The prospect of reversing a caravan haunts the dreams of many new owners.
Of course, it’s understandable why this intimidates lots of people. However, if you follow the right steps and don’t rush, you should be just fine. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to reverse a caravan.
Let’s get started!
1. Know Your Surroundings
The first thing you should do is check what’s going on around you.
Ensure that there aren’t any obstacles in the way before you attempt to reverse your caravan. Hop out of the car to be on the safe side. Ideally, a passenger will help you by getting out and guiding you into place.
Then, return to your vehicle and wind down the windows for a better view. If necessary, adjust your towing mirrors.
2. Right-Hand Reversal
Usually, we reverse from the right-hand side because the driver will have a clearer view.
Drive past the parking spot so that there is enough room for the caravan to pivot into the pitch. Check your mirrors or look through the window to ensure that it’s clear. Then begin to reverse into place.
One useful hack is using a cone or pole as a marker to help you reverse in a straight line.
3. Opposite Directions
This is the bit that first-timers find the most daunting.
When you reverse, you must remember that turning the steering wheel left will send the trailer right. The opposite is true if you guide the wheel to the right. Then your caravan will begin to move left.
First, turn the steering wheel to the left and reverse. Now the caravan will move toward the right side of the marker.
Maintain a slow and consistent speed so that the caravan pivots properly. Don’t go too quickly or make jerky movements because this will disrupt the reversing maneuver.
If you jack-knife, don’t panic. Just apply the brakes and pull forward. Take your time and try again.
4. Align the Caravan
Once the caravan is on its pitch, it’s time to align it properly.
Turn your steering wheel to the right. The caravan will move in the opposite direction which should send it to the centre of the parking space.
As you reverse, try to follow the same arc as the caravan. This means you’ll need to gradually straighten the steering wheel. You may need to pull forward slightly before reversing again to make minor adjustments.
5. Pull Forward
Once you successfully line up your caravan, pull forward slightly with the towing vehicle.
This will extend the bellows on the hitch. It will be easier to unhitch your car from the caravan because there’s less tension.
Here is some recommended equipment to make it easier to reverse your caravan.
Towing mirrors are an essential piece of kit for every caravan user. They’re also a legal requirement depending on the width of your trailer.
Use your mirrors extensively when you perform reversing maneuvers.
If you’re less confident at reversing, use some kind of marker to help guide you into place.
You can aim for it as the trailer moves back. A small traffic cone will do the job. You can even stick a branch into the ground and put a high-vis vest on it if you want!
These days many people use electric caravan movers to make reversing painless.
Caravan movers are fantastic accessories. However, they’re also quite expensive. Most users agree that they’re worth the investment because you just use a remote control to move the trailer.
Caravan Reversing Camera
Lastly (and possibly most importantly), is your caravan reversing camera. These are very useful devices that give you vision of the area behind your van from the driver's seat.
From seeing how close you are to lamp post, to making sure that no kids have run behind your van while you are easing it into a site, these units are absolute life savers.
Reversing a caravan isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first.
It’s important to stay calm and exercise patience. If you have space to practise at home, you should take advantage of this. You’ll feel less self-conscious than when you’re on a campsite!
For a visual guide, check out this diagram for reversing a caravan (via rac.com.au).
If you have any questions about this topic or anything else related to caravans, please leave a comment below!
This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.
Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.