Alaska Proof – Our RV Tow Car Solutions
When we first started planning our RV road trip to Alaska we were warned over and over about the dreaded roads we would encounter. With all those scary stories about the horrible roads we were concerned about our little RV tow car. I searched online with questions like “How to prepare an RV tow car for Alaska” and “How can I protect my dinghy in Alaska” but I didn’t find much on the subject. So I called Roadmaster (the company that makes our tow bar) and asked them for advice.
Our biggest concern was the sheer number of miles we planned to drag our tow car on this long Alaska trip, and I just knew that something bad was going to happen if we didn’t prepare our toad for the worst of it. How can we “Alaska Proof” our tow car?” I asked. Come to find out they have an “Alaska Tow Car Package” which I found odd considering it’s not listed on their website and I couldn’t find it anywhere online, but I digress (I guess they listened to my complaint and added it a few weeks later: Alaska Pack Tow Car Kit). We did order the recommended Alaska tow car solutions and once we picked up the new RV I promptly installed them (mainly because if I made a mistake I knew we could get it fixed before we left the Fleetwood factory in Indiana).
We’ve been using the protective tow car additions for over three months (you can tell by all the dirt in the photo below) and it seems to perform better than we expected. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t sure it was going to help that much, but considering the roads we’ve traveled these past months I’d say there’s a good chance we’d have a broken headlight, grille, radiator or windshield by now if we wouldn’t have taken these extra precautions. Then only bummer is now I’m sad we waited this long to purchase this protective tow car gear, because it could have prevented a majority of the damage that’s occurred to the front of our little dinghy over the past few years of travel. Here’s the tow products we ended up with to prep our Smart Car for Alaska:
Tow Defender – In my opinion this might be the ultimate piece that provides the most protection for towing. *If you have a rear engine make sure the exhaust isn’t too close to the “fabric” because it will likely melt it.
Guardian Rock Shield – This was the original piece I wanted to order as I’d seen it on many other RVs over the years. I guess the biggest benefit here, assuming you have the Tow Defender, is protecting the tow car from rocks that are thrown from oncoming traffic.
Rock Guard Stowaway – We’ve noticed several other RV’ers that didn’t spend the extra few bucks to get this piece, for me it’s a no brainer as it gives me a dedicated spot to hold the Guardian while we’re camped. If you don’t order this you can slide the shield under the back of the RV, but I was afraid I’d forget its there and run it over while backing out of a campsite, and that would not be good.
Roadwing – This piece is technically for a truck hitch to keep rocks from hitting a trailer or fifth wheel, it’s not necessarily made for the rear of a motorhome, but I was hell-bent on protecting our dinghy so I ordered it anyway. As I mentioned in the video I’m not sure it really provides any extra protection for our specific application.
Quiet Hitch – I’ve had the quiet hitch on my RVs in the past so I only ordered one more with this delivery…I should have ordered another because when I was disassembling the towbar off the Excursion my Quiet Hitch broke to pieces due to corrosion from winter salts. My recommendation is to put a quiet hitch on every receiver attachment you have as it keeps the “sway & wander” that’s typical with these hidden hitches.
If you’re on the fence, or not sure you even want a tow car check out our article and video RV Tow Car – Do You Really Need One? If you want to learn from our RV tow car mistakes make sure to click over and check out: How To and How Not To Tow a Car Behind an RV.
There may be other brands that offer something similar but the Tow Defender and the Guardian are by far the most common solutions we’ve seen up here in Alaska, so I feel like we chose well…even though we may have gone a little overboard. We did see plenty of Do-It-Yourself protective mods however none seemed as good, or as quick and easy to use, as the setup we ended up with for our tow car.
What do you use to protect your RV tow car? Have you found any magic solutions that we haven’t touched on? Please share your tips, tricks and thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks to Roadmaster for helping us find these items and get them in such a rush (I ordered them only 4 days before our departure).