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Old 04-01-2014, 07:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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Questions on using the A192HW

We are getting a new A192HW Hardside Camper and are planning to travel quite a bit this summer and doing one-night stands while we are on the road. This is what attracted us to this model with the easy setup. We also wondered if it is necessary to disconnect from our vehicle if we are just there over night. I understand that I should unhook the pigtail plug from the car, certainly before we plug in the local power. Also, I would think that we would still want to put down the stabilizers while we are there overnight as well.

We are also getting the awning/screen room, believe me we can really use that when we camp in Florida in the summer time, but really don't want to fool with it while we are driving cross country. Will it work to detach the awning from the Velcro strips and then just re-attach when we are ready to use it later?

We are really excited about our purchase and can't wait to break it in and go on our trip. Would just like to hear from those of you that have had a lot of experience with your A frame hard side and what you think about what we want to do above.

Jack McAfee

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Old 04-01-2014, 08:38 PM   #2
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Location: Denver, CO
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Welcome to the board.

Just got back from a trip to death valley NP and all in between.(3000 miles and 3 weeks) During that time never had shore power, do a lot of self contain camping and one night camping. The A-frame is great for that.
The plug connect the trailer battery with the TV battery, so disconnect or you could wake up to 2 dead battery instead of 1.
If the site is flat fore and aft we do not disconnect from TV but pull the plug.
My DW is small but walk like she carrying 400 lb so we set the stabilizers jacks, if I was by myself I would not.
Do not have the awning/screen room so no help there.


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Old 04-02-2014, 05:41 AM   #3
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Everyone is different but for us, if the trips were overnighters I think the awning/screen room would be more hassle that it's worth for us. On a longer trip it might show it's value. We use an ez up for shade and don't camp in black fly season/territory

Using the a frame while still connected to tow vehicle is fine, keep in mind your ability to level it while connected is limited to side to side leveling, front to back would be difficult while still connected. If you we'd to sleep completely level it's something to keep in mind.

If you are okay backing up and connecting to the hitch, the. I'd just disconnect every time. Setup of the trailer is literally 30seconds so I'm not sure staying connected truly gets you that much added benefit. Maybe I don't understand the benefit of staying connected, even if you weren't great at the back-up hitch procedure, it's only slightly more effort to disconnect and pull straight forward 6" to clear the ball, then you can level both axis, drop the stabs if you like and connecting back up is simple even for a novice.

Being able to travel with the beds all made up is a big advantage of the A frame over say a popup where there's a setup and takedown procedure for the beds each time you have to move. If you're camping multiple nights at different spots, you can leave the a frame pretty much ready to go, food in fridge, clothes in storage bags or luggage, bed made and your "stuff" can go in and out of the main living compartment or the storage access doors for each stop pretty easily. I tend to store any setup needs (crank, chocks, outside table, water hose, drain adapter, etc.) in the same spot so my effort is minimized as much as possible.

During the season we keep the camper stocked with camping clothes, shoes, raincoat and other typical softgoods so we can hitch and go without a whole lot of pre-trip prep. We also keep coffee, non-perishable foods (canned goods, dry goods) and some instant meals (Mac and cheese, etc) in a small basket tote for the canned goods and in the microwave for the instant stuff (Mac & cheese, soup mix, s'mores supplies, etc), again so there's almost no prep. Once we have prepped for the season, then we can make a decision last minute to go camping if the weekend looks nice and we have no conflicts and be at our storage unit in 10'min and be in the road within 30min of making the decision.

The fridge runs most efficient in propane, even if you have 30A available, and it sips the propane to boot, so we tend to run propane exclusively - in a long drive we might use 12V while moving but quickly switch to propane once landed. I purchased a self-powered fan for the condenser fins on the inside back of the fridge, it clips to the fins with a small alligator clip which also closes the circuit to power it. This increases the cooling power and speed of the fridge considerably and also prevents icing up of the fins. It powers off by simply unclipping the alligator clip. This is an ebay item and would recommend it.

There are a ton of little mods and tweaks you can make to these units to make them ultra efficient, convenient or just improved. I have a post in here covering quite a few, as does hamguy, pooneil and a few other regular posters.

There is also a sticky thread that has a PDF of rare than a dozen of the user and service manuals of all your a-frame's equipment, this is something handy to have in your smartphone, iPad or other little device.

There are a decent number of fuses in the a frames, I would recommend carrying a decent assortment of those different amperage fuses, perhaps a fuse clip/puller too. Fuses tend to go when plugging into shore power without first making use the shore power post's breaker switches are off first. 30A off, plug in, then turn the breaker to On. I'm often asked by neighboring inexperienced campers if I have a spare fuse because they plugged into a hot 30A outlet. Haha.

We use a Bal leveler for side to side leveling and as a wheel chock. It's a bit of an investment. We carry it in a pizza delivery bag bought from ebay and it stores just inside the door when traveling so it's quick access when we are setting up. Plenty have success using boards or lynx levelers. They all accomplish the same thing but for us the bal is very convenient and speedy and we can really dial-in level with a minimum of effort and without needing to use the tow vehicle.

We tend not to travel with water in the fresh water holding tank or use it once on site... We either have water connections at the site or would use 3-5gal containers instead. The tank works great in combination with the shurflo pump, but it can be an added level of effort with filling, emptying, and overall maintenance including regular cleaning and sanitizing and for our frequent, but short trips it doesn't make sense for us.

We took the water filter out of the housing under the sink and leave the housing in place with no filter. We added a big sausage shaped inline filter that goes outside attached to the white water hose. Along with a pressure reducer and inline shutoff valve. This is a great setup and ideal for quick setup and take down as a unit.

One last thing, adding a magic mesh magnetic screen curtain to the doorway (you can keep it attached all season and setup and takedown with it in place) is a great timesaver and alternative to a screenroom attached to the doorway if you are taking a lot of short trips or doing quick overnighters. Allows you to have the camper door open for cross ventilation while controlling the bug situation inside. It's also good for ease of entry/exit while camping instead of opening/closing the door and latch all the time.

There definitely are advantages to a screenroom in some locations, seasons and climates. We are fortunate we can usually avoid the buggiest places/seasons so an ez up for shade is all we need most times. We do have a small rechargeable "bug zapper" - a mini version of what you used to see a lot of 30 years ago, the purple colored black light. We've used it two seasons now and it does a remarkable job in keeping the general site pretty free of annoyances when we are out at dusk and before a campfire's smoke can drive away the rest. I think it was about $30 at Walmart.

2011 A-122
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:38 AM   #4
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There is no problem with keeping it hitched if it is level. It also avoids having to chock the wheels but the camper will be quite bouncy if you don't put down the tongue jack. However, the fridge needs to be fairly level to operate without damage. Especially front to back.

The tongue jack will safely raise the front somewhat while hitched. My thought are that at the point you start to taking up weight from the TV, the chocks should go on so the camper can be unhitched. From there and as long as you don't move the TV, the hitch should just drop down on the ball in seconds.

Personally, I find that a routine is the best way to assure safety as opposed to an ad hoc setup approach that leaves me uncertain that I have done everything right each time. Try it out to see if the extra few minutes of un/rehitching is all that much trouble.

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Old 04-02-2014, 09:25 AM   #5
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Thanks to everyone who responded. This is just the kind of information I was looking for. As they say, "experience is the best teacher". We are really getting excited about our upcoming trip and can't wait to get our new camper.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:19 AM   #6
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One item that will make unhitching and rehitching easier and a lot faster is to rig an adapter for the tongue jack that allows you to use a a battery-powered drill to raise and lower it. There are several of us who've done that and posted pics, a search may turn them up. I also use my drill to raise and lower the stabilizers--takes literally seconds to do them all.
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:23 PM   #7
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We really enjoy our HW. No matter how or where you camp you'll really enjoy the extra room and higher countertops, not to mention the oven and bathroom amenities. The use of an electric drill on stabilizers and the tongue jack really cut set-up time. Best of luck on all your adventures.

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