How do I Care For My Fiberglass Travel Trailer?

If you own a travel trailer with a fiberglass exterior you will need to take care of it, so that the finish stays shiny and awesome for years to come.  Just like any automotive exterior, the finish and look can deteriorate with time.  We have all seen those dingy, chalky, dry and faded fiberglass trailers sitting in someone’s yard, or in the storage lot and shuddered at the thought of our rig getting to be just as bad.  Don’t worry, maintaining your smooth glossy finish is easier than you think, but it does require a certain amount of effort on your part.

Hands-On Care

The most important thing to do to protect your RV’s finish is to wash it with a suitable trailer or car wash once a month.  Some RV exterior washes that we recommend are the B.E.S.T. Wash and Wax, or Thetford Wash and Wax.  They are formulated for your trailer or 5th wheel’s exteriors, and the wax additive helps keep the finish smooth, so that dirt is less likely to sit on it and stick, causing black streaks, and wearing down the finish.  It is also a good idea to wax your RV with a liquid or paste wax at least once per year, to help the finish keep a build-up of that glossy shine.  Personally, I use the B.E.S.T. Wax, it gives me an easy shine, without having to scrub, just wax on, wax off.

If you bought your camper used, or the fiberglass is already showing some signs of losing it’s shine, then you may need to get a little more aggressive, and use a fiberglass restorer, like this one.  It is designed to help recover some of the finish that the fiberglass had before the trouble started, although it isn’t a cure-all.

Storage

As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so make sure you take into account some of the environmental factors that can effect your trailer or 5th wheel when you aren’t using it.  Extreme sunlight, air pollutants, excessive moisture, and whether the trailer is parked under a “dirty tree” (or for that matter, under a tree that has a lot of birds in it…) can all have an impact in how the exterior of your RV will last.  The longer dirt and stains sit on the trailer, the less likely they are to be easy to remove, so think about keeping the trailer indoors (if practical), or under an RV cover when you aren’t using it.  This will help protect the finish, and keep UV rays from dulling and fading the finish prematurely.

Damage

It may come to pass that you damage the fiberglass on your trailer.  I know, I know, you are careful, but these things happen.  If it does, make sure you get it covered ASAP with plastic or duct tape, sealed at the edges well, to prevent water from getting in and making a bad situation even worse.  Next, get the damage fixed as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that water will get in there, and maybe cause delamination.  Delamination is the enemy.  Talk to your local body shop, and work with your insurance to get things sorted out as quickly as you can.

As you can see, it isn’t very hard to keep the fiberglass on your camper looking fresh and clean for years to come.  And remember, when you are looking to sell it, or trade it in, people see the exterior before anything else, and trailers that look awesome tend to sell faster, and for more money.

If You Don’t Have A Flagstaff Travel Trailer, The Zombies Will Eat You.

Flagstaff Trailers

Flagstaff Trailers

As you know, Westland Camping Center is the official RV Dealership of the Zombie Apocalypse.  For years, we have been working tirelessly to keep you and your family safe from the Zombies.  We have been studying the various brands and options available in great detail, and although any travel trailer is better than nothing, our conclusion is that a Flagstaff Travel Trailer is the best equipped to handle the hordes of zombies, and keep you and your companions from being eaten.  Not all of these things are standard features, but they are on most every unit we order for stock.

This is no rash judgement on our part.  This is science.  We have broken-down the top 10 features of a Flagstaff Travel Trailer that will keep you safe in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  Here we will delve further into these 10 features to show you how to keep your brains right where you want them.

Electric Tongue Jack:

The need to hook up and get away quickly is paramount.  And with Flagstaff’s newly designed electric tongue jacks you will be ready to roll in a flash.  Manual Jacks are tedious and strenuous, especially considering with a weight distribution hitch you have to up and down repeatedly for either hooking up or unhooking.  And now that Flagstaff tongue jacks have a quick-foot on them, you don’t need to run it as far up or down.  Just pull the pin and slide it up as soon as the weight is off.  This can save you time, and of course save your life if you gotta get out of Dodge fast…

Day/Night Shades:

These shades are far more than just window treatments.  When employed properly in the daytime, the day function allows light into the coach so you don’t need to use precious electricity.  They are also transparent enough to be able to see clearly out to make sure the coast is clear before going outside.  But they also block the view from outside, you can move freely inside the trailer without the risk of those pesky flesh-eating zombies being alerted to your presence.  And at night, you pull down the nighttime shade and now it blocks the light outside, and again allows for freedom of movement without being seen.

Slam Latches on Exterior Storage Compartments:

If you have ever used a travel trailer, you know that you almost never get the cam locks and thumb locks closed on your first try, wasting valuable time that could be better served fleeing.  Slam latches are just like door latches, and latch when you close the compartment door.   They are also faster and easier to open, for easy access to the bludgeoning weapon of your choice.   Also, for those who worry about other people as well as zombies, the key is different than most RV storage compartments, for better security.

Wicked Awesome Insulation Package, Due to Vacuum Bonded Sidewalls and Roof:

Flagstaff’s insulation allows for much cooler temperatures, boasting an impressive R-7 in the sidewalls, R-12 in the floor, and R-14 in the roof.  This is very important for three reasons.  First, the less energy you require to heat or cool your coach, the longer that energy will last.  Conservation of resources is paramount in a post zombie existence.  Secondly, you have to be flexible about where you have to be and when, so being able to go into colder climates can be a major advantage.  Some zombie related studies have shown that zombies freeze solid in cold weather, or at least slow down, so you may find that as an advantage.  Third, and possible most important for survival, good insulation muffles sound.  Playing around in your trailer is much less likely to attract the attention of wandering herds of zombies.

All LED Lights Inside The Trailer:

Energy conservation is a major theme in this article, because when the zombies come, resources will probably get scarce.  Led lights use significantly less electricity than their incandescent counterparts, making sure you can conserve your battery’s power much longer that before.  You can survive on battery power alone much longer, and make sure there is plenty of power to run all of the other appliances like the fridge, furnace and water pump between charges.  In the likely scenario that running a generator would attract a lot of (very hungry) attention, how long your battery lasts will be a key to your long-term survival.

Factory Installed Battery Shut-Off:

When you aren’t using your trailer, it will be vital to conserve energy, and one important way to do that is to use a battery shut-off switch.  This will prevent your trailer from using any of your precious battery power to run the carbon monoxide/LP leak detectors, fridge circuit boards, and any other 12 volt  items you may have forgotten to turn off while you are away for any extended period of time.

Fully Walk-able Roof and Rear Mounted Ladder:

The seamless Vacuum Bonded Roof is fully walk-able, so no matter where you step, you are sure to have great support.  Combined with the rear mounted ladder, you have a great way to get up top for a better vantage-point for your lookout.  Also good for doing some routine maintenance, to ensure your home away from home stays in tip-top shape.

Heated Holding Tanks:

This feature is the best way to keep your holding tanks from freezing in cold weather in a post-zombie world.  Not only does it run on your 12v system, it doesn’t use your furnace at all, which saves energy and your LP supply.  It is also makes no sound, and as you know, noise attracts zombies.

Power Awning, LED Awning Lights, and Exterior Flood Lights:

These A&E powered awnings are extremely convenient to use and operate.  Lets say for example there is a storm coming, and you need to close your awning before it gets ripped off (you know how that goes…).  But there is a problem, there are a couple of zombies checking out the campsite next to yours, and there is no way you can go outside to get to the awning arms… What do you do?  Easy, just walk over to the switch, and roll it up.  No exposure, and you stay comfy and cozy inside.  These Awnings also feature LED lights underneath then, so you can light the entire area under the awning, while still being energy efficient, and not having to remove anything from the awning before retracting it.  And the exterior Flood lights are great to make sure your perimeter is secure before going outside at night, or to check on that spooky noise without having to put yourself at risk like some idiot in a horror movie.  Don’t be that idiot.  Get a Flagstaff.

Built-In Water Filtration System:

You never know where your water will be coming from, but with the on-board water filtration system, you can be sure that by the time it reaches the tap, it has gone through a tested and certified water filtration system.  Rusty well water and fine sediments are a thing of the past.  Let everyone else worry about that, as you wash your dishes and take your shower knowing that you don’t have to worry.

These features are the top 10 reasons you need a Flagstaff trailer, but they are not NEARLY the only ones.  I haven’t even gotten started on the easy to clean high gloss fiberglass (to wash all the gore off, of course), or the fact that they are all Half Ton Truck Tow-able.  Maybe I should do a top 15…

Please, read this article and consider this your warning.  If you don’t have a Flagstaff, rest assured, zombies will totally eat you.

 

How Do You De-Winterize A Trailer?

2013 PALOMINO SABRE 293 RBSS AT WESTLAND CAMPING

2013 PALOMINO SABRE 293 RBSS

With the coming of the warm weather, our thoughts inevitably turn to the camping season.  With that time of year, we all need to perform the task known simply as “DE-WINTERIZING”.  This mysterious term means different things to different people.  Usually it refers to just flushing out the water system of antifreeze from the fall, but there is a whole lot more to it than that.  De-winterizing is really the best opportunity you will have to also do a major and thorough inspection and cleaning of the unit to make sure it is safe and ready to go well before your first trip.  There is nothing more frustrating than finding a problem the night before you leave chipping away at your valuable vacation time.  Here are the main areas that you should focus on:

Water System

If you properly winterized your trailer last fall, then to start de-winterizing, follow these steps to get it back to regular operation.

Locate and open the low-point drains underneath the trailer, go inside the unit and open all of the faucets to break the vacuum and allow the antifreeze in your plumbing lines to drain out.

Close the faucets and low-point drains and fill your fresh water tank with fresh water.

Make sure (if equipped) your winterizing pump diverter is set to draw water from the fresh water tank, and turn the water pump on, and wait until it builds pressure and shuts off.  Then go to each faucet and turn on hot and cold water lines one at a time and run water until all pink is gone and the water runs clear.  Don’t forget the toilet and outside shower.

Install the Anode rod or drain plug on your water heater, and open the bypass valves to allow water into your water heater, and use the pump to fill it up making sure to bleed the air out of it so it is actually full.

Let the pump sit under pressure and listen for it to be turning on and off, this can be an indicator that there is a water leak, and the pressure is not holding.  If so, trace the plumbing lines until you find it, and fix it.  Don’t let it wait; water leaks can do a lot of damage in time.

Now is also a great time to sanitize your water system, and for more about that, watch this video.

Appliances

Once you have the water system filled and sitting under pressure, use compressed air and blow out all of the appliance access areas like the fridge and water heaters.

Then go inside and fire up all of the appliances to make sure they are working correctly.  If there is a problem, now is the time to address it, not when you are counting on the furnace at the campground…

After you check all of them, go ahead and drain all your fresh water, including your water heater.  You really don’t want to let that water sit in there.

 Exterior

Wash and wax the unit (if you are a wax person), and remove any stains or black streaks on the outside.  While doing that, wash the roof and thoroughly inspect all seals, and touch up as necessary.  For more on checking for water leaks, click here.

Also make sure you check out your tires, they are a very important component to your trailer, and many times we don’t look at them until it is too late…

 Cleaning

Go over every inch of the trailer to make sure it is sparkly clean, taking time to clean off all those things you forget to clean during regular cleaning during the season.  Click here to see a video about cleaning your fantastic fan, and here is a video about how to thoroughly clean your A/C unit.

 

Now your trailer is sparkling clean and ready to use.  Remember, the work you put into your camper today, can save you a LOT of time and money tomorrow.

Video Tutorial: How To Sanitize Your Trailer’s Water System

Mark Polk from RV Education 101 has been educating RV-ers for years.  He teaches everything from basic mainternance to how to hook up your 5th wheel to your tow vehicle.  I find him to be a great resource to help answer questions, and help those who are relatively new to owning a trailer or 5th wheel.

This video explains in an easy to follow series of steps to sanitize your fresh water system.  This is something you will want to do at least once a year, but it can’t hurt to do it more than once…

 

How To Set Up a Flagstaff Pop Up Camper

I love camping.  I love tent camping, I love camping in 5th wheels, travel trailers, and I can sort of understand camping in a motorhome.  But my absolute favorite way to camp is in a pop-up.  Call it a pup, tent camper, folding trailer or just a suped-up tent on wheels, pop ups are (in my humble opinion) the perfect blend of tent camping with just enough creature comfort to make things practical and easy. I call it “Roughing it in style”.

A lot of people tell me it’s too much work, so I found this video to help dispel that rumor.  It is easier than you might think, and more affordable than most.  So check it out, and if you want to try it, I’ll let you see for yourself in person.