Backing up

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by DESERTFOX, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. DESERTFOX

    DESERTFOX New Member

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    Any tips on how to learn to back up easily?
    Thanks,
    DESERTFOX

    Ford Explorer EB '03
    Fleetwood UTAH '07
    So done with tent camping...
     
  2. fallsrider

    fallsrider Active Member

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    Do you have any businesses nearby that have large parking lots that might be empty on the weekends? A large empty lot with parking spaces marked is a great way to practice.

    I don't back up this way (I grew up on a farm and have been backing trailers since I was 8 or 10), but they say the easiest way to learn is to place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, then move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go.

    The trick is to go slow and develop a feel for it. One rookie mistake is to oversteer. I see it at campgrounds occasionally. But that is hard to avoid when you don't have a feel for how much steering input you need to place the trailer where you want it. Practice will really help your confidence, so when you're backing into that favorite campsite, and others are watching, you won't be quite so intimidated.

    '04 Toyota Sienna LE
    '98 Jayco Eagle 10 UD
     
  3. theseus

    theseus CamperMod Addict - Thinking about the Dark Side... Silver Supporting Member

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    Backing up takes practice and practice makes perfect they say. Fallsrider gave a great suggestion about going to a empty parking lot and practicing backing into a space. The more you do it the more confident you will become. However, no matter how much you do it, you will still make mistakes and have to start over from time to time. We all do!

    Bruce ______________
    2004 Expedition & 2000 Palomino Mustang SL-SG-FT
    http://www.thecampingchild.com
     
  4. The McCampers

    The McCampers New Member

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    Thank you all for these great tips. I'm a popup newbie who has only taken my pup out once so far. I'll admit it did take me about 6 tries before I got the camper backed into the right place. Gotta go practice in the parking lot!

    B & J
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 1999 Rockwood Freedom 1640
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 2001 Chevy S10
     
  5. Matt O

    Matt O Strangers are friends who have not yet met

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    Keep your confidence when backing up. You can do it.

    Matt & Lori O. Basil the lovable Dog
    '07 Toyota Tacoma '84 Coleman Columbia
    3 nights camped, 2 more booked
     
  6. jtbeck

    jtbeck New Member

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    Exactly what fallsrider said. That's really all you need to remember. Also, if you have to pull forward to get it straight again, go for it. Nobody's keeping score.

    Make small adjustments as you back up instead of trying to get it right on the first turn of the wheel.

    You'll get the hang of it in no time. If I can do it (and I can) then anyone can do it!

    Me (69), DW (69), DD (95), DS (00), DS (01) and Tucker the camping fox terrier (08)
    '00 Chevy Suburban 4x4, '06 Aerolite Cub 23BH
     
  7. slyspyder

    slyspyder Lake Saint Louis, MO

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    This made me think of a time when I was buying a boat and the salesman was talking to me about backing up and he said "don't look in the mirrors because they are lying SOBs!" He must have had a bad experience! I actually don't do much of the backing, but I DO like using the mirrors on the rare occasion that I do it. The person that normally backs our stuff up is a "head hanger" as I call it because they hang their head out the window to line up. Different strokes for different folks!

    I will say, however, that the pup seems harder to back than a boat due to the short tongue!

    "You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather"---OutKast (Ms. Jackson)

    2004 Rockwood 1940LTD--
    Nights camped in 2009 so far: 4
     
  8. kotaylor2

    kotaylor2 New Member

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    Reminds me of my first backing experience. It was a 5x8 box trailer from Uhaul. Neighbor watched me and just started laughing...told me he would do it if needed. Told him no thanks, I need to know how to do it. Now, the wife is quite impressed. Of course, I have had a lot of practice since then. Alao, I have been told, that the smaller trailers are more difficult to park with. After a recent experience, I tend to agree.

    Me '70, wife '75, girls '02 & '04
    2001 Honda Odyssey pulling a 2004 Coleman Sedona
    Camping '09 = 4 nights, '08 = 4, total = 8 nights in camper
     
  9. Skyryder

    Skyryder Proud user of the K.I.S.S. Principle

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    Ah, reminds of a true story. When in the service and on a island far, far away the CO needed a few "drivers" and somehow I was volunteered, anyway to "pass" the test we had to back an artillery piece, narrow with a long tongue and could just barely see one wheel and by that time you were out of line. The test consisted of backing all the way around a running track with out getting out of the lane marks and no pulling ahead to start over. Well after about 25 years of long-haul trucking I remember that story almost each time I would have to back into a dock.
    Other drivers have commented that I could back into spots they would have trouble pulling straight into. Ok, I'm blowing my own horn a bit, but with practice one can become quite proficient at backing. I always use mirrors, my preference, and remember different wheel bases and trailer lengths will change the speed at which the trailer reacts.
    Now anyone want to have a contest backing doubles?

    Skyryder
    '72 Starcraft & <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep">
    Helena, Mt.

    Edited by - Skyryder on April 22 2009 12:57:50
     
  10. CarNutCass

    CarNutCass Put a little gravel in your travel

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    Keep at it Fox, you'll get the hang of it. You're not the first, or the last, to have trouble backing with a trailer.

    2002 Coleman Cottonwood
    2004 Chevy Suburban
     
  11. jtbeck

    jtbeck New Member

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    I always use my mirrors. Sticking your head out the window is literally a pain in the neck! At least for me it is.

    One thing that I don't think has been mentioned yet, is the need for a good spotter to let you know if you're getting ready to do something stupid. :)

    Another set of eyes back there can really help.

    Me (69), DW (69), DD (95), DS (00), DS (01) and Tucker the camping fox terrier (08)
    '00 Chevy Suburban 4x4, '06 Aerolite Cub 23BH
     
  12. fallsrider

    fallsrider Active Member

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    Skyryder, we used to pull double trailers around the farm, so I have backed a few. Not easy! Everything reverses, so you have to steer opposite from what you would a single trailer. And jackknifing is 10x easier! We also used to have one of those 4-wheeled trailers where the front axle is steerable by the tongue. Those are a bear to back, as well!

    And slyspyder, boat trailers are definitely easier to back because of the longer tongue. The longer the distance between your hitch ball and the trailer axle, the easier it is to back. Pups have fairly short tongues.

    '04 Toyota Sienna LE
    '98 Jayco Eagle 10 UD
     
  13. Frances

    Frances New Member

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    Another story: We had an elderly (and crusty) neighbor who liked to take the neighborhood boys out on his airboat. They adored him.

    Our youngest son said -- on his first outing -- when they got to the boat ramp, Chester turned to him and gruffly said "Boy, do you know how to back in a boat?"

    Alex said "I'm only 13."

    Chester said "Boy, I didn't ask you how old you were. I asked if you knew how to back a trailer."

    So Alex hopped into the driver's seat and backed the airboat down the ramp.

    It's never to early to start practicing! (Obviously, as parents, we didn't know anything about this until much later, but... it sure is a good story now.)

    Me '58 and DH '48
    2000 Coleman Taos, 2005 Toyota Tacoma
    14' Old Town tandem kayak
     
  14. gkraps

    gkraps Member

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    Practice, practice, practice!

    Find a big church parking lot, hook up rig on a Saturday afternoon and practice all you want until you are comfortable backing up. Look over your shoulder, look into the mirrors, have someone act as a spotter; what ever make YOU comfortable. After a few tries, it will get easier and easier. Remember, we all started out the same way; but with practice, you will be ready for that adventure out at your favorite camping spot.

    Have fun!!!

    Joe & Gale
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    1985 Jayco
    1947 Ford Sedan Delivery street rod
     
  15. John L

    John L New Member

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    Don't ever be afraid to just pull ahead and get the TV and camper straight and begin again. Sure beats jack knifing or runnig the PuP into something. Like Joe said, just remember that every other person around you with a camper had to learn too.

    John & Kitty (Empty Nesters)<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_camping.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Camping">
    '02 Coleman Cottonwood <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    '97 Silverado X-Cab Stepside <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">
     
  16. EvTech

    EvTech Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)

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    Like John L says, pull ahead and get the TV and pup straight again. I'll just modify that to say that you only need to pull ahead enough to accomplish the straightening out. I stress that fact because my DW would pull forward almost to her original starting point.

    1998 Ford Ranger 4.0L V6
    2005 Fleetwood Niagara
    Vancouver (not BC), Washington (not DC) <img src=../Images/flags/us-army.jpg border=0 align=middle alt="US Army"> <img src=../Images/flags/us-powmia.jpg border=0 align=middle alt="POW/MIA">
     
  17. Greywuff

    Greywuff Member

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    One trick my dad taught me as a youngster backing farm trailers...always try to back the trailer to the drivers side if possible...its a lot easier when you can look in the mirror or out the window and see the trailer than it is trying to back into your blind side. If Im going to cakc a trailer into a spot on the right side of the road, I try to go past the sight, make a u turn and come back to the sight. That puts the spot on the left(drivers) side of the tv.

    Pat and Karen
    "...I have learned to be content regardless of the circumstances." Philippians 4:11 NIV
     
  18. mouse6196

    mouse6196 New Member

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    When I learned to drive a tractor trailer an instructor told me...

    1. Hold the bottom of the steering wheel in the center...which ever way your hand goes (left or right), that's the way the trailer will go.

    2. Practise

    3. Practise

    15 years later backing up is second nature but at times I think of that trick adn hold the wheel at the bottom...

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2007 Jayco 1008
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> Ford Freestar
     
  19. barb_dave

    barb_dave Active Member

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    As it's been said it takes practice. Slow and easy is the best way. Last year my wife started to backing the camper. She caught on really fast.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/Barb_Dave
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"><font color=red>1998 Coleman Mesa</font id=red>-<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"><font color=green>1997 Plymouth Voyager</font id=green>
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_campfire.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Campfire"><font color=blue>Nights Camping 2009 None yet</font id=blue>
     
  20. DESERTFOX

    DESERTFOX New Member

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    Thank you for all your tips and suggestion I learned a lot, appreciate your help guys, I will the mirror,looking back and using the spotter see which one will be easier. Again thank you!!!
    Cheers!!!
    DESERTFOX

    Ford Explorer EB '03
    Fleetwood UTAH '07
    So done with tent camping...
     

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