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RV & Towing Accessory Buyer's Guide
Sylvia Alarid, Camping Life Magazine
A “designer gray” Tyvek RV by DuPont is the company’s newest fabric to be offered on its custom-fit RV covers. Combining the breathability of a natural fiber with the water resistance of a coated fabric, the company says Tyvek RV is specially engineered to keep out abrasive dirt and dust, and be resistant to such things as bird droppings. With this type of protection, the user wouldn’t have to wash or wax his RV as often. The fabric also helps to keep the RV cooler by reflecting infrared heat, blocking the sun’s strong UV rays to protect paint and interior surfaces of leather, rubber or vinyl. Price depends on the make and model of a RV. Adco: 800/541-2326; adco.com.
The roll-up covers under the company's Access line are made specific to various truck models, and now the company offers a model designed for the 2007 Chevy/GMC truck. Made of heavy-duty, double-coated reinforced vinyl with a textured finish, the Chevy/GMC cover features direct tension adjusters and angled side rails. Its benefits are three-fold: It helps protect items stored in the bed of your truck, provides an aesthetic touch, and helps reduce aerodynamic drag, improving gas mileage. $469-$489 depending on Chevy/GMC model and application. Agri-Cover: 800/233-4655; /agricover.com/
With a Class IV rating for 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and 1000 pounds vertical towing weight, the Tow & Stow hitch offers three ball sizes, allowing the user to adjust each ball size vertically in 1-inch increments. Large locking pins hold everything in place, and pulling out the pins and using a single locking point allows for lock and stowage. Users can also flip the hitch in the receiver to get even more lift or drop, as well as turn the hitch underneath itself and tuck it away beneath the vehicle's bumper to avoid injury to shins. $172 and up depending on vehicle model. B&W: 800/248-6564; /turnoverball.com/.
4- BULLY DOG
The company's Performance Management Tool (PMI) allows users to increase, adjust and monitor the power, performance and characteristics of their vehicle. The PMT serves primarily as a downloading unit, with four pre-set performance settings. A setting called Crazy Larry - downloaded for free from the company's website - can add as much as 230 additional horsepower to an engine, according to the company. The unit's performance levels can be adjusted on-the-fly while it's mounted in the cab of a vehicle, and it also acts as a monitoring gauge, allowing the user to scan diagnostic trouble codes. MSRP: $1175. Bully Dog: 866/BULLYDOG; /bullydog.com/.
5- CAREFREE OF COLORADO
The 12-volt Travel'r electric awning offers push-button operation using a worm-gear motor to prevent the awning from getting caught by a gust of wind and billow during travel. The awning is available in two models. The flat pitch model works with travel trailers and even patio awnings mounted over slideout rooms. It also comes with the company's Rain-Dump feature, which automatically releases pooled water. The steep pitch model suits taller fifth-wheels to provide maximum shade. $759. Carefree of Colorado: 800/; /carefreeofcolorado.com/.
6- COVERCRAFT INDUSTRIES
Cover your transportable basecamp with a custom trailer cover by Covercraft. The company's new WeatherAll covers are made from a new premium fabric called Weather MaxLT that helps retain the cover's color and strength in severe outdoor exposure, be water resistant and UV protected while maintaining good looks. According to Covercraft, the solution-dyed yarns in the fabric help solve the sagging and wetting problems associated with acrylics. Price based on the overall length of the covered portion of the RV (trailer tongue not included). Covercraft Industries: 800/4COVERS (426-8377); /rvcovers4u.com/.
With the ability to handle trailers with up to eight brakes and four axles, the Activator II all-electronic brake control allows drivers to adjust the amount of braking power in their vehicle as well as the rate of application according to his preference, road conditions, type of trailer and load. The driver can control the amount and rate of braking from soft to aggressive. The device's digital output display provides positive feedback, and shows when the trailer brakes are properly connected. It also shows troubleshooting messages to help identify potential problems such as overload. $107.96. Draw-Tite: 800/632-3290; /draw-tite.net/.
The Trailer Guardian helps stop the trailer coupler from accidentally popping off of a vehicle's tow ball while towing. The device installs quickly with a universal application that fits most ball and coupler combinations. The company says the Trailer Guardian will stay connected to the tow vehicle even if there is a faulty hookup, an improperly secured coupler latch, loss of nut from the tow ball or equipment failure. A lock can be inserted in one of the spring pin holes to secure the trailer to the tow vehicle. $51.99. DuraSafe: 866/544-5615; /durasafelocks.com/.
GM Duramax owners can dramatically increase their engine's torque and horsepower with Edge Products' Juice with Attitude combination, designed for 2006-'07 LBZ and LLY models. The Juice plug-in module boosts power via six on-the-fly adjustable power levels, adding 30 to 100 hp and 60 to 200 ft.-lb. of torque, depending on the power level selected, according to the company. The Attitude in-cab controller replaces add-on boost and exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauges, showing digital readouts. $949. Edge Products: 888/360-3343; /edgeproducts.com/.
10- FAN-TASTIC VENT
Standing 14 inches tall on retractable legs, and is less than 4 inches deep and weighs less than 5 pounds, the portable Endless Breeze provides air movement of up to 900 cubic feet per minute via its 12-inch blade that can operate at three different speeds. The fan's maximum current draw is 3 amps, and comes with a 12-volt plug and cord. It's also easy to store in your vehicle, tent, camper or anywhere else. MSRP: TK Fantastic Vent: 800/521-0298; /fantasticvent.com/
Protect your high-powered RV ceiling fan with the FanMate, a rain cover that works with a thermostatically controlled, fan-powered roof vent's normal operation. Once the FanMate is installed, the RV's roof vent will stop opening, as it typically does when it comes in contact with an obstruction such as a tree branch. The FanMate is available in three models. $71.95 Model 400; $94.49 Model 800; $99.95 Model 900 (shown). Maxxair Vent Corp.: 800/780-9893; /maxxair.com/
The Pursuit fold-away luggage carrier provides that extra carrying capacity for family trips or camp outings. This roof-top carrier is semi rigid and offers the stability of a hard-top carrier, but can fold down virtually flat when not in use. Fully opened, the Pursuit offers 13.5 cubic feet of volume and mounts to most sedans, wagons and SUVs. A rainproof cover is also included. $269.98. ROLA: 800/632-3290; /rolaproducts.com/.
13- SOFT RIDE
Those looking to add security to their existing ball mounts should consider the company's QuietRide tightening hitch pin with lock. Designed to fit hollow ball mounts compatible with 2-inch receiver hitches, the company says the product's design helps protect both two vehicle and cargo. The hitch pin has a specially designed enclosure that secures an anti-rattle nut inside the ball mount. A 5/8-inch stainless steel bolt cinches the nut securely to the side of the receiver. The cinching results in less side-to-side, up/down and forward/back "slop" other hitch receivers may cause. $34.99. Soft Ride: 360/647-7420; /softride.com/.
14- TRANSFER FLOW
Beefier engines benefit greatly from having beefier fuel tank systems for those extra long hauls. A larger replacement fuel tank system is available for the 2007 GM 2500 and 3500 series diesel pickups. The tanks are made from 12- and 14-gauge aluminized steel and come with all of the components needed for installation. A 45-gallon ($795) and 56-gallon ($907) replacement fuel tank system is available for crew cab and extended cab pickups. The 45-gallon model fits those models with a 6-foot bed, while the 56-gallon system fits the models with an 8-foot bed. Transfer Flow: 800/442-0056; /transflerflow.com/.