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How to Back Your Motorhome or Camper Trailer into a Campsite on the first try.

Updated on October 4, 2017
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his knowledge of motorhomes and other RVs.

How can you Park your Motorhome

Backing your RIG in to your Campsite.

If you own and use an RV, either a Motorhome, a Trailer, or a fifth-wheel, or even a small pop-up, one of the things you will need to do, and do often, is back your Rig or Camper Trailer safely and accurately into a Campsite or sometimes just back it into a tight Parking space.

Backing your Motorhome

At times. especially with a Motorhome, it can be really hard to determine exactly where your tail end is, as well as precisely where your rear wheels are sitting.

And, here are the most important things you need to manage, as you back a big Motorhome into a tight campsite.

This is a simple 3-step procedure that you and your Navigator (spouse?) can follow, together and put your Rig in just the right place the first time, every time.


Items needed to prepare your RV for an easy backup

To prepare your Motorhome, you need to go to an Office Supply store and get a package of brightly colored (red, Orange, etc.?) stick-on dots.

Then when you get back to your Rig do the following;

  1. Go to the Drivers side of your Rig and measure from the center of the left-rear drive tire, to a point that is approximately 8-feet forward of that point on your Rigs body.
  2. This point on your Motorhome is the critical alignment point for your rig to start its turn into your site.
  3. At that point, place one of the sticky dots onto the Side of the Rig at near eye level for your helper that will be guiding you into your campsite or parking site, somake sure itis easily visible. This is your reference point for step-1 of your parking process.
  4. Repeat this on the passenger side for those rare instances where you will be required to back into your campsite from the opposite side of the street in the campground or parking lot

Big Rig Positions

Figure - 3A
Figure - 3A | Source
Figure - 3B
Figure - 3B | Source
Figure - 3C
Figure - 3C | Source

Communicating with your partner

You must Communicate with your helper:

You and your Helper (spouse, significant other, etc) will need to communicate with each other at certain points in this process, so you can either use Walkie-Talkies or hand signals.

But the Helper must be outside the RV and directing the Driver into the parking site during this process.

And, of course, the Helper must always move around so that they and the Driver can always see each other during this process.

1. First, the Helper must define a line into the campsite that is one foot inside the edge of the campsite where your Rig’s tires will end up, as shown in Figure 3a.

Note:Take care when establishing this line that once you are in your site your slides will clear any vertical obstacles like trees, Power Stands, etc.

2. Then the Helper, should stand on this imaginary line at the front edge of the campsite, and hold their arms straight out in front of themselves indicating the street edge of the camp site.

3. Once the Helper is in place you, the driver, should pull your Rig slowly forward, keeping the body of your Rig almost touching your Navigators hands, until the Navigator drops their arms, indicating that the DOT is right where their hands were.

See Figure-3a.

4. For the Second step, the driver should turn the Rigs steering wheel full to the Right, then pull forward until they have crossed the street as far as possible, then stop, as shown in Figure-3b.

On a typical width street this should put your right-rear tire on your imaginary line at the corner of the campsite.

5. Finally, the third step is to, first turn the rig's steering wheel fully to the left, and back the rig up until the front tires are on the line and then simply straighten the steering wheel and back straight into the campsite, as shown in Figure-3c

Simple Process

This process works great for the novice driver, until he/she becomes more comfortable with their Rig.

Use this procedure and you will take a lot less time getting into that narrow Back-In site.

Of course, while backing up, the driver should always use his rear camera, and mirrors to assure that he does not hit anything else in the site.

And, after you are properly aligned, have the Helper move you forward or back until;

1- your slides, and your awnings, will not hit anything when opened, and

2- your Service center (Sewage line and Water line) as well as Power cables will all be accessible and within the necessary distance for easy hookup.

Backing Up Trailers

When Backing up Trailers:

With trailers, it is very simple to estimate how hard it is to back them into a campsite or parking place.

It comes down to just observing the distance from the hitch to the axle of the trailer.

If this distance is very short, like with a Pop-Up Camper, or very short Solid Body Camper, then when you try to back up, the trailer will react very fast and to the extreme, when you turn your Auto/Truck steering wheel.

So always move slowly, and turn the wheel only slightly when you do adjust your alignment.

If your camper is a nice long trailer, or a 5th Wheel, it is, relatively, much easier to back-up and park than a shorter trailer.

The other thing you must master is the art of turning your Auto/Truck Steering Wheel in the opposite direction that you want the Trailer to turn.

Once you get that down, you will have it made.

And, the key bit of information that I can give you is simply:

Go Slowly!

Take Your Time, and you will get into that site smoothly and often on the first try, just like the old Pro’s.

How Back a Trailer into a Campsite

© 2010 Don Bobbitt


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    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jo- Sadly No. I can only suggest that you; take your time, be patient, get out several times as you go through the process, and it will work out for you.

      Good Luck,


    • profile image

      Jo 4 years ago

      Hey Don,

      Just wondering if there's any aids out there that could allow to park solo? Have you come across anything low cost?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 5 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks, Didge, Glad that you liked it. I hope it will prove helepful to you in the future.

    • Didge profile image

      Didge 5 years ago from Southern England

      Great hub Don Bobbitt, like it!

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      Extremely detailed timely hub you have here! Voted up!

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 7 years ago

      This is a very detailed and very informative hub. Thank you for sharing.