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hayleycowan

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We've been fulltiming in a 38' for nearly 5yrs., and have never had a problem. However, I will say in researching places to stay I have come across a few with length restrictions. But that has never stopped us from finding a place to stay since there are so few of them.

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32 to 34 feet (around 10 meters) would allow you to relax and be very sure of getting a spot that will fit you. At 40' we have to research it and have been denied access to our preferred campground, thus adding time and effort to find an alternative. I have been told that around 33 feet is the limit where you can get into most places, including the ones that say 30 feet, At 32 to 34 feet, you will find more gas choices than diesel.

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We've been in our 40' MH for four years and for the places we have wanted to go we've never had problems. That includes stays in US national parks (Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Death Valley) and several Parks Canada sites. At the US parks we stayed at the FHU campgrounds run by the park concessionnaires, not the NPS CG's. At privately owned parks we've never had an issue.

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We managed very well in our 36' coach for nearly 12 years. Had it not been for health we would still be living in it. The key to success in a size is what you are comfortable living in and what you have to spend. Larger RVs do take a bit more planning and don't fit everywhere but if you aren't happy living in anything smaller, then the planning is just part of life. We never had any desire for a 40' RV but then we also spent 5 months quite happily this summer in one that was only 20' long. What works for us doesn't work for everyone.

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I find layout to be critical. We were happy in our 2010 Winnebago 34Y because that layout worked for us. Only twice did we get into a spot where a longer RV would not have fit, though, so I doubt I would make that length a criteria if buying now.

 

Linda Sand

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From your picture, you look young and will probably be doing quite a bit of hiking (biking?) and will possibly want to spend more time in some of our more remote camping areas in the NP's, National Forests, BLM areas and such. If so I would suggest the 32-35' gas motorhome. The smaller size is much easier to maneuver into the many campground and many free camping areas in the western USA.

 

As mentioned above, you can, with planning, get the 40 footers into most of the places, but you do have to do more planning. It also requires some careful driving to avoid the trees and squeezing into the campsites. We were quiet successful in getting into these campsites when we traveled in our 40'er. It is just a lot easier with the smaller rig. A lot of the time we parked the MH in a parking lot (Walmart) or at a private CG overnight and drove our Toad to look at the campground and campsite in the more remote areas.

 

In 2009 we made a 3 1/2 month tour of most of Colorado in our 40' diesel pusher and have a blog of those travels. Almost all of our campsites were in remote areas or in NF, NP CG's.

 

Link to a summary of the trip.

 

Link to the beginning of the trip.

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Size does matter. We preferred NP and State parks etc while traveling in our 40ft DP. I have no idea how folks travel to these parks and don't have issues!!! Go to 'almost' any of the state or national parks and simply count how many sites will accommodate a 40ft rig and toad. Sure there are sites that will take that size rig. But is it available when you want it? Are the trees trimmed so you can get under or around them? Is the site level enough to level a long rig? (Keep in mind that leveling a 40ft DP is a different animal to leveling a 40ft 5th wheel. Wheel base, air bags etc will all influence how level a site needs to be). Reading camping guides and counting the number of sites over a certain length is also a trap. Many times we have found 60ft sites that simply couldn't handle a 40ft rig.

 

Eventually we got so frustrated with finding suitable sites, especially in the older parks on the east coast, that we gave up looking for them. Don't get me wrong. Many beautiful sites are available in public parks. BUT it won't be as easy as some will have you believe.

 

My advice is to go as large as possible and accept the fact that you will have some frustration finding sites. OR go as small as possible and have more fun in the great outdoors. There is also a big difference in requirements for those 'holidaying' in an RV to those who 'live' in an RV.

 

regards

 

regards

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When I have concerns about our MH-40', fitting into a CG we want to visit, I use ReserveAmerica or a states's reservation system (which normally are a clone of ReserveAmerica). This is the results page I source from.

The purpose of using RA is, you may make a reservation on the same website.

As to length of planned MH, I totally agree with Kirk's reply. Another benefit of a gas MH is easier maintenance. For instance, you can have the oil changed at most Ford dealerships if you have a Ford chassis. Not so with my diesel pusher MH.

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We have a 43' RV. We live in Maine for half of the year in our small retirement home, and here we use our Airstream Interstate, class B, to travel to eastern Canada and Maine. The only time I couldn't get into a park I wanted to in my big RV, was in San Blas in Florida, I traveled over to St. John's just a few miles to the east. We travel in a big-ass RV for the Winter when we travel around the U.S. to visit our children and grandchildren.

 

You must travel in the rig you fell most comfortable in and go from there.

 

By the way, we have three RV hook ups at our home. To qualify to park here, you must only be happy, not talk about politics, religion, or ethnicity. We are liberals.

 

PM if you are coming this way.

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Size does matter. We preferred NP and State parks etc while traveling in our 40ft DP. I have no idea how folks travel to these parks and don't have issues!!! Go to 'almost' any of the state or national parks and simply count how many sites will accommodate a 40ft rig and toad. Sure there are sites that will take that size rig. But is it available when you want it? Are the trees trimmed so you can get under or around them? Is the site level enough to level a long rig? (Keep in mind that leveling a 40ft DP is a different animal to leveling a 40ft 5th wheel. Wheel base, air bags etc will all influence how level a site needs to be). Reading camping guides and counting the number of sites over a certain length is also a trap. Many times we have found 60ft sites that simply couldn't handle a 40ft rig.

 

Eventually we got so frustrated with finding suitable sites, especially in the older parks on the east coast, that we gave up looking for them. Don't get me wrong. Many beautiful sites are available in public parks. BUT it won't be as easy as some will have you believe.

 

My advice is to go as large as possible and accept the fact that you will have some frustration finding sites. OR go as small as possible and have more fun in the great outdoors. There is also a big difference in requirements for those 'holidaying' in an RV to those who 'live' in an RV.

 

regards

 

regards

 

Very well put......Current rig is 34' plus towing a Willys Jeep.....not too many problems, but limits options on a lot of older State Parks....

Last rig was ~61 foot HDT set up......same problem, but to a much "Larger" extent...

Planning is the key to this situation in IMO....If you plan well, and well ahead you can travel very nicely in a large rig...

If you spur of the moment decide to stop, or do a lot of State Parks when traveling, you are not going to do well with a large rig.

Good luck !!

Cheers,

Bob

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Size does matter. We preferred NP and State parks etc while traveling in our 40ft DP. I have no idea how folks travel to these parks and don't have issues!!! Go to 'almost' any of the state or national parks and simply count how many sites will accommodate a 40ft rig and toad.

 

Eventually we got so frustrated with finding suitable sites, especially in the older parks on the east coast, that we gave up looking for them.

 

 

One key point you have made is finding spots on the east coast. That may very well be true for the national parks and definitely national forests but we stayed in state parks and COE along with county parks. The Midwest is easy.

 

However, the majority of our travels were west of the Mississippi and honestly, we had never been turned down because we couldn't fit. Our Alaskan trip was a cinch.

 

Public parks were always our first choice whether it be a national, state, forest service, COE, county, city or just plain boondocking taking gravel roads to get there. Rarely did we have reservations. Sometimes if they were questionable we would park outside and disconnect the Jeep and just drive in to check for trees, etc. The way we RVd would not work for those on limited vacation time or those that felt they needed to reserve everything. We felt we always had choices and had a few things in mind in the direction we were going.

 

If it was an extremely popular park such as Yellowstone or Glacier, we'd stay nearby the previous night and drive into the park early morning as folks were leaving. Many of the parks have sites that don't even accept reservations. Those are the ones we'd head for but we have gotten sites in Yellowstone, for instance, at a reservable campground but found that there are always cancellations. Getting there early helps on those. For national forest campgrounds we utilized Dow's Forest Camping web site. They visited every campground and their information is pretty accurate. State parks in the west are simple - except for California, but then there are many other public parks in CA that we would fit. We've stayed in all the popular parks in the west.

 

It can be done with some prior planning!

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I agree that size matters. Anything larger than a pickup truck with a camper on it will make you start to think about where you will fit. There are entire RV areas within some national parks (like Glacier) with only a few sites, the roads are very tight, and nothing larger than a 21' trailer or a pickup truck and camper will work. Some of us actually keep our old, small, travel trailers and campers for fishing trips and quick trips where we don't want to take a DP.

 

The DW's parents, who spent 30 years RVing in an assortment of motor homes (including a 1970s Champion back in the 1970s), downsized from their last DP to a 31' Itasca Class C with two slides. They would often go off on weekend trips without a toad because at 31' they could just pull into a supermarket and go in for their groceries between stops. But with a V10 engine (gas) it pulled their small car toad just fine when they needed it.

 

It's not just camp spots that make you think ahead and stress you out. It's narrow roads, low bridges, fuel stops you can get into but not out of, parking at a restaurant for lunch, etc. And my personal nemesis: the mall parking lot with lots of curbs, trees, and narrow lanes.

 

If you absolutely need 40' then you'll figure it out. Besides, like the gypsies, it's pretty easy to unhitch the toad and have one person drive ahead to reconnoiter. Buy walkie-talkies!

 

WDR

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We are searching for our first 5th wheel and really like 2 units that are classified as a 38 and 39 models however total length is listed as 41ft. I told the salesman that several parks list max as 40ft and he replied that they use the model length not total length. He said that wouldn't be a problem. I don't trust sales talk and wonder if he was right or would 1 foot of trailer lock me out of several parks?

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We are searching for our first 5th wheel and really like 2 units that are classified as a 38 and 39 models however total length is listed as 41ft. I told the salesman that several parks list max as 40ft and he replied that they use the model length not total length. He said that wouldn't be a problem. I don't trust sales talk and wonder if he was right or would 1 foot of trailer lock me out of several parks?

 

Hi Glen

 

I think this one of the few cases where the salesman is pretty correct. We have a 40' DP that is actually 41' and 10". We have never been challenged.

 

With that being said, it is probably best to understand the "why" the park said 40' max. Arbitrary judgment is usually the case, but every once in a while they really mean it. Big Bend comes to mind where they have the max length measured on the pavement. Another case is while traveling via ferry or other conveyance that has limited space.

 

Bottom line don't worry about it, but be aware.

 

Dave O

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Initially we were thinking of around a 38 - 40 footer but are wondering about size and accessibility into national parks and RV parks. Being Australians, we are unsure length restrictions etc. Would 32 -34 ft be better?

 

About 52% of the sites in National Parks and 48% of the sites in State Parks are at least 40 feet.

 

However, the roads to those sites are another matter. When I compiled these stats, I also looked at people's comments about the parks, and there were many comments about "challenging" roads in state and national parks.

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...About 52% of the sites in National Parks and 48% of the sites in State Parks are at least 40 feet...

A 40' MH and a toad larger than a Smart or a 40' 5er and tow vehicle (20'+) may need a site considerably longer than 40' to park everything on the prepared pad of the site. Our trailer is 32' bumper to tongue. Connected, we are 55'. Even disconnected, we may or may not fit in a 40' site depending on the width of the site and other factors.

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I told the salesman that several parks list max as 40ft and he replied that they use the model length not total length. He said that wouldn't be a problem. I don't trust sales talk and wonder if he was right or would 1 foot of trailer lock me out of several parks?

Welcome to the Escapee forums! It is good to have you join us here and I do hope that you find the assistance needed and contribute often.

 

While I doubt that the sales person actually knows or cares if what he told you is accurate, it is pretty close to the truth in real life. In more than 35 years of RV travels I have never had our RV measured to see how long it is. What parks that ask the length are looking for is what spot in their park your RV will fit into, since most parks have sites which vary in length and they really do not care what the exact length is, only an approximation. Only rarely would a difference of one or two feet matter but because there are rare cases, I always round the length of our RV up to the next higher foot, rather than down. While there are parks that charge more for their larger sites, I have never seen a park that charges by the length of the RV. Those who have extra large sites for the so called "big rigs" will charge that extra fee to anyone who chooses to rent those sites, even if the RV is very small. The extra fee is for the site.

 

While I do believe that the sales person was just trying to make a sale and really doesn't know the answer, I also don't see that small difference playing any significant part in what you report to an RV park as the length. What does matter if you tell a park that your RV is 38' long, they may assign you a site that pretty tight for an RV which is 3' longer but the problem will be yours to deal with. The park doesn't care as long as you are able fit your RV into the site you have reserved. That could make it such that you have a difficult time fitting the total length of the RV and tow vehicle into the site that you have rented.

 

Parks where there are absolute length limits are unusual but they do exist. There is a park which we stay in from time to time in a southern CA city which has sites along the outside edge that we prefer, but they also have a block wall at the back of the site which delineates the property line of the park. The city code enforcement people require that no RV be allowed to hang out into the streets of the park, so your RV must fit completely into whatever space you are sent to. We owned a motorhome listed at 35' in length but when measured it was actually 35' 10" long. Those sites were normally only rented to RV's that reported 35' or less in length and while our RV did fit, there was not enough space behind it for one to squeeze between the RV and that wall. Had we been 3' longer than the stated limit, we could not have parked on that outer row and with the busy park it might also have been the only site available when we arrived. In all of our years of RV travel, there have probably been fewer than a dozen situations of this kind which we have experienced so it is rare.

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Usually older parks, state parks, and national parks you may have issues beyond 38 feet. It will be a little more effort for traveling back roads and at fueling station. As general rule bigger your RV the less access you have to certain place.

 

The bottom line it depends on where and how you plan to travel.

We hope to see on the road!

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One additional comment on my part.

I have stayed in some state parks that had a site listed at ~28 feet and fit my 34' Motor Home in just fine....just need to check for the rear overhang of your rig. Most sites you can put your overhang well behind the actual end of the site with your axles still on it.

Most sites list the actual gravel length of the site.

Biggest problem in State Park sites, especially older ones it getting in and out of the shorter listed sites with a bigger rig.

Cheers,

Bob

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IMHO threads like this are tedious because everyone tries to justify their own decision to "convince" others that they are correct. Yes, a 40' MH is bigger than a 36' or 32' one, and there will, of course, be fewer spots that can handle the length. That being said, I will reiterate that not once in 4 years have we ever been turned away because the park we called couldn't accommodate us. Occasionally, parks have reported they were totally full, but that had nothing to do with our length. It all depends on where you like to stay and how far in advance you reserve a site, if at all. At "destination parks" we have always made advance reservations. Maybe part of the issue is also that we always request full-hookup sites if they exist. I think that, on the average, those tend to be larger at many parks. We have been at parks at which being larger than 40' would have been a serious issue, but I'm sure people who own rigs that large will tell me they don't have any problems either.

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