Category Tutorials

7 misconceptions about towing a trailer

Although daunting at first, towing a vehicle is a very simple task once you understand the basics. To demystify the art of the tow for everybody, we decided to expose a couple of myths in the camping world. This post is meant as an introduction to towing and is not meant for people who have towing experience! That being said, if you’ve heard about a towing misconception that you want to debunk. Do it here – In the comments section below!

1. Tongue weight is not important

Tongue weight is the weight of the trailer that rests on the hinge of the apparatus. It is important to take this number seriously. If it’s too high, the trailer will tilt forward and cause difficulty when steering affecting the balance of your convoy. If the number is too low, your trailer will nose upwards also causing your convoy to be unbalanced.

Incorrect estimations could lead to hitch failure – that’s when your trailer comes off the hitch ball! It is important to ensure even load weight distribution across all the trailer axles. The best way to do it is by using a weight distribution system, or requesting professional assistance. It is always best to have most the weight in the trailer concentrated on the axles. This will help keep the trailer leveled and keep tongue weight in the 10 – 15 % range, which is the recommended range for this measure.


2. GCWR and GVWR are the same thing

False. These numbers stand for completely different things. Prior to hitching your trailer to your towing vehicle, you’ll need to do a little maths and clear two maths problems. Don’t worry guys, it’s just addition!

First is the GCWR. That number needs to exceed the weight of the following:

  • Tow vehicle
  • Trailer
  • Occupants
  • Cargo of both the trailer and the towing vehicle

Second is the GVWR. That number needs to exceed the weight of the following:

  • Towing vehicle and its cargo
  • Tongue weight

3. The hitch ball doesn’t need to perfectly match the trailer tongue

The hitch is the most vulnerable part of your convoy when you’re on the road, so don’t take any risks by not perfectly fitting the trailer onto the hitch. Hitch balls come in various diameters including 1 7/8″, 2″, 2 5/16″ and infrequently, 3″. Some people seem to think that the safety chains can compensate for wrong hitch ball size, however this is a bad idea if you care about safety and law.

For more information about the differance between GCWR and GVWR check out this source


4. You need towing side view mirrors by law

This is only true when the size of your trailer obstructs you from seeing the tail of your convoy and the cars behind you. In this case yes, you will need some special made towing mirrors that are available in all auto shops.

If this is not the case, you just need to adjust your mirrors to give you a wider view.

That being said, what matters most is for you to be comfortable driving with a trailer hitched to your tow vehicle. So if you feel that you need better visibility of your rear, then of course go ahead and upgrade your side view mirrors. Better visibility is never a bad thing!


5. Reversing is not possible when towing a trailer

This is actually not the case. Reversing is totally possible when towing a trailer even with a large payload. It is however extremely difficult to do if you have little experience. So it is recommended to avoid reversing as much as possible, especially when you’re learning.

If you’re in a situation where you need to reverse however:

  • Avoid sharp turns
  • Do it very slowly
  • Recruit a buddy to spot you from the outside

6. The trailer bearings don’t need special care

Trailer bearings should be inspected, cleaned, and regreased annually, since they are exposed to rust and environmental damage. Left unattended, they could cause trailer breakdown, and bring about huge towing and repair costs. You should maintain and lubricate all the bearings inside your trailer’s wheel mechanisms, to avoid excess friction and trailer degradation.


7. Trailers and 5th wheels are hitched the same way

Many believe that the only difference between 5th wheels and trailers is the inside. But the difference in both vehicles however is the hitching. In turn, the special hitching mechanism of the 5th wheel allows you to tow much bigger payloads.

To hitch a 5th wheel, you need an empty truck bed. There is no other way to do it (Although I have seen 5th wheels hitched to the roofs of cars!). The hitching mechanism resides in the bed of the truck, not at the rear bumper. When properly installed, the weight of the trailer is actually pressing down between the cab of the pickup and the rear axle.

For more about the difference between trailers and 5th wheels, check out this source.


And there you have it, 7 myths about towing a trailer debunked. If you have any questions or comments, share them with us in the bottom! We’re glad to help clear any further misconceptions for you!

10 Perfect Christmas Presents for the RV Geek

Christmas is upon us and it’s time to start buying gifts for our closest loved ones. For family and friends of the RV geek, picking the right gift can be a daunting challenge. You could be looking for a quick $5 gift or you could be looking to grab Santa by the ankles and drop a couple of hundreds on your favorite camper this holiday season. In order to help everyone out, we’ve compiled some of our favorite camping products, things we don’t usually go camping without.

If you have more questions about a particular item, drop us a comment in the bottom of this post and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!


Magic Screen [ $90 – $800 ]

 

Magic Screen is a bendable outdoor screen that folds out and gets grounded like a tent. All you need is a phone, projector and Magic Screen and you’ll have an 80’ outdoor cinema system you can call your own.

The company behind Dashbon says that the existing products out there don’t address the consumer’s need for a one step solution to screening in the wild: “We’ve always hated the fact that we have to drag along those bulky pull-up/pull-down projection screen to the campsite or those inflatable screens that require external power supply to pump the air.” Magic Screen is the answer to that frustration.


Nikon ACULON A211 Binoculars [ $140 ]

Binoculars are considered an essential tool for campers, especially if your special someone is a boondocking enthusiast. Whether you use it to scout prospect areas for camping or just want to watch nature, no other binoculars come close to the Nikon ACULON A211 in the $100 price range. If you’re looking to give your loved one the gift of sight this holiday season, make sure to opt in for ACULON binoculars.


Xmas Ornament [ $9.50 ] & Xmas T-shirt [ $15 ]

 

“The shitter’s full” branded items have been hot commodities amongst RVers in the last couple of years. Nothing connects RVers like their dislike for emptying the nasty one. If you’re looking for a cheap and “xmas-y” gift this Christmas, or even just looking to add a camping theme to your Christmas tree, why not get something comical?

We loved the catch phrase so much we’ve decided to show you the T-shirt version as well – Just to spread the enthusiasm year-long!


Custom Sign [ $70 ]

If you’re looking to personalize your RV, then look into ordering a custom sign. The sign can say many things: a name, an address, a catch phrase or even an inside joke. Precision carving Inc. offers great vintage looking designs at convenient prices. Just to get your creative juices flowing here are a couple of examples of what you can get carved on your custom sign.

  • Eleanor & Sam Phillips
  • Never far from Texas
  • Everywhere is home
  • Home of the green pony and the 10 legged spider
  • The Wilsons
  • 1000 Forever Free St.

The DJI Phantom Drone [ $500 ]

Why not branch out into something totally new? Flying drones is the fastest growing activity among RVers because it goes hand in hand with exploration and discovery. You can take a look at what’s around the corner or film your surroundings from above.

Nowadays the technology has come far enough that they are easy to manage and the learning curve to operate them has certainly gone down since they first became popular around 10 years ago. If you’re looking to gift a good entry level drone that’s easy to handle, customize and operate, then go ahead and take a closer look at the DJI Phantom, one of the most popular drones on the market at the moment.


Viking Chess [ $45 ]

Ah Viking Chess… For those of you who don’t know it, Viking chess is a mix of strategy and targeting skill. Although the name might hint at a board game, it is anything but. It’s an outdoor sport that requires the same physical ability you would need to play darts or horseshoes. This game is a Campanda favorite and is as much fun being played by two players as it is being played by 10. To find out how to play, check out the video below.


Rainbow Fire Sticks [ $5 ]

These fire sticks make for a nice add-on or small gift for people looking to add a little bit of whimsy in their campsite. If you didn’t guess it from the name, it makes your campfire burn in a collection of rainbow colors. Just throw some of the magic sticks in your campfire and watch it go to work in shades of melon green, candy pink and baby blue!


Amazon Prime [ $100 / year]

If Mr. Gift-receiver is constantly on the move, then there is no better gift than Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime allows the camper to receive packages while on the go. So if they know they’re going to be arriving at a campsite the next day and they plan on staying there two nights. They can quickly order and receive their package within 48 hours.

Amazon Prime is quickly changing the way people shop online. It definitely makes ordering online more convenient. It brings America’s favorite products to your RV door step promptly. A truly thoughtful gift.

The $99 annual subscription also gives you free access to a collection of tv shows, movies, music and books. Here is a list of what’s included.

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Unlimited movies and TV shows
  • Unlimited music streaming
  • Unlimited reading on any device
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • You save 25% on prepayment discounts

The Otto O.F.B Grill [ $1,050 ]

Let’s face it everyone loves steak. Cooking them in a frying pan however quickly gets the RV messy, oily and don’t even get me started about the slippery floors. Thankfully there is a new high-tech compact oven made by Otto. Not only does an indoor grill solve the cleanliness problem, but the Otto happens also to make incredible perfectly cooked steaks with a charred crust. The Otto functions as high octone grill, so even if steak isn’t your thing, it’s still a great piece of equipment.

The Otto heats up in 3 minutes and cooks steaks at a temperature of 1700 F. It’s also very easy to clean and is powered via a propane tank. This is convenient for RVs where electricity is a precious commodity and space is scarce. The Otto is not cheap by any means but if you’re looking to invest in an oven for an RV, then it’s definitely worth the money.


The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Generator [ $900 ]

If the lucky camper does not already have one of those then perhaps it’s time to get him one. Generators are lifesavers and dry camping without them is a pain since most of us always need some kind of access to electricity. Like the Otta grill, a generator isn’t cheap. However it’s a tool that the camper will use over and over again so it pays for itself on the long term.

Yamaha generators are more efficient and run quieter than most generators out there. The Ef2000 series is also capable of outputs up to 2000 watts powering a number of appliances in tandem.


So there you have it, a fun little list of products to consider for lucky happy campers this Christmas. Have other ideas you want to share? Tell us about them and share the Christmas joy!

Planning an RV trip in Europe? Here is what to expect

Who hasn’t dreamt of hitting the open road with the family, the dog and all of dad’s bad jokes? Doing so in Europe is a great way to explore a continent full of history, lakes and beaches. I just went on my first RV trip in Europe last month with the rest of the Campanda team and got to see first hand how camping in Europe really is. So I decided to write a little guide about how to plan it and what to expect. But first, here are a couple of photos from our trip! Continue reading

Living in an RV: The good, the bad and the ugly

No matter how old you are, how your finances are, what family structure you have, people have proved that anyone can live on the road as long as they love traveling above all else – true travel. The one unchanging factor between all their experiences is work. They all are able to work remotely and independently unless they are retired of course. Most RVers, are bloggers, writers, designers, programmers, reviewers, journalists and traveling salesman. They turn mobility and travel into a no-factor or even better an advantage. Continue reading

RV plumbing for dummies – parts, cleaning and winterizing

If you’re new to RVs and are looking to educate yourself about how water and waste is handled on board, than this RV plumbing guide for dummies is for you. RV plumbing is very different than the plumbing you have at home, because it is designed to conserve as much water as possible. In this guide, we will go through the basic components that make up your RV’s plumbing system, how and when to clean each component and how to set up your RV for winter in cold climates otherwise known as “winterizing” you RV. Continue reading

Finding free RV parking in cities: A step by step guide

 
There are three main ways to find free RV parking when I get to a new city. Through my phone, through mega store parking lots and by just parking in the street. Each city is different, so more likely than not you will be rotating between these three strategies when you arrive in a new place.
Here is the process by which I decide which method is best for each city I arrive in.

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Rent out your RV with us!

It’s finally here, the moment we’ve been waiting for!

For the best part of last year we’ve been working hard to bring you our peer to peer product. A way for people to list, rent out and monetize their beloved camping vehicles. Today, you can rent out your RV with Campanda. Continue reading

10 tips to maximize Inquiries to your RV

Here at Campanda, we have a lot of experience about the wants and desires of campers. As a global company we have had the privelage of working with many commercial RV rental dealers and campers and we have learned quite a bit in the process about what the people want. Recently we have opened up our listings to the public, which means anyone can list their RV for rent on Campanda. The following is things to keep in mind if you want to maximize demand and inquiries on your vehicle. Listen closely, because these are tried and tested and they work. Continue reading