Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-13-2006, 10:32 AM   #43
Contributing Member
Pahaska's Avatar
2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Austin (Hays County) , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,530
Images: 3
Originally Posted by Streamer1
After viewing quite a few responses to the secrets of backing up, I've notice that no one has mentioned the use of a "camera system." Is it because they should not be used for such a purpose? Also, what do you do if you are a SINGLE camper with no help in sight? I backed my AS into a spot at the storage facility where we keep our trailer at, but it took me about 20 mini trips in and out of the TV to keep checking to make sure that I was never getting to close to the boat on a trailer next to me. Backing into a spot by yourself ain't easy, but it can be done. It does however take great care and patience not to damage your trailer or your neighbor's.
I really doubt that the camera is much aid except checking that no one is behind you in places like filling stations where you have to back up to get out.

I always back into the storage or camp sites solo. If I can see one side of the trailer in my mirrors or over my shoulder, I know that the other side is exactly 8' 5 1/2" away. I put the side I can see where it needs to be and the rest of the trailer follows.

That said, I do get out and check cleasrance behind when appropriate.

John W. Irwin
2018 Interstate GT, "Sabre-Dog V"
WBCCI #9632
Pahaska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 10:42 AM   #44
Rivet Master
Alumaholic's Avatar
1966 24' Tradewind
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,761
Images: 36
Tee Shirts for Driver and Helper...

Helper's tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me!"

Driver' tee-shirt says, "I'm not shouting, D*@# It!"

Ken L
1966 Tradewind 24
2018 GMC Yukon XL Denali
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #5783
Alumaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 11:10 AM   #45
Rivet Master
codybear's Avatar
1964 22' Safari
SACRAMENTO , California
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,562
Images: 315
Blog Entries: 2
Originally Posted by klevan
Helper's tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me!"

Driver' tee-shirt says, "I'm not shouting, D*@# It!"
verrry funny, so true
codybear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2012, 11:59 PM   #46
1 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
chico , California
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6
Tips for backing up trailer

#1 - Avoid backing up at all costs. Always have an escape route when you pull into an area. If you can't drive out, don't drive in.

When you have to back in, always have a spotter. My wife has gotten pretty good at it. Always survey the area you are backing into for low branches and holes.

When wife is spotter using a CB or cell phone, make sure she uses reference points i.e. fence on one side and house on the other side instead of "move to the right or move trailer to left".
djgarcia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 11:06 AM   #47
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,998
Images: 1
An ancient thread. And a fun one.

I don't use spotters while at work very much (backing 18-wheelers on drilling rig pads), but I am always more than happy when there is no "blind side" backing. The "fun ones" are when one must execute three consecutive 90-degree turns of which two are blind side.

Knowing where to start the whole process is half the battle: how to line up the rig before backing. When I'm tired I can misjudge this crucial aspect.

The tips about using cones/boxes at a parking lot are spot on: learn when one starts to follow the trailer. Crank the wheel over, start the maneuver, and then narrow down to the moment when one "brings the wheel back" a good portion of the way so that the TV is following the TT. If the TT axles are "here", then it is time to start the wheel into "following". Etc.

Different rigs will have different "moments" (distance from TV Drive Axle to TT Axle Center as determinant; then TV wheelbase, second; then TV "steering cut", third). The benefit of this sort of recreational travel is that one is not switching TV's or TT's. Practice will pay off.

As always, get out and go check. The more one does this (over time) the better one becomes in judgment. I do it all the time in travel trailer towing. I have no "pride" in making it in one set of moves. Or in not having to pull forward. Or in the shortest time. Etc.

Just yesterday was at a PATTERSON-UTI rig which was exceedingly narrow. I couldn't get around a refined products tanker as a result, and the space beyond them was not right for heading in and then turning the rig around. I'd have to back the length of the pad between housing and the derrick and then back around a tight 90. I let the tanker crew know that I'd be out of their way on an adjacent area off the pad site, but turned and ready to start. They hadn't (to my surprise) checked whether they could turn around or would have to back out. They chose the turn around which I watched in my mirrors from 300-yards away . . those guys disappeared around that corner for a full ten minutes, ha! (what is in your way on a rig pad tends to be either 20k of steel, or electrical, flammable, explosive or all of the above). And don't crush any telemetry cables while on the way. Or put the Drives across an emergency drainage. Etc.

Having walked off the area I "thought" I could get a 48' flatbed around the corner, but I in the end was able to get it far enough for the motorman to get the pallets off. Too many personal vehicles in the way, and I didn't want to find owners to move them.

Take your time. Those in a hurry while on the road . . or covering too many miles . . without proper rest breaks . . or in the dark . . just make the most likely time of TT damages an experience unnecessarily tense.

As we say, our job just consists of two things:

1] Loading & unloading
2] Everything else

The customer only cares about the first. For the most part, so does the employer. All else goes into making those times as easy as possible. As with golf, where the money is: Drive for show, putt for dough.

Arriving rested is the goal to which many details of planning and experience count heavily. That accomplished the rest is a detail.

Good luck.

slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 02:05 PM   #48
Rivet Master
drew05's Avatar
2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
Peculiar , Missouri
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 511
Gosh, I should have my wife read these, and then she will see we are not alone. She says backing in to a site is the most stressfull because...

We get out and look at our site, and discuss where I/we would like to be. It's all baby steps and at times they are really small and slow. We both get spooked a little, especially if there is a small crowd watching or waiting to pass.

This past weekend as I was backing up, there was a car waiting to pass. I had noticed the driver waving her hands trying to give some directions. I had ignored her and watched my wife - mainly because I knew what my wife was trying to do. I had no idea what the other person was trying to do. Later my wife had asked me who I was paying attention to and did I see our 'helper'. I said her and yes I saw here, but she was too far back...

Iin the end, besides being a communication issue, it is one of trust... any and all bumps and scratches will be painfull to her as well...
drew05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 07:26 PM   #49
Rivet Master
nilesrob's Avatar
Marietta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,113
Images: 12
You might want to put a different cover on it, just to preserve that last ounce of self respect.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_6357.jpg
Views:	97
Size:	158.0 KB
ID:	166383  
The Slowsky's
2008 Airstream 27FB International Ocean Breeze
2014 Ford F250 King Ranch 4X4 w/6.7L Diesel, Hensley Hitch
WBCCI #1271
nilesrob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 08:10 PM   #50
3 Rivet Member
195Pilot's Avatar
1975 31' Sovereign
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 133
I have been a pilot, truck driver, crane operator, and boat captain,when my Wife gets out to be my spotter I can never understand her hand signals. Most I have never seen before and seldom are these hand signals ever duplicated.
195Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 08:39 PM   #51
Rivet Master
2008 23' Safari FB SE
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 510
Backing up

When I was learning to back up, I had a friend of mine who was a rancher teach me the basics. We met at a large rv lot and he gave me tips and put me through my paces by placing a long rope on the ground and then having me back the rig next to it.

My lessons:

When possible back up so you can see the left/ drivers side of your rig and bring it close on that side.

If you can't see your spotter, stop and find them visually

Go slow

Turn the bottom of your steering wheel in the direction you want the rig to go

Make small adjustments in the wheel.

Don't be afraid to go back out and try again.

Practice in a large lot - it really helps

Only get help from spotters you trust.

When in doubt, pause, get out, and assess your position and then adjust.

Don't be embarrassed. Take your time and try again if you feel your position is wrong
bonginator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2012, 09:21 PM   #52
3 Rivet Member
twobikes's Avatar
1997 25' Safari
Montgomery , Alabama
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 236
OK, seriously now.

All the various hand signals and verbal signals (not to mention the guys who show up to help the little lady out) just add to the chaos. We use walkie talkies and all I hear is "tail to the Left" ''Tail to the right" (Sometimes I hear " your other right" but that is a personal problem I'm working on.)

Those two commands seem to do it for us: the rest is just remembering that when you put a turn IN, you must also take that turn OUT or you end up looking at your trailer taillights out the side window. Airplane drivers have what they call a "standard Turn" It helps your spotter if the driver starts that first "tail to the left" about the same each time. going slowly, she can judge the effect and call for a steeper or shallower turn...

...and those other helpful fellows with all the rotational hand gestures??--Ignore all of them and dance with the one you brung.
TAC AL-26 WBCCI 2626

Montgomery, Alabama

follow the Two Bikes and an Airstream blog at
twobikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 08:46 AM   #53
pmclemore's Avatar

2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,693
When we pull up to a site, both of us get out and decide where we want to be. After checking overhead, I'll tell Page where I want the back bumper to be, then I follow her signals. No shouting, ever, and I trust her completely. When a neighbor tries to help, I just explain that we have our own system, and thanks so much.

Her signals are simple - just point which direction the back end should go. I take care of the rest.

The people who tickle me the most are the ones who signal by making big rotating motions with their arms. What the heck....?

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

AIR 3987
WBCCI 4596
pmclemore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 08:59 AM   #54
2 Rivet Member
1965 22' Safari
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 48
Images: 3
Send a message via Skype™ to chromis
Don't forgot to look forward occasionally and see where your front bumper is going as well...

My car bumper kissed a pine tree in Myrtle Beach state park.

More importantly the trailer was fine, plastic is easier to fix than aluminium...
chromis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #55
Rivet Master
Skater's Avatar
1995 30' Excella
Bowie , Maryland
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,344
I usually do okay when I can see where I'm going. However, we were backing up into a site one night a few weeks ago, and due to trees, rain, and near darkness, I was backing completely blind. I was relying on my wife to tell me when I needed to straighten out, but she wasn't aware I needed that information (to be fair, I hadn't needed it before, because I could see where I was going), so it didn't go very well. It didn't help that the road was very narrow. We finally got it in on the umpteenth attempt, but we realized we needed more experience with that.
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with Cummins 6.7L Diesel

Sold but not forgotten: 1991 Airstream B190
Sold: 2006 F-250 6.0L Powerstroke Supercab
Skater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2012, 03:01 PM   #56
Capt W
2013 31' Classic
Jefferson , Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 78
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 1
I trust my wife exclusively as my spotter. She uses only four arm (not hand, ARM) signals that I can easily see in the rear view mirrors. If I cannot see her, I stop until she is again visible. The signals are both arms waving straight up and down from her knees to over her head for straight back, left or right arm only in the same movement for left or right and both arms crossed in front of her for stop. That's all we need. No shouting or talking. Putting our AS in our long narrow driveway (120' long by 11' wide has given us the confidence we need.
Ask me about the time we missed the "Road Closed 2 Miles Ahead" on a narrow mountain road

Wayne and Sarah

Welcome aboard, Mary Joan, the Tin Wheeler
wrochdvm is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice needed, and perhaps a tip or two. Curtis-79MH Airstream Motorhome Forums 12 06-26-2007 01:43 PM
Awning Tip jcanavera 2001 Safari 3 08-29-2003 02:48 PM
Stupid human tricks, part 2 74Argosy24MH Off Topic Forum 9 12-22-2002 01:14 PM
Stupid Human Tricks airstreamcaravel General Repair Forum 12 11-20-2002 02:08 PM
Brakes replacement tip Charles Q Treichel Brakes & Brake Controllers 14 09-29-2002 05:23 AM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:48 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.