What is the true length of your RV? Does your travel trailer length include the hitch? These are important questions to answer and are not difficult to unravel. Knowing your exact travel trailer length has many implications when you travel. Knowing the length of your RV when you make a reservation will ensure you get a spot where you will fit.
When supplied by the manufacturer, the measurement of your travel trailer includes the length of the trailer itself and does not include the tongue, hitch, or tow vehicle. Yet that extra 3 feet in front requires you to know your travel trailer length, including the hitch.
Let’s look at some common questions regarding your travel trailer length.
Why Do You Need to Know How Long Your Travel Trailer Is?
Knowing your travel trailer length, including the hitch, is essential when traveling because some campgrounds have length restrictions. You want to know that you will fit in the site. Also, knowing your trailer length and weight is vital for knowing what vehicle you need to pull your RV.
In general, with a longer trailer, you will take wider turns. You will also need to know its length to drive on the highway for passing. Of course, getting in and out of gas stations and other places you might stop requires having that travel trailer length in mind.
How Is Travel Trailer Length Measured?
The exterior length of your RV is measured from the back bumper to the end of the trailer tongue.
Does Travel Trailer Length Include the Hitch?
The travel trailer length can include the hitch, so a good rule of thumb is to measure your trailer from bumper to hitch and know the actual length of the trailer. Either of these measurements could be needed when making a reservation.
Does RV Length Include the Tow Vehicle?
As one who has taken reservations for various campgrounds, some owners know the length of their entire rig setup. This could be important if you are utilizing a pull-through site and need to know if your tow vehicle will fit, particularly if you don’t plan to unhitch. Most campgrounds are only concerned about the trailer length, so they know your rig will fit in a particular site.
Believe me, in a full park, I don’t want to move your site if your trailer doesn’t fit and potentially has an issue. You also might want to ask the campsite if your tow vehicle will fit in the site and if not, is there an alternative place to park your truck?
Do You Measure a Fifth Wheel Differently Than a Travel Trailer?
Yes, you will measure your fifth wheel differently than your travel trailer. A fifth wheel is commonly measured from the back bumper to the center of the kingpin.
4 Ways To Measure Your Travel Trailer at Home
You can measure your travel trailer at home with a few tools and patience. You will likely be taking several measurements.
First, you should find an accurate tape measure that is long enough to measure the entire length of your RV. Also, consider anything you will be taking on your trip, such as storage racks, kayaks or canoes, or propane tanks. These could add to your overall length.
You can measure half the length and then half again if your tape measure is not long enough. Ask someone to assist if you can.
Make a separate measurement of your tow vehicle.
Keep your measurement accessible so you can relay them if necessary. Also, reference the height of your RV in your notes and keep it memorized or put a sticky note on your dash.
While most interstate bridges can accommodate the tallest of vehicles, coming upon a tunnel on a back road could cause problems if you don’t know your height. You don’t want to back up in the middle of traffic or damage your rig if you can’t fit under the bridge.
1. Exterior Length
This refers to the outside length of your RV from the back bumper to the trailer tongue or center of the kingpin on a fifth wheel.
2. Exterior Width
Exterior width is measured on the outside from corner to corner. You can also measure the rear bumper. Most RVs are between 96 to 102 inches wide, or 8-8 1/2 feet. It’s also good to know your total width, including your extended side mirrors.
3. Exterior Height
While it might take a little more effort to measure the exterior height of your RV, measure from the ground to the top of the highest element on the roof. Usually, it will probably be the air conditioner. You can also refer to your owner manual for this information.
4. Interior Measurements
The interior length is the living space inside. Measure this from the front wall to the back wall of your travel trailer. Learn more about measuring your travel trailer length, including the hitch, in our article that continues on the subject.
FAQs About Travel Trailer Length
How Much Length Does a Hitch Add to Your Travel Trailer?
If you include the tongue or tow bar attached to your RV, the length is around 3 feet. Some refer to this as the hitch length. The actual hitch is the ball and receiver at the tongue’s end.
How Do Campgrounds Measure Travel Trailers?
Campgrounds will ask you what the length of your trailer is. Tell them your travel trailer length, including the hitch. This will allow them to reserve the best campsite to fit your camper with room to spare. There is no need to be deceitful about this because the park wants to ensure they put you on a site that fits your RV.
Some may have length limit restrictions, usually on the long end. A few will limit smaller RVs. I worked in a park that limited small RVs for aesthetic reasons. Rest assured, in that park, if your rig looked too short, they would measure it, and you would not be allowed to stay if you did not measure correctly.
If you lie, you may end up on a site that will not allow you to park. In a full park, this means you will have to find someplace else at the last minute.
Make sure when you make the reservation to inquire about the length of the site, where you can park your tow vehicle, and if you can book a larger site to accommodate any adventure toys you might bring along.
Do All Travel Trailer Manufacturers Use the Same Measurements?
Generally, all manufacturers measure trailers the same. The number you get from the manufacturer, or sometimes the model number may indicate the length of the actual RV box.
But according to the sticker you find with the official measurements, the travel trailer length includes the hitch. If you’re still unsure, you can always measure your travel trailer length for your own peace of mind.
Effective January 1, 2021, the RV Industry Association (RVIA), the organization that sets the regulations for motorhomes and travel trailers, required that all RVs have a label with the exact measurements and how they are to be measured.
What Are the Length Requirements for State Parks?
In general, state parks set the length limit for an RV at 45 feet, although a few states differ. Here are some states that differ:
- New Jersey: 40 ft.
- Washington State: 46 ft.
- Florida: 50 ft.
- North Dakota: 50 ft.
- Montana: 55 ft.
- Wyoming: 60 ft.
Several states have a width limit of 8 feet.
What is the Length Requirement for National Parks?
Length limits for National Parks are generally much lower than state parks. National Park length limits are usually between 25 to 30 feet. Always do your research, so you know the length limits before you make plans.
If you plan to park at National Parks regularly, you might consider that when you purchase your RV.
What Is the Average Length of a Travel Trailer?
Most travel trailers are anywhere from 12 to 40 feet long. When purchasing your travel trailer, you will want to consider where you want to camp and how many people you might bring along on your adventures. A large family, of course, will need more room than a couple.
Final Thoughts on Measuring Your Travel Trailer with the Hitch
There are several reasons that the length of your travel trailer is important. Where you stay could be affected by the length, size, and type of tow vehicle you have. Knowing your RV measurements and having them handy will ensure you make a reservation at a site that will be perfect for you and your family.
If you haven’t already, take some time to put your RV length and height information on your phone, on your dash, or somewhere easy to find so you can have peace of mind when you head out on your next adventure.
About the Author:
Terri Nighswonger and her husband Todd have been RVing and work camping for five years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Minnie Australian Shepherd, Remi.
They originate from the Midwest but plan to enjoy the West for a few years, wintering in Arizona and summering wherever the road may lead. Writing is Terri’s passion, but she also loves hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, and anything she can do outdoors.