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Old 07-08-2016, 09:41 AM   #1
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Nervous

Looking at getting our first travel trailer. I've never towed before and know nothing other than what I've read here and other places. Looking to keep the trailer as small as we can comfortably probably about 25'. Family of 4 and 2 big dogs. Plan on going to parking lots at night to practice and all but was anyone else very nervous at first. Also afraid to get out there and be like how do I set this rig up again
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:49 AM   #2
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Looking at getting our first travel trailer. I've never towed before and know nothing other than what I've read here and other places. Looking to keep the trailer as small as we can comfortably probably about 25'. Family of 4 and 2 big dogs. Plan on going to parking lots at night to practice and all but was anyone else very nervous at first. Also afraid to get out there and be like how do I set this rig up again
Hey, not to worry. It's like driving a car, or riding a bike, or any number of things. You'll be nervous, but after a while it will be just fine. Remember that EVERY ONE OF US was there once. And mostly you'll find that we're glad to help.

Go for it!

Roger
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:50 AM   #3
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Not a big deal. Just take the turns a bit wider.

Hopefully you have the manuals. Just read the manuals and have fun.

Congrats.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:54 AM   #4
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There are plenty of 'how to' videos on the web. I suggest you do some research and then hit the parking lot. It's not difficult but it will take some practice. If you find yourself getting confused as to which way to turn the wheel when backing up, try putting your hand on the bottom center of the wheel and then turn the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go (trailer left, move your hand to the left). Backing up, making turns, and proper loading will be your big concerns but if you do it enough, you will become proficient!.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:01 AM   #5
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If you weren't nervous, you wouldn't be normal. Towing a trailer isn't rocket science and you will figure it out. Don't skimp on the hitch and make sure you have enough tow vehicle for the job.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:22 AM   #6
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Well, I would not just jump in and say it is no big deal like others. You will be fine but it takes some getting used to and should not be taken lightly. Take advantage of online "how to" videos". But most importantly take your trailer to a large empty parking lot and practice. You will gain the confidence needed very quickly.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:37 AM   #7
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What are you gong to tow with? I think this can be a big part of feeling more confident during your first trips.

I was lucky enough to be able to buy a one year old 3/4 ton pickup to tow with. I tow a somewhat smallish trailer (compared to some of the monster-sized boxes I see on the road), and having too much truck for the job I'm asking it to do has made dealing with the driving part of the journey a breeze.
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:50 PM   #8
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My rookie mistake was watching the trailer in the side mirror to make sure it wasn't over the line. Simply, if you're truck isn't on the line then neither is your trailer. Driving in your mirror takes your focus away from the road.

I'd suggest practicing during the day. Backing up at night can pose issues like not being able to see due to your reverse lights reflecting off the camper.

Always test your trailer brakes and adjust your controller every time you get in.

Make gentle movements on the steering wheel. Any sudden or back and forth jerking will fish tail the trailer and can cause you to lose control. I accidentally baseball batted a garbage can with the rear of a 30' camper doing this.

Take turns really wide until you figure out how wide you need to go. I'd rather go way wide and miss a curb by 10 feet than hit it.

Go slow backing up. One trick everyone says is put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand in the direction you want the back of the trailer is to go.

Don't be afraid to pull up an go at it again. There are no points for style and grace. I'll poke fun at you but we've all been there. I back down my long driveway all the time, but every now and then I need to pull up 1 or 2 times to get it right.

When backing I watch where my wheels are going and draw an imaginary line in my mind where I want them to go and use that as a guide. Use a spotter in unfamiliar territory to at the very least tell you if you're going to hit something.

Don't forget the truck has a front end so just because your trailer is in the road doesn't mean your not about to drop the front off into a ditch.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdaddy View Post
Looking at getting our first travel trailer. I've never towed before and know nothing other than what I've read here and other places. Looking to keep the trailer as small as we can comfortably probably about 25'. Family of 4 and 2 big dogs. Plan on going to parking lots at night to practice and all but was anyone else very nervous at first. Also afraid to get out there and be like how do I set this rig up again
Hell yes I was nervous at first. Let me tell you a story, after picking up my 34 foot Class A, I took my toe vehicle to get fitted with blue ox tow bars. So I need gas and pull into a station with the car on and got stuck and could not get out. I showed my immaturity trying to get the car off the rig and all the people waiting for gas were having fits. Today I can put on or take off the car nn 30 seconds and have done it at stoplights.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:49 PM   #10
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I have far more trouble backing up a stupid little utility trailer than my 38 foot 5th wheel.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:20 AM   #11
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There is a learning curve to tow a trailer. For me it makes a difference on the axle (single vs tandem). There lots of opinions on this subject. But with
the correct tow vehicle for your trailer you will be fine with practice.

I would find a large school parking lot and buy some orange cones. Then
set them up and practice backing up and parking etc.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:40 AM   #12
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Size your TT to your tow vehicle. Make sure you have enough truck tow capacity to safely tow that 25 footer you want.
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Old 07-09-2016, 02:52 PM   #13
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Also it is NOT a good idea to miss the curb by 10 feet. I have over 5 million miles in an 18 wheeler and lost track of the times I've seen someone miss the curb by 10 feet and somebody else tries to cut inside them on the corner with disastrous consequences. It takes practice but as your learn how the trailer follows through the turn keep it as close to the curb as possible. Just remember we all started the same way and learned to tow by doing it and practicing, don't be scared of it, just cautious and aware and you will soon pick it up.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:22 PM   #14
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Also it is NOT a good idea to miss the curb by 10 feet. I have over 5 million miles in an 18 wheeler and lost track of the times I've seen someone miss the curb by 10 feet and somebody else tries to cut inside them on the corner with disastrous consequences. It takes practice but as your learn how the trailer follows through the turn keep it as close to the curb as possible. Just remember we all started the same way and learned to tow by doing it and practicing, don't be scared of it, just cautious and aware and you will soon pick it up.
I guess I should have specified single lane roads. I rarely travel anywhere with a trailer that would allow someone to cut inside of me to make the turn. I've also never driven OTR.
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