Reversing a caravan can feel like a daunting prospect. After all, there are numerous factors to contend with, including the reduced visibility, the extra length of your tourer, and the way it’s moving in a different direction to the one you could expect.

If you’re new to touring, it’s understandable that caravan reversing could feel intimidating. However, the good news is that once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s nowhere near as tricky as it may have seemed initially. That’s not all – the more you do it, the more straightforward it becomes and the better you will be at it.

To help you know how to reverse a caravan like a pro, we’re talking you through the crucial considerations and techniques so you can carry out the manoeuvre with confidence.

We’re also taking a look at the role motor movers can play – these can take the stress out of reversing, in the same way the best caravan sat navs can help you enjoy a hassle-free experience on the road.

You can also see our thoughts on dealing with a snaking caravan if you’re looking for towing tips.

How to reverse a caravan – the stages involved:

Do you have a clear view?

Let’s assume you’re staying at one of the best caravan sites and need to reverse your caravan onto a pitch, as is quite common (although the same principles would apply with any reversing manoeuvre).

First, position yourself so that the wheels of the caravan are just past the edge of the pitch.

If you have a passenger with you, we’d recommend asking them to get out of the car and give you an extra pair of eyes while you’re doing the caravan reversing. Ensure they stand where you’re able to see them. It can be worth having some hand signals and instructions agreed in advance too.

Make sure you have a clear view down the side of the caravan in your mirrors, and adjust them if necessary – having the best caravan towing mirrors can help you here.

Also, if your assistant is helping, don’t forget to wind down your windows – otherwise, you won’t be able to hear any guidance they’re giving!

Steering in the ‘wrong’ direction

What tends to flummox people is the need to steer in what seems like the wrong direction at the start of the turn.

If you want to reverse to the left, you actually need to move the tow car’s steering wheel to the right to begin the manoeuvre.

Why? Because the back of the car needs to move to the right to push the front of the caravan to the right, so the back of the caravan swings to the left.

This is why steering in what instinctively seems like the wrong direction actually sets the caravan on the correct arc.

This tip might help when you’re mastering the basics of how to reverse a caravan: some drivers find it useful to hold the wheel at the bottom – that way they move their hands in the direction they want the caravan to go.

If the turn is a bit of a tight one, apply full lock to turn the caravan hard. If you have more space, one full turn of the steering wheel should be enough.

Continuing the turn

So, the caravan is heading in the right direction. Hurrah.

However, if you continue to steer to the right in the car, you will eventually jackknife, with the car at right angles to the caravan.

What needs to happen next is for the car to follow the caravan’s course, as you slowly edge back towards the pitch. Wind off the lock and gradually turn the wheel back the other way.

The steering wheel should be in much the same position as it would be if you were reversing into the same space without a caravan behind you.

Use small but decisive movements of the wheel to fine-tune your direction.

Relax – take your time

Even with a lot of towing experience, you may not end up with your caravan exactly where you intended. Don’t worry – just pull forward a short distance and reverse again.

It’s easier to make these small corrections than it is to perform a right-angled turn and hit the precise point you were aiming for.

If you see the caravan looming large in one of your wing mirrors and you want to straighten up, just turn towards the side where you can see the caravan.

If you want to turn more sharply, steer away from the caravan. A quarter of a turn should be enough.

The role that motor movers can play when reversing a caravan

An option is to have your tourer fitted with one of the best caravan motor movers. These allow you to move the tourer by remote control and can be particularly helpful if you have a larger twin-axle tourer. They also have the added benefit of helping you improve the security of your tourer, as you can use them to turn your tourer around on your drive so the hitch is facing inwards.

Most motor movers use a small electric motor and rollers acting on the caravan’s tyres. Simply unhitch the caravan from the car and let the mover do all the hard work.

The verdict on caravan reversing

Reversing a caravan isn’t the easiest of manoeuvres but given a bit of practice, it’s a technique that should be within the capabilities of most caravanners. Also, like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets – and the more confident you’ll feel about doing it too.

However, it’s worth remembering that if you just can’t get the hang of it, or just want to simplify things, you can always consider buying a motor mover to do the work for you.

If this is your first season of touring and you’re looking for some tips to set you on your way, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to caravanning too.

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