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The Dark Art of Reverse Parking a Caravan - How to Reverse a Caravan in Tow

How to reverse a caravan in tow

We've yet to meet anyone that loves reversing a caravan into a tight spot. In fact, the vast majority of travellers see it as no more than a necessary evil. 

Put simply, reversing a hitched-load is tricky, delicate and often-times frustrating. Nevertheless, it can be overwhelmingly satisfying to nail the perfect park when reversing a caravan into an idyllic spot. And it's encouraging to remember that reversing vans is statistically one of the safest elements of towing. 

Take it slowly when entering a caravan park and don;t rush to position your van into your allocated spot (Opal Inn Caravan Park)(Image: Take it slowly when entering a caravan park and don't rush to position your van into your allocated spot- Opal Inn Caravan Park.)

The best approach is to remain calm and go slow. Memorise the basics and with a bit of practice, you'll be in there smooth as silk. Here's how it goes:

  1. Line the van up van so that it's pointing in the direction you want it to go – or at least as close as you can, depending on the space you're working with. If you need to reverse at an angle, you'll get better visibility by backing the van to the right so that the driver's side is on the inside of the curve. 
  2. If you have a passenger, get them to jump out and act as your spotter. Have them stand back and within view of the side mirrors. Roll the windows down so you can communicate easily, you may need to clarify some hand signals before you start. Your mirrors should be adjusted so that if the vehicle and van are lined up straight you can see both back corners of the van. 
  3. Now for the fun part; slowly back it up to push the van back into place. The trick is that the effect of your steering wheel is reversed. To combat the confusion, hold your hands at the bottom of the steering wheel, not the top. This way, steering with your right hand will move the caravan to the right, and the left hand turns the van to the left (this makes more sense when you're doing it).  
  4. First, turn the wheel so that the tow vehicle pushes the van to the desired angle, then ease up the angle of steering so that the tow vehicle follows the line of the van in a smooth arc. 
  5. The key to smooth reversing is to take it slowly and avoid big, sudden movements. Things can get out of control quickly, relax and take a break if things get tricky. At any point you can pull forward to correct the angle, this can help to reduce the curve to a gentler angle. And never be ashamed to pull forward, straighten up and start again. 


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