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7 Essential Airstream Hacks

If you’ve the good fortune of owning an Airstream, it’s easy to think you couldn’t ask for anything more.  But, whether your next trip is boondocking or full hook camping, here’s a list of hacks that will lower your stress level, and significantly increase the chance your next camping trip goes off without a hitch.

16″ LT Tires

Tread separation damage on I-10
Tread separation damage from 15″ ST tires on I-10

Few things are as inconvenient, or downright damaging, as the dreaded “tread separation” inherent to ST (Special Trailer) tires.  There’s no priority to this list of Airstream Hacks, but if I were cornered on choosing only one upgrade- jettisoning the ST tires would be it.  There’s plenty of supporting info here, and other RV enthusiast websites.

LTX Upgrade

ST Tire Links

Battery Monitor

Bogart Engineering Trimetric battery monitor

To be completely frank, that factory installed LED voltmeter is useless.  Not really sure what it’s there for.  A good Trimetric or Xantrex battery monitor is a must have for good battery management and mainenance.

TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

The 'Cockpit'. P3 controller, TPMS, and rear camera monitor
The ‘Cockpit’. P3 controller, TPMS, and rear camera monitor

Less important if you’re not rolling on those crappy ST tires, but it’s peace of mind and convenience.  I used the older version of the “Hawks Head” system, which uses a valve stem mounted sensor.  There’s plenty on the market to choose from.

Rear-view Camera

Very handy for threading the needle into that perfect camping spot, as well as passing on the freeway.

Memory Foam Mattress

Turns your 6″ Airstream mattress on 3/4″ plywood into an incredibly comfortable sleep chamber.  I can’t over-emphasize the benefit of a good night sleep after a full day wrangling with the children…

LED Lights

Draws much, much less power than the OEM incandescents which is obviously good for boondocking.. but, also much more durable in terms of vibration and moisture resistance.

Pivot Point Projection Hitch

Hensley Arrow hitch. 1400/14000 model.
Hensley Arrow hitch. 1400/14000 model.

Here’s the biggy.  I’ve towed with nothing but the ball, your basic REESE weight distribution and anti-sway friction bar, an Equal-I-Zer, and currently using (for more than seven years) a Hensley Arrow.  None of those hitches come close to the performance you’ll get with a ‘pivot point projection’.  The difference between regular hitches ‘dampening sway’ and a PPP hitch eliminating sway is night and day.  Since the ProPride introduced a PPP hitch, the cost of a Hensley has come down a bit, but still a pretty pricey investment.  IMHO, worth every penny.

See You Down The Road!

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3 thoughts on “7 Essential Airstream Hacks

  1. Yes to the PPP! Another option is the ProPride. Either are better than not using. This weekend our 34′ was getting hit by gusting 35-45 MPH crosswinds.. At 90 to 45 degrees, especially as we crossed topographic shifts. The trailer “rolled” along its length about 4 inches on edges. I could see it in rearview as the LP tanks cover was significantly out of level. There was NO SWAY!!! This was only the most recent experience.

    1. In my humble opinion, there’s no substitute for a PPP. Eliminating sway based on design is far superior to resisting sway– which is what every other hitch system does (except for those ride-right things that take up the whole undercarriage at the rear… and I’m. It even sure they make them anymore).
      We had the same type of experience on a trip out west. There were no big rigs (or RV’s) on the freeway because the winds were so bad. We were chugging along at 65 with no problems.

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