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Old 08-13-2018, 05:38 PM   #1
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Chasing thoughts on travelling with a Chaser

As I noted in my post about electric brake controllers, we hocked the farm for a Chaser from Adventure Trailers, due 8/27. 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.



So, as we've driven around this summer, I'm seeing all the ways I could recreate that scene or worse with the Chaser. Would those of you who know what you're doing be willing to chime in with tips on how to avoid catastrophes? How do you chose whether to take an unknown backcountry road? What about driving in an unknown town, especially a rural mountain location with hills and narrow streets?* Do you leave your trailers at your campsite for day trips in your vans? If so, how do you make sure they're still there when you return?


Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome. Plus, anything you can add that this total novice has overlooked.



Thanks,


-d-


*We followed Google or Apple Maps through a series of tight right hand turns and steep hills in Sonora, CA this summer and all I could think of was I'm glad we don't have the trailer yet. I think it needs to stay parked when we are shopping and washing clothes.
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:33 PM   #2
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Backing up a trailer sucks. I've given my share of observers a chuckle with my backing up skills, but I've gotten a lot better. It's definitely worth practicing in an empty parking lot (cones help) before you get to a campsite, or a tough spot on a trail.

For security, I have a removable Max Coupler and place the locking hitch pin back in place. I also add a cable lock through one of the tires. Neither will prevent a determined thief, but may slow them down a little, and will deter the casual thief.

Congrats on the Chaser.


Herb
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:15 PM   #3
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Chasing thoughts on travelling with a Chaser

The longer the tongue on your trailer, the easier it is to back up without it jacking up so easily. Also, the further rearward the axle is mounted, the more stable it is on the highway and doesnít tend the ďwalkĒ or jump side to side. Our off road trailer has a pretty long tongue and the axle is pushed pretty far back, super easy to maneuver into spots, and super stable on the highway. I think the chaser has a similar setup.
In contrast, our new 21ft. Lance TT has a super short tongue, but has 2 axles so tows pretty well, will be interesting to back that thing into spaces though.
Just find a parking lot to practice backing into spaces, itíll come pretty easy. I have been in situations where I have to unhook the trailer, drag it around by strapping it to get out of tight spots, not really a huge deal. I am a bit more cautious going down unknown trails with trailer in tow, but it hasnít stopped us from exploring, and yes you can always drop it and lock it up before heading out on a more difficult route, but those things are built for off road, it is really nice to unload all the stuff from the rig we tend to carry these days and haul it around in the trailer, although now we tend to bring more stuff!
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:24 PM   #4
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The worst thing to try backing up is a little utility trailer. Behind the van you literally can't see it until it's jackknifed.

A longer trailer that you can see just requires a little bit of patience to learn. Once you get the thing, just plan to spend a couple of evenings with it in an empty lot with some chalk marks or cones.

Completely obvious advice: Never ever unhook anything but an empty, tiny open trailer on uneven ground without chucks in place. I learned that the "wow, that was really dumb of me" way.
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:04 AM   #5
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I haven't towed or pulled anything in years upon years but today there are many, many back up camera systems both wired and wireless that are fairly straight forward installation. Were I a frequent puller I'd have one of these without hesitation.

Backing a trailer is indeed a learned skill so practice, practice practice. If nothing else watch a few tractor-trailer drivers move their loads around almost magically. Some of those guys are truly amazing.
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:54 AM   #6
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Just keep practicing tight maneuvers. I've ended up down narrow, steep, off-camber trails where a saw and a shovel were needed to ge through, plus a spotter on the roof when I had to back out of there. I've have to backup over mile on one impassable trail. Plus those times I've had to drag the trailer over logs, or through washes deep enough the trailer tires weren't holding up the trailer anymore. And had to winch the whole this up a hillside when the trailer slid down a steep, silty embankment. My trailer is 38' overall and 13,000 fully packed. It's never taken more than a few hours to get unstuck.

I do have a front hitch receiver which I've used to get smaller trailers into super tight spots. Could be usefully for getting out too, but so far only had to flip the van around once to get the trailer out.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:39 AM   #7
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Having spent 10 years in a tractor trailer I can tell you that the most important thing is seat time. As stated above, practice practice.
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:33 PM   #8
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
Just keep practicing tight maneuvers. I've ended up down narrow, steep, off-camber trails where a saw and a shovel were needed to ge through, plus a spotter on the roof when I had to back out of there. I've have to backup over mile on one impassable trail. Plus those times I've had to drag the trailer over logs, or through washes deep enough the trailer tires weren't holding up the trailer anymore. And had to winch the whole this up a hillside when the trailer slid down a steep, silty embankment. My trailer is 38' overall and 13,000 fully packed. It's never taken more than a few hours to get unstuck.
Just a few hours. That's comforting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
I do have a front hitch receiver which I've used to get smaller trailers into super tight spots. Could be usefully for getting out too, but so far only had to flip the van around once to get the trailer out.
That's a great idea. We have a front hitch, too. Hopefully I'll remember it when needed, preferably before the few hours clock has run.

Don
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:47 PM   #9
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I sense a thread here: Practice, practice, practice. We are going to spend a bit of time in Prescott in an empty parking lot working on the backup game. The Chaser has a pretty long tongue (that's where the H2O container, add'l water or gas containers and a storage box that will be used for the PV & battery stuff go) so that may apply to Ref's comment.

I know what JWA means about professional drivers though I didn't realize 86Scotty was in that brotherhood. My dad wasn't a driver but was a master with his 5th wheel. I saw him back it from a narrow drive into a space with barely enough room to open the door and attach the utilities. I have no delusions about achieving that level of skill.

A rear camera is on the punch list, especially with a trailer. I like a camera rather than a backup camera as it's on all the time.

Thanks, everyone.

Don
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:19 PM   #10
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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.
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