Sunday, June 19, 2022

A New Hitch for My Airstream Basecamp 16

Blue Ox Weight Distribution, Anti-sway Hitch
When I initially purchased my 2021 Basecamp in June of 2020 (six-month wait till delivery), the salesperson added a weight-distribution, anti-sway hitch for free. Picking up the Basecamp in December of 2020, I was told that my Nissan Pathfinder didn't need the hitch: it wasn't a big enough trailer. RV One in Des Moines, Iowa, talked me into substituting the hitch for a free electric jack. 

Fast forward to May of 2022 when I took the trailer in to RV One in Des Moines, Iowa, for some warranty work. "Look," the service agent said, "see how the rear of your Pathfinder is sagging? You need a weight-distribution hitch!" This, of course, is what I had felt all along and was actually going to bring up the topic during the visit. 

I told my story, and the agent said, "They didn't have an Airstream Basecamp/SUV solution back in 2020. Airstream has partnered with the company Blue Ox, and now we have a hitch for you." You see, the original RV One salesperson hadn't been the regular Airstream individual, so she didn't know that there wasn't a good Basecamp/SUV hitch solution available back then. I think maybe there was some fancy footwork back then to cover the sales department's lack of knowledge, but after telling the story and asking, I received a ten percent discount on the hitch.

The Blue Ox TrackPro owner's manual states: "The TrackPro is a revolutionary hitch that not only handles weight distribution but sway prevention as well by using the combination of loaded spring bars, friction L brackets and an integrated hitch head. As the trailer tries to sway it puts a heavier load on one side of the bars, as this happens the spring bars will pivot on the hitch head and balance load working with the friction L brackets to prevent and control trailer sway. The TrackPro will also conquer weight distribution at the same time, putting more weight on the towing vehicles front tires which increases steering control and braking giving you a safer and easier driving experience."

I think probably this description of the TrackPro's functioning also describes what all weight-distribution, anti-sway hitch arrangements do, but I can say that the Blue Ox hitch does a great job. Having just returned from a trip from Iowa to California and back without the new hitch, I can really tell the difference. The new hitch provides more stability and control while towing. Now, as a retired English teacher, I can also say the owner's manual needs a bit more proofreading attention, but since I'm retired, I'll give the company a pass. My attention is on safe towing, and this hitch provides much more stability when turning; the feel of centrifugal force is much less pronounced with the wider hitch base.

I've summarized some of the drama and jiving that took place regarding RV One and my finally acquiring the new hitch. The service agent said, though, that there had been a reorganization of the service department, with all Airstream service flowing across her desk. Things did seem more orderly during this visit, compared with my purchase and pick-up experiences. I enjoyed working with Jill Holland, the service agent; and the Certified Airstream Technician, Marvin Sorber, was also easy to work with. He explained the hitch's set-up to me and let me do the hook-up work, providing information and suggestions as I proceeded. He also did the warranty work needed, which got me on the camping road again.

I'm writing this blog post now while camping in Backbone State Park, the oldest state park in Iowa. It's good to be back on the road, and I'm glad I chose to buy the Airstream Basecamp. Although having the Airstream dealership two and a half hours away is a bit of a trip, it's certainly less than the two-day drive that would be necessary for a Canadian travel trailer my wife and I had considered buying. I'll stop now and take a few minutes to gaze out my front-window perspective at the rising sun. Hmmm--what's for breakfast? French toast, I think!

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  1. I'm glad it's all working out. I wondered, when I saw the title, why you were needing to buy a new hitch when the trailer is still so new, but I'm glad you did! I agree, there was some fancy footwork going on when you picked it up.

    1. The sales staff really didn't want to admit to ignorance and inefficiency.