The Reel-Quik Hitch system is designed to take the guesswork out of lining up a traditional ball hitch. There's nothing wrong with that, in theory. Nearly everybody has a story that involves trying to get somewhere on time, and ending up late because of some hitching mishap. For years, we've added mirrors or bright reflectors to our garages or hitch bays, and recruited our friends and family to help us back in and get lined up right the first time.
The potential lies within Reel-Quik's extendable reach. Instead of lining up perfectly, you just need to get close to the coupler. A crank winch extends the Reel-Quik hitch, until the ball and coupler meet. Then you hitch, adjust, wire, link, couple, pair, or use whatever terminology you prefer to get your trailer hooked up.
But wait! There's more!
Once your trailer is hitched, you'll crank back on the mechanism, which will draw your trailer back to the towing vehicle, and lock into position for the duration of the trip. That's the "Reel" part of the Reel-Quik. The "Quik" part either refers to the fact that you don't need to spend hours rolling back and forth, or the inventor is into some old-school chocolate milk.
So, here's the thing: This looks pretty cool, but all told, it's probably no easier or safer than a standard hitch. Sure, that reel-em-in mechanism is really cool, but how well does it work in mud, rain, snow, or any other weather condition where things get slippery and double-frustrating? You still need to be pretty darn close to the coupling. And, what if you don't have absolutely flat ground, like in the demo videos? Trying to crank a trailer uphill might be a new extreme sport.
If you're having as much trouble with trailer hitches as the people in this video, you might need to spend a little more time practicing your hitches on the weeknights. That said, this design does seem to make the process of lining up an securing a trailer a little easier, but at what cost? There appear to be several moving parts that can all easily get damaged and render the device worthless.
Maybe it would be better to check out the optional trailering package for your truck instead.
This post was originally published on October 21, 2016.