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Old 02-21-2022, 03:59 PM   #1
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Will a backup camera really help me?

Iím hoping to get some general input on whether experienced RVerís find the backup cameras truly helpful. Iím new to RVís having bought a 26-foot Palomino Solaire about 6 months ago. I am struggling - really, really badly - with backing this thing up. The camper has a factory Furrion mount for a camera system. I donít mind spending the $400-600. I just need to know if it is going to be a complete game-changer for the better if I install one of these. Parking this thing is absolutely the single most stressful part of any camping trip we go on, me getting this thing parked at the campground, and then parked again back at home. Three times I have a had to let another (gracious) RV-er help me out and back it up where I could not. I have taken it out several times to parking lots to try and teach myself how to do it, and itís not getting much better. I just canít SEE anything behind me. Iíve tried the old trick of putting my hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, yada yada, and that seems to help, but again I just canít SEE anything behind me. So...is a backup camera going to help me? Thanks for any input
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:01 PM   #2
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Not near as much as a spotter.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:14 PM   #3
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You should learn to back without relying on anything but the mirrors. The camera is there just to make sure there is nothing behind you when backing up but not really replacing mirrors. I would recommend going to a really big open parking lot somewhere and just back up in circles or figure 8's and keep backing up until you can get the truck to follow the trailer. Once you can instinctively turn the wheel the right way to keep the truck tracking behind the trailer you will have mastered which way to turn the wheel without thinking about it. Then start backing up like you would be backing into a campsite using cones or something. It will become second nature and easy pretty quickly.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:26 PM   #4
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It's not going to be "a complete game-changer" but it will help.

Lots more practice will help more.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:31 PM   #5
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Honestly, no, a backup camera will not be a game changer to help you back your trailer. It might actually make it more confusing for you, providing a third view to look at besides your mirrors.

Before backing, get out of the truck and look at where you're trying to go, especially noting landmarks that will be on the inside edge of your turn - the side you're turning toward. These will help you keep your bearings.

Now you need a spotter. You really need a spotter you trust and understand. And you need a pair of 2 way radios so you can talk to them easily. Have your spotter stand behind your trailer and off to one side (so you can't run them over). Ask them to tell you which way the back of your trailer needs to go - to the left of the truck or to the right. That's all. Just left or right. And Stop.

Now, like you said, put your hand in the bottom of the steering wheel. If the spotter says "left," turn your hand to the left and back slowly. Ditto for "right."

Once you start to turn, you'll only be able to use the mirror on the inside of your turn, the side the trailer is turning to. The other mirror won't show the trailer any more. That's where those landmarks come in as reference points. Your spotter will need to watch the other side for you. (Don't forget to pay attention to where the front of your truck is swinging, too.)

As the trailer starts to turn, start moving your hand back to center when you want to ease the turn. To straighten up and follow the trailer after the turn you may have to move your hand in the opposite direction until the truck and trailer are straight.

Take all this back to your empty parking lot with a few traffic cones (or some leveling blocks as a substitute) and practice backing between the cones. There's really no magic substitute for practice.

The cameras can be helpful, especially if you have no spotter, but they're no substitute for experience backing your rig and they don't have the view a spotter does. I wouldn't rely on a camera if I was new to backing a trailer. With practice you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 02-21-2022, 04:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stephndudb View Post
And you need a pair of 2 way radios so you can talk to them easily.
A much better alternative is for both you and your spotter to use cell phones in hands-free speaker mode. That way, the driver will not need to fumble with a radio while concentrating on backing. Just put the phone in a convenient location and speak normally, just like you would with a telephone conversation.
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Old 02-21-2022, 05:03 PM   #7
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Backing up is not my favorite thing to do and I bet most feel the same way. I've been doing this stuff for over 30 years. You have to take it slow, don't worry if someone is waiting to get by and take small bites if you have to. Go a little ways, get out and look then adjust. Take your time and relax. The camera helps but it won't help you get backed into your site it might just be a distraction until you get more comfortable backing up.
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Old 02-21-2022, 05:46 PM   #8
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Go to a large parking lot and take a few traffic cones or plastic jugs to simulate things like power and water. Spend some time backing into a marked spot until you get the hang of the trailer moving opposite of the way the the truck rear end is being turned. Practice spotting a stick (like a broom) on the ground where you want the trailers tires to go and getting your depth perception down for stopping in the desired spot. back slowly good luck
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Old 02-21-2022, 05:59 PM   #9
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First off, after more times practicing backing up with your trailer, your experience, skill and confidence level will improve, just be patient. It'll come to you in time, I promise. We ALL have been where you're at at some point in our camping journey's.

Second, take your time and go SLOOOW backing up, no matter who's behind you, or in front of you waiting to get by. They can either turn around or just wait until you've backed in. Do NOT be rushed!.....by anyone!

One of the biggest helps for me when backing up into a campsite is having two way radios with a spotter watching not only your back end, but the sides as well. Even with the biggest and longest telescopic mirrors, sometimes having another set of eyes behind you is priceless.

All that said, I too have a Furrion rear camera and just added side marker cameras to my observation system. I really don't use them as much for backing into a camp site as much as I do when travelling down the road and watching traffic behind me and to my sides, especially if I need to change lanes. But having the camera setup I have really helps a lot with visibility of blind spots that may otherwise not be seen with side mirrors. I've towed RV's larger than yours without them, but given a choice, will always use them from now on in any RV I own.
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Old 02-21-2022, 06:04 PM   #10
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A much better alternative is for both you and your spotter to use cell phones in hands-free speaker mode.
Not all campgrounds have cell coverage, or good coverage. If the call drops mid-maneuver you could miss an important instruction.
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Old 02-21-2022, 06:13 PM   #11
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Practice is the real answer. A back camera will have a learning curve too.

I have several trailers they all back differently, the camper is the easiest.


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Old 02-21-2022, 07:05 PM   #12
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A backup camera is not going to improve your backing skills. Only practice will do that. There is no magic bullet, so to speak.
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Old 02-21-2022, 08:34 PM   #13
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Something you need to understand when backing when you make the initial turn and the trailer starts to swing If you don't do anything the turn will continue to tighten. You have to be ready to correct as the trailer swings. This is true of 53' tractor trailers and becomes exaggerated as the trailers get shorter that the reason its so hard to back a small garden trailer. Just something to consider and JMHO
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Old 02-21-2022, 08:44 PM   #14
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It's not really a backup camera. It's a rear observation camera as it's not only on when you are in reverse.

I'm a solo traveler so it makes a huge difference for me plus it helps when changing lanes.

Yes getting out and looking (GOAL) and using a spotter if you have one is great. The one extra thing I like about my camera is the parking lines feature. It helps me visualize the orientation of the trailer relative to the spot. You can't always get that view with the side mirrors when the truck is turned.
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Old 02-21-2022, 08:59 PM   #15
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I don't use mine for backing. I get out and look around and use the mirrors.
I use mine mostly to spot big rigs passing me and checking to see if it's clear before changing lanes.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:13 PM   #16
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Not near as much as a spotter.
I was going to say the same thing.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:15 PM   #17
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The camera if aimed right may help to keep you from backing into a tree or utility post. Once lined up with my backing approach it's not uncommon for me to stop, get out, look around. What spot takes the least leveling, can I open slides and awning freely. As others stated, can't beat a spotter though. Where I really like the camera is on the road, lane changes and such where the tv mirrors won't tell what's directly behind me.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:16 PM   #18
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I feel your pain!! I am very challenged when it comes to backing up. It is very very stressful. I have practiced and practiced. I get a little better but for whatever reason I am angle challenged. I do have a back up camera and it helps avoid hitting something directly behind me. My personal lifesaver is the Ford F-150 back up trailer assist. It helps me back up into any spot even the tricky narrow spots. My wife only gives simple instructions. Driver side. Passenger side. Or stop. I get out and look a lot. I also own a parkit 360 which is basically a motorized trailer dolly. ( I need it to back up into the spot where I store my trailer because of the space and angles) I have brought it along camping as an insurance policy. Thankfully I havenít needed it. Good luck. Buy the camera. Even if it helps a little it will be worth it.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:24 PM   #19
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Like one person said... lay something on the ground like a 2x4 or long pole parallel to your parking site, put it where you can see it as you are backing up. It does not have to be exactly next to where your tires will be, but out 2'-4' and parallel. This will help you learn.
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Old 02-21-2022, 09:26 PM   #20
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Great advice!

Quote:
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Something you need to understand when backing when you make the initial turn and the trailer starts to swing If you don't do anything the turn will continue to tighten. You have to be ready to correct as the trailer swings. This is true of 53' tractor trailers and becomes exaggerated as the trailers get shorter that the reason its so hard to back a small garden trailer. Just something to consider and JMHO
The above is GREAT advice.

Just to expand a bit on it:
When your hand is at the bottom of the wheel, never turn it more than about 10-20 degrees. As soon as it starts to turn, straighten the wheel. If you go any further, the trailer will begin to jackknife and you will have to pull forward and start over.

Once you have the trailer going in the right direction, STOP. Crank the steering full over, to straighten out the tow vehicle in the shortest possible distance. As soon as it is straight, STOP, and straighten the wheels. If you try to do either of these moves rolling, you will oversteer the trailer.
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