When we moved into our RV almost a year ago, it was our first time ever staying in an RV. The next morning was my (chad) first time ever towing a 5th wheel. A 44 foot 5th Wheel at that! With a 22 foot truck! That's over 60 feet of rig! The most I had ever towed was a 10 ft motorcycle trailer behind an SUV so, needless to say, it was a bit intimidating. This thing is also 13.5 feet high, and 8.5 feet wide. Not too much smaller than some commercial tractor trailers! It took some getting used to, and we made a few mistakes along the way, but we wanted to share what we've learned and demonstrate some of the most common maneuvers as well as how we prepare for each leg of our travels.
Let's be clear: I am not a towing “expert”. But I have gotten us safely into over 45 spots and driven 11,000 miles this year and have learned a LOT! Clearly there are more qualified people out there to make this video, but we sure couldn't find any when we were getting ready to embark on our journey. So… we made one! We hope what we have to share might take some of the fear out of learning to tow such a large beast. Here are some of our top tips:
The night before travel (after the T-24 checks are done), we plan our route, fuel stops, rest areas for the next day. We save the address in both of our phone's nav apps (CoPilot) and confirm the route matches our planning app (RV Trip Wizard). Additionally, we will “visit” our destination using google satellite and street view. Street vide is awesome because we can SEE what the entrance looks like and be familiar with it when we get there.
Check out our RV Trip Planning and Navigation Post!
Road Flares (electronic LED), Caution triangles, First Aid kit, extra fire extinguishers: All things we hope to not need on the road. But if we need them, we have them. Additionally, we travel with a garage worth of tools, but you should at least have some of the basics.
The primary name of the game with a rig this big is GO SLOW! Take your time. Evaluate and reevaluate every situation when it comes to navigating surface streets, parking lots, and campgrounds. Don't be afraid to put that parking brake on and get out and LOOK! Take extra care when cornering in traffic. You don't want to curb the rig ever, but particularly not in that small town you inevitably have to go through.
Before you hit the road, find a place to practice maneuvering. For us, we had the Lazydays delivery lot, which was awesome! But, find an abandoned parking lot, or perhaps a store that's closed on Sunday…. Anywhere with some open space to play around and get a feel for how it tows.
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