Life would be grand if every parking lot were nothing but pull through spaces, especially for RVers. Unfortunately, this not always the case. Every RVer has to learn the crucial skill of backing into a parking space, RV site, or driveway. This is one of the biggest challenges to overcome when RVing, especially when towing a vehicle versus driving a motorhome.
You may need to get into a tight spot in a Wal-Mart parking lot, wedge your way out of a situation or back into your camping pad. With that in mind, let us give you some advice on how to back into a parking spot.
Your Guide on How to Back into an RV Site
Become Comfortable with Backing Up
Backing up can be quite intimidating to those who aren’t experienced operating RVs. Motorhomes are difficult to back up due to their sheer size while a travel trailer may be difficult to back up because you have to get used to turning the steering wheel the opposite way than you would for backing up. You don’t want your first backing in the journey to end with a dented bumper or knocked over sign so if you are uncomfortable with wrangling in your rig you will likely do better with some practice beforehand.
Find a large empty lot (church lots on weekdays work well for this, just get permission first). Set up some cones and practice backing in. Set up different scenarios such as having to back into a tight spot or having to go around an “obstacle,” keep backing in until you feel you are becoming more comfortable with your ride. You may be surprised to be backing like a pro only after a few tries.
Clearing the Area
Worst case scenario for backing in is that you may bump a sign or scrape a tree, nothing that will do real damage to your trip but the idea is to not hit anything! So do yourself a favor when backing into a spot and clear the area of any debris before you hit reverse.
If you are at a camping spot you should put your rig in the park before even entering the site and do a brief walk-through. Look for any object that may be a hindrance to backing in such as objects on the ground, low-hanging branches, potholes, other debris and of course people and animals. You won’t always have time to clear the area if you are backing into a gas station spot but being used to these actions will help keep your bumper free of scratches and dents.
Using a Partner
If you can, always use a partner to help you in backing in. Set up a series of verbal and physical cues such as turn the wheel, start and stop so the other person is waving at you like a maniac. A partner will use your best weapon when backing into a parking spot. Always keep your partner visible.
Use Your Mirrors
Unless you have a reverse camera (which every RVer should look into), you’ll likely be relying on your side view mirrors to back up. Get acquainted with your side view mirrors, so you know you have the perfect depth of field as well as knowing the subtleties of your mirrors such as where objects compared to where they show up on your mirror.
It’s Not a Race
There may be certain situations where you need to back up into a space but, for the most part, we recommend low and slow. You won’t get a medal for charging your ride backward into a space so take your time. Even if you try #40, it’s best to go slow. You’d much rather have to try backing in five or six times compared to repainting someone’s bumper once. If at first, you don’t succeed, back up and try again. Perfect practice makes perfect, so take the time to practice, get it right, and keep practicing to ensure your backup skills in your RV are solid.
Knowing how to back into a parking space is an art form that every RVer will develop over time as they grow more comfortable with their rig and with their skills. Practice, use a partner, check your surroundings and take your time before you know it you’ll be a pro in reverse!