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Looking to volunteer, BLM, NFS and on....what size 5th wheel is generally acceptable


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Lori and I are nearing retirement and as many our age, we've given consideration to a number of ways to keep the days exciting, enjoyable and have time to share with ourselves and others. We've been campers since our first pop up in 1985. We did the summer trips with two other couples with children.....there were 8 children total so we were planning activities for all ages. Now that the children are on their own....we hope....were goving some thought to full-timing in a fifth wheel. We thought the first couple years should include a volunteer position that we would enjoy socially and culturally. After looking at several sites, I began to notice a limit on the size of your rig. My question is....for this that have volunteered and also been full timers, what size is generally acceptable in volunteer locations? Also, is their a best size we should be looking for? While comfort is more of a consideration in retirement than when camping with the kids, it's still the way of life that draws us back to camping.

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First of all, let me welcome you to the Escapee forums and invite you to also join us in the RV club as well. I do think that you will find a lot of support here and also get to know a lot of good RV folks!


Addressing your questions, we spent about 60% of our time or more as RV volunteers for our 11+ years on the road and have many of our 30+ experiences on our website if you would like to check them out. The size of the RV is usually not a serious problem if you choose your volunteer location with that in mind. We have found that state parks do sometimes have size limits but with our 36' motorhome we only one or two times ran into a place we wanted to go that didn't have enough space for us. When volunteering with the US Fish & Wildlife Service at the national wildlife refuges, we never were in a place that didn't have the space for even the largest of RVs. There might be a few places with size limits, but we never ran across one. With the National Park Service, I do recall one place that had a 40' limit and some of the parks have campgrounds that have length limits for campground hosts but not that many. It could be that your choice of RV size will impact your choices of location, but I'd be very surprised if you found it limiting very often.


Let me also suggest that there are probably better forum locations for your question than this as some members who do not have any fifth wheel experience never read this area but have a lot of volunteer experience. Since the size issue is pretty much the same no matter the type of RV you live in, I suggest that you may want to start another thread about this in the General Forum where most everyone will read it and hopefully respond.


We are pleased that you have chosen to join us! :D

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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We have also done a lot of volunteering - mainly in the West. We had no issues with the volunteer sites for our 40' motorhome. We were in national parks, state parks and Fish & Wildlife. For a few of our gigs the area where we volunteered (giving lighthouse tours), we were asked to stay in the park's campground of regular sites. Even then, we fit into the site where they assigned us. They kept a couple of the biggest sites for volunteers.


I'm sure not all parks can accommodate big rigs, perhaps especially in the Eastern states but it's worth a try by giving them a call if you're interested in a particular spot.


Volunteering is fun, helps the parks out which gives you a good feeling and gives you a free camping spot in a awesome area. Go for it!

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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After all our years of volunteering we have had to recent issues. Cape Perpetual in Oregon VC. Our 40 ft MH just fit on site. Here at Okefenokee NWR there are 4 sites. Only 2 can easily accommodate our rig. The rear ones would work but there is a tree stump and tree that would make maneuvering in very difficult. There is also a septic field back there that can't be driven on. Our site was made more difficult because of the placement of a raised patio on the curb side and utilities on driver side. So in the future we will certainly double check the site parameters. If our current site had been in use we would not have been able to stay here. In all our previous years our 32 ft 5th wheel always fit just fine

Ron & Linda

Class of 2007
2000 Monaco Diplomat

2005 Honda Element

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" Theodore Roosevelt

"We can't control the wind, but we can adjust our sail"

"When man gave up his freedom to roam the earth, he gave up his soul for a conditioned ego that is bound by time and the fear of losing its attachments."

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I suggest that you get the size that will be comfortable for you to live in and then consider locations that will accommodate that size. I have had a 42 foot 5th wheel for 3 years now and have full timed just over a year. I am starting my second summer as a volunteer in a state park. Most locations will accomadate big rigs and many have sites just for volunteers that are larger than the general public sites. If you are really concerned try to stay no longer than 36 or 40 feet max.

2015 Itasca Ellipse 42QD

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock Edition

2021 Harley Street Glide Special 


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