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Old 11-28-2015, 12:57 PM   #1
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Wanted a 35' or less...will we regret 40ft?

We do not like camping in RV parks and prefer state, county, and national parks. We are finding it difficult to find high quality coaches (for full timing) with the kitchen on the driver's side with enough carrying capacity at 35 feet or less.

We are concerned about being so limited in where we want to camp if we move to 40'. There are many small camp sites and not as many large sites in the campgrounds we like to camp in here in the NW. Even if they are long enough, we can't imagine backing into them with the tight corners we've experienced with our 27'.

Do you think the difference between 35' and 40' would be a big enough difference or will we already have enough trouble with even 35' so we may as well go for a 40'?

As always thank you for your help!

Ellen & Pat

Pat & Ellen
2017 Newmar Bay Star 3009
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Old 11-28-2015, 01:08 PM   #2
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Tough choices. I camp in a lot of National/State Parks in a 30 foot MH. Some parks have a length restriction - usually 30 or 35 feet - BUT the only issues I have ever encountered is width and height. Tight turns, trees that have grown to mandate folding mirrors in to squeak by, and trees scraping the roof. Length, if close to the length restriction, is often overlooked if you are willing to take the risk.

Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
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Old 11-28-2015, 01:22 PM   #3
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Check out this blog. Nina & Paul have been full timing since 2010 in a 40' DP and stay mostly in boondock sites. Be sure to read their post, "10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Fulltime RVing." It's full of good insight and advice.
2010 WGO Vista 30W, 1993 Geo Tracker
Just a user with no RV or mechanical expertise
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Old 11-28-2015, 01:46 PM   #4
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We live in the PA and frequently camp with our Son and his family and other friends in local "older" campgrounds of which some of them do have length restrictions. We were concerned when we upgraded..first from our 34 to a 38" and then from our 38 to our current 40" that we would encounter issues. There are two campgrounds in particular that we like that had restrictions but the owners let us book anyway as they knew my husband could get it in the site safely. Many times the sites are big enough but they are fearful some drivers will have difficulty...as we all know not all drivers have the same skill set.

Anyway our problem solved itself when my son purchased a gigantic 5th wheel at the Hershey RV Show. Now he has a length limitation as well. That being said there are still plenty of campgrounds to choose from that can accommodate us although they might not be as heavily wooded as we might like. When we are traveling on our own we typically have a toad or a trailer so we tend to stay at resort type campgrounds of which typically accommodate large rigs.

Brian and Kim VanBuskirk
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:16 PM   #5
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Pat & Ellen, I guess it hinges largely on the use planned for the RV, and how many people will be staying in it. Mine is 35', and does limit some of the places you can stay. Larger would be more limiting!

Much of the limits on an RV are due to weight since places I like to go don't have blacktop or concrete to sit on. My 35' class A is only rated for 23,000 lbs GVW, so can go places that some of the larger rigs weighing 35,000+ couldn't think of without having problems.

My wide-bodied rig is just cozy for 2 people, without any slides. If you went with a slightly smaller rig with multiple slides, you could keep both the length and weight down to where limitations would be minimal. Just a thought..!
Ken & Jeannie
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Old 11-28-2015, 04:14 PM   #6
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When we've planned to stay at state parks, we've found the limitations on electricity and sewer connections to be more of an issue for us than any question of size and space.

But we manage, as I'm sure you will. Remember the words of Henry Ford: "If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

John & Diane, fulltiming since '12
'02 DS, FL, 3126, '04 Element
John & Diane, Fulltimers. RVM103 NHSO
On the road since June '12 with Lincoln, the guard cat.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:32 PM   #7
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The balance between enough space and CCC for full timing vs being short enough to experience campgrounds with length restrictions is a tough one. It requires compromises, and the only ones that can determine which way to slant those compromises, is the two of you.

A few comments:

> Many times campgrounds with size restrictions, will easily hold a 40'. Many of these city, state, national parks will allow you to unhook the toad and drive thru to see if you feel both the roads and a site will hold you. (We spent 8 days in a site rated for 35' and under at Gros Ventre, this was with our 40' coach.
-Many IFS 40' rigs, especially those with tag's where the drive axle is set forward a bit more, will have a tighter turning radius then an straight beam smaller coach. (Our 40' Country Coach can turn around in a tighter turning radius, then our F53 based T28 Bounder.)

We went the 40' route, no regrets. Yes, we have had campgrounds that we would not fit in. But we have never had a problem finding a place to stay in the area we wanted to stay in, with our 40'. As mentioned, many times we've been able to fit into spaces that were identified as being smaller, usually by hanging our rear end over in the back.

I do feel, that a reasonable compromise would be a 36' coach, if your personal slant is wanting to fit into more smaller parks, vs having more space for full timing.

Alpine, Foretravel, Country Coach, all have 36' coaches that provide great quality, solid power to weight ratios, and great CCC's. Now, your wanting driver side kitchens, could become a problem, reducing the number of models that might meet your needs. Again, this comes down to personal choices, and only the two of you can determine if that is more important to you then say CCC or overall size being a bit smaller.

Best of luck to you on your search, and your final decisions and compromises!
Roo II is our 04 Country Coach Allure 40'
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Old 11-28-2015, 08:44 PM   #8
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First, if you're going to full time, you'll want the larger of the two coaches. Second, if you're going to full time, do you intend to stay in the same area you are now and visit the same campsites you've stayed in the past, because you're talking about fitting into sites near you. I think most who full time, typically spend time in larger parks with full hook ups.
Don & Mary
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:34 AM   #9
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I have not seen much difference in the campground spaces between 35 and 40 feet. We considered downsizing to a 26 foot RV so we could get to more places - we have a 39 foot coach. After giving it a lot of thought, we realized the length did not limit us as much as we thought. We may not fit into many of the sites at Yellowstone, for example, but there are many we can fit into. We decided that we really liked the space and other conveniences in our current coach. We lived in our coach for 3 months and we had no problem with it. We would not have been happy in a smaller coach during that time. Since you are going full time, I would consider a larger coach.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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I think in the end it's about your confidence level while handling the coach. Ours is actually a little over 38'. All we ever use are the public parks, and honestly, we book 35' sites frequently, and without issue.

If we've never been to the park, generally we'll drop the toad in the reception area, and use it to check out (or shop for) our site. Management will not have an issue with that. While on our way back to the site, or exploring, we pay attention to clearances we know we'll need (width and height!). If all looks good, and the site we've been assigned is reasonably level, we're pretty much all set. We'll be in and set up in just a few minutes!

Would another 2-3' bother us? Nope, don't think so.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:10 AM   #11
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Would go with 40' vs 35'
Tony, Nancy & Abby the pooch 2011 40'Monaco Knight PDQ Maxxforce 10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:23 AM   #12
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It's one thing to camp in a smaller RV and another to full time in a smaller RV.

Personally, I've had two 35' and four 40' coaches. I would never survive a 35' again. Just not enough room to move around as well as store your worldly belongings.

For some it's okay. For us it wouldn't work.

As to the State Parks in the Northwet, we had no problem putting our 40' DP into many smaller campsites. A little hanging out here and there, but in there.
Les (RVM12), Bonnie, Morgan and 4 leggers Bella & Bruce
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:27 AM   #13
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We looked at the Tiffin Phaeton 36GH as a possible smaller, drivers side kitchen coach.

Click for link to Tiffin 36GH.

Towr: 2007 Country Coach Allure 470 - 37 Sunset Bay Cummins 400 ISL
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:43 AM   #14
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We went from a 32 ft gasser to a 40 ft DP as we are getting ready to go full time next year. And we love Texas State Parks for camping, often with our daughter and her family with a large travel trailer (32 ft I think). The number of sites is limited, but we usually can get a reservation in a reasonable time that accommodates the length. The DP has a sharper turning radius by far so is more maneuverable even though longer. We have more problems with branches not cut short enough than anything else. It takes some getting used to AND make sure your copilot is outside watching what you can't see and don't get in a hurry and you'll be fine.

Jim (NQ5L) & Chris
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2012 Jeep Liberty
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