We really like our Hitchhiker II LS 5th wheel. However, we’re missing a few extras that the newer rigs have. A couple of months ago we decided that for the foreseeable future we’d like to make a few upgrades and keep our current 5th wheel. The biggest upgrade for us was adding a power leveling system. We found that the Bigfoot Leveling System by Quadra was highly regarded by most everyone. This is a powerful hydraulic system. They make a fully automatic system – just push the button and it figures out what is level by itself. We opted to save nearly $900 and install a single pump, manual, four jack system. With this system you have a remote control and using the bubble levels already mounted on the camper you level the camper. The guys at the factory told me our 5th wheel was a bigger project than many and it took a day and a half to do the install. The good folks at Quadra were nothing but helpful and professional. They even let us sleep in the camper while it was parked overnight inside their facility. This is a new system for us, but we found ourselves on a rather un-level site our first night out with it. It took just a minute or so to bring the camper perfectly level. Jackie and I were both all smiles watching it work!
Here’s an inexpensive add on that might save some money by detecting water leaks early. We put one of these alarms in the bay of the 5th wheel. The other is under the kitchen sink. Hopefully, they are unnecessary and will never be used. However, just one event in which we are given early warning will make these water alarms worth every penny. We got them at Lowes.
We have three options for heating our camper:
- The furnace – which is very inefficient but produces a lot of heat; runs on propane which we always pay for
- The heat pump – part of the air conditioning system but of limited use when the outside air is colder; runs on electricity which we may or may not pay for
- A space heater – amount of heat depends on the unit; and, again, we may or may not pay for the electricity
The past winters we have used a combination of the three. However, in our case we generally spend the winter months in places where the electric service is part of the campsite, so using electric heat makes a lot of sense for us. We’ve had “cube” heaters that help a lot but still leave the 5th wheel feeling a bit drafty and with uneven heat.
On the RV forums I kept reading about the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower and how happy people are with it so we decided to give one a try. You can find them at several retailers or online. The tower has a digital readout, can be programmed, has a timer, and rotates. It also comes with a remote control. When we got ours it was 68 degrees in the camper – that running our little space heater and with the heat pump set on 72 and cycling on and off. Within a half hour the Lasko had raised the temperature to 75.
I’m thinking we’ll remove the space heaters from service all together; although we may keep one as a backup and to supplement the heat on especially cold mornings. At this point, I recommend this unit to RVers who are looking for alternative heating solutions.
We’re in a site in which the sewer hook up lacks the screw in fitting – its just an open pipe. I’ve seen other solutions – some commercial – and others like filling a sock with sand. However, that gives you one more thing to carry around. Here’s my solution – two tent stakes and an old bungee cord. I’m thinking of patenting it and selling the kit….”this deluxe sewer hose security system can be yours for just $19.95 – but wait! We’ll send you two of these systems for the price of one, just add shipping and handling.” Think I’ll make any money?
(Serious note: don’t drive the tent stakes in too deep – you might hit the sewer pipe)
It isn’t unusual at all for us to end up in a camp site where an extra step would be nice. We looked at different products in RV supply stores and also searched on line to see what was available. Finally, we settled on this exercise “step deck” from Walmart. The cost was less than the RV specific ones we found and it is almost exactly the same size as the RV steps. It can also be adjusted to two heights, 4″ or 6″, and is light weight. If you would like to carry an extra step “just in case” you might want to check out one of these.