How do I park this thing?

Greetings Campers, I am a newbie with 30' trailer. I've never driven with any kinda trailer, so this will be a learning experience to say the least. Yesterday I read a tip that keeping one hand on the bottom of a steering wheel will make it so, the trailer goes to the direction you turn your hand. This was helpful and reminded me of driver's training and parallel parking, how you made the turn when your rear wheel is even with the other car's bumper. Are there any tips like this for parking a trailer? Any tips at all will be helpful.

Thanks in advance & Happy RVing

DL Rupper

Senior Member
RE: How do I park this thing?

Slowly and carefully. You need someone outside your vehicle that you can see and hear to help direct you and keep you from backing over things. I have found that being able to see the trailer in the drivers side mirror as I back up and turn is much easier than trying to back up with the trailer visable in the passenger side mirror. Going straight back using both mirrors is best but doesn't happen until you get the trailer positioned into the camping spot. Good luck. :laugh:
Re: How do I park this thing?

Get some empty milk bottles or big pop bottles, spray paint them red, fill them with water, buy two inexpensive little Family Radio's and give one to your wife, take the water bottles, wife and radio's to a big parking lot on a Sunday afternoon when it is deserted, set the water bottles up in a measured distance of width and depth, turn on the radio's and make sure they are working, tell you wife to stand where you can see her in the rearview mirror, and then try backing from different angles into the space between the water bottles. The wife will direct you if you get to close to one side or the other. And the trick about the hand on the bottom of the wheel works, only it is a little more difficult than doing it from the top of the wheel and just taking time to learn which way the back of the trailer is going to go. Learn to use your mirrors and adjust them so you can see the rear of the trailer when it swings.

Another thing you need to be aware of is overhead tree branches or building overhangs. And don't get to close to the water or sewer hook-up, leave yourself room to do the connections. And if you are not sure, CHECK BEFORE BACKING!

If you are patient and take your time you will be backing like a pro, unless of course you arrive early and a lot of people are watching you back into your campsite, then you are going to be all thumbs and look like a novice. But just remember, they did it too.

And since you are a newbie I will give you another suggestion. Get a three ring binder, not to big, put some plastic page protectors in it, and then make up a checklist for you and your wife to go over before you pull out from home or from your campsite. Eventually you won't have to use it but until you don't it is a good way to keep from knocking your tv antenna off, leaving a refrigerator door open, loose items on the counter, a sway bar not tightened, etc. etc.

You can also make a little scrap book of places you have visited and might want to visit again. And you will find things that your brought with you that wound up just taking up space and adding weight that you won't bother with on your next trip.

Hope you have a great adventure.

Good luck.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
RE: How do I park this thing?

The check list is great advice. After 11 years my wife still uses one. It keeps me from making dumb mistakes. :clown:
RE: How do I park this thing?

I second checking out where you are going to park-sewer connection, utilities, branches, etc. But you do not need somebody to help you, just practice alot in a empty lot so you get comfortable going "backerds"-with bottles. The best way to predict how your trailer is going to turn in response to you turning your vehicle is to start backing up-sometimes I have to "gunboat"it a bit to get it to start turning a certain direction.
I got my trailer when I was a single mom with 2 toddlers-I backed into spots just fine with looking at my mirrors alone.
I got a husband after I'd had the trailer for about a year-he stands next to the sewer connection and tells me when I'm about 5-10 feet away from it :approve:

I may start letting him drive...

I passed the ultimate trailer parking test-I had to "Parallel Park" my trailer at Stonewall, CO....
we ended up 5 feet away from the sewer :cool:
Re: How do I park this thing?

I agree, csavage, that you do not need someone to watch outside but when you are backing into a campsite at night, that person with the other radio can be very helpful indeed. Especially if you have been driving a few hours and you want to get it set up and hit the sack. I just think it makes it more of a Team effort when you share the experience. If your trailer has a slide out you also want to make sure there aren't any obstructions to it's extension.

Have fun.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
RE: How do I park this thing?

Besides you have to keep the little lady busy directing your driving else she will want to do the driving her ownself or worse drag you off to the mall for a round of shopping. :laugh:
RE: How do I park this thing?

Lots of good suggestions and tips. I try to always aproach my parking spot so that I back in on the drivers side. I watch the wheels of the trailer and place them where I want. The rest of the trailer will take care of itself. Also when pulling into an area while traveling such as service stations, Wal Mart, rest areas, etc. Always park so you don't have to back up. Even if you have to walk a little farther it isn't worth the risk of backing into something you didn't see. And the most important thing. Have your spotter stay where you can see them in your mirror. If you can't see them then stop and get out and ask them to move into your mirrored area. Last but not least. Go slow!!!!!



Senior Member
Re: How do I park this thing?

We have those little head walkie-talkies that we use if needed. I basically do as Gene-C does and only worry about distance to rear of site, but I like to use pull-throughs, if at all possible since I pully a car behind Class-A. Practice is the best thing and if ya get really frustated someone around the grounds is usually willing to maybe even park it for you. Lot of folk don't like help so be careful if you offer help to them, hurts their feelings and makes them look a little ???
Re: How do I park this thing?

Hello everyone we use the walkie talkies and it always makes for a good argument that entertains you while you
are backing up. I guess that breaks the don't yell at your spotter rule. I have found that our 30 footer is easier to back than the boat since it is much slower to respond and as always go really really slow
Re: How do I park this thing?

We are brand new to RV'ing ourselves. I don't know if you are trying to back a TT or a Fifth Wheel, we have a 36' 5er.
We went to a church parking lot and practiced parking between lines and such, we really thought we had it down. Untill we had to actually park it between stuff.

What I learned in real world parking, that no one really articulated was that on a 5er, you need to turn the steering wheel a Whole Bunch to get the back of the 5er to turn, HOWEVER, what I learned and so far seems to hold true is, Once the back of the rig starts to turn, get the front wheels back to straight. If the 5er needs more turn then cut the wheel hard again and give it more turn for a bit, but get the front of the truck straight again so as not to jack knife. If needed, try to pull the truck/rv forward as straight as possible considering the angle your parking job is at. Then start backing in again using temporary hard turns on the steering wheel.

This worked for me, I'm brand new at this and have much to learn. With that said, if you experienced folks can add more or correct what I've said. Please do. I'm still learning!!! :clown:
Re: How do I park this thing?

Capn ron,Ive read the comments of the lanlubbers above & they all have their ponts good & bad but why not book yourself 1/2 day with aprofessional instructor im sure you would benifit grately, anyway whatever you decide always rember two thigs, 1,If you can see the lights on the rear of your traier you ve done somthing wrong, & 2,allways look in your rear veiw mirror & if you can see a car behind youve lost your trailer! BAZZER