Originally Posted by Tinsu
As a rookie "backer upper," I was wondering if you could share some of you ideas which might help me back up the trailer. Thanks.
Well, let me caveat this.. I'm only slightly past "rookie" stage. I still get anxious thinking about parking the camper. In fact, we're reserved for Circle M in Lancaster (first come, first serve) in 2 weeks and I'm already nervous as we're getting a late start the day that we head up AND it's one of their Halloween weekends (which are typically busy).
Someone mentioned the hand at the bottom of the steering wheel trick. That's the only thing that works for me.
Someone else mentioned "GOAL" - "Get Out And Look". I'm in and out of the truck a TON, even with a spotter.
A few other things:
1) Given that I'm pulling a fifth wheel - I need a good 5 to 6 feet before my turn gets instigated because my pivot point is in the center of my truck bed. Make sure you pull enough forward to back in. (Most spotters don't understand this.)
2) This led me to my realization in that I'm an OVER-STEERER. Seriously, I wagged the truck back and forth as I'd back up. I now try for as small of a correction as I think I might need. Turn the wheel, start the turn and then straighten the wheels. If I need more, repeat as needed. Before I'd just turn like heck and never straighten the wheels back out.
3) Watch your truck! I "kissed" a post and have come close to trees and whatnot. I got watching the trailer and/or my spotter a little too much a few times.
4) If someone offers to move their car, LET THEM. It's one less thing to run into. Alternatively, don't be afraid to ask people to move their cars. I start with a light-hearted (and very honest ice breaker)- "Hey, I'm really new AND awful at this..."
5) Search YouTube for "The Scoop" video. After the first 50 minute-day of backing the trailer in, my wife unknowingly suggested this exact method - "next time, why don't you come parallel to the spots and then pull out towards the center of the lane more so that the camper is already kind of lined up with the spot?" It angles the trailer back toward the spot and because I had enough room, left me with the truck and trailer relatively in line with each other for starting my backup. Not all campgrounds have enough room, but when they do - this is muy helpful.
6) Patience, patience and more patience. As a rookie, you're going to suck at this. BADLY even. Don't be afraid to make people wait. And on the flip-side, don't be afraid to bail on an entire attempt and loop around to start again. My first 50 minute extravaganza at the campground required 3 attempts. Worse yet - sometimes you need to bail on a camp SITE entirely. We use Thousand Trails parks quite often and they're first come, first served mostly -- at our last trip to Sea Pines, we ultimately decided we weren't going to fit the first site we tried. After much "discussion" and attempts at parking it, I finally gave in and we went looking for another site - as luck would have it, the new site was AWESOME.
7) Have a sense of humor. As a rookie, you're going to suck at this. BADLY even.
And now- I'm off to go buy the model toys AND search YouTube a bit more.