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Old 06-04-2016, 10:19 AM   #1
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5th wheel length

I'm putting this here because I've made up my mind that my new home will be a 5th wheel. If the full subject isn't appropriate here hopefully a moderator will move this to the appropriate sub-forum.

One of the many things I'm trying to prioritize in deciding what to do for a trailer layout is access to as wide a range of areas around the country as possible. I've read more in the last month from a wider range of resources than I ever did for any part of my formal education so I'm a little fuzzy on where I saw this, but I think there are length restrictions in certain national/state parks and such. I'm thinking it was 35', but am not sure.

I already understand that many CGs and boondocking locations have physical limitations on what you can get in there, but I'm talking about legal restrictions. Can anyone give a hint as to whether there ARE such things and if so to what extent it might limit my exploration options?

Thanks in advance for your time.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:48 AM   #2
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We have a 37 1/2' overall length 2013 Excel Winslow 34IKE 5th wheel. We primarily stay at state parks and COE's. We have not had issues finding sites in any park we've visited. We would not want to full time or extended stay in a smaller 5th wheell.

Everything about RV life is what compromises you are willing to accept.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:22 AM   #3
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Many State, National, County and COE parks indicate maximum lengths primarily in the low 30s. My personal experience is that these measurements are generally extremely conservative and we have generally had no trouble getting our 36 ft 5th wheel in. In addition, we have routinely reserved sites that indicated a maximum length restriction of 30 or 32 ft and have never been turned away when we arrive. In many cases the length restrictions are more related to the park planner's concerns about getting your rig into the campsite due to the narrow roads within the campground. When I am making reservations in parks I have not been to, I usually take a peek at the park with Google Earth to get a feel for the interior roads.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:53 AM   #4
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If the park has posted length limits, I call the park manager and ask if my 5th wheel will fit and what sites are best for my length.

There is a Texas State Park with a posted 25' limit. I called the park and they said I'd be OK. Our site was about 80' deep and double wide pad. Go figure....
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:11 PM   #5
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Excellent info, thanks all! I'd really like to be able to go with a 40' (more storage), but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of being able to get in places a little more easily.... at least during my first couple years until I get good at maneuvering
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
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WE (2 adults & one 78# dog) FTd for 7 yrs in a 34' with 3 slides 5th wheel

Some times it was a tight fit ..........majority of time was a non-issue

Height was more of an issue then length
Out 5vr is 13'4" and CG trees/overhangs did present issues ......just pay attention
LOOK UP

WE traveled secondary and back roads as much as possible....
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:10 PM   #7
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Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park has a limit of 21' total length (trailer and TV). There is a free shuttle bus that you can take, or just cross over with you truck.

The tunnel is Zion National Park prohibits any vehicle 13 feet high or higher
Length restrictions are 40 feet for a single vehicle and 50 feet for any vehicle combination.

One of the tunnels in Custer S.P., South Dakota is to small for pretty much any RV except for class Bs

The west end of the Blue Ridge Parkway N.P. has two low tunnels. One has a max height of 13'1" and the other is 13'4". There are (fairly long) bypasses available.

Other than that, the only restrictions that I have come across in any parks are the size of camping sites.

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Old 06-04-2016, 04:15 PM   #8
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5th wheel length

Another rookie researching 5th wheels for the future here.
Speaking of length of a 5th wheel, is it universally considered from the pinbox to the back bumper( rear cap)?
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:39 PM   #9
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As far as length is concerned, sometimes it's not just the length and width of a site to give thought about. It's also the corners in the CG as well as how close the trees are to the corners. Ours is 34' and it's been tight at times.

LarryMac - Front of the cap to the back of the unit. Don't know if the bumper is included or not.
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:56 PM   #10
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We have a 38' 5th, and a 26' truck. Haven't had any issues yet anywhere we go.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:09 PM   #11
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There have been many thousands of RVs of every size sold in the last few years and very few new campsites built. Most campsites go back to the period when 26' - 28' was huge. Today 40' plus a TV or toad is not unusual. All were low compared to the 5ers of today. With no such thing as a slide ~~~ now with slides on both sides of many units campers can get very close. Even if the larger RVs of today can fit on a site getting to it or backing in from narrow roads can be tough. After a LONG haul I'm usually not up to cramming into a tight spot late and will look for a private CG or interstate rest area 1st.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:15 PM   #12
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It really depends where you go and what kind of camping you want to do. We have a 35' fifth wheel and there are many state and national parks in the west where we can't camp in the campgrounds. They're way too small and often on rutted dirt roads with too steep or tight turns. There are many free areas in national forests that are too small as well. We're pretty limited for public land camping, especially on the west coast. States with less steep mountains and more wide open spaces are much easier. States with more recently developed parks are much easier (they weren't planning for huge rv's when they built the California state parks 100 years ago). So if you're in the desert or always going to developed campgrounds, it's not a big issue. If you want to go to state and national parks or boondock on free public lands, length is definitely an issue.
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithBowls View Post
It really depends where you go and what kind of camping you want to do. We have a 35' fifth wheel and there are many state and national parks in the west where we can't camp in the campgrounds. They're way too small and often on rutted dirt roads with too steep or tight turns. There are many free areas in national forests that are too small as well. We're pretty limited for public land camping, especially on the west coast. States with less steep mountains and more wide open spaces are much easier. States with more recently developed parks are much easier (they weren't planning for huge rv's when they built the California state parks 100 years ago). So if you're in the desert or always going to developed campgrounds, it's not a big issue. If you want to go to state and national parks or boondock on free public lands, length is definitely an issue.
I was afraid of this :/ Sadly, I just can't see me and Dixie the Wonder Dog living in much less than 35' since this will actually be our home, not just something fun to do. I HAD planned on boondocking on public lands...I'll just have to suck it up and try to figure out which places have those kind of problems on a case by case basis. Thanks for the info.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:43 PM   #14
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We have a 36' bunkhouse fifth wheel with 4 slides and it'd be a great full time unit.

My wife has her bedroom to watch Tyler Perry television shows. I have the bunkhouse room as my man cave to watch sports on television. We have just enough room where we can each have some privacy.
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