By: Larry Edsall
© 2004 PickupTruck.com
A hitch is a horrible thing to waste. Yet how often do you actually have
a trailer attached to the hitch receiver on the back of your pickup truck?
Just as we suspected: not very often. So, as we wandered around the most
recent Special Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, we took note
of a vast array of accessories designed to put some giddy-up in your hitch:
($799 from Freedom Grill Inc. at www.freedomgrill.com)
You can grille and go with this stainless steel propane grill with 30,000-BTU
burners, 650-degree (Fahrenheit) capability and 384 square inches of cooking
area. A pass-through collar allows use of an extended ball mount so the
grill can ride along while your pickup tows a trailer or camper.
This pass-through feature was developed during prototype testing: tailgating
at San Diego Chargers football games, where others who saw the prototype
said they liked it, but wanted to be able to still use their hitch for
towing. Imagine that!
Scott Salter and his buddies love to tailgate, and Salter was excited
when his wife bought a new SUV, and then disappointed when she announced
his greasy grill wasn’t going into her nice clean cargo area. So
Salter went to work. He devised a hitch-mounted grill with a 180-degree
swing-out arm so the grill can be transported behind your truck, then
swung out to the side so you have access to the bed while dinner’s
cooking. There’s also a stand available so the grill can be moved
from your truck to your back yard or patio.
A kickstand helps support the grill when it’s swung into cooking
mount accepts a lock so the grill can be secured to the vehicle while
you’re in the stadium, out on the water or hiking or hunting.
($799 from ShowFX Inc. at www.hitchcam.com)
David Mendoza’s ShowFX Inc. does special effects and builds stage
equipment for the entertainment industry, “particularly,”
he says, “for rock ‘n’ roll and rap musicians, and those
guys often have some pretty special vehicles. One day I was at one client’s
rehearsal and was looking at his vehicle and it had a rear-view camera.
I thought it was a great feature for someone like me, with young kids,
something more people should be able to buy.”
But Mendoza didn’t like the way a hole for the camera lens had
been drilled into the vehicle’s body, so he went to work with his
engineers and machinists and came up with a camera mount that fits into
a standard two-inch receiver hitch.
A keyed lock secures the camera and also makes it easy to remove when
you need to use the hitch for towing.
A cable connects the camera with a 3.5-inch LCD monitor that mounts on
the windshield next to the inside rearview mirror. Installation time,
says Mendoza, is around 20 minutes, most of that spent threading the cable
along the truck’s headliner.
Rear-view cameras, which are being installed as original equipment in
larger sport utility vehicles, provide a view behind your vehicle so you
don’t back up over a bicycle, pet or child.