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Old 05-13-2012, 10:49 AM   #15
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2002 19' Bambi
Northwestern Ontario , - on the backside of the map and just above the big green spot
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 818
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Do a lot of reading/research - this forum is a great place to spend time in - but don't forget youtube, other forums and manufacturers websites.

Be careful of "it'll do" advice: for example - don't scrimp on your hitch and sway control - particularly if you will be towing close to the limits of your vehicles capacity - take the time to make sure the marriage will be a good one.

Assuming you will be getting your trailer from a dealership then video-tape the walk-thru and orientation - it is easy to suffer from information overload very quickly - but the video-tape doesn't forget.

Do things in bite size pieces - think about spending your first "night out" in your driveway or at least very close to home - do a couple of practice hook-ups - be comfortable with the trailer and the towing experience before a big trip.

Think about creating a checklist to help you through hooking up/unhooking procedures and also campsite set-up/tear down. After a while you won't need it (most on this forum will have some kind of story about leaving the TV aerial up, driving away with the electrical cord still attached to the pedestal, stabilizer bars dragging through the gravel etc. etc. etc. .... it's a long list of things you can forget .....)

Ask lots of questions - before, during and after your purchase.

You have a great experience in front of you - before long you'll be the one answering the questions of those who haven't don it before.

Good luck,


Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

"I'm not young enough to know everything ....."
(Oscar Wilde)
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:06 AM   #16
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2009 27' FB International
LA LA Land... , California
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 278
This is a great little video about how to back up into a spot using "The Scoop" technique :
THE SCOOP: How to Back up a Towable RV - YouTube

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Old 05-13-2012, 11:08 AM   #17
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,879
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1. Get a copy of "The Long Long Trailer" with Lucy and Desi. It will teach you everything you need to know.

2. After viewing the trailer backing sequence get a back up camera put in the back of a trailer.

3. Always use a spotter. Just when you think you don't need one you will back up into some immovable object.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,814

When we were thinking about buying an Airstream, I found some books on RV's and read them. That gave me an overview and made me more clear on what I needed to know. I also started going through the Forum and reading on all sorts of topics. I'm still reading, but we bought the trailer after about 2 months of research.

Preparation is important.

Next, decide on the trailer you want and then think about the tow vehicle that fits it. If you buy new, the trailer is most likely a much bigger investment, depreciates faster for a while, and will last longer. You want to get that right the first time. You may want a specific brand of truck or SUV, but it may not fit with the trailer you want, so settle on these things before you spend any money.

Backing takes lots of practice. If you put your hand on the bottom the steering wheel, the direction you turn the wheel is the direction the trailer will go. Some keep their hands toward the top and then everything feels backwards to me. For me it is easier to keep one hand on the bottom. Go really slowly and check where you are frequently. A spotter is good, but your own eyes are better. Use all of them. Unfortunately, most backing is in the hard direction, over your right shoulder—campgrounds are usually set up to drive past the space (and make sure you drive far enough past it) and then back in. Spotters have to learn to stay visible in the mirror.

Going forward is a challenge for everyone at first. Keep looking in the mirrors, but keep looking forward too—at first (the first 3 blocks) I was so concerned with where the trailer was, I almost rear ended a car. Watch what big trucks do—they take those wide turns and cross a couple of lanes because they have to on turns. Depending on trailer length, you'll have to do that too (longer means wider turns).

It all seems daunting at first, but eventually you'll learn and do fine.

Keep reading.

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Old 05-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,327
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Originally Posted by eubank View Post
Having had a bit of experience backing and helping others back, I'll add one point: While it is important to learn how to back, it is also very important to understand where to position the AS and TV before you ever put it into reverse.

Think of it this way. Assuming that the site you're backing into is 90 degrees from the road, then how can you stop the AS/TV such that you cut down on that angle, say, to 70 degrees instead? Cutting off that much of the angle will make your backing experience a whole lot easier!

......and also my experience is to, whenever possible, to back in to a site turning to the left...that is relying upon the driver side view. Unless you have super view mirror on the passenger side the driver side view is much easier.
Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
455 cid

1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
455 cid
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:08 PM   #20
4 Rivet Member
2007 27' Classic FB
Ridgefield , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 277
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Get a copy of "The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming". Lots of good information. YouTube has some good clips done by professional truck drivers to help you with backing.

John & Lisa
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