Trying to Back Into a Spot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2021, 03:28 PM   #1
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Name: Huck
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Trying to Back Into a Spot

I travel alone, so usually there is no one to spot me. I was just at a campground where I had to back the trailer to my right, which means I was completely blind. I couldn't even tell if I was within 5' of the entrance.

Another camper came out and spotted me, and I still had a hard time getting into the space. It was narrow, had a few small turns, and was long. When I got the trailer lined up, the front wheels of the tow would scrape the timbers lining the driveway.

My fiberglass trailer is so short I often can't see the trailer to get an idea how I am doing. Jumping in and out of the tow vehicle gets rather tiring!

I thought about putting an extension pole on the rear of the trailer with a flag at each end. These would extend out about 3' on each side so I can get an idea where the trailer is.

What do you think? Would it be of any help? Obviously I would just use it for backing up.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:00 PM   #2
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I dunno, I think the pole would cause as many problems as it would solve.

I have that problem with my current rig, my truck is 21 feet long, towing a 21 ft long Escape, and the truck has a 62 foot turning circle. if I'm max turning while backing up, I literally can't straighten out the truck without going forward first, and when you do that, it completely changes the angle of the trailer. I put larger tow mirrors on my truck[*], and thats helped a fair bit with being able to see the back of the trailer while at a steep turn, at least on one side.


(*) no, not clipons, I replaced the factory tow mirrors on my 2001 Ford with clones of the 2008+ Ford Superduty mirrors that were an exact fit and came with the 2001 style wiring connectors. the 08+ Superduty tow mirror has both a larger main mirror AND a larger wide angle aux mirror... old (L) vs new (R) while installing...



anyone with a first generation Ford SuperDuty, I highly recommend this upgrade.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:15 PM   #3
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Or you can buy these: Milenco Grand Aero. Laws require you to be able to see 200' back in adjacent lanes.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:20 PM   #4
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Huck; I think your idea would help. It would let you see where the trailer is at the times it was not visible in your mirrors. At one place I worked we had a small utility trailer that we towed behind our service vans. One of the techs had rigged up a couple of long rods that could be slid out to each side when we were towing the trailer because it was too narrow to see it in the mirrors. I carry an orange cone with me that gets used for various things. Sometimes I set it in the site as a target for where I want the rear corner of the trailer.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Or you can buy these: Milenco Grand Aero. Laws require you to be able to see 200' back in adjacent lanes.
with these 2008 style mirrors pulled out, I can see all kinda behind, next to, blind spot, etc etc. from the position shown in my pic, they pull out about 4" more on either side. the truck is already the same width as the E21 trailer, so with the mirrors at their extended position, seeing anything behind and in either adjacent lane to the trailer is easy. ok, just went out and measured, in the extended position, the mirror glass is 12" out on either side from the widest part of the F250's body, so the 80" wide (at the belt line) F250 has 104" wide mirrors. IIRC, the 21 is 88" wide. ALL kinda visibility.

I messed with various clipon mirrors on my Tacoma, and while they worked OK for the Casita, this is SO superior its not funny. Part of me thinks I should have sprung for the version with power extend and power fold, but the other part of me didn't want to have to run the new wiring and install switches for that. as it is, they have power adjust (which my original ones did, too), which is plenty good enough.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:37 PM   #6
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But, I don't want to buy an F250.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:47 PM   #7
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But, I don't want to buy an F250.
yeah, I'm just saying what I have works great. really, any of the full size american truck with a tow package and anything above base trim should have similar tow mirrors, which around about 2006 or 2008 got even better than they'd been earlier

re my F250 diesel longbed, its a huge truck, easily the biggest vehicle I've ever owned, but it tows great, I get almost the same mileage with or without the Escape 21, and that is just about the same mileage I got in a Tacoma 6 speed 4.0L stick shift when NOT towing. its definitely a highway cruiser, no fun in a small coastal town with tight narrow streets, no fun to parallel park, but it drives just fine on 2-lane state highways as well as open flat interstates.

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Old 09-13-2021, 06:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I travel alone, so usually there is no one to spot me. I was just at a campground where I had to back the trailer to my right, which means I was completely blind. I couldn't even tell if I was within 5' of the entrance.

Another camper came out and spotted me, and I still had a hard time getting into the space. It was narrow, had a few small turns, and was long. When I got the trailer lined up, the front wheels of the tow would scrape the timbers lining the driveway.

My fiberglass trailer is so short I often can't see the trailer to get an idea how I am doing. Jumping in and out of the tow vehicle gets rather tiring!

I thought about putting an extension pole on the rear of the trailer with a flag at each end. These would extend out about 3' on each side so I can get an idea where the trailer is.

What do you think? Would it be of any help? Obviously I would just use it for backing up.
Hi: Huck... There's no feeling like being the "Afternoon" entertainment in the campground. I always think I should take a bow after I'm done!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:34 AM   #9
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I would recommend a backup camera along with the mirrors. I had one on the Airstream and one was on the new Scamp. I liked driving with it on. It really added to awareness of what was happening behind.
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Old 09-13-2021, 10:16 AM   #10
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I like the Milenco Mirrors

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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Or you can buy these: Milenco Grand Aero. Laws require you to be able to see 200' back in adjacent lanes.
I too, have the Milenco Grand Aero mirrors. I am quite happy with them. I find them quite stable and easy to use. I use them in the fully extended position. I have good vision of my trailer and when backing up, they do a good job for the most part. I think the real solution in addition to the mirrors is a camera at the back of the trailer. I am still researching cameras and have not yet decided on one.

I am in the same position as Huck. I travel alone without someone to spot for me. I also find that even when I do have a spotter, some are not that helpful. Mixed signals, sloppy hand gestures, and not in sync with what you are trying to accomplish. When one side of the trailer is not in view of the mirrors, I think that you really need a camera on the trailer to see what is going on. Just my opinion. Aren't we all entitled to one?
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Old 09-13-2021, 10:44 AM   #11
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Hi: Huck... There's no feeling like being the "Afternoon" entertainment in the campground. I always think I should take a bow after I'm done!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Funny! That is exactly what I would tell the campground "admin" when I was booking a site on my trip this summer. I also travel alone and "Not a lot of experience backing up yet, but happy to be the afternoon's entertainment for the neighbours".

I did get offers of help when it was available if they thought I could use some, or after I had circled the grounds 3 times or more trying to get myself a good starting alignment.
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Old 09-13-2021, 10:53 AM   #12
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Camping entertainment for the neighbors

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Originally Posted by Deb Mac View Post
Funny! That is exactly what I would tell the campground "admin" when I was booking a site on my trip this summer. I also travel alone and "Not a lot of experience backing up yet, but happy to be the afternoon's entertainment for the neighbours".

I did get offers of help when it was available if they thought I could use some, or after I had circled the grounds 3 times or more trying to get myself a good starting alignment.
It is so good to hear that I am not alone. I try to provide as much entertainment as possible when camping with my Casita. Lots of "little experience" here.
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:12 AM   #13
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This campsite was a major pain to get my oversized rig into. My truck is as long as the trailer, and has a terrible turning radius, this makes backup maneuvers really challenging.



see the bark scrapped off the log in the foreground? that was my front tires at full turn, ooops. no, I wasn't the first to scrape that log, hah.

another view of the space...



and from the other side



ranger came by, said, wow, you got that in there? we keep telling the reserveamerica folks that isn't a trailer site, but they ignore us and keep booking it as such.

p.s. this was at Hendy Woods State Park, in Mendocino County, California. Lovely park, close to the Mendocino coast but far enough inland to get nice weather.
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:33 AM   #14
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Great pictures!

John, I loved your pictures. You definitely have good skill getting your trailer into tight spaces. What is a little bark here and there among friends? Obviously, the park ranger was impressed as well. That is my kind of camp site. Love it! I hope you had a really good stay there.

I am more fortunate in that my Casita and tow vehicle are not that as long or wide as your rig. I think I could manage to get in there. I maybe could even whittle that log down a bit further? Still, it would be a tight fit. Regardless, that is a great location. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:43 AM   #15
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Hi: Huck... There's no feeling like being the "Afternoon" entertainment in the campground. I always think I should take a bow after I'm done!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
I also find a cross wind at a boat launch quite entertaining!
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Old 09-13-2021, 12:16 PM   #16
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John, I loved your pictures. You definitely have good skill getting your trailer into tight spaces. What is a little bark here and there among friends? Obviously, the park ranger was impressed as well. That is my kind of camp site. Love it! I hope you had a really good stay there.

I am more fortunate in that my Casita and tow vehicle are not that as long or wide as your rig. I think I could manage to get in there. I maybe could even whittle that log down a bit further? Still, it would be a tight fit. Regardless, that is a great location. Thank you for sharing.
yeah, we had a great time. we were en route to the Oregon gathering at Bullards Beach in July, and spent 3 nights at Hendy to break up the trip north, and we visited an acquaintance in Fort Bragg who is the brewmaster at North Coast Brewing (makers of Old Rasputin amongst others).

my last rig was a Casita behind a Tacoma, that would have been easy-breezy to get in there. The Tacoma had a 40 foot turning circle, the F250 has a 62 foot circle :-O
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:17 PM   #17
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Like John, I love the wider mirrors on my F150. They are aftermarket tow mirrors. Now with my Escape 18, you can see beside the trailer with the stock mirrors, butÖ

You canít beat wider mirrors. And when I am solo, itís ok to get out of the truck and look. Donít be afraid to start over. And finally, practice. Find an empty church lot or similar and start backing up. Another skill is backing up straight a longer distance. Itís worth some practice. You have to constantly adjust the steering wheel. Itís a bunch of minor corrections. Backed up half a mile once (dead end road, no warning sign, no driveways, no turnaround). Better to practice before hand.
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:25 PM   #18
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When I first started towing, it was a hobiecat behind a volvo 240.... I did some backup practice in a parking lot, and that rig was SO easy to back up, I found myself doing symmetrical figure 8s backwards

the volvo 240 had one of the tightest turning circles of any car ever, I think it was 32 feet.

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Old 09-14-2021, 06:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
When I first started towing, it was a hobiecat behind a volvo 240.... I did some backup practice in a parking lot, and that rig was SO easy to back up, I found myself doing symmetrical figure 8s backwards

the volvo 240 had one of the tightest turning circles of any car ever, I think it was 32 feet.

Same situation towing my 17 with a RAV4. I could get into almost any site. Not so easy with the 21 & F150, although the tow mirrors help, and I'm a big believer in "getting out & looking" (I travel solo).
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Old 09-14-2021, 07:40 AM   #20
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It is so good to hear that I am not alone. I try to provide as much entertainment as possible when camping with my Casita. Lots of "little experience" here.
And that makes three.

Iím too old to be embarrassed and , unlike most men, am willing to accept help.
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