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.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.