By Russ and Tiña De Maris
For many new RVers, the greatest challenge of the new lifestyle is that of backing up the rig. Even experienced RVers can tell you that backing into the campsite is perhaps the most stressful part of the entire trip. With the GOAL method, things can be a bit easier.
What’s your goal? To get the rig SAFELY backed into the campsite with as little fuss as possible. Notice we put safety first. There’s much to be said about that. The fuss is at the other end of the spectrum. Yes, if you’re in a crowded campground we know there will be plenty of rubber-neckers who will have nothing better to do than to watch you struggle to get into the site. For most, though, it gets better with practice.
So what’s the GOAL method? You may have guessed. It’s an acronym. “Get Out And Look.” There’s no substitute for physically removing yourself from behind the wheel and walking back and eyeballing your parking situation. Backup cameras are great, a spotting helper can do much, but just eyeing it with your peepers will do more to help you get a feel for what you’re doing than any other method.
One RVer put it well when he said he backs part-way into the site, hops out, eyeballs, then backs more, and repeats the process. He admitted that it wasn’t as impressive as being able to simply back in the rig in one sweep, but you’re far safer with the multiple visualization methods. Don’t just look at what you might hit with your bumper, either. Look UP to catch low hanging branches that might hit the roof or roof-mounted units. Ensure you have room to extend your slide outs, too.
And when using the GOAL system, DON’T succumb to the “Are we there yet?” crowd. Keep the kids strapped in the tow unit, even if you have a spotter working with you. The spotter will be more concerned about keeping an eye on the kids, thus your chances of hitting something will be greatly increased.