Backing Into a Site: @43%6#!!!!!

When I first bought my 13 foot trailer, the Colby T, I went to an empty football stadium parking lot and practiced backing into parking spaces for about two hours. Feeling confident, I headed off to my first camping trip at Guadalupe River State Park. To my surprise backing into my campsite took me forever. I actually had two make two trips around the camping loop so I could start over after hopelessly jackknifing the trailer twice in a row. Finally, a gentleman came over and told me to put my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it in the direction I wanted the trailer to go. He also told me to do it about an inch at a time. Almost instantly, I learned that turning too fast had been my problem. Now, I am still nervous about backing in. I can do it without major problems, but I will not claim to be an expert.

Here are some tips that I use to make backing into a campsite easier for me:

1) Use the method described above. Put your hands at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn in the direction you want the trailer to go. Make tiny adjustments, especially if you are towing a smaller single-axle trailer. They are the hardest to back in to a site.

2) Don't worry about the audience. Being watched used to make me even more nervous. Now, I couldn't care less. Let them laugh.

3) Get out and look if you need to get a better idea of how you're aimed. Don't take any chances. Sometimes I check 4 - 5 times.

4) Don't be afraid to abort and take a trip around the loop for a re-start. It is often the easiest thing to do.

5) Learn to do it without a partner giving you hand signals. I am usually camping by myself without anyone to help me back in. Whenever I do have someone back there waving their arms all over the place, it causes more problems. When my wife is with me, I tell her, "All I want you to do is shout STOP at the top of your lungs, if I am in danger of hitting something."

6) Take your time even if you are blocking other campers. They have all experienced those first nervous back ins.

7) Don't be intimidated by the people who say backing in is simple. You will learn that, in the RV world, there are some nasty old curmudgeons who think they know it all. They have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner.