It started out like any other Sunday morning.
But suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I was mercilessly introduced to pain like I had never known before.
About 12 years ago, I was helping to set up for children’s worship at the church we attended in Georgia. One of the props in the room was a relatively small aluminum boat that probably didn’t weigh over 25-30 lbs total.
As I bent over to grab one end of the boat and relocate it with someone lifting at the other end, a white hot bolt of lightning shot down from my lower back to my feet.
I yelled out in shock and pain, still completely unaware of what had actually happened. It was several moments of panic and confusion as I struggled to comprehend this intense pain like nothing I had ever experienced.
Was I electrocuted by something? Did a prehistoric and incomprehensibly large insect enter the building and sting me right in the spine without my noticing? I DON’T KNOW. BUT MAKE THIS STOP!
Just lay down…
At that point, I was sure that all I really needed to do was lay down to get the pain to stop or at least diminish.
As soon as I laid down on the floor, the pain actually and inexplicably increased. How was that even possible??
Desperate for any amount of relief, I struggled my way back to my feet and kept trying different things to make this pain dissipate.
Finally, I stumbled my way over to a counter top in the room and placed my hands on the counter, putting as much of my body weight on my hands as possible.
In that position, I got a few ounces of relief and could at least see straight for the moment as I continued to try and reason my way through this intensely painful moment.
Back Pain Has Been a Regular Part of My Life Ever Since
Over the next several days following this shocking incident, my situation did not get much better as I laid flat on my back at home burning through my “vacation” days at work.
Every attempt to just sit upright caused me to turn ghost white and break out in a cold sweat, near the point of passing out. And to get to the bathroom or bedroom when necessary, all I could do was slowly lower myself to the ground and crawl, one painful movement at a time.
It was simply horrific, not to mention terrifying for my wife and three children.
The official diagnosis? Sciatica.
I wish I could say that I haven’t experienced anything like that since that Sunday. But this is not my story.
In fact, there have been at least three other episodes of sciatica that have been comparable to this. Not with the “lightning bolt” element, but just as crippling nonetheless.
The Best Travel Trailer Accessories to Save You from Back Injury and Pain
Following all of these painful and challenging experiences, I would do anything to keep someone else from going through the same thing.
And in this RV lifestyle, there are quite possibly more back injury hazards involved than what you would experience on a daily basis in a standard home.
But here is my best “dynamic duo” recommendation to hopefully keep back injury and pain as far away from you as possible as you live the RV lifestyle.
Travel Trailer Accessory #1 – HITCHPORT Hitch Bar and Spring Bar Storage Kit
I truly wish that I had known about these products when I hit the road with my travel trailer. Now that I do know about them, you can bet that I will not operate without them.
These products are such a simple and effective design (laser-cut, high quality 304 stainless steel U-shaped brackets) that it is remarkable no one came up with it before. And now, HITCHPORT LLC has a patent pending on these two products which you can attach to the tongue of your travel trailer in about 10-15 minutes or so.
The Hitch Bar Storage Kit and the Spring Bar Storage Kit are just as straightforward and easy to install and utilize as you could possibly hope for. Just take a look at the quick product installation video I put together.
[Note: I mounted the brackets on the bottom of the trailer tongue, but if you have the space you can also mount them on the top of the tongue to reduce bending or stooping even more. It’s your choice what will work best for your situation.]
With a combined cost of just over $30, this is really a no-brainer
Up until these products were introduced to me, both my weight distribution hitch and the spring bars were simply stored on the ground under my travel trailer. This required me to lift these heavy items from the ground with each move and place them back on the ground when we arrived at a new location.
I know, this is the worst possible situation from every perspective.
Not only is this not ideal from a back injury perspective, requiring you to bend and stoop in awkward positions, but it also not effective for maintaining your hitch equipment in good condition. My hitch equipment has regularly been covered in sand and mud when it’s time to hitch up.
It’s been messy, it’s been awkward, and ultimately it’s also been far more dangerous for my back than necessary.
But that is behind me now. Instead, all of my weight distribution hitch components are stored off the ground, safely and securely stowed on the tongue of my trailer where I can comfortably access them.
That is so cheap for the problem they solve and the pain they help to avoid.
Nothing Not to Love Here
The bottom line is that there is simply nothing not to love about these innovative products.
They save your back, they save your equipment, and they are extremely simple and affordable.
At the HITCHPORT site, you can also purchase additional products that will help to prolong the life of your hitch equipment and ultimately save you money:
Now I mentioned above that I had a “dynamic duo” for you. In reality, I am really treating the Hitch Bar Storage Kit and and Spring Bar Storage Kit as a single item. If you are interested in one of those items because you own a weight distribution hitch, you will naturally need the other as well.
So, the second item I would strongly recommend as part of this “dynamic duo” is…
Travel Trailer Accessory #2 – HitchGrip Hitch Coupling Tool
The way I see it, the HITCHPORT storage products I covered above and this HitchGrip tool go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Truthfully, I knew about this fantastic HitchGrip tool before we hit the road as full-time RVers last year. Given my history with back pain, why was it not the first travel trailer accessory I purchased before hitting the road?
I have no good answer for that question. I waited FAR too long to purchase this item and I do regret it.
The HitchGrip allows you to lift, move and insert the hitch bar (into the hitch receiver or into the HITCHPORT storage mount) with just one hand. This allows you to deal with the hitch bar without stooping over in awkward positions while trying to carry it.
It works for all 2 5/16″ hitch balls and it is far less expensive than many other travel trailer accessories that I did choose to buy. Hey, I never said I made complete sense all the time.
This Pair Now Works for Me Full Time to Save My Back
Thankfully, I have not had a major incident with my back since that rough start we had in Texas in 2017.
But I can’t tell you how excited I am to use the HitchGrip and the HITCHPORT storage kits together. With this duo, I never have to lower my hitch to the ground, lay it on the ground, lift it from the ground again or awkwardly carry it in front of me with both hands again.
And all of this benefit for less than the cost of a nice dinner out with the family. That is some seriously exciting news for this back pain sufferer, I just can’t tell you.
So whether you do have a back injury and back pain that you don’t want to aggravate, or you just want to do what you can to avoid it altogether, this is THE travel trailer accessories duo you just can’t be without.
Your back will thank you. Guaranteed.
PIN THIS TO SAVE FOR LATER
HITCHPORT provided us with these two products at no cost in order to adequately review them. Rest assured that the opinions expressed in this post are 100% our own.
Todd Bonner is the slightly quieter half of the dynamic TREKKN duo. He spends most of his time sharing information about RV travel and safety, RV accessories and tips, and the National Parks he has visited and still desperately craves. When he’s not busy working on TREKKN, you will often find him staring at breathtaking pictures of Glacier National Park, probably his favorite spot on earth.