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Hitting the road in a camper trailer is one of the most comfortable ways to have an outdoor adventure. Unlike a tent, which can lack a little luxury, and an RV, which often can’t travel off the beaten path, camper trailers are meant to go just about wherever your travels take you. If your vehicle can go there, so can your camper.
If you’re new to the world of camper trailer exploration, read on. Here are some tips to help you set yourself for safe and happy camping.
#1 Start Slow
Unless you’re a veteran at towing heavy loads with your vehicle’s, take your time acclimatizing yourself to lugging around your camper trailer. The trailer will add quite a bit of weight and it will affect how quickly you can start and stop. Leave double the amount of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you since it will take longer to slow down. Also, don’t race off the starting line. This will strain your vehicle as well as your trailer. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady!
#2 Practice Backing Up
Here’s another practical (and oh so important) driving tip. Pick an empty parking lot, hook up your camper trailer and practice, practice, practice reversing! Steer from the bottom of the wheel and you’ll be less likely to overcompensate. Also, when possible, back up toward the vehicle’s driver side since it is easier to see behind you from this vantage point. If you are traveling with a group, elect someone to help you perfect your reversing skills. Agree to hand signals for clear communication.
#3 Dirty Tank First
Depending on the make and model of your camper trailer, you may or may not have to deal with water or sewage tanks. If your camper trailer has these features, dump the dirtiest (black water) tank first, since the leftover soapy water from the gray tank can help cleanse the hose.
#4 Double Check
Don’t take for granted that your tires, safety chains, lights, and brakes are all in working order — especially if you’ve bought your camper trailer second hand. After all, you never know what quirks and ticks your camper trailer has until you get it to know it, and that is going to take time and travel. Even the best camper trailers that are brand new get low tire pressure. And, most of all, even the most diligent people make mistakes. You may think you attached your safety chains or brake lights, but did you? It only takes a few seconds to check again, and it could be the difference between a serious accident and arriving safely at your destination.
#5 Optimize Your Storage
Every nook and cranny of your camper trailer can be used for storage, and the storage areas can be packed for maximum efficiency. Here are some pro-tips:
- Pack food that does not need to be refrigerated in the microwave. Bread is a prime pick for this sweet spot since the microwave will keep the soft loaves from getting squished.
- Pack your dishes and pans with your clean towels to keep them from banging around and/or breaking.
- Store your leveling blocks or wedges, bubble levels, tongue stand or blocks and tire chocks somewhere you can get to them easily. Learning to level your trailer is essential so you’re not living off kilter. A trailer that’s not level also won’t function or drain properly.
You’ve got the tips, now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors in your camper trailer! Of course, as you travel, you’ll develop your own travel system, but in the meantime, use these tried and true strategies to help get you off to a great start.