One of the fears that many new RV owners have is learning how to back their RV into a camping space – or even into their driveway at home. If you haven’t driven a large vehicle of any kind before you purchased an RV, there is no doubt that it can be a little tricky at first. However, with some practice and a few good tips, you should have the hang of putting your RV exactly where you want it in no time at all. Remember one important tip before you start – the space must be big enough for your RV in the first place! No matter how good you are at backing your RV up, it won’t fit into a space that is smaller than the RV itself. Scope out the spot first, and only proceed when you are sure it will fit comfortably.
Getting Some Practice
When you are first getting acquainted with your RV, the best thing you can do is find a large, empty parking lot in which to practice your driving. While this might not be your idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, it is the best way to quickly improve your skills without risking running the RV into any obstacles that might exist in an actual campground. If you would like to make the experience more realistic, purchase a few traffic cones and set them up as a ‘target’ for your parking practice.
While practicing, keep the following tips in mind –
- Try to back up from driver’s side, when possible. If you can, try backing the RV in from the driver’s side, so you can look out the mirror right next to you for a good view. It is certainly possible to back up on the passenger’s side, but it is a little bit more difficult.
- Take your time. Even an experienced RV driver shouldn’t rush through the backing up process – there is no need to risk a mistake. Take however much time you need to get the RV positioned correctly and in just the right spot in the space you are aiming for.
- Practice backing up with a spotter. If you have someone who will be traveling with you regularly (a spouse, for example), practice having them spot for you and direct you through the process. Getting familiar with hand signals and gestures will make the whole thing much easier when you do it for real.
Picking the Right Site
Not all camp sites are created equal, and not all camp sites will be a good fit for your RV. When you arrive at the campground and start looking over the available spaces, make sure to take a moment to get out of the vehicle and walk over the site quickly. Are there any potholes or bumps to worry about? Will you be able to easily level the RV once you get it parked? Is there enough room for your slide outs? All of these questions, and more, should be considered.
Specifically, it is important to check for any serious potholes or bumps that could interfere with the backing up process. You will be moving at a slow speed when backing in, so putting one of your tires into a hole could be a serious problem. When in doubt, don’t risk it – just move on to another space that you are confident in getting in and out of safely.
Have Two Trained Drivers
One potential problem that you could encounter on an RV trip is having only one person who is comfortable and experienced driving the RV – and backing it up. Even if one person is going to be the main driver under normal circumstances, there should be another person who has practiced at least a little bit and feels confident driving in case of emergency. That way, in case the main driver were to twist an ankle or fall ill and be unfit to drive, the other person could step in as needed.
Just like riding a bike, backing in an RV is something that you will get more comfortable with given time and practice. Don’t get frustrated if you have a little trouble at the start – there is nothing unusual about that at all. Given a good amount of practice time to work on your technique, you should expect to be putting that RV right on the spot time after time in the very near future.