Helps for hitching up alone

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by penny, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    sometimes I need to hitch up the camper alone, but I haven't even tried to do it. I know how to work everything, and the steps to do it, it just seems hard to line up hitch and ball. I suppose I should just try. I've seen gadgets to help, friend has a couple of clamp on tennis ball on sticks, but he says they don't help much. I haven't tried them. Anyway, It seems like a difficult thing to do. Any tips, hacks or ideas to try?
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I have used the yellow balls on wands, as well as the iball camera. (Friends have a magnetic mirror than allows them to see the hitch ball in their rear view mirror, I haven't tried it.) The iBall is a wireless magnetic camera, with a monitor that plugs into the 12v outlet in the TV. The combination helps a lot. I use the a spot on the ground method when it comes to fine tuning distance backing up - estimate how far to back, and use a spot on the gorund ti measure it as you back up.
    Even though we now have a back-up camera on the TV, I still use the wands and/or iBall for some places, my husband usually just uses the TV camera. The wands give me a starting target, especially in some sites where there isn't a straight on angle as I begin backing. The iBall camera can give me a second angle-of-view.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  3. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I have a backup camera that makes it as easy as it gets. Before I had the camera, I would use the old, "get out of the vehicle ten times" to check the distance. After doing this enough, you should get pretty good a determining the proximity of the ball to the hitch.

    I also have always had a wheel on the trailer hitch jack that made it easy to move the trailer onto the ball.
     
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  4. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

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    No camera here, I got down to about 2 times in and out of the truck now. You will get better at it, just takes time and patience
     
  5. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    I have been using the magnetic extendable unit with the ball, I put on on the ball on the truck and one on the unit hitch, with the 2 balls level I back up until the 2 balls touch, then lower the trailers hitch then finis hooking up. I have used this method for a few years and it is simple, requires no batteries and workd for me anyway.
     
  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    My first time backing up to the camper by myself I bumped the camper into my bumper. Learned real quick after that to judge distance by looking into the rear view mirror. The tennis balls on a stick help guide me to line up with the ball, but getting out of the car off and on and getting an idea of how the trailer looks in your rear view mirror helps a lot. Now I can do it fairly easy now without even bothering with the tennis ball thing. Occasionally the slope of the land complicates things as things look a tad different. A back up camera will make things real easy. I could care less about all these fancy features found in cars now a days, but that backup camera found in a lot of them in my opinion is a must have.
     
  7. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    wow! thank you for all the good ideas! I'm going to practice in the driveway until I'm more at ease with it. we do have a back up camera, I just didn't think the depth perception was accurate enough. I just need to try. I like the idea of the iball too. and maybe will try my friends ball on wands
     
  8. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Well-Known Member

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    I've used the "okay, how close am I", the "indicator of some kind" and back up camera. Far and away prefer the backup camera. My F150 has one that allows you to switch the perspective. This makes is even easier.
     
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  9. michaeltdyer

    michaeltdyer Member

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    I too have the iBall wireless magnetic camera and it makes the job so much easier. I just point it at the hitch and line it up. Of course, it helps that my camper is really light so when we are on flat ground I can move it a little bit around to get a good fit just by tugging on it.
     
  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I hitch up by myself at least 75% of the time. I use the tennis ball things. I go slow and know they get me close, usually with in inch. I get out and check when I am close and then get back in and make corrections....I have never banged up a bumper with this method.
     
  11. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

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    Practice practice practice. I got good enough to hitch TT in one or two attempts, and no movement to TT hitch!

    Use parking brake too, holds vehicle SOLID, I drove manual truck for years, I detest "park roll"

    Once you are hitched, "memorize" what the trailer looks like in the mirror.

    Also helps to only hitch straight on rather than at an angle.

    I have a back up camera now, it's really cheating but it's the best method yet. Trip last summer I backed up to TT and dropped it on the WD hitch in one attempt, hitched and pulled away. Guy next to me was still trying to get his on the ball and he had a spotter....
     
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  12. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I have used the get out and look combined with the spot on the ground method forever. Dont be afraid to bump into the trailer a time or two. Like others said it gets easier with practice.
     
  13. Boatnman

    Boatnman Well-Known Member

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    The backup camera on our TV has a wide angle lens that shows the hitch ball so it's pretty easy to get everything lined up. (The distortion of the wide angle lens takes some practice.)

    Our previous TV didn't have a backup camera, so I'd get the TV close to the hitch and then get out to check the distance to the hitch and side-to-side alignment. I'd then leave the driver door open as I finished backing and judge my movement by watching the ground. It usually took just two times getting out of the car.
     
  14. davido

    davido Active Member

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    I have a backup camera built into my tow vehicle, positioned on the centerline of the vehicle above the hitch. When I see the ball disappear, I'm in perfect position.

    If your vehicle didn't come with a backup camera, you can get a complete kit including monitor for $29.99 on Amazon (http://a.co/i2PjthK), though I would probably go with a more expensive unit that comes with two wireless cameras so that I could affix one to the stern of the trailer too.

    It's hard to describe how much easier it is hooking up with a backup camera. And honestly, with hitch alignment balls costing $11.99 (http://a.co/17sbKbm), it's hard to justify not just getting the backup camera.

    I never enlist the help of a friend for backing up anymore. Sure, for backing the trailer itself into my side yard, where I shoot for three inches clearance on one side of the trailer so as to retain 36 inches clearance on the other side, the only way to do it is with help. But for just hooking up, a buddy tends to actually make it harder.
     
  15. Bowman3d

    Bowman3d Well-Known Member

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    F1F12596-70D8-4C6B-A16D-5B62A42DE9C6.jpeg
     
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  16. phoodieman

    phoodieman Active Member

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    I saw one of those devices shown by Bowman3d. I asked the guy what is was and he said, "a marriage saver". He said it worked very well.

    Phoodieman
     
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  17. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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  18. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

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    I use the yellow balls on wands as well. It helps that I can raise my rear liftgate. I just look over my right shoulder for the vest view. I can line it up and get within 1” of the hitch ball almost every time I hook up.
     
  19. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I like having multiple tools, since there are many variables. Angle of approach - curving left or right, or up or down, makes a difference - and an ideal straight on approach is not always possible.
    On my first solo with a back-up camera, the wands and iBall both were left out since "we don't need them now". Right. I discovered that the angle in the arc-shaped site, the sun, and the reflection of the backup lights in the diamond plate on the front of the TT all combined to make seeing the TT clearly, let along the coupler, interesting.
    Learning where the ball needs to be under the coupler is part of it too. All of ours have worked best if the coupler is just a tad behind perfectly centered over the ball. I could jiggle both pups on the jack wheel, the TT has a plate only. I can still give it a jiggle to seat it corectly when necessary, just not a much.
    We've also used the iBall on the trailer bumper, in a few dicey sites. Even with me spotting as my husband backs in, having a view on each side of the trailer can be handy.
     
  20. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    I use my mirrors to make sure that I am centered and heading toward the hitch while backing up. I have done it without any devices (getting out and looking a few times while getting close). I have used the Reese hitch system.
    https://www.amazon.ca/Reese-Towpower-7012900-Alignment-System/dp/B0016C5YF2

    Then I purchased the Hopkins Smart Hitch which I love!
    https://www.etrailer.com/s.aspx?qry=backup+camera&furl=-vw-1-pa-2

    I used to get help guiding by the DW. She would say 'stop....you're good".
    No I wasn't lol :huh:
     
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