Reverse your caravan like a Pro

Published in Caravanning Top Tips on   - 14 Comments

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  1. Brian Reed says:

    An idea which might be worth considering is a front of car tow hitch. You fit it on arrival at the site and turn the car round to drive forwards. It will still turn ‘the other way’ but you can see where you’re going better. They seem to be on offer in the small ads in caravan mags.
    Fortunately I don’t need any of these as a folding camper is much easier to manoeuvre, except up hill!

  2. Exocet says:

    When I bought my first caravan earlier this year, I tried reversing it onto my single width driveway. I consider myself to be quite a competent driver and have an untrained ability to reverse trailers. However, trying to reverse a 7.5m caravan onto a driveway, 90 degrees from a residential road, was almost an impossible task. My towcar certainly didn’t enjoy it (burning clutch has a distinctive smell). I managed it (with the help of 2 banksmen) after quite a number of shunts and using the footpath opposite my driveway. This gave the neighbours something amusing to watch.
    I now have a motor mover and can complete the task in under 4 minutes and can position it 3″ from a wall parallel with it and 2″ from a gutter over my garage door to the rear. A very worthwhile expense.

  3. Tony Wilson says:

    My wife took a caravan towing course at Askham Bryan College, York and afterwards spoke to her tutor who promised to send some notes but he never did. Also the actual instructions on towing in this article are almost non existant. We do not know if the course was run by the college, The Caravan Club or Caravan Guard.Are you able to help? My wifes name is Sue Barnes-Wilson. Her e-mail is barnes.wilson@hotmail.co.uk

    • Hi Tony,

      I’m afraid there’s nothing we can really do to help as we’ve never ran towing courses. Perhaps best if you try contacting the college directly.
      Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

      Many thanks

      Lucie

  4. Alex says:

    message for Alan Scarff!!!
    the hitch should not “leap off the towball” at any time!
    Do not tow this caravan- seek specialist advice- life and limb are at risk here!
    It may be just that you are using a alko stabiliser without an alco towball ( longer neck and more clearance around it).
    I myself am poor at reversing my caravan but manage to shove it somewhere near.

  5. Alan Scarff says:

    I’m going try releasing the stabiliser because the outfit does seem rather stiff when I’m “bending” it. Also, while I’m on here, does anyone have trouble with the hitch leaping off the towball especially when the car is not in line with the van?

  6. john hammond says:

    if people are not willing to voluntarily take tuition then it should be compulsary.for every vehicle you want to drive learning and test are required.a person working in say a factory or office only drives a few miles to work and back then gets the caravan out at the weekend and goes like a bat out of hell on a motorway.what experience has that person got? none..

  7. john hammond says:

    re.stuarts letter 13.october 2011.as a retired hgv.class 1 driver he has hit the nail on the head. all caravanners should have compulsary training before being allowed on the road.after 56 years of truck driving i have seen it all.the past few years has seen people with large caravans towed by large 4x4s well over the legal speed limit in the outside lane of a motorway.i followed one a few weeks ago i was in my car he was in a toyota landcruiser with a twin axle abbey doing 97 mph. in the outside lane of the m.5. on a busy friday evening[total lunacy].he turned off at the burnham on sea turn.talking to caravanning friends they have witnessed similar things.so as far as i am concerned tuition and tests should be compulsary..

  8. david brinsley says:

    i was nervous when we bought our first large caravan.my wife booked a one day towing course for me with the caravan club.the instructors put us all at ease,and simple instruction makes you confident(and competent).i am now quite proud of my parking skills

  9. Alan Bolton says:

    Good advice on reversing and as an instructor for the Caravan Club I would recomend the courses run by them. The one and a half day course for new caravaners covers the driving and all the other things like legal issues and insurance and how to connect electric. Not to blow my own trumpet but most people say at the end of the course that they are more confident. I met an old student the other day who said that he had been to europe but would not have had the confidence to do this if he had not done the course.

  10. Stuart says:

    Good solid advice overall. I would make only 1 point, specifically regarding the motor mover.

    Rather than spend hundreds (possibly thousands) of pounds on something which has a finite life, takes a very large chunk of your useable payload, and needs servicing (more money), why not invest in some proper reversing lessons from the places which teach the B+E test?

    I hold the HGV1 (C+E if you prefer) and despite having a maximum length outfit, I have never needed a mover. Why? Because I can manoeuvre the thing properly. I also have a camera on the back of the ‘van so I can see directly behind from the driver’s seat. Yes I have my better half as a banksman too, well two sets of eyes are better than one.

    Just because you aren’t legally obliged to take a B+E test is no reason to avoid the training. This will teach you the skills which will stay with you for life whereas a mover will break sooner or later, usually when you most need it.

    Perhaps if the insurers gave a financial reward (discount) in recognition of those who aren’t too proud to take lessons, or who hold vocational licences then more people would do it, there would be less incidents and the number of claims would go down Everyone’s a winner then.

  11. Tony Garrick says:

    Don’t forget to undo or release the stabiliser when turning sharp angles and reversing as this will take the pressure off the tow hitch and make manoeuvring much easier.


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