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Old 01-16-2016, 01:57 PM   #1
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Protecting Your Airstream in Alaska-How TO?

I've found bits and pieces of the answer in Air Forums but I'd like to see a dedicated discussion on how to protect an Airstream from road hazards on Alaskan highways. We're expecting to encounter stretches of rough gravel roads with traffic.

What have you done or what solutions have you seen or heard of to protect a trailer in Alaska?

We're traveling with 7 other Airstream trailers to Alaska via Dawson City in June and July. It's a trip of a lifetime. We'd like to bring our trailers home in as close to nice condition as possible.

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Old 01-16-2016, 07:45 PM   #2
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I'm also heading to Alaska in early June for a couple of months and have been scouring the forum for this type of information. Glad you posted this question.

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Old 01-16-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
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Make sure your freshwater drain petcock is protected. Ours sheared off last summer on the Cassiar Highway from fresh chip sealing. We lost all our water but luckily it was near the end of our trip and we got it fixed in Prince George.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:22 PM   #4
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Rock Tamer or equivalent on the TV. Rock guards on the front of the trailer.
Not much you can do if a tire fails and tears up the side of the trailer.
Have good tires, check pressure regularly, look for tire damage. TPS may be a good investment. They are not cheap.
Be aware of road hazards.
It's pretty hard to protect you rig from flying objects from on coming traffic. Especially the TV windshield.
Good Luck
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:59 PM   #5
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Hi from AZ. . . We did AK from PHX last Summer, without any unusual protections. We did have Rock Tamers. . . The roads in AK & Canada can be bad, lots of construction areas, gravel & pilot cars. We drove thru these areas VERY slowly & aside from a few errant interior screws & a lot of mud, we fared well. Did TOTW hwy twice, once dry & VERY dusty & once wet & rainy. We LOVED Dawson City ! Trailer & TV were serviced before we left, good, nearly new tires, (only blow out was a Michelin on the TV) You'll love it, we did. . . Regards, Craig. . . we didn't use any of the spares we thought essential !
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:41 AM   #6
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We used rock tamers which were effective protecting the lower half of the front of the trailer but the upper part was vulnerable to stones thrown up by oncoming traffic leaving us with a star cracked plexiglass shield on the front window and a couple of dings high up by the red numbers ( cannot really think how this high damage by the numbers could have been avoided- going slow doesn't help much if the logging truck coming the other way is in a hurry). In addition to the already suggested protection to the plastic water tank drain valve and foam tubing zip tied over the copper gas lines you may may want to consider protection for TV headlights/fog lights- we used plastic adhesive clear shields sourced online from Auto Anything.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:28 AM   #7
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All excellent advice in the above responses...but you will, unfortunately, get a number of dings along the sides and windows of the AS from passing vehicles. There is a lot of loose gravel on numerous stretches of the Cassiar and Alaska Hwys, which are constantly being repaired. There is little that I could do when I headed up there last August/September, but the scenery made up for it. jon
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:32 AM   #8
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Alaska trip

We took our 34' A/S to Alaska in 2009. Wonderful trip. We used RockTamers. For the front of the A/S and windows I carefully duct taped the aluminum foil to cover and protect against gravel dings. No damage at all. You can buy the material at Lowes or Home Depot. Applied it when in Fairbanks before Chicken/Top of the World Hwy/ Dawson. Good luck. Dennis Sneed
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:44 AM   #9
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fresh water tank drain

Funny thing about that drain, mine got sheared off near Destruction Bay in 2003. Talked to an Airstream rep and showed him what happened, he said it was a poor design and it would be changed. He even took pictures. Apparently they have not gotten around to it yet. It is in an extremely vulnerable position and the little flange they put under it does nothing to protect it. Rocks don't fly straight up, they clobber it from the front side, where the guard should be. Good ideas on also protecting the gas lines too.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:46 AM   #10
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Take reasonable precautions as stated in the advice given. I have traveled to Alaska and on the Cassiar Hwy, and suffered minor dings to the TT. No matter how much preparation you do, something might happen that will do minor damage to your TT. My biggest headache was the mud coating the TT and TV. A chemical is added by the maintenance and road crews to the surface that makes the mud stickier. I washed both every chance I got. Thankfully most commercial campgrounds has a free wash rack. Remember why you are an RVer, to enjoy the places you go. some minor damage, in my opinion, is a small price to pay for the once in a lifetime experience of a RV trip to Alaska. Take the reasonable effort to protect your TT and TV, and then enjoy why you are doing the trip.
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:46 PM   #11
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I think you mean you are travelling from Dawson Creek, BC on the Alaska Hwy. Dawson City (Yukon) is usually a destination not on the Alaska Hwy. Great trip. Be sure to stop at Laird Hot Springs (a provincial park) for a quick dip ($4).

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Old 01-17-2016, 12:47 PM   #12
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We went to Alaska in 2013 and were gone from south Texas for 3 months. When we got to Dawson City, we used floor exercise pads cut to size and duct tape to protect the lower front of the Airstream and the propane tank cover. We should have used some on the lexan window shield. The Top of the World Hwy is nothing more than a gravel road and the road side window shield got broken from a rock thrown by a truck heading to Dawson City. We traveled from Dawson City to Chicken on July 4th. The local gold mining district had a great steak, chicken, baked potatoes, etc. that was open to everyone for a cost of $10 per person. Really good food and it was enjoyable talking to all of the miners. This is the oldest mining district in AK from what they told us. I have a brush guard on our F250 p/u and used heavy pet grade window screening with grommets to protect the front of the truck. Used zip ties to attach the screen to the brush guard. We left Texas at the end of May and had made sun screens for all of the windows in the TT to help with heat. We really needed them in Canada and Alaska to block out thee sun light at night. Didn't get dark to some time after midnight and sunrise was around 3:00 AM. The material we used is the same as front windshield screening in a car. It's available from Camping World in a 4' wide roll. The bubble fill was cut to fit between the windows inside and the curtains. We went salmon fishing in Soldotna and were fishing at 3:00 AM and the sun was up in July. We also covered the ceiling vent above the bed with aluminum foil to block out the light at "night". I had my fresh water tank drain sheared off too and recommend carrying some RTV or silicone caulk to plug the drain until it can be fixed. Recommend keeping the outside protected until Palmer to be on the safe side.

Hope you trip is as much fun as ours!
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:36 PM   #13
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WOW....thanks for all of your suggestions.

I'd like to find a way to protect the Lexan window shields and still be able to see out. Has anyone had luck doing that?
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:10 PM   #14
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Long time Alaskan

I have lived in Fairbanks for over 40 years, and have used our 1974 Land Yacht for 18 years here, including 3 trips to Arizona and back. Rocks and flat tires are problems, but really rough roads can also attack the suspension system. The roads mentioned in earlier posts are not that big a problem, but I would advise against driving the Dalton Highway. We leave the Airstream in Fairbanks and take a heavy duty 4 wheel drive truck with a tent or slide-in camper for that.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:23 PM   #15
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We traveled half of June, July and August in Canada ( getting there and back ) and Alaska. Our goal was to take the rig over the Arctic circle on the Solstice. We missed by three days ( on the Dempster Highway headed to Inuvik in the Northwest Terr ).

We took a generator ( the quiet Honda 2000 ) to power our small pancake air compressor for any tire that went down.
Rock guards are a must for the trailer.
Extra water tank drain valve and shield it before you go.
Protect the gas line with foam tubing.
Good tires to start and check them often.
A copy of the current years "Milepost" is a must for fuel stops, places to camp, points of interest and great information.
Extra belts for the truck.
Something to darken the windows if you have trouble sleeping when its light.

Everyone is correct. It is a great trip, a life time of memories. Enjoy.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:42 PM   #16
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I've driven from NY State to Alaska twice. First in 1971 and again in 2011. Now it's a cake walk compared to '71. With no additional protection I got a couple of small dings in my segment protectors. There was only one particularly bad 100 mile stretch, the rest was well paved.

In '71 we had 100% gravel, lots of tractor-trailers passing us (hauling supplies for the pipeline) and washouts that required camping along the road until it was repaired. I had a hardware cloth screen protecting my windshield and headlights.

When we got our new 2014 FC, I got a crack in a solar guard first time out- on a highway in NY!
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:08 PM   #17
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Never been to Alaska, and lots of good suggestions for exterior..but we have been on a lot of rough roads boo docking in our FC20 and we had issues with interior cabinets opening, medicine cabinet swinging open until it came off the hinges etc.

So we did the following:

Painters tape to seal off drawers and doors as extra protectant

Light things in overhead cabinets only

Replaced all drawer/cabinet locks with 20lb version

Larger and longer screws for Medicine cabinet

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:17 PM   #18
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Here is a link to a blog by a couple that made up a fabric cover for the front windows of their airstream. I think something like it would be a worthwhile investment.

Tin Pickle Adventures: Rock Guard From Fabric and Foam
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:23 PM   #19
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interstateflyer: Have heavily padded naugahyde "bras" made. Plywood in front of tanks.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by interstateflyer View Post
I'd like to find a way to protect the Lexan window shields and still be able to see out. Has anyone had luck doing that?
You might try taping clear plastic bubble wrap over the outside of the windows. Carry some extra to replace bubble wrap that ends up with popped bubbles due to impacts. Available in rolls up to 48" wide.

Provides extra insulation as well…

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