Anybody use a front hitch? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-16-2017, 07:08 AM   #1
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Anybody use a front hitch?

Hi everyone, My Name is Tony and I am new to the forum, but not very new to camping. I tow a small trailer with my 2006 Dodge Durango. Backing up is certainly not the easiest task for me and sometime I have to pass on some convenient parking spots just because I can't park there with a trailer properly. To make it easier to park I started to look at the front mount hitches, as this way you can maneuver your trailer easier and you can actually see the parking spot just in front of your. Looks like this device is pretty popular among the boat owners who dip their trailer on the ramp: https://www.carid.com/articles/front-hitches.html I was wondering if it's a good idea to get a front hitch mount and if it really makes life easier?
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:52 AM   #2
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Welcome Tony,
If your tow vehicle will take it I think it is a good idea. Not all vehicles however can be used and after awhile backwards becomes easy.
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:59 AM   #3
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There was a prior discussion on this buried within a related thread. Someone had a long narrow curvy driveway that they needed to back their camper up into to store it. But I can't put my fingers on it. Try the "Search" function and see what you can find.
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:24 AM   #4
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With an open flat trailer it may help but with a camper or box trailer you can't see anything but the front or the trailer. You can see more backing using your mirrors. Not always possible but it is best to back into the parking spot on the drivers side of the camper, you have a better view and your service hookups are on that side. It just takes practice.
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:29 AM   #5
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There was a prior discussion on this buried within a related thread. Someone had a long narrow curvy driveway that they needed to back their camper up into to store it. But I can't put my fingers on it. Try the "Search" function and see what you can find.
I think this is the one.

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...-17b-8185.html
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Old 01-16-2017, 11:23 AM   #6
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I solved my trailer maneuvering problem by doing just as you suggest. Last spring I went from a single axle 17' Casita to a tandem axle 19' Escape, and I knew I was going to have a heck of a time positioning it where I store the trailer. Before our trip to Chilliwack, I had a receiver mounted on the front of our non-tow vehicle and it works as well as I had hoped. Locating our trailer into a narrow slot off a congested alley was made considerably easier by "pushing" it instead of backing it.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RVman80 View Post
Hi everyone, My Name is Tony and I am new to the forum, but not very new to camping. I tow a small trailer with my 2006 Dodge Durango. Backing up is certainly not the easiest task for me and sometime I have to pass on some convenient parking spots just because I can't park there with a trailer properly. To make it easier to park I started to look at the front mount hitches, as this way you can maneuver your trailer easier and you can actually see the parking spot just in front of your. Looks like this device is pretty popular among the boat owners who dip their trailer on the ramp: https://www.carid.com/articles/front-hitches.html I was wondering if it's a good idea to get a front hitch mount and if it really makes life easier?
My brother hauls a lot of construction trailers that need to be placed in difficult locations & loves his front hitch. He keeps telling me I need one!
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:16 PM   #8
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I put a front hitch on our XTerra. The reason was a tricky approach in backing our 1955 Shasta into its storage. Also for a long non-straight driveway to a pole barn infrequently used. For these it worked very well. It allows much quicker turns than a traditional hitch. We recently sold Shasta so don't really need it anymore.

I've not used (knock on wood) the front hitch when out traveling. Mind you I don't parallel park our trailer, but otherwise I haven't even been tempted to chock, unhitch, turn around, hook up, and use the front receiver. It does reduce the front approach angle on the XTerra (off road use). But it could be useful for a winch mount. I am tempted to take it off.

I've not found a spot I couldn't back into that a front hitch would have helped (knock on wood). It takes longer backing, but less time that turning around and re-connecting.

I'd suggest a several month trip moving every few days. This will give you much practice backing, a leaned skill. I'm much better at backing when we get back from a trip than at the start.

Let us know what you decide and how it works. Thanks.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:51 PM   #9
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Are you asking about parking at home or in a campground? To disconnect at a campground, turn around and reconnect, then drive around to your campsite and park it?
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:13 PM   #10
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I have never used a hitch like this. Nor have I ever seen one used at a campground, but I don't get out much.

I do see a bit of an advantage with it, but way more disadvantages, which has mostly been touched upon.

Where would you disconnect from the regular hitch in the first place? If right by the site you are taking, you could likely block off the access while you took the time to drive out, turn around, reconnect, and then maneuver into the site.

As well, pushing a big block in front of you without the aid of the mirrors along would make it a no go for me.

I have heard of lots of folks on here go from not being able to reverse a trailer well, who took some time to practice, end up doing quite well. Like anything in life, it is not hard, just has to be learned.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:16 PM   #11
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I fail to see how a front hitch would accomplish anything, given that I cannot see through the trailer.
On the left of my 17B ( which is narrower than the other models ) there is a steel gate post and a cedar tree. On the right, you can, in this picture see the steel gate post. My mistake. The steel gate post is behind the trailer to the left of the lattice. And, you can't see the garbage cans, etc. that are directly behind the trailer.
I rarely back it in all the way, but when I do, I get out to clear away objects behind the trailer and then I use my mirrors. If I can see the posts in my mirrors, I know the trailer is following the right line.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:43 PM   #12
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Does this count? Bucket Hitch I'm thinking of getting one for my Kubota.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:03 PM   #13
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Hmmmm.... A basket case with a bucket hitch. Interesting concept, Eric. LOL
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:10 PM   #14
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Hmmmm.... A basket case with a bucket hitch. Interesting concept, Eric. LOL
Basket Case one of my favorite Warren Zevon songs and Carl Hiassen books!
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:15 PM   #15
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Basket Case one of my favorite Warren Zevon songs and Carl Hiassen books!
Man, you certainly make it hard to pick on!
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:18 PM   #16
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Glenn - I can understand your skepticism. I would never use this technique at a campground. But for docking our trailer at home, it's a real advantage. In our alley I have a fence, a telephone pole, and other obstacles that makes maneuvering a trailer "tricky." When I hook up with a front mount, I'm able to make a more immediate right turn into our carport. I think it's because the steering wheels are closer to the fulcrum that make pushing the trailer easier. As far as seeing what's going on, as soon as I make the initial sharp turn, the side of the trailer is visible and I am able to slowly but more accurately locate it into its spot.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:21 PM   #17
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Taylor - makes sense to me, and pay no attention to that Bennett guy, he can back a 10' wide trailer into a 9' wide space!
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:37 PM   #18
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Taylor - makes sense to me, and pay no attention to that Bennett guy, he can back a 10' wide trailer into a 9' wide space!
Yeah, I am looking forward to backing your trailer for you into a 7' wide space at the rally.

Do make sure your insurance is up to date, okay!
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:10 PM   #19
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No one is born with a "backing up" gene. Over the years, I've seen some really horrible attempts and some that nailed it first time.

The first time I tried to back my Scamp into a site, I jack-knifed it and hit the bumper of the truck. No one told it it was going to be sooo hard to back up, into a 90 degree site over my left shoulder! Many minutes later, I got the trailer in, but I was never so happy to sit in a lawn chair and drink a cold beer as that first time. Years later, I was really good at backing in.

THEN, I buy a 5th wheel and it's like starting from scratch! But, I'm getting better each time. Once in a while though, the trailer is kinda caddywhompass in the site... and I'm grateful to have two BAL levelers, because I'm not moving that sucker one more inch! As long as the electric plugs in and the water hose is long enough... good enough!

The big difference between the first learning experiences and now, is I'm no longer embarrassed at my attempts. If others are laughing, I just figure I'm this days comedy show. And I'll be better next time and even better the next time....

So in support, all I can say... is you WILL get better at backing into a site, but you just need to keep at it. No one ever learns without failing a few times.
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:16 PM   #20
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I know I have provided some free belly laughing entertainment for the old pros at campsites. It seems like every spring, it takes a few times to get that reverse Spidey-sense going again. I forget which way is which and Mary forgets that I can't see her thru the trailer....
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