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Old 07-15-2017, 01:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
I appreciate everyone's responses.
I'm noticing that my truck's capabilities have been questioned more in this thread than my own towing capabilities. lol!

Here is one of the trailers we are considering. I think the gross weight and tongue weight are low enough. It's the newbies (us) I'm worried about.

https://www.jayco.com/products/trave...ht-slx/264bhw/
We have a 2016 f150, 5.0. Back in January we ordered a 2018 Jay Feather 23BHM, close to the same stats as the trailer you are looking at. You definitely have to pay attention to your payload (we're at 2067) but if that checks out your truck should be fine.

I haven't towed anything at all for over 20 years (2-horse trailer) and I've been nervous about that first trip home with the Jayco for 7 months. Well we went and picked it up Tuesday afternoon and I pulled it home, first half hour on an interstate-type highway and the next hour or so through the mountains on a winding, rolling, narrow two-lane. Distance was around 75 miles and the Ford towed the trailer beautifully. I knew it was back there but the tail never wagged the dog. Of course the going was slower than without the trailer and I had to keep a heavier shoe.

The hardest part for me was keeping the trailer between the lines on the two-lane - the trailer is 8 feet wide and the lanes are 9. Also I got surprised a couple times by descending hills because I didn't slow down far enough in advance, but the Tow/Haul mode does a great job gearing down to keep things under control and eventually I got smarter.

When I got home I pulled face-first into our driveway because the entrance is a little tricky and I have no backing skills yet, but we're fortunate to have a big property and I was able to drop down off the driveway embankment into the front field, swing the trailer around, and pull it back up the embankment (the tires did lose grip but four-wheel-drive got me out of that little jackpot). From there I backed down the driveway (it's less than a quarter mile) and that took a while, but I took my time. My wife guided me the last few feet to the parking spot beside our house.

I'm going to hitch it back up in a day or so and take it out to the end of the driveway to practice backing up.

My point after all this is that you shouldn't worry so much. Buy from a reputable dealer, even if you have to pay a little more, and have them set things up for you. Then just hitch up and go, and trust your own driving ability. If you have to go backwards before you get a chance to practice just take your time - it will start to come to you after a few minutes of trial-and-error.

Anyways, sorry for rambling on. Just thought I would share my experience.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:45 PM   #22
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First time I towed something this large was the day I brought it home from the dealership. I didn't have my WDH installed yet either (UPS was delivering it the same day to my house). While I had towed a few things previously (a small popup camper), I considered myself to be fairly inexperienced towing overall.

It was no problem. You will pick it up fast.

For our first trip we stayed in a KOA that had a pull through spot for the first night. The rest of our camping spots on that trip didn't have pull throughs. My wife was a great 'co pilot' and I was able to back in the first time, no problems at all. Just go VERY SLOW so you can correct any steering inputs before they become bigger problems. You'll obviously want a spotter outside near the back, drivers side of your camper looking out for branches, and anything else you might not want to drive over.

Oh, and your truck should be fine. I didn't read all the posts about weights and whatnot, but my F150 pulled my 27bhs without any real problems, I upgraded because I could, and wanted to... wasn't a requirement. I need to upgrade my picture below, but I towed with that all over the state and was within my weights, barely. I swear that eco boost can out pull my 250 sometimes.

ETA - regarding having a good spotter with you, it's a good idea to have some basic hand signals you guys use and some common terminology understood between you and whoever your spotter is. I've seen couples almost divorce eachother over some really stupid things... one of them being the spotter saying 'you need to turn left' and the driver having no idea if that's his left, her left, or backwards left, which is actually right on the wheel... My wife and I use a very simple approach. If I need to back the camper more to the left than I'm currently tracking, she simply says 'Drivers Side!' and I know exactly what I need to do. Some people use their cell phones so they can hear eachother easier too. It can save a marriage I've heard... (long edit complete lol)
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:45 AM   #23
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Believe it or not the longer trailers are actually easier to tow and back up. The shorter trailers swing around much quicker then the longer ones.

Take some time to practice before heading out for real. Use the largest open lot you can scope out. Practice making wider turns and backing. Until you learn to back confidently remembering that the back of the trailer will move in the opposite direction that you turn the wheel. You can place both hands on the very bottom of the wheel and then just move them in the direction you want the trailer to go.

I've been pulling trailers of some kind for nearly 30 years now and it becomes second nature...

Some good advice here. Our initial trailer was for a boat and I dreaded being that guy on a busy boat ramp.
So practice practice practice and it won't be an issue. Myself with only 17 years of towing experience. Best of Luck to y'all.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:27 AM   #24
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I've seen couples almost divorce eachother over some really stupid things... one of them being the spotter saying 'you need to turn left' and the driver having no idea if that's his left, her left, or backwards left, which is actually right on the wheel... My wife and I use a very simple approach. If I need to back the camper more to the left than I'm currently tracking, she simply says 'Drivers Side!' and I know exactly what I need to do. Some people use their cell phones so they can hear eachother easier too. It can save a marriage I've heard... (long edit complete lol)
Oh man this is so true. First time backing in our brand new trailer my wife didn't understand that her job was to watch not only the fence, but the overhang on the house... Needless to say that gutter had to be bent back into shape. Luckily it was only cosmetic damage to the corner molding and not fiberglass.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:24 AM   #25
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So, once you have the trailer and a GOOD hitch, find someone who can show you how to set it up properly.

Then learn all the emergency procedures, especially sway control.

Then learn how to back it up. I learned from an ex-trucker. Biggest things I learned, get out and look. Even if you have a spotter, get out and look. I will 'plan' a back up by walking it. Then during the backup will get out and look to see where I am at, several times. The other advice was, if it doesn't look right, then pull forward and get a different angle, don't 'push' a bad position.

The first few times will take some time. Be patient and go slow.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:17 AM   #26
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My wife never gets out of the TV until I am in the spot. I get out as many times as I have to to scope the area and don't require help. I want to stay married
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:39 PM   #27
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My wife never gets out of the TV until I am in the spot. I get out as many times as I have to to scope the area and don't require help. I want to stay married
Best advice.. ever.

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Old 07-20-2017, 02:27 PM   #28
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Oh man this is so true. First time backing in our brand new trailer my wife didn't understand that her job was to watch not only the fence, but the overhang on the house... Needless to say that gutter had to be bent back into shape. Luckily it was only cosmetic damage to the corner molding and not fiberglass.
2-way radios are better if you can keep a charge on them between trips. Cell coverage can often be spotty, but radios don't care as long as both units have juice and are in the same general area. That takes care of the shouting. We could never keep ours charged, so we gave up on them. We don't shout any more though, we use hand signals (and not, not the "impolite" ones).

It's hard to train a spotter to look up, but it only takes one "close call" to fix that. DW has become quite a good spotter. If we don't know the space well, we will both get out and look (GOAL) and I will tell her what my plan is for getting into the spot. She doesn't know her right from left with any degree of certainty, so she knows to just point. Which means she must stay in my sight. She knows that if I can't see her, I will stop until I can (she may need to re-position or look from a different angle).

Another good thing is to let your "spotter" back the trailer a few times while you spot. This will give each of you a concept of what the other can see/hear during the process. My wife can barely back a trailer to save her life, but I let her do it sometimes (in a safe, controlled environment) so that we each gain a respect for the position.

Straining your marriage over backing a trailer is just not worth it. Have some respect for your partner and realize that BOTH rolls are important for success. If your partner simply can't or won't do it, have them take the kid or dog for a walk while you do it yourself.
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Old 07-20-2017, 09:06 PM   #29
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^^^Very good advice right above, my wife very quickly became very good at spotting for me, I haven't let the her back it or pull it yet, but I might try that roll reversal for backing to give her a better idea as well. But it is nice having a good spotter, makes a huge difference. I cringe when watching my parents back (argue and yell lol) into the neighboring spot

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Old 07-20-2017, 10:14 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
2-way radios are better if you can keep a charge on them between trips. Cell coverage can often be spotty, but radios don't care as long as both units have juice and are in the same general area. That takes care of the shouting. We could never keep ours charged, so we gave up on them. We don't shout any more though, we use hand signals (and not, not the "impolite" ones).

It's hard to train a spotter to look up, but it only takes one "close call" to fix that. DW has become quite a good spotter. If we don't know the space well, we will both get out and look (GOAL) and I will tell her what my plan is for getting into the spot. She doesn't know her right from left with any degree of certainty, so she knows to just point. Which means she must stay in my sight. She knows that if I can't see her, I will stop until I can (she may need to re-position or look from a different angle).

Another good thing is to let your "spotter" back the trailer a few times while you spot. This will give each of you a concept of what the other can see/hear during the process. My wife can barely back a trailer to save her life, but I let her do it sometimes (in a safe, controlled environment) so that we each gain a respect for the position.

Straining your marriage over backing a trailer is just not worth it. Have some respect for your partner and realize that BOTH rolls are important for success. If your partner simply can't or won't do it, have them take the kid or dog for a walk while you do it yourself.
What he said ^^^ (almost word for word)
Our SOP: Before backing in, we both get out and look over the site and we decide where the trailer should go. I do the backing and she is the spotter. We use hand signals almost exclusively. We will use the 2-way radios as a backup if necessary. In that case, she keeps the mike keyed and talks while I listen. We found that the delay when keying and unkeying for our cheap radios could cause me to miss important info. The VOX for our radios created an even greater delay.
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