Hitches ain’t hitches, Part 1: Must haves

Tips for Choosing an Off Road Hitch

When choosing an off road hitch, there are many variables to consider. What angles will I encounter? What towing capacity does your tow hitch have? Is your tow hitch certified with Australian ADR’s? What are the type of connecting mechanisms? Is your hitch easy to use? Is your hitch simple or fiddly? Can I put a handbrake on it?

What are your needs?

Well, let me start with a couple of the things I think are an absolute must have with any off road hitch or off road coupling.

Hitch Must Haves

ADR approval

Your off road hitch must have an ADR Australian design rule stamp of approval. If you buy an off road trailer hitch without one in my opinion you have rocks in your head. Let me ask you a question. Would you drive a car that did not meet Australian standards approval? Same thing…you are towing a lethal weapon that if it comes off or breaks can do some serious damage.

Hitch Connecting methods

I suggest using the old KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) method when it comes to off road hitches. Simply the greatest complaint of towing hitches overall is that it is hard to connect..!!!! We all know our intention is to do some off-roading. Be aware of small tolerances and fiddly parts that have a potential to jam or create difficulties when coated with mud or bull-dust. Small parts also damage much easier. Do you ever remember rolling your camper trailer or your old box trailer forward to hitch it up to the tow ball and it kind of got the better of you, was heavier than you thought and slammed into the bumper, number plate or tow ball. What if it slammed into your new offroad hitch? is there anything that could easily get damaged? How are you going to connect up now? Worth thinking about, it’s happened to all of us. Keep it simple and robust with large parts supported by quality bushing. Making sense?

Look for an offroad hitch that Ideally has 2 safely methods securing the connecting pin in place. A lot of offroad hitches just use a lynch pin holding in the connecting pin. I don’t believe this is enough, (besides its a legality thing) they really needs to be some sort of backup safety device for securing the connecting pin in place and ensuring everyone’s safety.

Easy to use

Easy to use is probably next for me after safety. If you have ever disconnected your offroad coupling in a sandy or muddy situation, so you can get yourself unbogged, you will realise the need for it to be easy to reconnect. Some offroad hitches available give absolutely no room for error of any amount in misalignment while connecting, in fact most of them. Best get a trailer hitch that has an aligning tool on the body that helps guide all the holes into alignment.

Keep a look out for part 2 : What to avoid