youtubeThose of us that call the Puget Sound area home or anywhere with an abundance of hills (i.e. lack of wide-open flat space) may have a less than perfect place to park our RV when not in use. For me it is backing my travel trailer into a space on my blind side half way up a very steep dead end road. If I am not careful I can back my trailer over the edge of a retaining wall. For you, it might be hitting a utility pole, your neighbor’s fence or an adjacent RV in a storage lot.

Through the years I have made upgrades to my parking space that not only guide me into the space but assure that the RV ends up parked level too allowing the refrigerator to safely operate prior to or after returning from a trip. More recently I have added utility hook ups for added convenience.

Following are the majority of the improvements I have done that you might be able to utilize as well:

Leveling and stop blocks: – On the low (not visible to the driver) passenger side of my RV I have constructed a three-tier leveling ramp that levels my RV side to side as I back onto it. The first tier is a cedar (slow to rot) 1” x 6” board. The RV tire can easily be backed onto this without it “kicking out” of position. Once weight from the RV, via the tire, is applied to the 1” x 6”, the whole ramp becomes stationary and will not move as the RV is backed onto the second and third tiers which are treated 2x4’s with beveled ends to allow the tires to bump up onto the next level. Finally, there is another 2x4 screwed crosswise across the end to act as a wheel stop.  

Leveling Ramp

On the high (visible to the driver) side of the RV I have a plastic pad with parking stops on both ends of it that cradles the rear driver’s side tire of the RV when parked. When I back over the first stop and approach the second (back) stop it lets me know I have backed far enough into the space. In addition, I have screwed a small board to the outer side of the pad as a side to side reference point. If I negotiate the rear tire within an inch or so of the board I know the passenger side tires of the RV (which I can’t see) are centered on the leveling ramp.

Parking Stop

Reference marks – I have several reference points that help guide me into the space and assure that I am approximately 2 feet parallel to the retaining wall (which I can’t see) and not backing the trailer off of it. In addition, the reference marks assure that I am lined up to successfully back onto the leveling ramp and parking stops mentioned above. The first reference mark is painted on the asphalt where the front driver’s side corner of the trailer is to end up. My goal is to back the driver’s side tires over the mark while turning and aligning the rear corner of the trailer with a second elevated reference point where the rear corner of the trailer is to end up. If I do my job right, the rear tire will end up in the parking cradle with the front and rear driver’s side corners of the RV positioned above the two reference points. In addition, the passenger side tires will be centered on the leveling ramp and the tongue jack will be directly above the block I keep in place which allows me to extend the tongue jack high enough to snap up the equalizing bars.   Note: Between sun fade and rain dripping off the roof over the years, a clear outline has formed on my driveway asphalt giving me additional clues on where the driver’s (visible) side of the RV should end up.

Electrical - To make my RV parking space even more convenient I have added a 10-gauge cord hard wired through a 30-amp circuit breaker with a female 30-amp receptacle on the end. When not in use I coil the cord on a garden hose hanger mounted on a post in my carport. The 30-amp circuit and receptacle allow me to fully operate the electrical appliances in my RV including the air conditioner. Having the option of running the air conditioner in the RV allows us to abandon our un-air-conditioned house during those hot spells of uncomfortable sleeping weather we experience in the Pacific Northwest.

10 Gauge Cord with 30-amp Receptable

Potable Water - I have also extended a freshwater line to the corner of our carport and installed a hose bib. This allows me to fill the potable freshwater tank in the trailer prior to departing on a trip without dragging out extra lengths of hose.

I hope these improvement tips I have shared will help others easily back their RVs into somewhat tricky parking spots where they regularly store their RV whether on your own property or a storage facility.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.


0 #4 JOHN WOLF 2021-03-13 01:23
Good tip. Since reverse gear is the weakest gear in an automatic transmission, NEVER sstruggle to back a heavy RV up Hill or backward on ramps.
You will risk doing damage to to your transmission. Always pull forward on your leveling blocks.
+1 #3 Scott W Petesen 2021-03-01 02:27
Thanks for the great tips, Dave. I hava a situation similar to yours, and currently have pieces of plywood to guide where the wheels should be, but markers at the front & back will be very useful to align the trailer (I built a shed over the trailer pad, so currently get out of the PU near the end to square it with that). A fixed tongue block is also a great idea, eliminating one step in the process. My pad is gravel, so will have to drive spikes through the fixed blocks.
0 #2 Kelly 2021-02-28 21:36
Those are all great tools for a successful trailer spotting, thank you Dave.
I just want the readership to hear the best acronym for any backing operation. If you are not completely sure, GOAL! Get Out And Look. Anther really handy tool is a handful of those little road cones that are about 1'high, set them in the arc you want the trailer tires to track and then you can visualize those out the spot mirror more easily. With practice you can both place them better, and get to the place where you run the trailer tire right over the flat flange of the cone and you really know you are on track.
+1 #1 Daniel Larson 2021-02-28 16:38
We live on a narrow street and park our TT at the end of a narrow driveway. It is 90 degree angle to back in. I place a painted step block at the slope of the curb that gives me something to aim the TT wheels at. This helps me avoid hitting a utility pole on my blind side. Once I'm square in the driveway I aim the TT wheels for a bright yellow wheel chock. That positions the trailer between the house and garage/shop so the slide can be opened and utilities are within reach. The back in gets even trickier when there are cars parked at the curb across the street.

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