THE BACK UP

Camper Trailer Australia - - ROOTHY'S SHED -

Some­times you have to go back­wards to move for­wards. Here’s how.

ANY­ONE CAN tow a camper trailer. The ba­sics are pretty sim­ple: swing a lit­tle wider on cor­ners, keep an eye on your speed and leave a lit­tle ex­tra room when you’re chang­ing lanes. Ask the same per­son to back their camper into a spot and you’ll see a 6ft bearded man turn into a blub­ber­ing mess like he’s watch­ing Old Yeller on re­peat. As much as we all like to beat our chests and pre­tend emo­tions are best left bot­tled up, the fact is re­vers­ing a trailer can flus­ter the best of us. Right is left, left is right, and try­ing to clear a tree with your tow-tug can re­sult in send­ing your camper ca­reen­ing into a ditch. Not that I know any­thing about that, of course. So here are some quick tips I’ve picked up over the last decade of swing­ing trailers into places they have no busi­ness be­ing, and some sage ad­vice from world trav­eller Ron Moon.

ROUND PEG, ROUND HOLE

Know the size of your trailer and the size of the gap you’re try­ing to put it in. If it’s so tight you’re reach­ing for the tape mea­sure, chances are it’s a ter­ri­ble spot to camp any­way. This is more of a men­tal step that sets you up for the next point. If you know the camper will fit where you want it, it’s just a mat­ter of turn­ing a wheel in the right com­bi­na­tion to get it there.

THE RUB

I’ve seen count­less ‘how to re­verse a camper trailer’ ar­ti­cles over the years and there’s one thing they all get wrong; dis­ori­en­tat­ing the per­son ac­tu­ally re­vers­ing the trailer. As you go from your mir­rors to over your shoul­der your point of view of the trailer con­stantly changes from left to right and back again. By stick­ing to the mir­rors you can lock your­self in the one men­tal­ity. If the trailer is go­ing too far to your right mir­ror, then bring the right side of the steer­ing wheel down and vice versa for the left. By us­ing this method you don’t need to keep fight­ing the wheel, let the trailer nat­u­rally fol­low the path and catch it with small cor­rec­tions when you need. The eas­i­est way to do this is to rely en­tirely on your mir­ror on the in­side of the turn; it’ll al­ways be able to see the trailer. Don’t try and put the trailer into the mid­dle of a gap, look at the gap and re­alise if you’re 1m away from the tree on the in­side you’ll be in the mid­dle, then just worry about that tree.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM

Let’s get one thing clear: re­vers­ing a trailer is a men­tal game and the hard­est part is not get­ting your­self flus­tered. No one will re­mem­ber that time

you took an ex­tra cou­ple of times to get the camper where it needed to be, but they’ll all re­mem­ber the time you re­versed over your kid’s bike while steam was pump­ing out of your ears. Take your time, don’t be afraid to jump out to see what the trailer needs to do, and have as many cracks at the job as you need to. If pos­si­ble, al­ways swing the tow-tug around so you’re just re­vers­ing straight into the spot. If not jump out and plan how the trailer will need to swing to go in and stick to the plan. You’ll prob­a­bly get a few chuck­les but no one will care 10 min­utes later.

can make It's funny how mod­ern tech­nol­ogy pro you look like a trailer re­vers­ing

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