What are the basics every travel trailer needs?

We bought a lot of stuff for this camper at the onset. Just like any new hobby there is this initial expenditure of stuff you need or want to buy. On this list I am going to focus on a few things that you really have to have in order to protect the camper and to make your outings safe. This list is made up of the actual products we bought and have experience with, you also get some of the rationale behind why we got what we did.

Wheel Chalks
You need to made sure that your camper is not going to move on its own once its unhooked from the tow vehicle. We choose these tandem chalks as they fit inside the wheel and have much less chance of being kicked out of the way. They can also be used just to chalk one of the tires, don’t always have to put them in the middle. You can also use these as a mini ramp. If you get a flat you can pull the trailer up on one using the good tire and lift it up enough to get the wheel with the bad tire off the ground. They are a little bit of a pain to store, but so far have worked out well for us.

Leveling Blocks
You need to make sure that your camper is level when you pull into a campsite. Many high end sites with concrete pads may not need any attention. Some sites may find you leaning to one side and you need to correct that by putting something under the tires. Some people haul wood plans around, we chose a more modular system with these blocks. You stack them up to give you the height you want and they can also be used under the trailer jacks if you need a little more height to stabilize the trailer.

Surge Protector
You never know what kind of shape the electricity is going to be in when you visit a campground. It is essential to your camper that you protects its electrical system with a surge protector of some type. We choose a power watchdog 30 amp unit for our trailer. It was under $100 and offer the protection we wanted. In the event of a surge that unit can be rebuilt, which makes it a little more cost effective. In addition it has Bluetooth capability so you can monitor current draw and system operation from your phone. The app allows you to set alarms if needed for things like low voltage, outages etc. These can also be a value when it comes to determining current draw on your trailer. I was able to see that the A/C was under 20 amps so I could safely power the unit at home without fear of a problem.

Water Pressure Regulator & Disposable Filter
It amazes me the number of folks I see in campgrounds without these two items. The pressure regulator makes sure that you will not blow plumbing fitting apart inside the trailer hooking to water sources with high pressure. The filter just helps to keep debris and garbage out of the water supple that feeds the trailer. We tend to bring bottled water when we camp for cooking, but use onsite water for all the rest of our needs.
I found no need to get an adjustable pressure regulator, let the preset level be satisfactorily for water pressure and use the gauge to make sure things are in spec. Trust me, we have hit a few camp grounds where the water pressure was like a fire-hose.

Why we chose a Retro trailer.

In June 2020 we took deliver of a brand new Retro 265RB travel trailer. My wife had been looking at retro style trailers for a while. Her original idea was to pick up and old Scotty or Shasta and restore it. With the onset of Covid and looking for new vacation ideas – we went to a local dealer to look at these campers.
Initially she wanted to get a 193 but I didn’t feel there was enough room for two adults and two kids, and especially with we had guests. There was a customers 265RB on the lot and we took a look at it and liked it. The dealer had two on order and two weeks later we came back, looked it over and started the purchase process.
Why did we choose Retro? Here are a few points:
– We like the styling of the Retro trailers. They would realistically never go out of style as they are based on the trailers of the 50’s and 60’s. The simple birch interiors would wear well and never really need updating. Given the relatively neutral decor it would be pretty easy to theme up the trailer the way we choose.
– They are built on an aluminum frame which makes them lighter than similar sized trailers and prevents and potential wood rot from occurring in the critical frame areas.
– Among the reviews online this brand of trailer seemed to have less issues than most, and better build quality.
– We had a dealer that was close by and was selling these without much inflation beyond MSRP.