Tips for Pulling a Trailer and Handling Leaky Sky Lights

We officially bought our very first travel trailer with limited experience in all things travel trailer-esque. And it has been a little rough. Here were some of our struggles thus far:

  1. Driving a trailer that weighs more than the truck we drove it with. A 21’ Cougar Travel Trailer vs. Toyota Tacoma with 4 cylinders… Guess who lost? Ha. Going uphill was bad (we were moving at a swift 25mph in a 75mph road- hello emergency lights) but downhill was downright terrifying! If you have never driven a trailer behind a truck, much less a trailer that was likely way too heavy for the aforementioned truck, you have never feared for your life going down a large hill.
    1. Imagine napping while your husband navigates. You get car sick so your sleeping habits while in moving vehicles is not altogether uncommon. Then all of a sudden you wake up to an intense swaying, as if you were on a boat being rocked side to side. You realize that you are, in fact, not in a boat but in a car, which makes reality that much worse. When you wake, you look in the rearview mirror to find the trailer wiggling around, trying to jump off the hinge or flip you over while insisting on its freedom. Panic. Shock. Swaying further and further, moving about the lanes as if there were no lines and it was all for us. Petrified us. Looking back now, we should have spoken with people about pulling a trailer downhill, especially a hill that had multiple signs cautioning semis about the grade of the road.
    2. Never fear, our sixth sense kicked in and Dave pressed on the brakes, straightening out the unruly trailer and settling my stomach that was just about to reject all of the food I’d eaten that day. We found that acceleration or deceleration kept the trailer’s movement at bay and led us to a much happier experience, albeit still slightly traumatizing. Besides that little, likely well-known, tid-bit of knowledge, always make sure to check your lights before embarking on a journey, gas up your vehicle before hitching the trailer, and make sure your truck or towing vehicle of choice is steady and sound without any mechanical issues.
  2. After staying with a wonderful friend for 4-5 days, we decided to forego purchasing land and instead met with a woman who wanted to rent her land. We veered away from purchasing land because of horror stories we had heard in the county and town we were moving into. Stories involving people being kicked off their land for small permitting issues or the county just saying that you could own land, own a trailer, but you could not camp on your own land (unless you have 10+ acres of course, but then you could only camp on that land for x amount of days at a time.
    1. Soap Box: PARDON? I can only camp on MY land for x amount of days. I’m so confused. Man.
  3. The insidious, tricky bastards that we could not check before buying the trailer (and honestly, we didn’t think about checking it because the seal on the edges of the trailer were new). The culprit of the leaks has been one or two screws in the sky lights. Luckily Dave is a handyman and got some 100% silicone to slap on those screws (on the roof) but the problem was monsoon season and the rain not wanting to stop. Thus far, we have remediated the main holes, but the shower has a leak somewhere that we need to locate. We are a little nervous that it will be a bigger project than we bargained for if it is behind the shower stall thing. We will see!
  4. So far we have spent:

$3800 – trailer price

$25 – silicone for leaks

$20 – wiring harness (to connect truck and trailer for lights)

           Total = $3845

Happy Travels!


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