Backing your 5th wheel

There’s an interesting thread on the Escapees Forum about backing a 5th wheel.  Here’s a synopsis along with some of my own thoughts on the topic.

  1. If possible, always back from the driver’s side – doing it the other way puts more pressure on the spotter to give good directions
  2. GOAL: Get out and look – at the beginning of the backup for sure – then anytime you have any doubt whatsoever about where you are and what is behind you
  3. Look up – don’t get so focused on the ground that you forget tree limbs, etc.
  4. Your spotter needs to know that if they can’t see your face in the mirrors that you can’t see them – if you lose them, stop and wait until you can see them again.
  5. Your spotter’s responsibility is what is happening at the rear of the rig, the driver is responsible of that is happening at the nose of the pickup – watch out for other vehicles, etc. as you swing the nose of the pickup around to line up the 5th wheel.
  6. Remember that the “superior” people who seem to be the most entertained by your backing in are likely some of the worse drivers in the campground and need you to have problems to make them feel better about their own shortcomings (after all the worse golfer in the foursome is everyone else’s best friend).
  7. Pull forward far enough – with my shortbed/slider hitch combination that’s putting the rear of the 5th wheel 5 to 10 feet past the campsite
  8. Watch the camper tires and turn just tight enough for them to clear the edge of the campsite driveway as you begin backing into the site
  9. Once you get the tires on the side you are backing from into the edge of the campsite stop turning and start “following” the camper into the site with the pickup – imagine the camper is pulling the pickup

Feel free to add your tips in the comments to this post!

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