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 > How do you be a helpful camper?

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San Diego Ca

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Joined: 12/22/2004

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Posted: 11/04/12 11:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As the title asks, How do you be a helpful camper, does it get easier and come with practice?

So like all of you here I occasionally read about how a friendly helpful camper made your stay a little easier. I've even been out camping and had someone ask me a question to which I've gladly offered help. But I've never been that camper magically appears at the right time to offer some friendly advice. I'm not sure what came over me this weekend, but I was out camping at ta local county park and decided that this time I would offer some help if I saw something that I could help with. Well suffice it to say nobody openly got angry with me, but it's definitely easier to offer help anonymously on the internet than it is to do so in real life.

What follows is my story. This park is all back in sites and if you have a second vehicle it pulls in perpendicular in front of the tow vehicle. Picture a backwards # 7 where the second vehicle goes across the top of the 7.

I'm setting up my campsite and doing my hookups when I see a couple arrive and start backing their trailer into their site. But something just doesn't seem right. I watch for a few moments and it appears that they are trying to back the trailer sideways into the tiny spot reserved for a second vehicle. So I slowly start walking over to them as I watch what is going on. Yep I think it appears that they are trying to park the trailer sideways across the second vehicle site and not in the big long back in spot that is there. I mean the wife/girlfriend is carefully guiding the trailer back carefully as close to a tree as it can be. Since it is getting a little dark I figure that maybe they don't see the big long site that is right next to where they are backing up. So I mention it to her. Well maybe I made more of a gesture pointing at the site as she was a bit away from me. So I walked closer and pointed at the actual back in spot and helpfully said "It's supposed to go over here"

She looked at me and said something brief (Yes she smiled) and I suddenly became aware that she did in fact know where the trailer was supposed to be and they were working at getting it there. [emoticon] So I left them alone and they got it parked, and parked rather well I might add.

I thought about that brief exchange for a while and realized that my first mistake was not asking if they wanted or needed any help. [emoticon] I also thought they probably didn't appreciate me wandering over while they were trying to back up. But I guess I'll never know the answer to that second part as I never spoke with either of them after that very brief exchange.

So fast forward to this morning and a different camper. This time it's the guy next to me with the same trailer as mine just 5 years newer. (I know because I asked) [emoticon] He was hitching up to go home and was pulling hard on a cheater bar to get the weight distribution arms snapped up. This time I walked over and asked if he wanted a tip to which he said yes. So I told him about using the tongue jack to lift the tongue and truck higher to make it easier to snap up the bars. H had a manual tongue jack and gave it a few cranks and tried to snap up the bars again.I was going to tell him that he needed to crank it up a lot more than that to have any positive reduction in effort. but then I thought about how those manual jacks are only rated at something like 2,000 lbs and I didn't want him to damage or break it. So I let him pry the bars up.
In retrospect I could have taken a moment to describe to him exactly how using the tongue jack makes the snap up easier. That way he would have better understood what I was trying to convey and made his life easier.

So I ask you that help your fellow camper, does it get easier? I can sit in front of my computer and formulate a reply to a question fairly easily. but as I found out, it's not quite as easy in person. [emoticon]

Anyway I'm more venting about how I did it wrong than anything else. But if you happened to be one of the two that I offered help to this weekend, please accept my apologies if I offended.

For the rest of you on the forum that read this, I'm sure it sounds a bit whiney and I probably shouldn't even click "post message". But I got very little sleep this weekend (saved for a different post) [emoticon] and I'm posting it anyway.

Have a good night.

1996 Suburban 4x4. 350, 4.10 3/4 ton
2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH
1986 Coleman Columbia Popup.


Vancouver Island

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Joined: 08/24/2003

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Posted: 11/05/12 01:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have no difficulty offering assistance to anyone who appears to require an extra hand. I often offer a general " If I can Help with anything just ask"!

That Said I am willing to accept Help from My fellow RV'ers if it is offered with one exception!

Please Leave Me alone to setup My Satellite Dish. When I have it done and am Sitting Having a Cold One I will be Happy to Talk about Angles and Directions!

Thank You Very Much!

Rob & Jean
98 Dutch Star Diesel Pusher ..07 Honda CRV AWD


Marion, Iowa

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Joined: 03/23/2002

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Posted: 11/05/12 03:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Talking to fellow rvers or just people in general is becoming a lost art. I know that I have no problem going up to a stranger and start talking or asking them if they need help. I do however try and let people work their way out of a problem at the campsite before I go sticking my noise into their problem.

With all the social media on the computer, the texting on the phones, all the different ways to reach people other than talking direct to them!No it will not get easier one has to make an effort to meet people face to face if for no other reason to talk about the weather.

06 RAM 3500 diesel power
08 35' Cardinal


The Keystone State

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Joined: 08/03/2008

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Posted: 11/05/12 03:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I make sure my site is clean when I leave.
If someone really appears to need help with something, I'll offer, otherwise I will let them do it their way.

motorcycle jack

FT all over

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Posted: 11/05/12 05:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It was one of the first things I learned when I first went camping. What was it you ask? Only your wife has a vested interest in getting your camper parked safely! The very first time we tried parking our camper the older gentleman came running over saying "I know how to get you into this site. Just crank it a little more to the right." Had I not gotten out and looked to see what he wanted and listened to him and not my wife who was saying "Crank it left not right to miss the tree." I would have scraped the side of our new trailer. So now I just listen to them but only follow my wife's directions! Help others? Only if they ask otherwise I just sit there and watch intently.

"Motorcycle Jack"
Life time Good Sam Member
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Full timing isn't "always camping". It's a different life style living in an RV.



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Posted: 11/05/12 05:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't offer to help, period. On the other hand, if someone asks me for help, I'd be very willing to lend a hand or provide an opinion (I have plenty of those LOL).

--2005 Ford F350 Lariat Crewcab 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 rear
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Carolina Cruiser

East TN

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Posted: 11/05/12 06:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you see a fellow camper in a emergency situation, wind storm, water line rupture, fire, etc then by all means help quickly, otherwise like another poster said, if you see them having an issue, the if you need a hand, I'll do my best to help, is the best way to go, and if the husband and wife are arguing or yelling at each other while setting up, just sit back and watch. Free entertainment that we have either watched or performed. It used to be that campers always helped each other and most still do but todays world is different and some people just dont want help even if they need it.

Albert & Tamara, the dogs Casey & Cody, Living the simple life.

God never said Saved by Grace;kept by performance.


temporarily displaced Alaskan

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Posted: 11/05/12 06:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have offered assistance before to people having trouble backing into sites. But it has to be the right situation - we son't walk up to everybody that is having trouble and offer help. That is about it for camping help...

I once had a CG owner in Montana try to "assist" me while I was backing into a site on his CG. Had I listened to him, I would have jumped the railroad tie site divider with both axles. I continued backing it my way and had it situated perfectly on the 1st try. Maybe it is because I am a woman, he thought I needed help???

On the road, I have pulled countless people out of the snow, and pulled dead vehicles out of intersections. If my DH isn't with me, I stop and help... but if he is with me, he won't let us stop. Still not sure why....

2012 Dutchmen Voltage Epic 3795
2010 Dodge 3500 DRW MC
2009 GMC 2500 DA CC
2012 Smart-for-two (sometimes hitches a ride in the Voltage!)
2005 Sundowner Sunlite 777



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Posted: 11/05/12 06:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the situations mentioned in the OP I would not have offered help. That was more a difference of methods than someone needing help.

I seldom will offer but I am there if someone really gets in a bind and needs help.

At a Samboree this spring I saw my neighbor had dropped his trailer and collapsed his tongue jack. Not sure how it happened since I noticed after hearing the racket. He had all kinds of car jacks and stabilizer jacks trying to get the trailer tongue off the ground. I walked over and asked if he could use some help. He immediately verbally went off on me about how he was sick and tired of people telling him what to do! He stated that his jack is bad and this wasn't the first time he had done this and he didn't need me or anyone else sticking their nose in his business.

At first I was really taken aback by his response to my offer of help. He continued to rant and throw things around for a minute or so. After I recovered from his tirade I simply apologized for bothering him and stated that all he had to do is say no thanks and didn't need to act like an @$$hole. Yes, I said exactly that to his face in a calm voice.

I went back to our trailer and told my DW what had happened. We spent four days camped next to each other. I really expected him to apologize after regaining his composure but it never happened. I never spoke to him again.

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it..."
Judge Learned Hand

2006 Weekend Warrior FK1900/1998 Ford E150 4.6L = 8MPG
2009 Aliner Sport/2009 Pontiac Vibe 1.8L = 22MPG


Phoenixville, PA

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Posted: 11/05/12 06:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I rarely ask anyone if they need help. If they look like newbies, I might wander over and just say hello and mention if there is anything I can help them with, just let me know.

I only remember one time when someone offered to help me back my 5th wheel into an extremely tight site. An older gentleman just came over and stood in front of my truck; said he was a truck drive. My wife was at the rear of the trailer and giving me good instructions as I had her taught how to do. All the friendly helper could say was "Man this is a tight spot. Man this is a tight spot" I responded " I know it's a tight spot!!!, but I have to get it in". With that the friendly helper left and with the help of my wife, I got the trailer backed in without hitting any trees or the power post.

A few days later I was talking to the camp host and mentioned how tight the site was and that it probably should be restricted to trailers 24 feet long or less. He asked me what site I was in. When I told him the number, he said it was one of the two tightest sites in the very large CG.

If I had a real serious problem I might ask someone to help me. Normally, I can handle most of my problems, so I have never need to ask for help. My father always told me if you have a problem, don't be TOO PROUD to ask for help.
I adhere to his advice even today.

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