How to Modify Your Towable RV for Backwoods Roads
Recreational vehicles are great for RV resorts, developed campgrounds and highways. But if you want to explore some of Colorado’s more remote areas, and you have a towable RV, you may need to consider a retrofit or two. Towable RVs include a pop-up, travel trailer, toy hauler or fifth wheel (the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association has descriptions of all types).
According to the U.S. Forest Service, 35 percent of Colorado’s land base is public (meaning it’s administered through the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management). With so much land out there to explore, you’ll want to make sure your towable RV is up to the challenge. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the open road.
If you’re going to routinely use unimproved roads (which range from smooth dirt or gravel roads to washboarded, rocky, pitted messes that will feel more like off-roading) to access your favorite camping spots, the ModMyRV website suggests adding adding shock absorbers, which may not be factory-included, as well as leaf spring equalizers, which is an area of suspension that can be subject to both wear and neglect. You want your trailer to handle bounce with limited rebound. You can find tips for making these modifications on your own from DIY sites like ModMyRV, or contact your local mechanic or service provider to discuss your options.
The Right Tires
You’ll want to choose tires for your travel trailer that will effortlessly handle the terrain you’re navigating. Mud and all-terrain tires are two options, according to Tire Buyer, which adds that mud tires typically feature deep, flexible tread and have the ability to self-clean, while all-terrain tires will offer better tread wear, street handling and performance on pavement. With all-terrain tires, look for ones with the Winter Tire Traction rating (“snowflake-on-mountain” symbol) on the tire’s sidewall, and make sure the tire’s construction is durable enough to resist tearing, cuts and punctures, according to the site. DoItYourselfRV.com offers a primer for choosing the right RV tires.
Finally, don’t forget to add a generator in case you need to recharge your batteries, reheat leftovers in the microwave or run your coffeemaker, suggests Camping Life. The magazine also offers a review of the latest generation of lightweight, quiet, fuel-efficient generators, all good for backcountry use. Or, if you’re into projects, you might decide to add your own solar-energy system to recharge your power without a generator, recommends ModMyRV.com.
By outfitting your RV before your next road trip, you’ll be ready to navigate Colorado’s backcountry.