Tools For The Road – Part 2
Posted On March 6, 2021
In this Part 2 of Tools For The Road, (If you missed Part 1 Read It Here). The following 4 items below is a list of items that we carry which we also consider as “tools” . Over the years of Boondocking our Tool Kit has enabled us to maintain and repair our complete rig (truck and trailer) in the middle of nowhere. Again, I also realise that some things on this list may not be required because of how you camp (or glamp if you will), or travel, or have a trailer different from an Airstream, or how you maintain your trailer – i.e, DIY or only take it to a dealer/repair shop (dang, there’s that long sentence again). Never-the-less, here is the rest of the tools we carry.
1. Shore Power Hook-up Management System
There are several item that are important to own if you are going to connect your trailer to power pedestals at campgrounds to make sure every thing is OK. Our Airstream has a 30AMP 120 Volt System, so I am speaking specifically with that in mind. However, the suggestions here apply to trailers that are much larger with 50AMP Systems.
First, never plug your trailer directly into a campground power pedestal without a “Surge Protector,” also known as an Electrical Management System (EMS). These devices check and monitor the power like a voltmeter but they also take action when something is wrong. If your EMS detects a problem, it will instantly cut the power to your trailer. Thus saving your trailers electrical wiring and appliances from damage. Most of the good ones will automatically re-connect the power when it is safe. Portable EMS also act as a tester, telling you when plugged-in if there is a short circuit and/or ground fault.
The second item we carry is a selection of “dog bones“. (50AMP to 30AMP, 30AMP to 15AMP) which allow us connection options.
The third item we carry is a AC 80-300Volt plug-in LCD Digital Voltmeter Measuring Monitor. This is plugged-in to an outlet inside the trailer when you’re plugged into shore power. This will show you the voltage that is powering your system on an on-going basis. This is important for you to be able to verify that there is a constant 120 volts powering the system. While the EMS will protect from power surges, LOW Voltage can also be problematic especially in running air conditioners.
Just as an aside, we also carry a 30 foot long, 30AMP extension power cord. The 25 foot power cord that came with the trailer works great when at a campground to connect to the usual campground pedestal. However, as a Boondocker, when we need to run our 3400 watt Champion Generator from the back of our truck, 25 feet is usually 10-15 feet to short!.
2. Coupler Vault
I have written an extensive blog post on Trailer Security From Theft (read post here) .
We DO NOT travel without our coupler vault. Once we are set-up, we secure the coupler with our Coupler Locking System, remove the chains and kill the power to the jack. I am not going to discuss this in detail here – I invite you to read the blog post. We have a 2004 Airstream which is worth about $50,000 cdn (about $40,000 us), so spending a couple of hundred bucks to secure it from theft seems like cheap insurance to me. By the way, when you’re deciding what to buy, you get what you pay for – just saying.
3. Good Quality Fresh and Separate Grey Water Hoses
There are hoses and then there are hoses. I, once upon a time, carried 25 feet of “orange” hose to use for cleaning and 25 feet of “white” food safe fresh water hose to use for connecting to city water at campgrounds and to fill my “fresh drinking water” tank. The first thing I discover was they don’t store well (taking way to much room) and the second thing was the 25 feet usually was to short! There are several brands of collapsible hoses on the market to choose from. We use the Zero-G Blue designed for potable water in 50 ft lengths (we carry two) and the Zero-G Grey for the general cleaning. Both collapse into a very small package and easily store in their appropriate box. (Yep, there is a Blog Post on this too – Water Hoses – Blue & Grey).
4. Our Champion 3400 Inverter Generator
I put this on the list of “tools” because for us this is a tool. If you travel or Boondock, I suggest you carry something that you can used to charge your “trailer batteries“. Read our Blog Post on – Why We Love Our Generator. It does not have to be as BIG a generator as the 3400 Champion, but for my money it was the right choice – just saying.
Well, if you have been counting Parts 1 + 2 equals 8 (expanded ?) items in our Tool Kit – hope that helps you work through yours. 😎