Big Daddy Ratchet Tie Downs - $36.00/pair
Ditch the bungie cords. Get rid of the chains. Move on up to a serious ratchet strap like Pingel's Big Daddy Ratchet, with 2" wide webbing and a 2" wide ratchet. The Big Daddy comes with a coated snap hook on one end, and a regular hook on the other end, connected by six feet of 7,400-lb test nylon webbing. This is one tie down that will never let you down, and the ratchet mechanism assures that your bike will be snug and secure.
Soft Straps - $6.75/pair
This 22" extension loop strap is essential equipment. Loop a soft strap around a frame rail, and you've got a perfect, secure way to attach your ratchet straps to your bike, without the risk of paint damage from the tie down hooks. Once you've discovered how useful soft straps can be in tying down a bike or cargo, you'll make them a permanent addition to your tow kit.
Tongue Weight Scale - $211.83
If you've got a multi-bike trailer or a toy hauler, you really do need to know what kind of tongue weight you're dealing with before you hook up to your pickup or SUV. Every vehicle and hitch combination has a maximum tongue weight capacity. It is almost impossible to guess or calculate tongue weight - you have to actually weigh your trailer in the real world, complete with a load. Luckily, a quality tongue weight scale is not an exotic piece of equipment. There are plenty of examples available from multiple vendors. Don't skip this step, and avoid the work-arounds that would have you using a bathroom scale and a set of pulleys. Bite the bullet, and make the one time investment in a proper tongue weight scale.
Trailer Sway Control - $45.99
Have you ever seen a trailer go out of control during a haul? It's no fun. An out of control trailer, even a light weight single bike unit, can set up a resonance at speed that may even cause the tow vehicle to jackknife or flip. If your tow vehicle isn't equipped with electronic trailer sway control, it's smart to invest in a little mechanical help. A simple attachment like the Ultra Sway Control can help to reduce the trailer's tendency to sway in the first place, resulting in much safer travel.
Flip Down Step - $81.99
Even if you're an enthusiast, you're not always going to be using your trailer hitch to pull a trailer. One good way to put it to good use is by adding a flip down step. This simple device adds functionality to your hitch between tows. You can use it to get into the truck bed without putting down the tailgate; to load your bicycle or kayak on the roof of your SUV; or simply as a comfortable, temporary seat. Unlike many other hitch accessories, the flip down step doesn't interfere with use of the ball mount, so you don't have to remove it when it's time to tow a trailer - just flip it up, and you're ready to tow.
What towing accessories are essentials in your kit?