You might think that in this blog and our videos we only write about things we sell, but actually we often recommend products that we don't sell.
That's because a big part of our mission is to help Airstreamers get outfitted with good stuff—the things you'll need to have a safe and trouble-free trip, whether you get them from us or not.
Often we don't sell particular items that are useful because you can readily get them elsewhere. For example, you can find a sewer hose at any Wal-Mart or RV parts store without much trouble. No need to mail-order it from us or Amazon.
Here are are a few things we'd recommend you consider buying (from some other place than our store!):
Cordless drill: This is a super handy tool for many purposes. If your Airstream has manual stabilizer jacks (in other words, not a Classic, Globetrotter, Interstate, Atlas and possibly others), a cordless drill with a 13/16" socket adapter makes setting up a snap!
Of course it's also handy for drilling holes for hooks, drilling out a stubborn rivet, replacing screws, and miscellaneous repairs. You can find good choices at big box hardware stores. Get at least an 18 volt model, to ensure that it has enough "oomph" to do the heavy jobs.
Portable air compressor: In an unfamiliar town it can be a real pain to hunt down a gas station that has an air compressor. That’s why I always carry a portable air compressor and an extension cord. I can add a little air to the tires anywhere, anytime—and that’s a huge convenience.
Some late model Airstreams have inverters built in, so you can use a 120-volt AC (household power) air compressor. Portable ones are inexpensive (less than $40), light, small, and come with convenient carry bags. Simply turn on the Airstream’s inverter and plug the air compressor into an inside power outlet.
Look for them at auto parts stores, hardware stores, and general merchandise stores.
Bottle jack: If you've got a single axle trailer, you'll need a bottle jack to lift the trailer and replace a tire. The jack that comes with your truck isn’t designed to lift an Airstream
People sometimes ask why we don't include one with our Tire Changing Kit. It's because most Airstream trailers have two axles, and they don't need a jack. A bottle jack would add a lot of weight, bulk, and expense to the kit. If you need one, you can find them easily at auto parts stores, hardware stores, and online.
Lithium batteries: If you're willing to pay a steep price, these batteries are revolutionary. (You can read all about the pros and cons of a lithium battery upgrade in this Guide.)
But in general batteries are heavy, difficult to ship, can't be shipped everywhere, and require installation, so we leave this sort of thing to the specialists. You can find Battle Born, Renogy, and many other brands online, and at dealerships (generally for a lot more money).
Battery box lock: Here's an inexpensive upgrade (about $15) that might make you feel better about leaving $2000 worth of lithium batteries in your Airstream during storage. It's not a very secure lock, since it uses the extremely common CH751 key, and that's why we don't sell it. But it's a slight improvement over having no lock at all, so if you want one, you can find it at eTrailer.
Headlamp: I love a good headlamp for nighttime tasks outside the Airstream. It's so much easier to be hands-free when you're trying to get something done, like hook up the water connection or fix a small problem.
Headlamps are easy to find everywhere, even places like Wal-Mart and Target. You can find better ones at outdoor gear stores like REI. While you're at it, get a battery organizer for your spare AA, AAA, and 9 volt batteries (try The Container Store for that).
Power adapters: It's mandatory to have adapters so you can plug into 15-amp household outlets, and 30-amp or 50-amp plugs at campgrounds. This gives you the ability to get power no matter what's available. You can find these inexpensively at Wal-Mart, hardware stores, and RV stores.
Other things like chocks, water filters, cleaning supplies, grease, and many other common items: You need all this stuff and it's not hard to find at your local businesses.
On the other hand, if it's a specialty item, works really well, and not available in local stores, let us know. We're always looking for great new products to make available to our fellow Airstreamers. Some of our favorites – like the CGEAR Sand-Free RV Mat – have been the result of suggestions from our friends and customers!
Regarding battery box locks, I installed a cylinder lock by PacLock. It is pretty robust with many key number options. In addition, PacLock makes robust hitch lever locks, hitch pin locks and a puck lock with a conical face (great replacement for the flat-faced aluminium puck that comes with the Proven Industries hitch lock casing). These locks come in stainless steel casings and you can order all to work off the same key. :)
Thanks for the information. I have always assumed I could use my F-150’s jack in case of a flat on our Airstream trailer. Why do I need to buy a separate jack (bottle jack) from that of the truck?
Love your newsletter. Many thanks. And … I’ll be back at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge gain this winter, (as of the second week of October) volunteering in the visitors center. Come visit! And I’ll also stop in your store.
Donald N Wright
Ryobi has a neat little Air compressor that uses the 18 volt battery. Home Depot.
Stan, The jack for your truck is made to fit the jack points on your truck. The Airstream does not have the same jack points, and as a result the truck’s jack will not be safe.