
Many people think that getting the RV and going camping is all they need to do. There are some things you should definitely learn about and invest in so that your RV and you are both safe. Plus, your RV will remain in good condition for many years with these three simple must-haves for any RVer.
I’ve put together a small list of items you need for your RV to help take care of these issues. We are going to explain why they’re important, as well as how to use them.
Let us help you become a well-informed and knowledgeable RV owner and your RV and tow vehicle will stay safe and in great condition for many years of camping.
Weight Distribution Hitch
Probably the most compelling reason to use a weight-distribution hitch is safety. Safety is improved ten-fold when you use a weight distribution hitch with stabilizers known as sway bars. That’s not the only reason. If you don’t, you could also void the warranty on your tow vehicle.
Weight distribution hitches can also be referred to as a ‘load balancing hitches’. Simply put, having the load evenly distributed over the axles will ensure you are towing safely. You will have more control over your tow vehicle as well.
When big trucks pass you on the interstate, without a sway bar hitch, your trailer will jostle from side to side and might rip the steering wheel right out of your hands.
This is not a fun experience and can lead to an accident. You could be ticketed for not having proper equipment as well and the accident will be your fault.
Making sure your hitch is equipped with anti-sway
Making sure your hitch is an anti-sway hitch will ensure you are in better control of your tow, even in wind gusts. If you’ve never towed an RV across a high bridge, you may be in for a white-knuckle experience. Having an anti-sway hitch could save you from swerving and possibly losing control in that situation.
Anti-sway bars attach to the hitch and form a triangle that connects across the hitch. Usually, two side-bars connect back to the main hitch at the center but designs can vary. You main thing is that you need one for stability.
If you are driving through inclement weather, such as heavy rain, your RV could hydroplane and jack-knife. Jack-knifing refers to a situation where the control of the trailer or RV is lost, it slides around sideways and slams up against the tow vehicle or someone else.
This is a terrible situation that can lead to severe injury and even loss of life. The very least that will happen is that your RV shell will be punctured in the front corner and be costly to repair. Axle damage can happen to either vehicle and your tow vehicle could be damaged severely as well.
Highly-rated equalizing hitches with swaybar control
Blue Ox SWAYPRO
Their Sway Pro Weight Distribution Hitch is as good as they come. This is a simple hitch that doesn’t use any pins and takes just moments to hookup. It’s designed to be extremely strong, and steady so that even when those big 18-wheelers pass you by, you’ll feel no sway in your steering.
The 31423 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch has a bolt-together ball and shank but has a 1200 lb maximum tongue weight. Referred to as “beefy and heavy”, it comes with a very high marks from end-users.
The 17063 MV Round Bar Weight Distribution with Sway Control is heavy-duty, with a 2-inch shank. It can handle up to 14,000 pounds and has an integrated lubrication system, ensuring that it is always in perfect working order when you need it.
Water Pressure Regulator
Water pressure regulators are very important for those who will be connecting to city water sources in campgrounds. Water in city water lines is pressurized and this can blow your lines out in an RV. Your joints and lines can come apart. A big part of this problem is due to the fact water pressure can vary greatly. You need a way to mitigate these fluctuations.
Since RV water lines are often run through some very hard to get to places, they can be difficult to repair and even get to if they are under flooring and behind walls. This can be a nightmare and is completely avoidable with just the use of this one small item that is typically less than $30.
You may wish to use one that has an elbow so you can attach it to your RV city water connection and then connect the hose from that to the connection at the campground.
Using one is necessary if you wish to keep your water lines in good working order. If you don’t use one, you could walk into a puddle on the camper floor one day.
Good Water Pressure Regulators for RVs
While not a pressure regulator, the 22505 90-degree Hose Elbow will eliminate stress on your RV water intake, hoses, and fittings. This will help reduce or eliminate issues related to your water intake from constant downward pressure. It’s not a bad item to combine with your pressure regulator. Lead-free and brass.
The Esright Brass Water Pressure Regulator is a lead-free regulator with a gauge built-in so you can monitor the pressure at all times. It’s the Cadillac of water pressure regulators.
Their RV Water Regulator is also lead-free, made of brass, straight-forward, and simple. It provides a steady 40-50 psi. It is small, with no angles, and no gauge. You can consider it an economy model.
RV surge protectors are built into a short line that plugs into the RV at one end and into the power source at the other end. These help to protect your RV from dangerous surges that can happen from any power source, even generators.
Huge bursts of power can come from the power pedestal you are plugged into during a storm if lightning is striking in the area. This can permanently damage your onboard electronics, your power station, and anything you’ve got plugged in on the inside of your RV. This could include your microwave, televisions, etc.
Some of these surge protectors come with a built-in power tester with a gauge that is located in the cord of the “dogbone” — the nickname for the surge protector due to the way it resembles a dog bone shape.
No matter which type of surge protector you decide to get, remember that it is an investment because it only takes one bad plug-in to destroy everything you’ve got plugged in.
Most surge protectors will let you know right away with an alarm if you attempt to use an outlet that is bad in any way. This can happen in campgrounds, so don’t assume that it won’t happen to you. It can completely fry your power center, blow fuses, and destroy your sensitive electronics such as televisions, stereos, phones, and chargers.
If you find yourself setting up in a storm, you can also rest assured that having a surge protector on the line can reduce your risk of electrical shock as well. You could save thousands of dollars and a good surge protector will be worth its weight in gold to you if you’ve ever had electrical issues from surges.
A few of the best surge protectors
Hughes Autoformers PWD30
Hughes Autoformers was the2019 RVIA Product of the Year Runner Up + 2019 RISE Award Finalist. This is considered the premier surge protector, with the best protection available on the market. 4800 joules of protection and a replaceable surge unit with automatic shut-off. You can trust this one to protect your RV and everything in it.
The Camco 55301 is a highly reviewed surge protector offering auto connect/disconnect, diagnostic LEDs, and up to 2,800 Joules of surge protection. When dangerous conditions are detected, this unit will automatically disconnect and then will reconnect when it is safe to do so. The LEDs will also notify you of any issues when connecting to the power pedestal.
Progressive Industries HW30C
The Progressive Industries HW30C 30 amp hardwired RV surge protector is designed to be wired right into your RV electric cord. It is designed to control surges and protect electrical equipment.
It also will protect you from under-voltage situations when you are at a campground where everyone is running air conditioning on high and the voltage drops too low. This can also damage equipment.
None of these items are overly expensive when you take into consideration the overall cost of purchasing and maintaining an RV. The average RV can cost tens of thousands of dollars, with some units climbing into the upper 5-figures or even 6-figures.
The cost to have these three simple pieces of equipment is minimal and should be considered insurance for your investment. If you don’t have these items, you should consider getting them as quickly as you can so you are safe and protected the very next time you go camping.
You simply can’t justify not spending a few bucks to have these safety features working to keep your ‘home away from home’ safe at all times. Not to mention the fact you won’t have to spend hundreds or thousands in repairs later on because you didn’t get one.