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Is Our RV Too Large to Park in Primitive Campgrounds?

by Lane
(Costa Mesa, CA)

Is Your RV too Large to Camp in State & Federal Campgrounds?

Is Your RV too Large to Camp in State & Federal Campgrounds?

What is the max size of a 5th wheel trailer one should buy to be able to park in most remote/primitive campgrounds? I want a 33'-footer. Will that work?

ANSWER: Hi Lane I am afraid that there is no correct answer to your question. A 33-foot 5th Wheel Trailer will be allowed in most federal, state, private, and BLM Camping areas. But because of its size, it may be restricted in some of them.

The other factor is that, unlike a motorized RV, the length of the RV is increased because it is being towed, which may cause some problems on certain access roads to get to primitive camping sites.

Since I do not know what camping areas you want to go to, I cannot tell you how restricted you will be with the width of a 33' Fifth Wheel Trailer.

Camping World
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Another concern could also be the height of your RV.5th Wheels by design are usually taller than Travel Trailers and most Motorhomes. If you do not consider the height of your 5th Wheel, you could end up causing damage to it.

The bottom line is that you will have to do a little bit of research to determine if this 5th Wheel will work for you and where you want to camp. Your first stop should be Recreation.gov where you can get information on camping on public lands such as national parks, national forests, BLM lands, and army corps of engineer projects. In most cases, the information will include RV length restrictions. For information on camping in state parks you should visit America's State Parks.org.

For even more information on Camping in State, Federal and Private Campgrounds you should purchase a copy of the most recent Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory which provides a wealth of campground information including length and height restrictions.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here to Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Is Our RV Too Large to Park in Primitive Campgrounds?

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Height not length.
by: Anonymous

Height not length is more of a limit especially in forests. Tree branchs and overhangs are very common in primitive campsites and you will find that your limitation. We have a 28 foot travel trailer and have been able to get into most places we want to. It is always height (in our case 11'9" not length that has limited us. Look carefully at travel trailers before you make your decision.

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Sizing your RV
by: Charles Catron

Chuck's RV comment - Research helps and gives many answers. Being prepared is better than guessing. The easiest, longest sites have already been taken. Don't be in a hurry, everything works out.

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You forgot about height.
by: Anonymous

We have a travel trailer that is 28ft and we have yet to find a place we can't get into in state federal and private campsites and primitive areas but the height has brought us close to having issues many times. We stand 11 feet 9 inches off the ground. 12 feet is about as high as maintenance people bother with cutting branches and such. Also many places have car port type roofs at entrances and exits. The 33 foot length is likely not to be an issue, since we have had no issues with our 28ft travel trailer in some pretty rough country. But I think you will find the height of a fifth wheel a far bigger limit than length.

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