Keep Camping Safe: 5 Critical Tips For Campers

Up to 78.8 million U.S. households camped in 2019–a figure that has increased at 7.2 million in the last five years, according to the most recent North American Camping Report. Whether you are a lifelong camping enthusiast or just discovered your love for camping in recent years, it is important to prioritize safety above all else. Follow these tips for a safe and memorable camping trip.

1. Pack The Essentials

Draft up a realistic itinerary of what you plan to do on your trip, and go from there. If you plan to spend most of the time onsite sitting around the campfire, your packing list may look very different than the packing lists of those planning to embark on hiking trips and outdoor excursions. Generally, it is wise to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, a flashlight, extra batteries, a compass or GPS, a raincoat, windbreaker, or winter jacket, and food and water. Portable radios, satellite phones, or personal locator beacons (PLB) are a must, as well. Smartphone and cellphone batteries may drain quickly, and, in more remote locations, you may not have a signal at all. Before leaving, try on new clothes and test new equipment to make sure everything is in proper working order.

2. Secure The Trailer or RV

If you will be camping with a trailer or RV, knowing your towing safety facts is just as important for a worry-free trip. Review the owner’s manual of your trailer or RV. Find out how the jack latches and locks into place. A lot of models use a latch pin, but this can vary. Once you determine the type of lock or locking mechanism, test the trailer to make certain it is securely in place. Make certain safety chains are present and the proper length.

From there, determine any additional safety features you may need. For large RVs and trailers amounting to over 50% of the towing vehicle weight, a weight distribution system and/or sway control hitch may be necessary. Furthermore, an air brake controller is also a worthwhile investment. An air brake controller sits in the cab of your vehicle and smoothly operates trailers’ brake lights in perfect sync with your braking. Further, many models can operate many brake lights and include flashing emergency lights and automatic braking systems.

3. Safely Set Up Camp

Check park and camping ground websites for any size restrictions on RVs or trailers. Make sure to park a safe distance from dead trees and large, overhanging branches. Keep in mind that there will be additional safety measures if you are camping during the bear season or in parks bears tend to frequent. In that case, the National Park Service (NPS) requires any campfires or cooking to take place a minimum of 200 feet away from where you sleep. Avoid sleeping in the same clothes you wore while cooking, and call ahead or research park websites to see if you need a bear box or bear bag.

4. Know The Basics Of Fire Safety

Just like it is a safety essential to fit trailers with braking systems like air brake controllers, it is also necessary to tend to campfires carefully and responsibly. Flammable materials and items should remain 15 feet away from the fire at all times. Do not use accelerant unless it is specifically approved by the campgrounds, and never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, just lighter fluid. Stay a safe distance away from the fire, and watch kids and pets closely to make sure they’re doing the same, too!

5. Remember Personal Safety Essentials

Stay hydrated. It can be easy to overlook small details during camping trips. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially if you are moving around all day or most of the day. The NPS recommends packing at least two liters of water per day per person. Stow plenty of extra water in emergency kits. Finally, don’t forget to pack a first aid kit and keep it readily accessible.

Getting away and returning to nature is good for our health. Spending time in the woods lowers blood pressure, your average resting heart rate, and your cortisol levels. Break out the RV and air brake controller and make it happen!


What is the Best Electric Brake Controller for Towable RVs?

One of the most common types of recreational vehicles (RVs) are motorhomes, in which its engine is contained. The other is towables, which are towed by a motorized vehicle. The former will have braking systems most commonly used in heavy-use trucks: air brakes on newer models, drum brakes on older models. The braking systems for towables, however, are more complex. In addition to the demands of effectively breaking the momentum of heavy and unwieldy trailers, braking systems on towable RVs must also work with weight distribution systems. Like the electric brake controllers, and electronic sway control devices. For this vital confluence of tasks, there are two common types of brake controller systems: stable state or time-delayed. Of these and others, what is the best type of brake controller? That depends upon a number of factors. Read on for an overview of the two most common types of trailer braking systems, their benefits, and what is the best type of brake controller for your towable RV.

Importance of Electric Brake Controllers for Trailers

Electric brake controllers are one of the most critical safety mechanisms on a towable RV. In many states – and per the preconditions of a number of insurance providers – electronic brake controllers are a mandatory requirement. Manufacturers automatically install electronic trailer brake controllers on models with tandem axles. Installed or required, trailer brakes are inoperable without an electric brake controller installed, and are invaluable for safe and secure towing. With two common types, a number of variations within each of those types, and a range of brands and models, it takes some research to determine what is the best type of brake controller for your purposes.

Differences Among Electric Brake Controllers

Some of the key differences in electronic trailer brakes deal with how they are controlled. While others vary on the number of brakes that are controlled. There are also a number of other functions that will vary from type to type, brand to brand, and model to model.

Proportional Brake Controllers

Proportional brake controllers distribute force evenly among the brakes on the RV and the towing vehicle. Among the benefits of this system is that it produces less wear on both braking systems than other types. Proportional controllers also brake more responsively, more quickly, and more safely than other methods. It is a more premium option for owners who expect to use their RV with regularity.

Stable State Brake Controllers

Stable state or time-delayed brake controllers operate according to a user-set braking capacity that is relative to the weight of a trailer and its cargo. This allows drivers to tune the braking timing and force via sync applications. Sync applications are included with most of these kinds of electric brake controllers. This electronic brake controller applies the predetermined force and distributes it per the sync settings. With these settings you can decide between putting more weight on the vehicle, more on the towable, or if it’s distributed evenly. Stable state or time-delayed electric braking controllers are generally more affordable than proportional brake controllers systems. They are favored by owners who use their towable RVs more occasionally.

What is the Best Type of Brake Controller?

This post has explored the differences between the two most common types of electric brake controllers for towed RVs, but they have a great deal more in common than not. To determine which will work best for you, consider how you use your towable RV, what your budget is, and the many functions offered by the various electric brake controller manufacturers. Do research, read reviews of brake controllers, and reach out to a qualified dealer of American made high quality trailer brake controllers.

Hayes Towing Electronics Products are Proudly Made in the U.S.A. and In-Stock!