Happier Camper Towing Guide
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Before You Go
How to Prepare to Tow Your Trailer
Before your trailer arrives, be sure you & your vehicle are prepared to safely tow your new Happier Camper. Download the article on this page to see complete images.
The HC1 has a dry weight of 1,100 lbs and can weigh between 1,200-1,500 lbs+ or so depending on your setup. The Traveler weighs 1,800 lbs dry and can weigh up to 2,400 lbs+ depending on your configuration. How you configure your trailer is up to you!
Always use your best judgment and contact your manufacturer if you have questions about your vehicle’s towing capacity.
What You’ll Need
Class II Trailer hitch
Happier Campers use a standard Class II trailer hitch connection and attach to a 2” ball. Ensure that you purchase a Class II or higher as this determines the weight capacity of the hitch.
2” Ball Required
For the standard HC1, the 2” ball should sit about 15” off the ground. For a lifted HC1, the ball should be 17” from the ground.
The 2” ball for a Traveler should be 17” off the ground.
You can purchase a ball mount with either a rise or drop to make sure your trailer is at the proper height when connected.
Each Happier Camper is equipped with electric brakes that will only work if you have a brake controller installed. Though the HC1 may be lightweight enough to pull without one, the brake controller is a great addition to your vehicle as it will decrease the wear & tear on your vehicle and keep you safer on the road.
Check the PDF attached to this blog for images of these items.
The electric brake system also features a breakaway cable. The breakaway cable attaches to your vehicle. It will bring the trailer to a safe stop by activating the electric brakes on the trailer should the trailer be disconnected from the tow vehicle during transit.
Purchasing Hitches & Towing Equipment
Be sure to check with your manufacturer to ensure you are purchasing the correct equipment for your vehicle. Your vehicle may already be equipped with some of these items, especially if you have a towing package. A reliable mechanic, your dealership, and places like Pep Boys or U-Haul can offer installation services. You can also purchase the towing equipment yourself and have a service provider install it.
Electrical Towing Connection
Happier Campers come equipped with a 7-pin electrical towing connection*. 7-pins are used for towing trailers as they enable not only basic lighting functions, such as blinkers and brake lights, but also for electric brakes, auxiliary power lead, and back up lights.
*This component is sometimes referred to as a 7-pole or 7-way connector.
Electrical towing connection, ctd.
Towing packages sometimes come equipped with a 4-pin plug (which allows for basic lighting functions only). 4-pin plugs do not allow for electric brakes, an auxiliary power lead, and the backup/reverse function. If your towing equipment is only outfitted with a 4-pin connector, you will need to purchase a 4-pin to 7-pin adaptor. Our Support team can answer any questions you have about the differences.
Balancing Trailer Weight
When you load your camping gear and personal items into the Happier Camper, it is very important to ensure the weight of the items is distributed evenly. In general, it is best to distribute weight closer to the front of the trailer (near the hitch) or the wheel axel area. Be sure to also balance the weight evenly from the left to the right side of the trailer. Overloading one side or the rear of the trailer can cause “fishtailing”, or swaying as you drive particularly at higher speeds.
If you feel the trailer start to sway, stay calm, keep the steering wheel steady and straight, and most importantly resist the urge to hit the brakes. Lift your foot slowly off of the accelerator until your trailer is steady again.
Hitting the Road
How to Connect a Trailer Hitch
Align and Lower Coupler Over Ball
Make sure your car is in park and the emergency brake is engaged.
Roll the trailer coupler over your hitch’s ball and ensure the trailer latch is open and upright before lowering the jack wheel. Lower until the coupler is settled on the ball and there is no more pressure on the jack wheel. Close the latch and insert the latch pin.
Important: Ensure the latch pin is inserted and secured so the coupler stays closed. You can verify that the latch is locked-in by lifting and shaking your camper’s tongue. If it is attached well, the coupler will stay connected to the ball.
Connect Safety Chains & Breakaway Cable
Next, connect the two safety chains to your vehicle. The chains should be crossed underneath the trailer coupler then clamped to your hitch. If necessary, twist the chains a few times to shorten them so they don’t drag on the ground. Ensure the chains have enough length to account for any turns. They should have a slight curve to them and not be straight when connected.
Then, connect the smaller emergency breakaway cable to your vehicle using the carabiner.
Plug in the 7-Pin Connector and Raise The Jack Wheel
Check that your plugs are free of debris then plug in your 7-pin connector. You do not want this cable to drag on the ground. Use zip ties to keep it close to the trailer. Secure and lock the jack wheel in the upright position and parallel to the ground.
Important: Check your brake lights, left and right blinkers, and emergency lights to confirm they are working.
Do A Visual Inspection
Once you’ve followed each of these steps and double-checked that everything is in place, it’s time to hit the road!
Unhitching And Setting up Camp
How to Unhitch
Make sure your vehicle and trailer are on an even surface. If you are parked on an uneven slope, unhitching your trailer can be more difficult and you may be risking damage to your trailer, vehicle, and surroundings.
Use the Parking Brake
Put your vehicle in park, engage the parking brake, and turn off your vehicle.
Remove Pins and Latch
Unplug the 7-pin connector being careful to rest it on top of the trailer tongue; you don’t want dirt or rocks to get stuck in any of the connector ports! Take the latch pin out of the latch. Flip up the trailer latch so it is open.
Unclip the Chains & Breakaway Cable
Unhook the chains and breakaway cable and place them on the trailer tongue so they are out of the way and not dragging on the ground.
Lower the Jack Wheel
Release the jack wheel to the ground, ensure it locks in securely, and start cranking it up. You will notice the trailer starts to rise off of the coupler ball. Once the hitch receiver is above the coupler ball, you can push the Happier Camper into your desired position!
Lower the Stabilizers
Your Happier Camper comes equipped with four stabilizers. Using your stabilizer key, lower each of the stabilizers to the ground. Your trailer also features a handy spirit level (or bubble level) mounted to the front of your trailer tongue to see if your camper is even. If you would like, you can place chocks on your trailer’s tires for added safety.