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Old 04-02-2013, 11:18 PM   #1
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Length Consideration

My wife and are beginning the process of becoming educated about rving and are now increasingly interested in full timing. As we look at different Class A rigs we seem to be attracted to those between 27 to 33 feet in length. My question is whether a significant number of state/national park opportunities fall of the table on the 33 ft. side of this length range. Or are there other considerations that we should be thinking about?
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NWLanding View Post
My wife and are beginning the process of becoming educated about rving and are now increasingly interested in full timing. As we look at different Class A rigs we seem to be attracted to those between 27 to 33 feet in length. My question is whether a significant number of state/national park opportunities fall of the table on the 33 ft. side of this length range. Or are there other considerations that we should be thinking about?
IMHO, full time in a rig the size you are considering would end up being extremely cramped.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:38 PM   #3
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We are F/T in a 33.
Fits everywhere we have been.
Others would feel confined in it, but what we aint got we dont need.
Happy trails!
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:52 PM   #4
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When we bought our 30' foot, we limited ourselves to less than 32' as that is what our research told us was the maximum length we could get and still be allowed in most National Parks. We have a dog that we travel with and quickly discovered that we would need at least electrical hook-ups in order to leave her in the coach while we went sightseeing or to dinner. That eliminated most of the park campgrounds for us. We've found great places just outside of every park we've visited that provide the hook-ups we need and interestingly enough, length is not an issue. We aren't full timers so we can't speak to that.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:10 AM   #5
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Friends of mine lived in a 33 ft full time for 6 years .So it can be done .
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:58 AM   #6
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Our 37' coach has been in every park we've wanted to get into. There are usually a few larger spaces and/or sometimes a tight fit - but doable and we love the space compared to our previous 28' coach.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:28 AM   #7
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We've been to MANY state and national (especially Corp. of Eng.) parks.
We're at 40' and never had a problem with length. Can't even imagine full timing in less than 30'
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NWLanding View Post
My wife and are beginning the process of becoming educated about rving and are now increasingly interested in full timing. As we look at different Class A rigs we seem to be attracted to those between 27 to 33 feet in length. My question is whether a significant number of state/national park opportunities fall of the table on the 33 ft. side of this length range. Or are there other considerations that we should be thinking about?
In the boating/cruising community, there's an expression: "Get the smallest boat you can be comfortable in for the longest time you expect to be aboard." That principle seemed sound to us, which is why we opted for a thirty-footer, with an eye toward mostly trips of less than 1-2 weeks, with only very rare trips at 4 months or less. By the same rule, though, I guess you'll need to consider what your FTing lifestyle will look like (spartan or indulgent?) and decide accordingly.

Also, I know that there are folks out there who say, "I've taken my 45-foot Queen Mary motorhome everywhere and I've never had a problem." I believe them, but there are also cautions out there like the one I just read for the campsites at Riley Creek in Denali: "...most are suitable only for RVs to about 30 feet and they are narrow, although there are a very few 40-foot sites." With that kind of caution in mind, we assumed that the campsite options available are inversely proportional to the size of the rig and our criterion for the range of available campsites would keep us as close to 30' as possible.

So, it seems like the comfort value goes up as size increases, and you'll need to get above a threshold value for your lifestyle. The campsite availability value goes down as the size increases, and you'll need to stay above the minimum level for your traveling preferences. Hopefully, there's a range of sizes that meet both constraints. We struck an acceptable tradeoff at 30'. Your range of 27' to 33' would be about the same range I'd come up with for our comfort/traveling priorities. Good luck.

Full-timing would be wonderful. I envy you!
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by NWLanding View Post
My wife and are beginning the process of becoming educated about rving and are now increasingly interested in full timing. As we look at different Class A rigs we seem to be attracted to those between 27 to 33 feet in length. My question is whether a significant number of state/national park opportunities fall of the table on the 33 ft. side of this length range. Or are there other considerations that we should be thinking about?
My 2 cents... the most important step take your time and make a list of the things that are important and the way that you will use the coach... then rank the list. You need to consider a lot more than just the length.

For us, we wanted something shorter as well so we are able to get into a lot of the beautiful parks in our part of the world. We settled on a 34 which is actually 35 if you measure it. This doesn't exclude us from many parks, but it also gives the amenities and mechanical systems that we wanted. A few items on our list included as large of a diesel that we could get since we are frequently pulling a Jeep over 10,000' mountain passes. We were also partial to Cummins over CAT engines. We were lucky to find a 34 with a Cummins 350. We also really liked the idea of AquaHot heat/hot water. We took out time and the perfect coach found us last November.

Don't rush the process, we spent 1 year researching and thinking it over. Don't buy emotionally, if you see something that grabs your eye, get all the info and go home to talk it out in detail and use the 2 day cooling off rule before making a decision. Research, research and more research. There is no end to the learning process.

Have fun! If you're not havin' fun you're doin' it wrong.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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We have a 34 with full slide. More sg ft then 40 ft Prevost with out slide and we get in most gas stations for diesel. Travel with a borzoi (Russian wolf hound) and a greyhound. Plenty of room.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:52 AM   #11
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My wife and are beginning the process of becoming educated about rving and are now increasingly interested in full timing. As we look at different Class A rigs we seem to be attracted to those between 27 to 33 feet in length. My question is whether a significant number of state/national park opportunities fall of the table on the 33 ft. side of this length range. Or are there other considerations that we should be thinking about?
I drive a 36' class A and full time. My issues about length are:

1. Maneuverability in tight places (which I seem to find quite often)
2. Where am I going to put THAT? Alas, I'm no longer a "quantity" junk collector

I have found, for myself, that a little shorter is a little more convenient as it allows me a bit more "goat herding" room. Especially backing up. Don't be afraid to look at longer coaches though. You will probably have more issues with width than length. I like to boon-dock so I find that occasional tight spot because I tend to be too lazy to walk. And some trees are just too darn close together! No matter what you decide for yourself, enjoy. You only get one time through.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:47 AM   #12
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Great replies! Thanks to everyone's thoughtful contributions. I think we're going to enjoy this forum and the community that participates.

Fortunately we have about 6 years to go before we embark on the next chapter in our lives. As an analyst, I'm used to patiently plodding along and looking at things from multiple angles. So I'm confident that we'll make a god decision and I'm sure that there will be twists and turns along the way.

One thing I've noticed is that there seems to be a point at which the most obvious addition to increased length is additional seating and sleeping opportunities. And since it will only be the two of us, and we're limited to only occupying one seat at a time, I think the ~33ft size seems about right (for the moment).

The comments about understanding the experiences we want to have as a driver for the rig we buy is something we've talked about. And it ranges from experiencing our fabulous parks and wilderness areas to, history, art, architecture and people (and of course the occasional dinner, drive in and dive!). I'm sure we'll be bouncing back and forth between boondocking and on the grid, with some trips to the city to satisfy that side of our interests.

We're going to do some rental trips between now and the time we buy to help us refine our understanding. It's been 32 years since I've done any RVing and that was a trip down the Baja Penninsula to La Paz. That was great fun and I'm looking forward to all the experiences, good and bad that will come along.

Thanks! I'm sure you'll continue to hear from us!
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:58 AM   #13
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Don't rush the process, we spent 1 year researching and thinking it over. Don't buy emotionally, if you see something that grabs your eye, get all the info and go home to talk it out in detail and use the 2 day cooling off rule before making a decision. Research, research and more research. There is no end to the learning process.
What two day "cooling off rule" are you talking about?
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:50 AM   #14
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Our first class A was a 31ft with no slides. We put many miles on her but found that for longer trips we did not have the room we needed to take our "stuff" with us (DW, myself and 2 near 100lbs retrievers). As for interior space, it was cosy and had enough room to fit us all (longest single trip was approx. a month). We now have a 37ft with 2 slides. Loads of room for us now. 2 things that we appreciate with this bigger coach is as follows; 1. the greater storage in the basement. We are very active so needed the room for all our stuff. Ex. fishing equipmet (both fresh and salt water), golf clubs, 0 gravity loungers, tools, bbq, ladder, etc. We are not horaders but appreciate the space in the belly. 2. Our free standing dinette (though I'm sure they are available in shorter models). One of the biggest things we missed when we had a dining booth was sitting at the kitchen table (weird I know but we just enjoy pulling out a chair and sitting at the table and playing cards, going over maps and tour books while on our adventures, etc). Just felt more like our home. Over longest single trip with this rig has been for 74 nights. Yes there have been times where we've had to squeeze into a campground but there are lots of campgrounds out there so over time we have found many on our journeys that we have no difficulties with finding space (and we prefer to use state parks). Once again, which has been discussed on this site many times, is the right floor plan for you. That is where I think you should start your search.
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