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Old 08-14-2018, 05:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by daveb View Post
If I'm heading out of a basecamp, I leave the trailer behind and lock the hitch. It's a pivot hitch so you need that type of receiver on your vehicle but somebody could still rig it up and haul it away so I do the same with locking the wheels as Herb does.


Short tongue narrow trailers are difficult to back. My SMB trailer has the same width axle as the van so it's fairly easy to catch it in time if you are a good backer. I've had to back up a long way on a few trails and it sucks. If you have a hard time backing because the trailer is already angled by the time you see in the mirrors, rig a couple red flags sticking outward from the trailer on both sides. It will give you more time to react. Just make sure the flags can release if they hit a limb. Fiberglass rods work well.
Love the flags idea. Also the implied "oops" moments when you have to "back up a long way". I guess it's just part of the adventure.

Don
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:41 PM   #12
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I have a pad lock instead of the pin on the coupler. When I unhitch, I lock the chains to it and lock the pin in the down position. That way a thief can't just hook the chains up and go. Although I have a pretty heavy toy hauler now and it would be pretty difficult to tow it away just on chains. The light trailers would be easy though.

In terms of backing up the trailer, I wouldn't be too worried. It's short and the turning radius of our Van's are horrible so just learn the limitations of that and you should be good. I was new to towing a couple years ago when I bought my tent trailer. Took me 30 mins to park it at my house the first time. Then after a couple more outings, all was good. Worst case, you just unhitch and manually move it.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rionapo View Post
...I drove a 30' trailer one time and tried to back it into a tight, unlevel spot in a forest campground. While I didn't succeed, and surrendered the task to more capable hands, I'm sure I gave the neighbors a good chuckle and a story to tell over future campfires.

Don't feel bad... Think of trailer backing as a sport. Practice makes perfect, or good enough.


Funny story: I've been going out to Orewood Resort, a popular water ski launch into the SF Bay Delta, since I was a kid. It's been said that boat launching is responsible for both wedding proposals and threats of divorce. Anyhow, one Memorial Day weekend, they had installed aluminum bleachers next to the launch ramp, as a staging area for passengers to hang out while the 'captain' and 'first mate' launched the boat. The line of boats and trucks waiting to launch was 25 deep, just what a newbie needs, an audience. Talk about your pressure. Th ehot and bored onlookers started holding up paper plates with Olympic Score numbers, as people were backing their boats down the ramp, even applauding the guys who 'stuck the landing' first try!



As others have said, its all about practice. I've been known to pre-walk the area a 1/4 mile ahead, to see if it's passable. Working with a spoter and hand held radios is the bomb. For real deep in back country, I watch a video of a guy with a 30ft travel trailer, that launched a drone w/video to scope out campsites with turn around space, near Mono and June lakes, before committing the rig down a fire road. (you should be able to find it on YouTube) more than I'd ever want to do, but that may be the wave of the future.


Happy trails!
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:45 AM   #14
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I can only really only offer my sympathies. I'm a pretty inexperienced tow-er, myself. However, through practice a couple things have been crucial to my limited successes:

1) I ask my wife to get out and spot ... if only to limit the inflow of recommendations on how she thinks I should do it

2) I also go WAY slower, and don't mind stopping to get out and check progress

Great advice in this thread. I love the idea of treating it like a sport
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:23 PM   #15
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Small trailer tips.

The intimidation factor does dissipate with experience. I tow a AT Horizon on some outings. The two tips I would offer is never attempt a hard lock u-turn without being sure you can make it. If you get stuck it is really hard to get things straightened out enough to make a 3-point turn. One thing I do is place my hand at the bottom of the steering wheel when backing. Whichever direction my hand goes, the trailer will go that direction. This also helps me from putting big inputs into direction since itís hard to determine what the trailer is doing because of its small size.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:48 PM   #16
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Over the years I have towed many small items until I bought this. Essentially my stock van, Equalizer hitch, and a positive attitude I was able to bring that from New York City down to Miami without ever having an issue. Practice will make you better but nothing like real world situations to make you perfect. As for getting off the beaten path only twice I did that, and I walked the grounds beforehand.
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Old 08-16-2018, 06:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post

Funny story: I've been going out to Orewood Resort, a popular water ski launch into the SF Bay Delta, since I was a kid. It's been said that boat launching is responsible for both wedding proposals and threats of divorce. Anyhow, one Memorial Day weekend, they had installed aluminum bleachers next to the launch ramp, as a staging area for passengers to hang out while the 'captain' and 'first mate' launched the boat. The line of boats and trucks waiting to launch was 25 deep, just what a newbie needs, an audience. Talk about your pressure. The hot and bored onlookers started holding up paper plates with Olympic Score numbers, as people were backing their boats down the ramp, even applauding the guys who 'stuck the landing' first try!
Good gravy this reminds of of the later 70's when I was water skiing quite a bit with two friends who both had boats, were very, very good at launching and retrieving their own craft--we frequented a close by state park that is very nicely appointed with nice ramps. Weekend jaunts found us launching just as the sun came up, water smooth as glass as far as the eye could see.

Round about 9-10am the general inexperienced public was on the water, choppy and crowded as hell---we'd pull the boat(s) back out, leave them on the trailer(s) and park where we literally had front row seating for the mayhem that was newbie's DIY boat launching.

Some of the stuff we saw was downright knee-slapping hilarious, others just plain scary. We'd always jump in to help if we could, tended to keep jumper cables at the ready too. From 10am to about 2pm this was entertainment, almost as good as skiiing itself.

After 2pm the newbie public left so boats back in the water and we could ski once again on smooth water without too much fear that departed general public.

Sorry to digress but I'm once again reliving those times----amazing and not always in a good way.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jwally2 View Post
never attempt a hard lock u-turn without being sure you can make it. If you get stuck it is really hard to get things straightened out enough to make a 3-point turn.
+1, very well said, worth reiterating. Know the turning radius of your truck, and never make a hard lock turn unless you know you will make it.
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:59 AM   #19
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Chasing thoughts on travelling with a Chaser

Another trick I picked up maneuvering both our boat and offroad trailer around for years is when pulling forward while preparing to back the trailer into a spot or the boat at the launch, the last move pulling forward is to turn your wheel in the opposite direction, which will kick the back of your trailer in the same direction to line it up better with the spot youíre backing into.
I have a backup camera mounted low on the bumper right above the hitch ball that is perfect for hooking up, itís integrated into my head unit and the camera can be activated while driving to keep an eye on things, mainly just shows that the coupler is secure on the ball. I once hooked up and kept hearing and feeling a slight bumping driving down the road, realized the coupler latch had not properly secured on the ball and was just sitting on top, luckily it didnít jump off, no harm done....Lesson learned! Check your connections!!
Also make sure your trailer is sitting level when hooked up! Get the proper drop mount to match your trailer tongue height, very important for proper load distribution and braking, I needed 2 different ones for my trailer and boat and always made sure I had the right one on there for what I was towing. I also added an anti-rattle coupler around the receiver collar, helps quite a bit by removing any play between receiver and ball mount shaft.
I got one of these.....
Hitch Clamp - Heavy Duty, 2 Inch - Hitch Tightener, Anti Rattle Device, Receiver clamp https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0068D1M1E..._1wQDBbQSYEGDA
But thereís this type too, better for lighter loads......
RETECK Hitch Tightener for 1.25" and 2" Hitches 304 Stainless Steel Hitch Tightener Anti-Rattle Stabilizer Rust-Free Heavy Duty Lock Down Easy Installation Quiet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KZ25Y26..._QzQDBbE466374
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:49 PM   #20
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I have a Chaser Adventure Trailer. I've never had any problem backing it up because it is higher than normal off-road trailers, like the SMB trailer. Since it is higher, I can see it as I back up. If you back up slowly you can make the necessary directional changes before the trailer gets too far out of whack. It's true that shorter tongues make it harder to back up a trailer, but I've never had a problem backing up the Chaser because I go slow until I feel confident in my backing. The good part is the trailer is so short you can see where the back of it is (unlike a 30' travel trailer) while you are backing up.

As far as going down roads where you may not be able to turn around: If the terrain around the road is flat, you can unhook your trailer and then turn your SMB around. Then hook up your trailer again. The Chaser is very easy to maneuver unless you are in bad terrain. It's very easy to push the trailer out of the way while you turn around and then reattach it.

I leave my trailer in camp when I go exploring in my SMB. In addition to taking my hitch from the tongue of the trailer, I also run a thick chain through the wheel of one of the trailer tires and lock the chain around the wheel. This is also how I store it in public storage. The chain is very visible (and very thick). I have had my trailer for six years and have had no problems or worries about it being stolen.
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