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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Should You Use a Husky Weight Distribution Hitch?

There are many different types and classes of trailer hitches. Regardless of the type of hitch, the class of hitch determines the load it’s equipped to carry when paired with a vehicle that can accept it.

-       Class I hitches are for light trailers only, typically rated up to 2,000 lbs gross trailer weight (GTW). Tongue weight (TW) should not exceed 200 lbs.

-       Class II hitches are for medium weight loads and are usually rated to 3,500 lbs gross trailer weight. Tongue weight should not exceed 300 lbs.

-       Class III hitches are for “large” loads and trailers. Typically rating allows maximum gross trailer weights of 6,000 lbs, with tongue weight not to exceed 600 lbs.

-       Class IV hitches are also for large loads and are typically rated up to 10,000 lbs, with tongue weight not to exceed 1,000 lbs.

-       Class V hitches are for the largest trailers and accessories, and may be rated up to 12,000 lbs; tongue weight should not exceed 1,200 lbs.

There are also a wide range of different types of trailer hitches, such as front mount trailer hitches, 5th wheel trailer hitches, rear receiver trailer hitches, gooseneck trailer hitches, pintle hitches, and others - including special types of trailer hitch known as a weight distribution trailer hitchs. Here at RV Upgrades, we offer a wide range of different weight distribution hitches, including Reese and Husky weight distribution hitches.

Here’s something else. The maximum gross trailer weight within a given class can actually increase when a weight-distribution hitch is used, which means that all things being equal, it may be possible for you to safely tow larger loads with a qualified weight distribution hitch like a Reese or Husky weight distribution hitch.

But to understand why, we need to take a closer look at tongue weight, what it is, and why it matters. 

Tongue Weight: What It Is, Why It Matters 

Gross trailer weight is the weight of the trailer and the load you are towing. This weight does not change and cannot be altered except by lightening the load. Tongue weight, by contrast, is the force that presses down on the tongue of your trailer, at the point where it connects to the hitch. While gross trailer weight cannot be adjusted without altering the load itself, tongue weight can be adjusted with a weight-distribution hitch.

While every hitch has its own specifications, as a general rule of thumb, it’s an accepted best practice not to allow tongue weight to exceed 10% to 15% of the gross trailer weight. Take a look back through the hitch classes above and you will see that the accepted tongue weight for each class lies at 10% or less of the gross trailer weight.

Gross trailer weight affects the handling of the vehicle towing it, to be certain, but tongue weight has a pronounced effect on handling. Tongue weight that is too heavy will shift too much of the load to your rear axle, raising your front axle slightly.

This could result in a number of problems. For one, it will alter your visibility, which can be a hazard. It will also handle the braking performance of your towing vehicle, and since the front axle will be lifted slightly, it can adversely impact your ability to steer effectively. You may also experience trailer sway, which can make it difficult to handle a load safely and effectively.

Sometimes it isn’t always apparent that tongue weight is too high, but let’s cover some of the basic signs that may give it away.

Signs Your Load Is Too Heavy or Poorly Balanced 

If your tongue weight is too high, you may experience some of the following signs that can tip you off:

-       Your load is swaying slightly back and forth while you’re trying to maintain a straight course (trailer sway).

-       Your towing vehicle’s headlights seem to be angled up and off of the road, or are just too high.

-       You can actually see that the rear of your towing vehicle has visibly dipped toward the road when the load is hitched up.

-       You notice a pronounced difference in handling when turning or braking.

If you experience these issues, a weight-distribution hitch may be able to help. Another reason you might want to invest in a Husky weight distribution hitch is if you simply want to tow the maximum capacity load permitted, given the specifications of your vehicle and tow hitch.


How Does a Husky Weight Distribution Hitch Help? 

A weight distribution hitch, like a Husky weight distribution hitch, basically does exactly what its name suggests. It redistributes weight across the hitch and axles so that all of the weight does not fall on one point. Many weight distribution hitches use a system of spring bars that redistribute the weight so that the force affects all of the axles more equally. This means that weight distribution hitches can help with sway control, handling, and safety.

Because weight distribution hitches are specifically designed to help redistribute weight, they are generally reserved for larger loads like campers. By redistributing the weight, weight distribution hitches make it possible for your hitch to tow its maximum capacity. For example, although Class V hitches are typically rated to a maximum gross trailer weight of 12,000 lbs, with a weight-distribution hitch, Class V hitches may be able to tow loads up to 17,000 with a tongue weight not to exceed 1,700 lbs.

It is important to note here that you must be familiar with the limitations and specifications of your specific hitch and vehicle. The numbers given in this article are estimates and not manufacturer specifications. Moreover, a weight-distribution hitch does not enable your vehicle to tow higher loads; it only enables your hitch itself to more effectively manage heavier loads by redistributing the weight of the load.

Get a Husky Weight Distribution Hitch Here!

If you have any specific questions about our different weight distribution hitches or how much you can tow, please feel free to contact us at 866-332-7881 and we will be happy to help make recommendations or suggestions.

Friday, October 15, 2021

On the Fence about a Water Softener for Your RV? Read This

Of the many responsibilities you will have to manage as an RV owner, a water softener system might not captivate your interest or be the primary focus of your attention. All the same, even though a water softener for your RV might not be the most exciting of RV accessories, an easy-to-use, dependable system that protects your RV from hard water scale can actually be a highly valuable investment.

Let’s take a closer look at how a water softener for your RV actually protects your RV against hard water and why it matters in the long run. 

What Is Hard Water Scale? 

To understand why a water softener for your RV is worthwhile, we need to understand what hard water scale is and what causes it.

Water is typically referred to as either hard or soft, depending on its concentration of dissolved minerals. Soft water is typically low in dissolved minerals, whereas hard water is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals. Numerous minerals may be contained in hard water, but the two most common minerals present in hard water are calcium and magnesium. Groundwater that comes into contact or filters through limestone or chalk is typically fairly high in concentrations of these minerals.

Hard water is not universally considered a bad thing, and it’s even been said that hard water has a better flavor than soft water or that hard water can help supply your diet with essential minerals. That being said, hard water can be a problem for your RV, its plumbing system, and its appliances. 

Does Scale Really Pose a Threat to My RV? 

Hard water is present across the United States in varying concentrations, with much of the country receiving either “very hard” or “moderately hard” water designation by the United States Geological Survey.

If you consistently expose your RV’s plumbing system and appliances to hard water, you could be incurring damage that, though not irreversible, can be very costly to rectify.

When you run hard water through a pipe, it leaves behind a very small deposit of a material called scale. Scale is a conglomeration of the dissolved minerals in the water that accumulates on the inside of pipes or fixtures. After a while, scale builds up on the inside of pipes, resulting in two pronounced negative effects.

One is that a buildup of scale inside of your RV’s plumbing system can diminish its flow rates, which is an inconvenience. However, scale accumulation also increases the water pressure within the pipes, which can damage the plumbing system, its fittings, and appliances as well. Rectifying hard water damage after it has progressed beyond a certain point can be expensive and may necessitate the replacement of pipes and fittings.

Hard water scales will also accumulate on faucets, in sinks, and within appliances. At first, it will present as nothing more than a cloudy discoloration or off-white or yellow stains, but over time, the scale will continue to accumulate, resulting in unsightly spotting and discoloration.

While scale can be removed from faucets and sinks, it is difficult to take off and usually requires quite a bit of elbow grease. When scale accumulates within plumbing fixtures and appliances that draw water, the higher pressure can damage them, requiring extensive repairs or even replacement.

Hard water also makes it hard to create soap suds and some say it leaves an unpleasant feeling on skin and hair. In addition, hard water leaves deposits on glassware and serving ware and can make laundry appear dull or “washed out.”

The adverse effects of hard water range from minor inconveniences to the potential to cause serious damage to your RV. On the lookout for hard water? Keep your eyes peeled for these signs.

Need Proof? Here Are Signs of Hard Water Scale 

The following are some of the telltale signs that your RV is experiencing hard water damage. Stay on the lookout for these and you may be able to stop hard water damage before it becomes serious.

-       Lower water pressure in your RV, from your sinks, showerheads, and through appliances.

-       Spotting on glassware, dishes, or silverware.

-       White or yellow stains on sinks, basins, tubs, shower walls, and floors.

-       Your skin or hair feels like there’s an odd film on it after you bathe.

There are other signs of hard water, but these are some of the biggest signs, specifically spotting or staining on fixtures or appliances. If you’re in doubt, you can always use water test strips to be sure.

So, then, the question becomes one of what you can do about it? 

How Can a Water Softener for My RV Make a Difference? 

The answer to the hard water problem, especially for an RV that might be visiting multiple areas of the country and thus multiple diverse water sources, is to use a water softener for your RV. Here at RV Upgrades, we sell a variety of practical portable water softeners that are easy to use, cost-effective, and highly efficient at eliminating hard water, thereby protecting your RV’s plumbing and fixtures.

For example, the On The Go OTG4 Portable RV Water Softener uses a standard hose connection between your RV and the park faucet and requires no tools to install or use or any electricity to operate. It can provide anywhere from 320 to 800 gallons of soft water before it needs to be recharged, and even then you can recharge it with common table salt and potassium chloride.

Other water softeners for your RV are just as easy to use and can recharge easily by adding salt and potassium chloride. We have many water softeners that have varying capacities and water flow rates as well, to meet your specific needs.

With so many different solutions to hard water in the form of RV portable water softeners that are easy to install, use, and recharge, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to provide your family with soft drinking water and protect your RV from the effects of hard water. 

Contact Us to Learn More

If you have any questions about how hard water can damage your RV, how to detect it, what you can do about it, or simply about our products, feel free to get in touch with us. We pride ourselves on our customer service and are here to help - contact us at 866-332-7881.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Shopping for RV Portable Waste Tanks: Make Your Life Easier


Portable RV waste tanks may not be the most exciting of RV accessories, but they certainly do play a big part in ensuring comfort when you’re out on the road or in camp. Waste holding tanks that are manufactured to a high standard of quality, especially larger ones, can minimize your trips to the dump station and help contain odors. Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for a new RV portable waste tank.

Capacity Counts 

Possibly the most important feature of RV portable waste tanks is capacity. It’s a low tech feature, but all of the other attributes we mention in this article won’t be worth very much if your wastewater tank just isn’t big enough.

Four main factors will influence how much space you need in a portable waste tank: How many campers will be along for the trip, how long the trip will be, the space you have in your RV, and the size of your holding tank.

Obviously, you can’t choose a tank that is too large for the space you have allotted to it. You should also ideally choose one that is large enough to carry the entire contents of your gray or black water tank, if possible. 

Integrated Handles and Tow Brackets Save the Day 

Let’s not forget that you need to transport your RV portable waste tank from your RV to the dump station. Even if your portable waste tank isn’t a 42 gallon or a 36-gallon behemoth, water is heavy. A “small” 16 or 25-gallon portable tank will still be really heavy when full.

That’s one of the reasons that integrated tow handles are so valuable. They make it a lot easier to transport and dump your RV’s portable tank at the dump station, and some of them even include tow brackets so you can tow the tank to a dump site instead of lugging it over there by hand. 

Pneumatic Tires for Effortless Transport 

Pneumatic is just a buzzword for a tire that is full of air instead of being made of solid rubber. While solid rubbers are tougher and require no maintenance, pneumatic tires roll more smoothly and absorb some of the bumps of uneven roads.

They also tend to have a larger diameter, which means they are much more capable of rolling over rough terrain. While solid rubber wheels are acceptable for smaller RV portable waste tanks, it makes sense to get pneumatic tires with a larger model. 

Blow Molding and Plated Components Go the Distance 

Since RV portable waste tanks have to carry a lot of weight and are subjected to a lot of other forces while transporting them, sometimes fewer components are better. Read the fine details: many portable waste tanks are made with blow-molded polyethylene and feature plated hardware.

Blow molding is a trusted plastic manufacturing process that creates tough plastic shells and shapes with stronger seams (or, depending on the item, no seams). Plated hardware is also a bonus because it is less subject to corrosion. The tougher, the better; you don’t ever want to experience the failure of a portable waste tank. 

Look for a Level Gauge and Avert Potential Spills 

Level gauges are used to detect the levels of liquids in all sorts of different tanks. In waste tanks, the same principle applies; level gauges help you determine how full a tank is and helps to eliminate guesswork.

In some situations, lack of a level gauge might just be an annoyance, but with the sanitary concerns surrounding waste tanks, a level gauge is a really valuable feature. Determining the level of a portable waste tank can help you prevent overfilling them, which in turn can prevent spills. Check the product features in our collection of RV portable waste tanks and choose one with a level gauge - especially if you get a larger model. 

Choose a Model That Has Everything You Need  

Some of our RV portable waste tanks come with a bayonet cap, a sewer hose or sewer connections, hose clamps, and adapters - in other words, everything you need to fill, transport, and then empty the tank at the dump station. Buy an all-in-one unit and save some time down the line. 

Word to the Wise: Have Holding Tank Treatment on Hand 

One more note. You should consider buying a holding tank treatment. Some treatments like the Camco TST Holding Tank Treatment are 100% biodegradable, safe for septic tanks, and can easily keep a lid on odors for up to a week. They’re worth the few dollars they cost. 

Call Us with Questions

Do you have questions about our RV portable waste tanks? Would you like a recommendation? Contact us at 866-332-7881 and we would be glad to help - you can even text us at the number if it’s easier for you.

Friday, October 1, 2021

A Primer on Keeping Dirt Out of Your RV (with Patio Mats and Other Best Practices)

For die-hard RVers and other campers, camping season is a year-round season. That puts more of the year at your disposal, but it also means that you need to reckon with the dreaded mud season in some parts of the country.

A muddy RV interior is a morale dampener. Beat the mud and dirt with these tips and tricks. 

1.    Be conscientious about your choice of location

The first step you can take towards safeguarding the cleanliness of your RV interior is sort of a passive one. Just be smart about where you park your RV.

We get it. You can’t always choose exactly where you want to park. After all, you need to park somewhere safe, reasonable, and ideally level, and those locations are not always mud-free. Realistically, parking areas at campsites are often very muddy expressly because of the high traffic that keeps grass from growing.

You can’t always avoid mud and dirt, but if you can, you should. Wherever you end up parking, the people with you will have to walk through to get in and out of your RV. Simply choosing a space that’s less muddy can help you in the long run.

2.    Leave muddy shoes outside, by the door - or have a dedicated space for them inside

For those times when you can’t avoid the mud, the next best thing is to enact a rule for all fellow campers to observe: leave boots and shoes outside.

You can’t keep all mud, dirt, leaves, gravel, and other debris outdoors, but by observing this simple rule, you’ll keep the lion’s share of mud out of your RV interior. It’s also an easy habit to observe and enforce. Just get into the habit of taking off your boots and shoes and leaving them outside by the door.

What can help with this effort is if you bring along a dedicated pair of indoor shoes, slippers, or sandals. That will mean you rarely need to bring your outdoor shoes indoors, except when you’re packing up and traveling. And, by the way, when you are on the road, have a dedicated, waterproof bin for outdoor shoes.

3.    Get a boot brush and boot tray

If you can’t leave your outdoor shoes outside or it doesn’t make sense to do so, then you should get a boot brush and a boot tray.

Get in the habit of using the boot brush anytime you plan on entering the RV, and be thorough about it. Most boot brushes have bristles that are poised to clean the sides of your boots as well as the treads on the soles, which is a boon because mud sometimes tracks up to the tops of boots.

You should also have a boot tray somewhere right along or inside the vestibule of the RV. Have occupants brush off and then remove their boots before entering and placing them in the tray.

4.    Bring along a whisk and broom

Being prepared for mud entails more than mud prevention. You need to be ready for when mud and other dirt make their way into your RV. Bring along a whisk and a full-sized broom to help you be better prepared. A whisk will help you spot clean small areas that have noticeable dirt; as for the broom, use it to brush off the steps of your RV periodically, from top to bottom.

5.    Have a small vacuum at the ready

While both whisks and brooms can be instrumental at spot-cleaning and keeping your steps clear of dirt and mud, sometimes it gets into corners and on rugs. It’s pretty hard (if not impossible) to clean these surfaces with a broom alone, so you’ll want a small car vacuum or a vacuum with attachments that will help you clear it out.

6.    Use RV patio pats in and around your outdoor living spaces

If you’re going to spend a lot of time living outdoors at the campsite, such as around a fire ring or under your RV awning, make it a point to bring along RV patio mats. Many patio mats are carefully designed to prevent dirt, mud, sand, and more from being tracked into your RV.

Many RV patio mats are made with a unique weave that allows dirt and sand to filter through one way but prevents them from coming back up to the surface. Just using outdoor area rugs like these in areas with high foot traffic can help prevent dirt from getting tracked through your RV’s interior.

Plus, RV patio rugs are available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and patterns for your outdoor spaces, and many are stain-resistant, fade-resistant, eco-friendly, and easy to clean. Many of them can be easily swept or hosed right off, and are resistant to UV, mold, and mildew! Some of them are even reversible, and there are plenty right here on our site that are available in a wide range of unique patterns and colors, for any setting.

Dirt Is the Enemy! 

Armed with these tips and tricks, you should be better prepared to keep mud and dirt from getting tracked through your RV, which, by the way, is not just a cosmetic issue.

Yes, dirt and mud are unattractive and can make your indoor carpets and floors look drab and worn out, but over time, dirt and mud can adversely affect the value of your RV, potentially even impacting resale.

Take these steps and be proactive about keeping your RV clean and clear of mud, sand, dirt, and other debris. You’ll enjoy your camping trips more and you’ll be safeguarding the long-term value of your investment!

Contact Us! 

Whether you’re looking for an RV outdoor patio mat or another outdoor rug, a boot rack, or a vacuum, you can find most of your mud-fighting equipment right here at RV Upgrades!

Take a look through our collection and if you have any questions or would like more suggestions or recommendations, get in touch with our customer service team at 866-332-7881.