By Bob Difley
You will find many of the most scenic, nature-focused, and “nesty” campgrounds in national and state forests and parks. They often are the least developed, with small pads (but with lots of space), crowded by trees, rocks, bushes, or other natural objects.
But that’s why many of us choose these campgrounds — we would rather be crowded by trees and bushes than by too-close neighbors. But these campsites do at times test our space perception and back-and-fill abilities when squeezing into a tight campsite.
Before you begin the campsite entering phase, pace the site to verify that you have enough room to get in. Know your vehicle’s length — from behind the stuff you hang off the back, to the space you want or need in front (to clear the road plus some extra). Make sure that any overhang you have will clear posts or rocks at the rear of the campsite (placed there to prevent damage to the plants and trees behind the campsite — yes, campers have been known to back right into them).
Once you get in, but before you unhitch your trailer or fiver, or level your motorhome, measure the distance between the edge of your slide to the closest obstruction. Make sure you look up as well — trees do lean, and usually toward your rig. An easy and quick way to do this is to use a length of some stiff object, like a long-handled brush or squeegee, broom, or awning wand — which we all have.
Set up the wand (or whatever else you use) first by using it to measure the distance your slide extends and mark the place on the wand with electrical or duct tape. Measure and verify all your slides have room to extend before committing to the site. If you have different length slides, be sure to mark each one of them on the wand. You can check all the slides for clearance in less than a minute, which will save you much more time than having to re-position once you have already unhitched and set up.
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I use my water hose for testing slide out distance. I have a piece tape around the hose at the correct distance. My storage for the hose is in the slideout so I just open the door, pull out the hose, measure, and the the hose is ready for hook-up.
I also check everything out carefully as my husband backs in, particularly after a near miss with a tree branch. What I didn’t take into account was the dish hanging up on an overhanging tree branch….
If you and your partner don’t use a cell phone or walkie talkies for communicating parking instructions, you don’t have to revert to shouting (annoying your neighbors). Work out a set of hand signals that the director and driver both understand (turn right, turn left, straight back, stop, etc.). Also, make sure the director is always visible in the driver’s mirrors. If not stop until the director reappears.
Did I miss something? I didn’t find one tip on how to slip your rig int a tight space. All I saw was what to do before and after you “slip” your rig in.
Bob, I think we covered that. The author wrote “Before you begin the campsite entering phase, pace the site to verify that you have enough room to get in.” Once you do that, then you just do as he said to get the coach in place.
And BEFORE you hook up everything, check your ‘Power Tower’ for good electric power.
So far I have found four sites with reversed polarity. Just use those little $5 plug in testers.
Two orange lights are good. Any Red lights bad.
Where do you find those and what are they called, do they do different amps ie 30, 50 or they just a regular plug in
Just pop into any hardware store with a fair electrical section, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace. Ask for a plug in circuit tester — they have three prongs like you’d find on the end of a lot of electrical cords. No, they won’t fit directly into the 30 or 50 amp outlet on the post, you’ll need to use an adapter (from an RV supply store) to plug into those.
I’m one of the few people who asks their wife to do the parking of my 27′ class C. She watches me intently and follows directions explicitly. (It’a a compliment).This way the camper is EXACTLY where I want it. Worked for years…
My husband parks our trailer to my directions. It’s the only time he really listens to me. He gets the compliments for parking it so well.
Ann, thanks for making me laugh!!
We use the same method for parking our 36’ MH, I park & my husband guides. My listening skills are much better than his were!
That is how we do it as well.
We do the same.