Hello, we are Mark and Bettina from Tampa Florida - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-19-2017, 01:41 PM   #1
MGB
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Name: Mark
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Hello, we are Mark and Bettina from Tampa Florida

And we just bought a 2016 Casita 16ft. Liberty Deluxe. A month ago we were tent campers. There was no sign or even thought of an RV. Now there's one in our back yard. We hope to ease into it over the next year and be ready to enjoy it more when we retire sometime after. We are complete RV novices, and have never trailer camped as adults. Hopefully some of our kayak camping skills and mechanical skills will transfer! Any advice on readying a never used trailer and its owners for its first trip will be appreciated!

Mark and Bettina
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Old 07-19-2017, 01:51 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your purchase Mark and Bettina, and welcome to the club. We too bought our first camper last year after years of tent camping. Did the previous owner include all of their camping gear with it? That was the first thing for us, and all of that gear can really add up.
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:16 PM   #3
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New Casita

Sadly, the first owner did not get to use it. By the time it was ready, last December, he was not able to use it. He transported it to Florida, and it sat until he sold it to us. Never had water in tanks, etc.
But, we have considerable tent camping gear. We're just taking it slow. So far, we've slept in it each night with the bed in a different configuration and cookedon the stove. That's all. Once I have figured out the systems, we'll boondock in the yard, then try a local state park. This plan is subject to change upon whim and work.
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #4
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So far, we've slept in it each night with the bed in a different configuration and cookedon the stove. That's all. Once I have figured out the systems, we'll boondock in the yard, then try a local state park.
I like the plan. A shakedown in your own yard gets you familiar with everything and if there's a problem you're home to fix it.
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:37 PM   #5
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+10 Try a nearby park. I would pick one with hook ups, so you can use all of the various systems.

Might want to practice backing up too. Key learning that saved our marriage (OK, thats an exaggeration), the backing savvy person needs to be directing, and the other person driving. Once we swapped these roles, its never been a problem for us. "Hand on the bottom of the wheel, move it to the right" "Hand on the bottom of the wheel, move it to the left HARD".
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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Our first night was in a state park 5 minutes from our house, with an easy back-in site.
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:08 PM   #7
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Backing up

Yes, that backing up thing will need some practice. It took me 3 tries to back into a double wide space in our yard. The communication was the worst part. Excellent suggestion on reversing roles!
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #8
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This casita owner sure has a lot of great info
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRP...3DfCPmg/videos
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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I would add two things. Directing person needs to stand in front (where they can be seen and heard by driver) but looking back on the side the driver can't see. Never understood how the driver was supposed to get directions from standing at the back corner of the camper on the blind side. Wal-Mart or other big box store parking lots during off hours are good practice spots.

Keep your camping gear! True our camper is a 13 ft. but we essentially treat it like a hard sided tent. Cooking, dish washing, and hanging out are done under a tarp or in a screen tent same as they were when we camped. Coleman stove outside where there is plenty of room, the camper isn't getting heated up, and ants clean up any fallen crumbs sure beats inside cooking. Same for dish washing. Whole picnic table vs. inside the camper? Hmmm?

One final thought, it might be worthwhile to dump plain water through toilet and into holding tank the first trip so you can practice draining the gray and black water tanks in shall we say a low stakes practice session. Better to find a leaking dried out seal or hard to get good connection while draining 10 gallons of water than 10 gallons of sewage.

It does spoil one have an RV instead of a tent but in a good way. Enjoy!
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:31 PM   #10
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I disagree with standing in front. You can't see any more than the driver can see from there.
I found this video helpful:

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Old 07-19-2017, 05:16 PM   #11
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I tell my wife when she is directing me into a site; if you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you. I've seen couples using walkie talkies, or cell phones for directing. At work one of our rules was GOAL, Get Out And Look if in doubt. Pick a spot on the ground to aim for, or better yet have a small orange cone as a marker.
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MGB View Post
And we just bought a 2016 Casita 16ft. Liberty Deluxe. A month ago we were tent campers. There was no sign or even thought of an RV. Now there's one in our back yard. We hope to ease into it over the next year and be ready to enjoy it more when we retire sometime after. We are complete RV novices, and have never trailer camped as adults. Hopefully some of our kayak camping skills and mechanical skills will transfer! Any advice on readying a never used trailer and its owners for its first trip will be appreciated!

Mark and Bettina

If you kayak camped just do the same things. It'll all come very naturally. We are old time backpackers and most of the stuff transferred directly into the trailer including the sleeping bags. Now instead of camping in a tiny tent and cooking outside we're inside until after breakfast then outside till after dinner. When raining we can stray inside.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I disagree with standing in front. You can't see any more than the driver can see from there.
I found this video helpful:
I agree 100% Glenn, standing in front of the driver is zero help. After a career in construction with many of us having to position huge to small "can't see em at all" trailers daily on job sites, the spotter was the ruler for backing up . We pretty much used one hand for everything except for the closing distance but to be fair, we did this multiple times every day and the spotters were drivers also, second nature kind of thing. One signal we used when rear clearance was not a problem but the side positioning was, was to stand sideways and rub your stomach. That told the driver to put the side of the trailer right next to you. Always worked but you did have to watch out for your toes if they were trying to be funny and really rub your belly with it .
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:25 AM   #14
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Enjoy your new camper guys!!!! We went from tents to Tahoe camping (sleeping in the back) to a Casita, then on to the Egg (for height since Im too tall). LOVE the fiberglass campers!! Welcome!!
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:45 AM   #15
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There are getting to be a lot of us FG campers in Florida!
One close by park (relatively speaking) you might enjoy- camp at O'Leno SP near Gainesville, tube the Ichetucknee at Ichetucknee Spgs SP. Chance of rain is only 20% for the next 3 days.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:30 AM   #16
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One trailer backing tip:

If there was one tip I would offer, it would be this:
Try to do the entire back-up with the trailer in your left mirror.

You can almost always set your trailer up so that you are angled inward to the left, driver's side. That way your left hand mirror will have a lot of value, and your right mirror some value. You can also look back, out your window.

If you backup a trailer angled to the right, neither mirror has much value, nor does looking back.

OK, a second tip: GOAL. Before you start backing, Get Out And Look.

Pretty soon you will be ready for a semi-truck.
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Old 07-20-2017, 12:04 PM   #17
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Mark and Bettina,

You might consider the Casita A to Z owner's guide, available as a PDF download for $30. While it has a lot of information for beginners, I also still refer to mine two years after purchasing.

Other than that, you can read, read, and read every blog and forum post that you find interesting.

Under "trailer" on your profile, you can add the year and model of your trailer, and also information regarding your tow vehicle. This will help people key in on your specific units when you post questions about them online.

Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:00 PM   #18
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I'd say the video is useful in general, as far as signaling and visibility goes, but backing up a bus is the same as a car, except for its size. A trailer is a totally different story. And there is also a subtle difference between backing up a 5th wheel and a bumper hitch trailer. It is a little like pushing a stick ahead of you on flat ground. Any amount of steering of the tow vehicle has a cumulative effect on the angle between those two vehicles, and ends up in jack-knifing if not reversed. This is the counterintuitive thing that took me a long time to get a feel for. So, look for more videos of backing up. There is a bunch of threads on the subject here.

Our trailering is also "past tents", and most of our lives are in past tense.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:21 PM   #19
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The video was to enlighten the person giving directions to the driver.
And, as for backing, the solution is the same, be it a bus or a trailer. When things start to go awry, stop and pull forward until TV and trailer are both straight. Start over and go slow.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:49 PM   #20
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Backing a trailer, short video:

Horses Laugh Hysterically at Bad Driver in Funny VW Commercial
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