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Old 07-30-2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Tips On Backing Trailer In

I'm trying to camp more at USFS and other public campgrounds and although many of the sites are long enough (>26), I find that it can be very difficult to back into some of these because the road is just not that wide and my combined length is 40+ (with a pivot point obviously). It's a generic question but I'm hoping it will yield some good tips, but can those of you who are better than me at backing, provide some good tips on how to get into tight spots.

I've heard people say let the wheels follow the trailer. I've also found that going back and forth helps some. No tip is too obvious for someone less experienced like me so please share what has worked for you.

Also, how do you guys go about scoping out public campgrounds beforehand to you know you won't accidentally corner yourself in.

Direct responses or links to articles, youtube, anything helps.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:07 PM   #2
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Since I', by myself a lot when I back, I get out and look... a lot... Practice and experience will get you there.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:20 PM   #3
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Practice , practice , practice.
The one best thing , that worked for me , with my 4 , fifth wheels ; was grip the steering wheel at the bottom with one hand , and move your hand and the wheel, the direction you want the back of the trailer to go.
According to my DW, I never got really good at backing up , however in 14 years, I never failed to get into a spot, but fairly often I was not EXACTLY, where she wanted the trailer. Kind of hated it when she said, could you move it over toward the post about 4 inches , so we have more room on the awning side.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:55 PM   #4
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I have been towing a 30+ for about three years and I have had some close calls and one time I forgot I was pulling a trailer and screeeeeech across the whole side!

expensive lesson to teach one to pay attention and be careful.

if your not sure don't listen just get out and look twice if you have too...
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:02 PM   #5
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Buy a remote backup camera!
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:27 PM   #6
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Google is your friend. I use Google Maps on every strange site I go to.

The satellite view shows you everything you need to know.

As far as backing in....go to an empty shopping mall parking lot and setup some cones or cans or pieces of 2x4, etc and have at it.

I nicknamed one of my trailers lumpy...There are 6 sides on a trailer and every one of them had a mark or scratch or dent.

Gave it character.
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:43 PM   #7
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Set up right , and if the back is not going right, pull up and reset, this is often faster than fighting a bad set up or missing it. Do not fixate on one spot, check your primary & secondary obstacles you might be close to , FREQUENTLY!!!!.
GOALS Get out and look stupid.

If you have some one in the car with you and you have synch or another hands free device they can help guide you via cell phone.
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
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And remember, if a lot of people are watching you will goof up no matter what.

However, if no one is watching, you will do an amazing back-in first time.

Been there, done that.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:41 AM   #9
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Biggest thing most people overlook is the last move you make pulling into the campground is to pre-position your truck to go the direction you need it to in order to make the trailer start it's turn immediately as soon as you start backing up. It takes a number of feet of movement to start your trailer turning and it tighter quarters that pre-positioning will really make a difference.

Next tip, get with any truck driver you know and learn about "walking the cab". Again, it takes a number of feet for a trailer to react to the trucks movement, especially on a fifth wheel. Walking the cab is a technique of pulling forward and backing up short distances that will allow you to re-position the truck to push the trailer in the direction you need to go while leaving the trailer in the same relative position.

Lastly, there's no substitute for practice. After 30+ years of towing bumper pulls, goosenecks and over half a million miles in the big truck pulling every type of semi-trailer you can think of, I can put a trailer about anywhere.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:18 AM   #10
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This is how I learned how to back up with a trailer....Make a wrong turn down a dead end gravel road at night with no light and no place to turn around. Back out half a mile. The first 100 feet are the worst.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:18 AM   #11
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The theory of turning your steering wheel the direction you want the RV to go only works when you are lined up to back in. Think of parallel parking and what direction you turn your steering wheel to get what action you want your tow vehicle to go.
Putting your RV into a 90* spot takes on different dynamics once you've started the jackknife turn.
The tighter the jackknife, the shorter the arc and the less distance the RV will travel. Conversely, the less you jackknife the truck, the broader the arc and more distance the RV will travel.
Once in the turn, turning your truck wheels in either direction changes the pivot and affects the arc of the turn and distance the RV travels around the arc.
Placement of the TV and RV in relation to your spot before you start your pivot, plays a big role in where you will end up as well!

Hope that makes sense.

As others have said, Practice! Practice! Practice!
Experience will make it second nature and you will instinctively know what you need to do.
Use an empty mall parking lot to practice. Before long you start to understand the nuances of what you have to do and when you need to do it.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:31 AM   #12
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Agreed. Also Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions which sometimes have a different satellite image and also have "Birds Eye View" allowing angle viewing from four different directions. Another level of examination is to use Google Earth (free access must be downloaded). This has a measuring tool that allows you to determine the dimensions of a potential site - especially length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Google is your friend. I use Google Maps on every strange site I go to.

The satellite view shows you everything you need to know.

As far as backing in....go to an empty shopping mall parking lot and setup some cones or cans or pieces of 2x4, etc and have at it.

I nicknamed one of my trailers lumpy...There are 6 sides on a trailer and every one of them had a mark or scratch or dent.

Gave it character.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:35 AM   #13
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ALSO, DO NOT forget to look up. There are a lot of RV's out there with scrap marks on the edge of their roofs.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:12 AM   #14
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I'm looking at changing over to a truck and 5er. The backup camera in my coach is invaluable.
I'll be getting one of these!

Wireless 7" Car Rear View Monitor Backup Camera 2X Antenna for Truck Trailer | eBay
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