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Old 11-25-2020, 01:01 PM   #21
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: 2003 13' Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 34
All good advice, I learned something from the suggestions. I have been back up boat trailers for 30 years, no problem, but a little trailer (13 ft Scamp) is harder, because 1) the hitch to wheel is so short, the littlest turn affects the trailer; 2) the rounded Scamp is hard to tell when starts to move off straight; 3) you can't see behind trailer. So, I suggest getting a trailer you can see over, practicing with that, you will get the hang of that, and transfer skills to trailer backing. Personally, having my spouse help me know when I am getting it turned helps, we are getting better. Also relationship building. Good luck and practice when you are rested, and focused.
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:26 PM   #22
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: Trillium
Alberta
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Lots of great advice here. A short trailer can get out of line very fast. The good thing is it is easy to get back under control by pulling forward a few feet. As soon as you notice it is getting substantially off line, don't try to correct it by continuing to back up. Drive straight forward instead until you feel that you can easily get it back under control in reverse.
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:36 PM   #23
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Name: Tom
Trailer: 13' Scamp 2003
California
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Practice with truck only

Lots of good advice here.
My two additions. Practice straight line backing with just your truck. Mirrors only and use reference lines or a curb. This is one of the skills tests I had to do for my commercial license.
Second scout your path. If you can find a reference line on your drivers side, say edge of road, line of rocks, or a log, for instance and you know you have clearance on your passenger side, then just concentrate on your drivers side mirror and keeping a measured distance from your reference line on the drivers side. If you need to check your passenger mirror, stop backing and take a look. Get reoriented with your drivers side mirror before you continue backing.
Getting off course mostly happens when going from one mirror to the other.
Practice and it will get easier.
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:42 PM   #24
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Name: Babs
Trailer: Casita
Tennessee
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I know this sounds crazy, but I promise that it help me. I bought a kid’s toy truck and trailer and practiced moving it forward and backward. I could see how the trailer reacted to how I moved the truck, and then I practiced with my Casita in a Closed shopping center parking Lot—not always parking, just steering it backwards.
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:58 PM   #25
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Scamp
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Backing a trailer

All of the advice given is very good including that for putting out little cardboard "tents". I would suggest going to a sporting goods store or looking on line for what we called "soccer cones", small, cheap traffic type cones. Put them in an arc and adjust the backing as you guide the trailer around them. If you goof and run over one or two, it's no big monetary loss.

I've been backing trailers for years but still need them to do it within the first 25 tries. Sometimes only once.

Bill
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Old 11-25-2020, 02:13 PM   #26
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I've had two close calls. One with a tree and one with a vehicle. Keep an eye on your TV right front fender, and your mirrors, when backing the trailer to the left. Depending how radical the turn, your front fender can move substantially to the right.
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:06 PM   #27
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Name: Mickey
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Oklahoma
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Hello & Welcome to the Travel Trailer World.

I have been backing small to very large trailers for over 50 years. Most people get in too much of a hurry and want to really turn the steering wheel. The first thing to remember is take it real slow and don't turn the steering wheel very much. Remember the shorter the trailer the faster it will change directions when backing up.

Go to a Wal-Mart parking lot where they have the lines drawn on the ground. Get out away from all the cars. Then, using your mirrors, try to back up keeping your trailer parallel to the line on the ground. It will take some practice but the line gives you a guide to go by. Remember, go slow and don't turn the wheel very much in either direction. When you get to where you can stay parallel to the line then try pulling up perpendicular to the line on your driver side and back in trying to get parallel with the line.

Once you master backing up to the line at Wal-Mart, then use the edge of the concrete at the campsite as your line or get a few rocks and place them in line with where you want to park.

Trust me it will work.
Good Luck
MC
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Old 11-25-2020, 05:58 PM   #28
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Name: Gordon
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North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Have your spouse stand outside and give you directions. ...
I think you missed the second sentence in the original post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyFL View Post
Hi - I have a 17’ Casita. I am a solo female struggling with backing into a space. ...
And there is nothing wrong with asking for someone to watch out for you as you back up, if someone is nearby. Who knows.. it could be the end of the solo traveling. But don't forget to roll down your windows! I can't tell you how many times I have seen people struggling to back a trailer with their windows rolled up - sometimes with the radio on - so that they can't hear someone telling them they are about to hit something.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:41 PM   #29
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Name: James
Trailer: casita Independence
Texas
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As long as you do not hit something - you did a good job. Get Out And Look. GOAL. As often as you need to be sure. Drive the wheels of the trailer. Pull up’s are your friend. Adjust the mirrors often. Remember how good you was last month and how much better you are now.
Good Job!!!!!
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:17 PM   #30
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Name: RogerDat
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One thing I think helps is look at the space you are going to back into for how much space you will have on the side that you can see when you pull in. Then align on that visible side.

E.G. If you need to be 3 ft. (1 meter) in from the post or tree on your visible side to fit in the spot without hitting the picnic table on the "blind" side then as long as you are aligned 3 ft. from that post or tree you don't need to see the picnic table.

Same applies to pulling through a tight spot, if you can see you will fit with x amount to spare as long as you can remain one half of x from your visible side you will slide right on through. This is how you drive a 7 ft. wide trailer through an 8 ft. wide opening smoothly and without raising ones blood pressure. This is also something one can practice in a parking lot with cones or leveling blocks. Mark the front and back corners of a parking space then try to pull through that space and the space on the opposite row.

Use your yellow or orange level stacking blocks as a rear target. I often drop a couple where I want the back corner to align with and after I'm lined up and fairly close to backed in place a block or two where I want the tire to end up, or just in front of that point if I will need to have some on the "blind" side to back up on to get camper level.

Once I'm in position with tire on my visible side next to block, hop out, go put some blocks behind the low blind side then back up on to them. Still using the ones on my visible side as a reference to back up the right amount.

If my vehicle and trailer are aligned straight I can see both tires but sometimes I have found myself cranking into a spot so that the vehicle when I'm parked is not aligned directly with the trailer. Then I use the level blocks to mark the side I can see.

The best thing of all is as others have suggested to simply practice in off hours in a large store parking lot using the painted lines as guides to park between. Also being able to back straight for a distance will prove useful skill to know you can do because you have practiced it.

Small changes to the steering wheel at a slow speed will make it so you can correct more easily as you go and not get wildly off track. I find it easier to recover from mistakes at slower speed going forward or backwards. I once had someone describe backing a trailer up as getting the butt lined up on where you want to go then driving the vehicle so it chases the trailer into the spot.

I drove commercially for 20 some of the last 40 years and I have no embarrassment about hopping out repeatedly to check things out, or to figure out how to change my alignment. Yeah I like to smooooothly slide right into the place I want to be in one slick shot. But I also don't mind stopping three times to get out and check that I'm aligned with my goal.

Small LED lantern handy that one can place on the ground, a picnic table, or even the back bumper for additional light can be really useful if one has to back in after dark. Best is to arrive well before wine & cocktail hour to set up but sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Last but not least if someone is going to help back you in they need to stand in front of you looking back down your blind side. You need to be able to check them like you would your off side mirror. Countless times I have seen "helpers" standing back past the middle of the trailer where they can watch the back end trying to yell directions through the camper to the driver. They need to be in front where they can point and be heard.

Not sure on cost but wireless rear camera have been well spoken of by those that have them. Plus they can add an additional check on the road for traffic tucked behind you about to pull out and whip into your blind spot.
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Old 11-26-2020, 07:03 AM   #31
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Name: Mary Ann
Trailer: in the market
Oriental
Posts: 15
There are several replies here that are very good, but I suggest leaving the Casita at home and drive to a shopping center parking lot on a Sunday morning. Hang a cap over the inside mirror to block your view and practice backing the car/truck around the parking lot. Get used to not turning your head to look behind. Ever. Use the side mirrors exclusively. Pick a specific parking spot about 100 feet behind you and back into it. Repeat. Repeat.

Then try it with the Casita. This is not easy to learn with a small trailer, but practice is your friend.

Try to resist having men help you. If you are going to camp alone you need to do this yourself.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:07 PM   #32
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Name: Dana
Trailer: Escape 21C
Nevada
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One thing I learned on various forums is to not let well meaning strangers help you back up/in. In your case you might have to get a stranger to help. You and the helper should agree on the language that will be used or in some cases hand signals. When your helper says "turn left" is your helper meaning turn the rear end of the trailer left, the tow vehicle left, etc.? If the helper crosses their arms in front of them do you understand that means STOP! Other suggestions are for you and the helper to communicate with your cell phones. Where cell phone service is not available some people carry two walkie-talkie radios.
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:22 PM   #33
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Name: Murray
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
BC
Posts: 17
Parking/Backing Advice

One thing no one seemed to mention is get the trailer and tow vehicle setup for your intended path while your still moving ahead. If you need to back up straight, straighten out while moving ahead so you only need to maintain that relationship while backing.

If you need to backup right, get in that position while moving forward. Again, you will only need to make small corrections while backing up.

Once you’ve completed the turn, you can usually pull ahead a few feet to straighten out before trying to backup in a straight line.

I’ve been driving professionally for 25 years and I can tell you it’s easier to start off right than try to recover while backing into an unfamiliar space.
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:51 PM   #34
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They call it the “scoop.” Rather than trying to explain, best to watch it.

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Old 11-26-2020, 05:49 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlakeman View Post
One thing I learned on various forums is to not let well meaning strangers help you back up/in. ..
Have to agree.. and when I posted above I was thinking of asking someone to watch to see if you are about to hit something.. nothing more. In fact when I do help someone trying to back a trailer, I dont tell them what to do. I dont want that responsibility or liability. About all I will do is shout STOP if bad things are about to happen. That has worked to prevent more than one case of property damage.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:19 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
They call it the “scoop.” Rather than trying to explain, best to watch it.
I have been using an adaption of this for many decades, but without the terrible label. There is one maneuver to add that was missed. At the end of this procedure, and in this circumstance, you should cut the tow vehicle wheels hard left for the last short bit. This will turn the trailer a bit to the right on the front end, and will align it straighter into the parking spot.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:24 AM   #37
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If anyone is having trouble reversing a trailer by far the best thing is to practice in a large open parking lot. If at a campsite a helper using proper hand signals is best. You should never rely on vocal help as there are too many chances of misinterpretation due to distance and noises. There is no mistaking proper hand signals.

I have towed lots of trailers for work where reversing needs to be very accurate in lots of situations, and vocals are never used, just good hand signals.

At a campsite I usually reverse by myself after first looking at the site to see where I wish to park the trailer. If it is a spot that requires some good turns I put a Lynx pad, or something colourful and easy to see in the mirrors, beside where I want the trailer tires to be and back up right beside it. Oh yeah, another very important thing is trailer reversing is to have proper towing mirrors you can see behind with.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:38 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I have been using an adaption of this for many decades, but without the terrible label.
Funny you say that, because I have been calling it the “swoop” for a long time. Made more sense to me. Agree about the little turn at the end to align the rig before reversing.

I find spotters more trouble than help. I sometimes put a folding camp chair right where I want the back corner of the trailer to end up (on the side I can see in my mirror). It doesn’t yell, gesticulate unintelligibly, or move out of my line of sight, just waits patiently until a gentle nudge tells me I’m done..
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:51 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post



I find spotters more trouble than help. I sometimes put a folding camp chair right where I want the back corner of the trailer to end up (on the side I can see in my mirror). It doesn’t yell, gesticulate unintelligibly, or move out of my line of sight, just waits patiently until a gentle nudge tells me I’m done..
They need to be well versed in proper signals, which really isn't that hard. I have seen people turning their hands in a circle to indicate the direction to turn the whel, when simply hiding your forearm in the direction of movement would work so much better. I am very clear if getting help they need to stay in clear vision in a mirror, preferably the driver one.

I have had trucks with proper towing mirrors for 30 years now. I would not want to be without them. They are real nice for use when not towing too.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:48 PM   #40
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Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
Arizona
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Good Advice

Hi,

Bottom of the steering wheel is good advice.
Also... find a big empty area such as a parking lot on a
weekend and practice there. If you want to get fancy
you could get some of those orange road cones to set up
to test yourself without getting near anything that might
damage your trailer.

Good Luck

Uncle Larry
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