Parking/Backing Advice - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:14 PM   #1
AmyFL's Avatar
Name: Amy
Trailer: Casita Independence Deluxe 17
Posts: 51
Parking/Backing Advice

Hi - I have a 17’ Casita. I am a solo female struggling with backing into a space. I have watched YouTube videos, and try to practice. I can get the trailer started backing in the right direction, but how do I straighten it out so it stops turning? I have been lucky to get a couple of nice people to jump in my truck to help me, but one time I saw the very tight space and sharp turn, and just left the campground. (No- I am not proud proud of this.) I left a campsite recently, and the road was flooded, and I needed to back up about a mile! A nice police officer rescued me - he backed up my trailer and turned it around. Camping is supposed to be relaxing, and this is stressing me out! Thanks for any help, advice, or good links to help me. Amy
2018 Casita Independence 17
2019 Dodge Ram 1500
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:34 PM   #2
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Name: Nigel
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 19
How I was taught to back up a straight line was this. Think the tow vehicle and the trailer are never straight with each other so wiggle left and right when you back up and you will soon find that tiny wiggle back and forth sends the trailer in a straight line. There is no substitute for practice unfortunately.

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Old 11-19-2020, 06:57 PM   #3
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Name: Kenneth
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 828
Find a big empty parking lot,

Originally Posted by AmyFL View Post
Hi - I have a 17’ Casita. I am a solo female struggling with backing into a space. I have watched YouTube videos, and try to practice. I can get the trailer started backing in the right direction, but how do I straighten it out so it stops turning?
and practice. go slow, the shorter the trailer the quicker it gets out of line. Just back very slowly pushing the bottom of the steering wheel in the direction you want the RV to go.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:23 PM   #4
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,225
You will have to almost continually adjust your steering wheel. Find an empty parking lot and practice. Just get your trailer and tow vehicle in line with each other, then start backing up. You will quickly see how often you have to adjust your steering wheel. Wide mirrors help lot. I like to see past the trailer. I use towing mirrors on my F150, even though the trailer is no wider than my truck.

As mentioned above, the tow vehicle and trailer are never really perfectly in line. I found it was super easy to jackknife my Casita, as the draw bar was really short. I rented a U-Haul flat bed trailer, same overall length, but the draw bar was at least twice as long. Backing it up was so easy.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:56 PM   #5
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Name: Amy
Trailer: Casita Independence Deluxe 17
Posts: 51
Thank you all for the helpful advice. I am going to try the slow movement back and forth, and will look into mirrors. I can back the trailer up shorter distances, and understand the steering from the bottom of the wheel - that helps. I think when I get the trailer into the turn, I think I am going to jackknife it. I’ll keep practicing. Fortunately, my next site is a pull-through. I have to nail this for a Christmas trip to Grayson Beach State Park. I appreciate the help!
2018 Casita Independence 17
2019 Dodge Ram 1500
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 1,559
I suggest keeping your hands in your lap. You can then move the bottom of the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go as suggested above.

Move the wheel in small increments of an inch or two, then pause and hold it steady while backing slowly. Wait for the effect as this starts to "bend" the trailer into a turn.

You can then either hold the wheel steady if you want to continue kinking the trailer into a sharper turn, or you can inch the wheel back in the other direction to straighten the steering and "follow" the trailer in a more gentle arc.

If you can practice in a parking lot, try to place the trailer between paint lines, just like putting it into a narrow site. It's difficult to actually learn if you don't have a visual target to gauge yourself by.

Also, get out and observe how far you can actually "bend" the trailer without it hitting your tow vehicle. That may help reduce your concerns on that item.

Get out of the vehicle and observe before and during backing. Take time to observe what is happening and think about how your steering got you there. If it isn't working, pull forward and try again. Taking the time to study what you are doing may also help to reduce the stress and give you a greater sense of control.

At home, I have taken to putting four or five little pieces of cardboard folded like pup tents along the inside arc of my target wheel path because it's very challenging to put the trailer away next to my house. There's a sharp vertical dip down the driveway from the sidewalk which makes it difficult to see with the mirrors, and a sharp turn through a gate into a very narrow space.

Using the cardboard pieces has made it much easier as they give me a target line to watch, and there's no penalty if I run over them.
~ “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:45 PM   #7
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 9,561
As soon as the trailer starts to turn in the desired direction, immediately and gradually reverse the steering wheel back toward center to follow the trailer. That mental idea- you’re following the trailer rather than pushing it- helped me a lot.

With a short trailer you don’t have to turn the steering wheel as much as you’d expect. A little goes a long way.

And go slow. Really slow.
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:47 PM   #8
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 5,082
All good advice. Another consideration, take your time and keep calm, don't get frustrated. As soon as the trailer starts to get out of the position where you want it, stop, pull forward a little to get it back in line and then back up again. Pick a spot or something to aim for, maybe bring one of those orange traffic cones and put it where you want the rear corner of the trailer. I prefer to back to the left so it's easier to see where the trailer is going but that's not always possible. And when necessary get out and look (GOAL) to see how the trailer is positioned and where it has to go from there. At a rally a few years ago I got volunteered to do a backing seminar using a golf cart and small trailer. One person I was teaching would start out good but then suddenly turn the steering the wrong way. Got her out of that habit and then she did good. Time and practice will work, you'll get it.
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:10 AM   #9
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Name: Patricia
Trailer: ECO
Posts: 20
If you suddenly find yourself having to back into a space in the dark, be sure you have a small lantern you can put on top of any obstacles in your path. It will give you a point of reference in the dark. It does get better, but backing in after dark is still a bit of a challenge for me. I get in there, but it may take a bit longer than it does in the daylight
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:05 AM   #10
Trailer: 2013 19' Escape
Posts: 32
AMYFI -- Steering wheel positioning/movement [L/R] when backing up is opposite when hooked up [tantem unit] to a trailer of any sort/size.

ALWAYS steer with your hand on the BOTTOM of the steering wheel. If you want the rear of the trailer to move right 'steer right' from the bottom the wheel. 'Steer left' from bottom of steering wheel for the rear-end of the trailer to move left.
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:40 AM   #11
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Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 3,229
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Have your spouse stand outside and give you directions. This will give you someone to yell at for not knowing how to back up.
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Old 11-20-2020, 01:09 PM   #12
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Name: kenny
Trailer: 93 "Lil" Bigfoot 13.5'
Posts: 403
Patricia Love your; put a light at a point that you can aim for.
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Old 11-20-2020, 01:33 PM   #13
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Name: Elena-Sophia
Trailer: Casita SD17
Posts: 14
All of the instructions posted here are good advice, in parti ular the need to practice in a wide-open area using markers such as traffic cones --- but I am going to suggest something very different: find a reputable driving instructor who trains professional tractor-trailer drivers and book a half-day lesson. You will learn - and be able to execute --- more than merely backing up straight or into a narrow space with only inches of clearance on each side.
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Old 11-20-2020, 04:47 PM   #14
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: '06 Scamp 16
Rochester, New York
Posts: 153
Also, if possible, have someone behind the trailer who's only job is to yell, "Stop!" if you're about to hit something. That way, there's no confusion as what you should do. Then, get out and decide your next action.
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Old 11-20-2020, 05:04 PM   #15
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
Posts: 954
I can back up my combo decent but not great so I get out of the vehicle and check how I'm doing.
The last thing I need is someone who can't back a combo up telling me what to do.
Please take as much time as is necessary to learn how to do this yourself,,,, the next person you let help may not be nice,,,,,
I'd rather do it myself, done right or not. Isn't that what a hobby is all about?
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:39 PM   #16
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Name: Manley
Trailer: Happier Camper
Everywhere, USA
Posts: 177
Backing up

My first time (13' trailer) I was at a vacant campground so I thought I'd practice backing up in all the spaces. I started in one space (the biggest one, three times as wide as my trailer, with trees and bushes on three sides) , spent an hour and a half, never got it to go where I wanted it to go in the space, turned off the truck, crawled into the trailer and took a nap. When I woke up I pulled it forward straight into the driveway and spent the night. I thought I'd never be able to back in.

My second time I went to a women's camping rally and they gave me a spot right on the river. All I needed to do was back it in. I spent an hour going forward and backward getting it perfect (and I was SO proud I was finally able to backin even though it took me forever!) I thought....until one of the ladies casually strolled by and told me I was parked on the patio (concrete slab).....I had to do it all over again to move on the grass, next to the concrete slab.

Point is, it gets easier and you get better and so what if it takes you longer that you think it should take you. Have fun with it, laugh, and enjoy 🤗
Check out the 'Oliver, Big Foot, Casita, Scamp, Boler etc.' Group on "The RVillage" app. Caravan, Boondocking, Friends!
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:58 AM   #17
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Name: Eva
Trailer: Scamp 13 plus home-built
Posts: 23
it just takes time - first time I needed to back up my 13fter, I'd get cockeyed, pull up to correct, try again, cockeyed again, and so on and so forth, until I had run out of space to pull up again. A nice gent came along and backed it in for me, spot-on, first try. Fast forward 4 years, and I can put it wherever it needs to go, within 1/2 inch, the first time every time. Just do it - never mind the sniggering onlookers
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:03 PM   #18
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Posts: 696
A big part of your problem is your RAM 1500 truck. I started towing our 17' SD with a Jeep Liberty. The Liberty was short and I had no problem putting the SD where I wanted it. Liberty got old and I bought a full size Silverado extended cab. That's when my backing problems started. A full size truck's length cuts down your ability to make tight turns with the trailer impossible and it then took two shots to get the same trailer into my same narrow driveway.

So don't give up and do the best you can. My neighbor has a LONG boat and a Suburban and he makes it look so easy because the boat i soo long.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:04 PM   #19
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Ready to buy
Posts: 2
Simple: be sure you can see at least an edge of the trailer in relation to the desired path and back slowly; with your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, the steering wheel to the right to turn the trailer right, left to turn it left. Note: a little movement can go a long way.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:09 PM   #20
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Name: R.W. Rick
Trailer: Bigfoot 2500 25B175CB
Posts: 27
To me there are two keys;

1. use both Side Mirrors.
2. put one hand (Your Dominate Hand) on Bottom of Steering Wheel. (Lose the other hand.)

Use the Driver side Mirror, backing up; If You want the rear of the Trailer (in the Mirror) to go left, move the bottom of the Steering Wheel Left, and vice a versa, for the right.

Always, always watch Your Mirrors, particularly the Driver Side, but do use both.

Don't turn Your head to look backwards out of Your Side Window, only use the Mirrors.

Small increments on Steering Wheel Movement.

Practice, practice, practice, ...

In using only Your Side Mirrors, and the Bottom of Your Steering Wheel, Your Brain perceives the Mirrors as Your Windshield, and You Drive the Trailer where You want it to go, by using the Bottom of the Steering Wheel.

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