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 > Help!!!! Travel Trailer Back in

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organcory97

West Columbia

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rexlion wrote:

I noticed a guy backing into a tight campsite in a state park one time, and he took a good 45 minutes getting the trailer in there. I admired his patience and persistence. I doubt anyone nearby was judging him, laughing about it, or anything negative. We're all there to enjoy ourselves and backing in is part of the process.

Personally, I was lucky to have a positive experience early in life. I was about 15 years old and we lived on a dirt road out in farm country. Dad needed to get a disk loaded onto a flatbed wagon, so he parked the wagon in a deep enough ditch 1/8 mile down the road, such that the bed was nearly level with the road. Then he walked home and informed me that I was to tow the disk with the other tractor to that location and back the disk up so it would be sideways on the wagon bed. I was unnerved, obviously. But I just kept jockeying it around and in about 10 minutes I had it on the wagon. No one was around to watch, and maybe that helped. Boy, did I feel a great sense of achievement! I never again feared backing up trailers.

Like someone else suggested, go find an empty parking lot at an 'off' time and practice trying to back your trailer into a parking spot. You can't hurt anything, and you'll gain both skill and confidence.


Yeah that helps. Yeah probably use the same place we taught our daughter to drive at her school. Its a huge parking lot.

organcory97

West Columbia

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ken56 wrote:

That anxiety is the enemy so try to let it go. Those people watching don't matter. Don't be too concerned about blocking traffic either. Backing in from the drivers side, meaning turning to the left is easier. Position your mirror so you can see the wheels of the trailer and pick a point to start your turn and when the wheels are at that point start your turn. One hand at 6 o'clock and turn the wheel the direction you want to turn. Take your time and go slow. I stop and get out when I feel the need to go look. Don't feel pressured. Don't be rushed. You will wreck your trailer if you try to be fast about it when you don't have the confidence to do it yet....but that confidence will come with practice. You can do it.


Thank you, I def prefer left side if I have to.

organcory97

West Columbia

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FLY 4 FUN wrote:

Natural to feel pressured those first few seasons of backing a rig. For sure get somewhere open and practice with your spotter. I insist on radios or phone contact so theres no yelling/gesturing etc. Back in the day if we got really out of shape I did a "lap" of the campground and then started over. This gave me cool down time and cleared all the folks behind me out. Its all part of the lifestyle.


Yeah thats a good tip to make a lap.

JRscooby

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Trying to teach wife, I have learned somethings. First, until you can back the TV exactly where you want to put it, preferably using mirrors. Once you know what path the front of the TV must take to put the rear where you want it, you are half-way there. (This step is beyond DW's understanding/skill level)
Decide where you want the TT. Now, using what you know about how front of TV travels to get the back of TV to a given spot, map out a path for the front of trailer, making sure it will miss all obstructions. Now, just back the TV so the back follows the path you planed for the front of trailer to go.
Spotters; I'm not much in favor of spotters, I call them the "On-Back". Every time I asked a driver how a truck was damaged I hear "He was saying on back, on back on crunch. Now I know RVers are not expected to be pros, but most times net advise on spotters is wrong.
Use walkies to talk to driver. If the spotter does not know how to back the trailer, how can she tell you how to do it?
Stay where can be seen in the mirror. For most, that puts her near the left rear corner of the trailer. This does let her see behind the trailer, where the driver can't see. But if you are on the path you planed, there is nothing to see. She is watching that, you are watching her, who is watching the 3 other points likely to impact? (RF of TV, RR of TV, and RF of TT) You watch where the rig is going, I'll watch your wife.
A better position for the spotter, IMHO, is across the road from site, out far enough from the open TV window, where she has a wide angle view to see the road behind, and the side outside the turn, where driver is less likely to see.

Walaby

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some good advice here.

I'll just add

1. Take it slow

2. Don't sweat it if you miss the mark. Just patiently start over.

My last camping trip, it was like I totally forgot how to back up. No matter what I did, the trailer didn't cooperate. It was in an easy back in slot with no obstacles but it took me forever to get in. Afterwards our camping buddies and I had a great laugh.

Some times it just be like that.

Mike


Im Mike Willoughby, and I approve this message.
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MFL

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Posted: 02/26/21 05:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MitchF150 wrote:
I too was lucky in learning how to backup stuff since I was a kid. Laugh if you want, but I started doing it at around 5 years old, on my tricycle with a hand truck strapped to the back and "going camping" in the parking lot of the apartment complex we lived in back in the late 60's..

I would load the hand truck with my 'camping' stuff. Pedal out and back it into my camping spot.. ha, ha..


Hey Mitch...if your mom took a picture of your trike & hand truck rig backing, would be nice of you to post it!

Thanks for the smile! [emoticon]

Jerry





2112

Texas

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Posted: 02/26/21 06:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's the Scoop Maneuver
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RLtfrBWzNCw

This guy calls it the Swoop
https://www.outdoorsy.com/blog/pro-tips-for-backing-up-a-trailer

I can't get into my driveway without doing this. My street is narrow and has deep ditches on both sides


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valhalla360

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Posted: 02/26/21 07:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FLY 4 FUN wrote:

Natural to feel pressured those first few seasons of backing a rig. For sure get somewhere open and practice with your spotter. I insist on radios or phone contact so theres no yelling/gesturing etc. Back in the day if we got really out of shape I did a "lap" of the campground and then started over. This gave me cool down time and cleared all the folks behind me out. Its all part of the lifestyle.


Amazing how many people wind up yelling on radios.

We use only gestures, no talking. If something is complicated enough that it needs discussion, the spotter walks up and we have a discussion. Work out the gestures ahead of time. What we use:
- Hand up in the stop position = stop
- Point left or right (full arm extended) = turn the back of the trailer that way
- tomahawk chop = straighten it out.

The person directing is in charge.
The driver only has the authority to hit the brakes if they see something wrong.
If the drive can't see the director in the mirrors, the brakes are hit until you can see and get clear signals.

Random thoughts:
- Don't really care what side we back into, the person directing can see whichever side needs watching.
- As others have said practice really helps. Go down to an empty parking lot or show up at the campground mid week when it's empty to practice. Practice with a small trailer really does help.
- Particularly for 5th wheels but also bumper pulls, practice an S-curve approach (goes by different names). Pull up as close to the side of the site as possible. As you pass turn hard away from the site until you run out of space. Then turn hard back toward the side of the site. Once you have it down, that will leave the trailer already angled toward the site making it easier to start the turn into the site.
- If a car on another site is blocking and you don't feel comfortable, you ask nicely. Most campers will be happy to move it to help if approached with a pleasant attitude. They were there once too.
- Slow is fast. Fast is slow.


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RoyF

Fayetteville Arkansas

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Posted: 02/26/21 09:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In addition to all of the above good advice, I recommend that you take some time to walk over the ground before trying to back in. Look for things that would be easy to miss in the mirrors. Take this time to relax. Visualize the path you want the trailer to take.

Early on, I scratched the right rear fender of my almost-new-at-the-time truck on a low wooden post while backing to the left. (I had not gotten out to look first.)

This summer, I noticed a metal object (exposed by recent rains) that could have caused damage to tires. The hazard would have been easily overlooked from the mirrors. This time, I managed to avoid the problem.

In addition to watching your mirrors, don't neglect to watch the front of your truck. While backing to the left, you don't want to a tree to jump up out of nowhere and scratch your right front fender.

Finally, don't hesitate to get out and recheck the ground as often as you need to.

sgfrye

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Posted: 02/26/21 09:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

backing comes natural for me, i grew up on a farm and was driving and backing farm trailers when i was 6 or 7 years old so im not the best teacher (ask my wife)

BUT, even being experienced i still slow down and take my time and block out thoughts of people watching us because our rig is a 38 ft TT that needs a ton of room to swing and back, but worth the extra TT living space.

the one thing i cannot get my wife to understand. i use my truck mirrors for backing and she is my spotter but i cannot get her to understand that if she can't see my mirrors, i can't see her spotting me. good point for spotters unless you use cell phone or walkie talkies

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