How to Back Up a Camper  | Pete’s RV Quick Tips (CC)

How to Back Up a Camper | Pete’s RV Quick Tips (CC)

Video Transcript for “How to Back Up a Camper
| Pete’s RV Quick Tips” Randy: Hey, guys. Randy with Pete’s RV TV
here today. Today we’re on our way to the Lone Pine Campground in Malletts Bay, Vermont.
We’re going to show you how to back up a camper and put it on the site. So we’ll be there
in just a minute, and we’ll catch up with you then.
Hey, here we are at beautiful Lone Pine Campground. They’re nice enough to let us use the site
today. So, I’m just going to pull past my site. We’re going to be on site 31. I’m going
to hop out and take a look at the site and see where I want to put this camper and then
we’re gonna go right ahead back around the site.
Okay, so what I’ve done at this point, and this is the easiest way to put your camper
on the site, is I’ve driven past the site, and I’ve got the site on the driver’s side
of the truck. I do that on purpose so I can see where the slide side of the off door-side
of the camper is going, because that’s the side that we want to keep as far this way
as possible to give us more real estate on the usable part of our site. So, if you can
all, at all do that when you pull up to your campsite, try to keep the driver’s side on
the, on the site’s side, not all the time you’ll be able to do that, but if you can
it’s definitely going to work in your benefit. So, at this point I just kind of walk the
site and see what I’ve got to, that I’ve got to avoid, or if there’s any trees in the way.
We see we’ve got a big stump here. I see my power pedestals over here, so I’m gonna wanna
keep my camper, keep in mind that I’ve got a slide that’s gonna go out, but I want to
keep my camper as far this way as possible to give me as much real estate on that side,
as I’ve mentioned before. So, this looks like a pretty open site, which most campsites are.
We’ve just gotta contend with the stump there. My power cord’s gonna be in the back, so that’ll
work out perfectly for me. So, I guess what I’m going to do now is just hop back in the
truck, and see if we can negotiate this guy on the site.
Hey, so I’m gonna pull ahead just a hair, and I’m going to kind of put the tail on my
camper headed in the right direction that I want to back this guy up on. Now, very important
at this point is remembering that our wheels are pivot point for our camper. So, that’s
where the camper is going to turn, so I don’t want to watch the front of the camper or the
back so much, I want to keep my eyes on the wheels. So, here we go.
And sometimes when I’m driving a different truck, this truck’s working out pretty well,
but sometimes I’ll even angle the mirror [02:00] down so I can see the wheels a little bit
better. Want to make sure I got nothing going on on the other side of me. I’m just letting
the camper kind of do the job here, keeping an eye on both mirrors; and obviously turn
the steering wheel the opposite way that you want the unit to go. And as you start getting
close to where you want to be straight, that’s when you want to start counter-steering.
We’re getting the unit on there pretty straight; nothing on the other side. Well, I think I’m
gonna hit this one pretty good right off the bat. Now, if you’re finding that you’re not
backing on straight, or you know, that the camper just keeps jackknifing on you a little
bit, maybe don’t have enough room in front of the truck to get the truck out where you
need it to to get you straight, you always can put the truck back in drive and pull forward
and straighten the trailer out. So, if you’ve gone too far…too far past, and the camper’s
going the wrong way, or the, the back end of the camper is gone too far the way you
don’t want it to go, simply put the truck in drive and pull straight ahead, and that’s
gonna straighten the unit out for you. So, we’re gonna just back this guy up here.
And I think I’ve hit my mark. Now, this is the point where, if you’ve watched my leveling
video, is where you want to get out and check the camper for level; so, that’s what we’re
gonna do right now. Okay, so that first time went very easy because there’s not a whole
lot of people in the park. So, now I’m gonna try to simulate a full park with cars and
campers on my other side, and I’m gonna try to keep my vehicle on the road without going
on the lawn over there like I did on the last pull-in.
So, this time I’m going to start backing up a little bit sooner, so I’ve just got my camper
kind of headed. And you can see, like with the camper headed, it’s gonna start to turn
even with my truck straight. [04:00] And the camper is just starting to turn more and more,
so I’m gonna compensate just a hair now for it. Now, I’m really gonna jack-knife this
camper, and try to swing this thing around. Now, I can start to turn my truck a little
bit. So, I’ve stayed on the road for the most part, I’ve got my camper pretty straight,
but you’ll see that the back end of the camper still wants to swing around because I don’t
have enough room in front of the truck to get it to where I want to go, and this is
where people mostly run into trouble. So, I’ve got a trick for this too. If I keep
backing up my back end of my camper’s just gonna keep swinging where I don’t want it
to swing. A lot people will go back and forth and back and forth and they never find that
happy spot. So, what I’m gonna do at this point, is I’m just gonna stop the truck right
here, and I’m gonna unhook the camper. Sounds crazy, but this would get you out of a pinch
in a second. Okay, so as you can see we turned off the
camera. I’m back … I unhooked the truck from the camper, I re-situated my truck, so
now my truck is straight in line with the camper, and we can continue to back up on
the site, and now we’re not gonna be jackknifing or having the camper off-angle on our site
because I’ve now straightened the truck out, and that was out problem. So, I’m gonna hop
back in the truck and finish backing up on the site, and we’re gonna be good to go here.
Okay, so here we go. Back up for our final destination. If you got somebody with you,
behind you to keep the, an eye out, not a bad idea. Think that looks good right about
there. So, at this point I’m gonna get out and do a couple of the checks that I like
to do just to make sure I’ve got enough room. That way we know we’ve got our stump here,
so I’m gonna do my arm check. We’ve got plenty of room there. I’m right off my electrical
box, my electrical cords gonna be here, so I’m within my 25 feet here. I think this looks
like a great spot. I’m gonna run the slide-out out, and put, check the levels on the front
of the camper, and see if we’re level and then we’re gonna take it from there.
So, in a nutshell, [06:00] a lot of people get intimidated by this, it’s a really simple
process. Don’t care about anybody watching me. I’m just focused on what I’m doing. Does
take a little bit of practice, you’re not gonna hit the mark on the first time out,
but the more and more you do it, and the less you worry about other people watching you,
the easier it’s gonna be for you. So, just follow my quick steps, make sure you watch
your wheels, watch your mirrors, if you can’t get the camper exactly where you want, unhook
the truck and re-situate the truck, and the next time you’ll be right on the site right
where you want it. So, thanks again for watching Pete’s RV TV,
with Randy today. New segment here for you, hopefully this’ll help with make your camping
a little bit easier. Check out our other videos. Check out our YouTube channel, as well as
our Facebook page. We’ve always got a great information on there as well. So, thanks again
for watching Pete’s RV, and happy camping. The video of this presentation by Pete’s
RV Center is available at:

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  1. I wish you were
    Close by to give suggestions on how to park it at our home. We work with a very small tight space with one side facing a down slope. I get anxiety every time we hook it up and park it.

  2. Nice video with some good tips but this space is very wide open ( a lot of room for adjustment) and often one is not able to run the truck off the road into the campsite on the opposite either because of a post, tree, another parked RV, or parked vehicle.

  3. I wonder how well that trick about dropping the trailer in the middle of the road and hooking back up to it would go in a busy park with vehicles  backed up on both sides waiting to get through. That's probably a 10 minute job if you go quickly. I wouldn't do it in Texas!

  4. I haven't read everyone's comments. But I thought you said the second time backing you were going to simulate a full park and stay off the grass. But by disconnecting and repositioning your truck on the lawn, you didn't simulate a full park. The method should be to turn your truck a little quicker or before the trailer is at too much of an angle.

  5. Your videos are very very helpful.  Thank you so much for taking the time to make these.  Much appreciated!

  6. I've always had anxiety about backing in to tight spots and this video definitely helped. I am curious about trying to drive the rig into the front of the site and then out in order to put the back of the trailer at more of an angle already pointing into the site. Kind of like an "s" turn. This would be if space was available to so.

  7. we have all kinds of safety equip on our truck/TT (35 Ft).  Not only are we older but my husband is 100% disabled Vet. He still drives but hooking and unhooking is difficult . If we are having a problem ,It is best to just make a new entrance or just do it back & forth. Where are the stabilizer bars and sway bars, etc.  on your truck/TT ?

  8. My direction guide steers the front end instead of the rear end of the trailer.  Much less confusing.  And that person is right outside the driver's window so I can see and hear them easily.  Try it next time.  Of course the person directing has to know what they are doing also….lol

  9. Awesome video. We just purchased a 19 foot TT and I'm watching all kinds of videos to get acclimated to RVing. I was a firefighter and one of our driving tests was to back our rescue squad with a boat trailer attached. I mastered that quickly, but that was 10 plus years ago so I'm hoping it will all come back to me! Love all the Pete's videos!

  10. With my 35 foot trailer I find it pretty easy backing up as long as the site is on the drivers side.   When it is on the other side it is very difficult.

  11. When we got our first 5th wheeler, city driving and backing up was a nightmare.  But, thanks to practice, and some helpful "camper veterans", we were soon backup up with the best of them.  Now days we try to get into a camp sight on Thursday afternoon, so we can spend Friday's watching the other rigs pulling in, and setting up; it's become sort of a hobby/ritual for quite  few of us now.

  12. if i use sprinter van 144WB, highroof. 6 cylinder 3.0 4X4 188hp,325 torque. able to pull trailer the size what you had in this video?

  13. I was told one simple instruction years ago from my brother-in-law. That instruction was "follow the trailer". If the trailer goes left of where you want it to go, make the car/turn left to correct. If it goes right of where you want, go right, etc. Works like a charm. I also find it less confusing and easier to use the mirrors than to turn my head. And now that I've had a backup camera on my car, I'd DEFINITELY put one on my trailer for safety if nothing else. They're cheap these days, so no reason to do without one.

  14. I noticed you do not have your weight distribution hitch hooked up. We are looking at a new pull type trailer and I was wondering if I need to unhook the bars on the hitch before backing up.

  15. Can you please clarify, is it better/more efficient to take the equalizer bars off prior to backing the trailer up?

  16. Great tips until the unhitch part. My camper cannot be unhitched without the truck being almost straight with the camper. The hitch is a pivoting design so no unhitching until the hitch stand can clear the weight bars. The good thing about the hitch is there is absolutely no sway ProPride.

  17. We are new to camping and have a 29 ft. 5th wheel. it is stressful backing up for us. I am spotting, but need help so there is not a divorce. what are the simplest terms to learn what we are doing wrong? is there a book or directions to follow as we learn?? the video looks so easy…but can't seem to master this. we are heading out for our first long distance trip, and so concerned about the need to back up….such as stopping for gas or eating. we really are not ignorant people, but cannot seem to figure this out!! HELP?

  18. just bought a larger RV that has a weight distribution and has a sway bar for towing. I understand the sway bar needs to be removed before attempting to back up , but what about the weight distribution bars? Can those remain on until you get the camper where you want it still w easy removal from the truck?

  19. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Use your sideview mirrors. Want the rear of the trailer to go left? Move the steering wheel left. Want it to go right? Turn the steering wheel to the right. Easy to remember, easy to do. Give it a try.

  20. I learned to back up a trailer on my Uncle's ranch so I had a lot of room to pull forward and back up in a straight line. However, the first time I backed up that required some actual technique was at a sales barn where I had to get the trailer just right with the loading chute. It resulted in a lot of ribbing from my Brother and the sales barn foreman and could have made America's Funniest Videos.  Having room while you back up really makes things a lot easier but doesn't really teach you anything. I suggest setting up some cones about 50 feet deep that are 90 degrees from the road and visualize what you need to do and then practice, practice, practice.

  21. Damn! Thanks man, it's my first time taking my trailer to an Rv park and it's gonna be a fun one haha

  22. Tip of the day: turn towards the problem when backing up. Backing up in a straight line is where I've seen people struggle with the most. If you remember to turn the wheel towards the tail swing of the trailer, you'll be backing up like a pro in no time!

  23. Wife and I just bought a 25 ft, I had a 18 ft and that wasn’t to bad, but the 25 has me freaking out, any advice would be awesome

  24. Unhooking the truck to finalize placement of camper. Great idea. I will try it next time if I can also find a faster way to attach that blasted ball and hitch.

  25. My goal this summer to learn how to back up and drive in mountains. I never thought about unhooking the trailer, to straighten out the truck. We booked a really tricky spot with not much room to get in if we would have unhooked it would have been so much easier.

  26. I just bought a 29 ft , 32 and change if you count the tongue, never pulled a trailer that big before but I managed to get it home from the dealership and park it in my driveway reversing it only took about 5 min and it was easier than I thought. Of course it helps a lot when you have spotters.

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