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Watercraft Accessory Review

Easier hookups with the DuraSafe Coupler Connect


Date: 10/5/10
Tackle type: Watercraft Accessory
Manufacturer: DuraSafe
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.25 - GREAT

So you’re ready to grab the boat and go fishing and depending on how your boat trailer is situated it can be as easy as rolling it to your truck hitch or as painful as doing the back and forth dance to perfectly back your hitch up to your trailer for a proper hookup.  For the second scenario DuraSafe has created a product called the “Coupler Connect” which is designed to make both trailer hookups and tows easier and more secure.


DuraSafe Coupler Connect Plus Protect Specifications

Material Steel
Compatibility Bracket fits standard 1" diameter ball shank
Pieces 3 (2 on standard model)
Origin Made in the USA
MSRP $51.99 ($41.99 for standard model)


The Coupler Connect Plus Protect comes in a compact box... 


Impressions: I first saw the Coupler Connect at ICAST just three months ago and remarked that I thought the solution was rather ingenious. My boat used to reside in my garage but two years ago it sadly had to go outside to make room. The only problem was that my homemade launch holds the boat at an angle which doesn’t allow me to wheel the boat to my trailer hitch. Instead I have to perfectly align the hitch directly below the receiver each and every time.


Inside you will find three main components


Without a back up camera I do this mostly by “feel,” and while I have actually got it pretty much down I have on previous occasions backed the receiver both into the hitch arm and my bumper, especially when hooking up before sunrise and I am one coffee cup short of being fully awake.


My current hitch, see the damage to the label, that's where I have backed right into my trailer tongue


What the Coupler Connect essentially consists of is a bracket mounted under your hitch ball that holds a steel “V” shaped plate that is designed to help guide your trailer tongue and receiver directly over the hitch ball when backing up your tow vehicle. What we describe as the "V-bracket" is called the "Coupler Connect" by DuraSafe and acts as a shield protecting your bumper from accidental impacts with the trailer tongue.


The main bracket and "hold down"


The Coupler Connect comes in two versions, the standard which features a two piece construction of the mounting bracket and guide plate and the Coupler Connect Plus which also includes a separate hold down device that not only prevents the coupler from accidently popping off the tow ball during travel but can also be locked with a padlock to secure the trailer to the tow vehicle.


The first thing to do during installation is line up the bracket


Real World Test: To test the Coupler Connect Plus we went through the installation process as well as hookups and tows just like we normally would have done. This particular test only encompassed a two month period so while we can report on functionality we cannot comment on long term durability just yet. We utilized the Coupler Connect Plus on two trucks and two different trailers to get a better sample of just how the accessory performed with different setups.


The Coupler Connect works with 1" diameter ball shanks


Operation: We kicked things off with the installation process and because I wanted to evaluate the hitching process side by side with my current traditional hitch I set the Coupler Connect up on a new second hitch. The bracket is designed to accommodate standard 1” diameter ball shank. The first thing you do is position the bracket on the empty hitch and you will notice that there is room to install the bracket closer or further away from your bumper, this allows you to position the bracket to match the depth of your receiver. The entire installation process took less than five minutes and was both quick and easy, just make sure that bolt underneath the hitch is suitably tightened.


Tighten the bolt to secure the system


When I first installed the bracket I positioned it right in the center of the receiver hitch and found that my particular trailer tongue required me to unscrew the bolt and reposition the bracket further away from the bumper so that contact with the plate meant I was directly over the hitch. Backing up my trailer I did feel like I had a little more confidence to properly position the distance without worrying about putting a new dent in my bumper.


Insert the V-Bracket and your ready to back up the truck


Interestingly the difference in trailer tongues though minute will have an effect on alignment, for example Cal has a different make of trailer for his Skeeter and this required a slightly different alignment, but still the Coupler Connect did make it quicker for hookups.


To lock a trailer in place remove the V-Bracket aka the "Coupler Connect." It is important to remove the bracket before towing as it can interfere with turning or fall off unintentionally


Even without a line of sight out the back window the Coupler Connect made it possible to hook up my trailer without having to go in and out of truck to check distance and alignment. The Coupler Connect made hooking up my trailer take 30-50% less time than when I’m hooking up the boat by myself.  However, this accessory doesn’t offer as much gain in time savings when you are not flying solo have the luxury of a fishing buddy helping guide you with hand signals.


You can insert the bundled pin to keep it in place...


Next Section: Lock it down for security









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