Back-in or a Pull-Thru?

Your heart begins to beat a little faster….small beads of sweat trickle down your face…a light headache begins in the back of your head and moves its way towards what feels like a migraine…you notice you’re gripping the steering wheel with a firmer grip….you begin wondering if this time will be the “big fight” between you and your spouse! What’s all the anxiety about???? It’s the ten minutes before you get to the campground (or the place where you store your camper)…it’s time to back in the camper.   😦


If you are like me, then patience is not a word in your vocabulary. Camping is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, but the thought of having to back in the camper triggers anxiety for me almost as badly as public speaking. Why can it be so damn difficult to back in a camper, especially a pop-up? Just when I think I have the technique down, the camper jackknifes and I am ready to blow another gasket! I am sure my neighbors get a big kick out of watching me back the pop-up into the garage. There have been a few times when I had to drive out and pull back in ten times before I finally get the camper inside. But this weekend I found out it’s not just me. We spent Memorial Day weekend at Camp Toodik in the Mohican region of Ohio. We loved the campground, however, the road our site was on was incredibly tight. Amy and I watched campers with rigs ranging from small pop-ups to 5th-wheelers try to squeeze into their sites. I knew the look on their faces all too well.  The frustration of backing in! Although I hated to smile, it was SO good to know it’s not just me 😉

It all boils down to this question: Is it worth the stress?  I love back-in spots because you usually have trees/vegetation behind you – which offers more privacy and more sense of nature. On the other hand, I could roll up to the pull-thru and have the entire pop up and campsite set up in less time than it would take to back the camper in. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but I think you get my point. When Amy and I visited Nashville we stayed at a Jellystone campground which mainly consisted of pull-thrus, so we tried one.  It was convenient but I would have preferred the seclusion of a back-in. Nine times out of ten we choose a back-in spot when we camp. I guess for now I will keep practicing the art of backing in the camper and dealing with the stress. Maybe some day I will master it. Or maybe I will learn to like pull-thrus. What are your thoughts on the matter?

8 thoughts on “Back-in or a Pull-Thru?

  1. Thanks for your pointers Greg! We have heard about how difficult it is to back up a utility trailer. How do you like the hybrid? We looked at those before getting the pop-up but need a better towing vehicle before we can upgrade.

    • We had the Bayside first. We really like it, but have a 9 y.o. and a 14 y.o. and have outgrown the popup. That’s why we went bigger with the hybrid. We’ve only taken 2 trips in it so far and really like it.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a pull through site. I like the seclusion of the back in sites. I’ve gotten pretty good at backing in and have fund that the magic of backing in is slow movements. I also don’t let the stress of people watching get to me.

    With the popup, I had a technique where I’d take a look at the site and decide where to park. Then I’d have the wife go back there to direct me in. But since she won’t tow, she never really understood that if she didn’t see my mirrors, I couldn’t see her. So since the Armada sat high, I’d just back into where I wanted to go and didn’t worry about her unless she screamed.

    In the hybrid, I can’t see behind me. So I have to count on her. I’ve gotten her in the habit or using hand signals. I also have gotten it through that if she’s not visible, I’m just going to sit there. So she will come out to the side where I can see her.

    My best training tool was to get a small utility trailer. I can back that in, so it’s a piece of cake, comparatively, to back the hybrid in.

    • Thanks Greg! Yeah, it’s going to take patience and practice. I much rather be in a back-in than a pull thru. But I need to work on my technique! My wife and I talked about having headsets on so we could communicate (hands-free) with each other rather than yelling out the window when she is directing me in. I wonder how much people would make fun of us then?? LOL 🙂

      • I think that headsets is a great idea. We talked about using the FRS radios, but haven’t really done that yet. Hand signals work fine for us now that I’ve gotten it to he that if I can’t see her, I’m just going to sit there. We are now getting into a rhythm, so that works great.

    • Hey neighbor, this blog is really great. My husband use to be an eighteen wheeler. He can back in anything. Ask him one day for pointers. I think he would be glad to help you. I’m. Happy you guys love camping. We wish we could go more. Going to Myrtle Beach. See you when we get back.

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