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Old 01-10-2016, 02:39 PM   #1
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Newbie with a camper question

Hello Everyone,

I live in Washington State and know how much better I feel out in the woods with my best dog Maggie. I am just finishing my home built wooden camper. I know there are requirements that must be met in order to use it. I started calling around to different state agencies for info, but only got shuffled to other places to no avail trying to get a simple list of requirements to complete the inspection/registration task. One guy said I needed an escape hatch. That sounds crazy to me in my little one person one dog camper.

Can someone out there put me onto some good info. on this subject for Wash. State.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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Old 01-10-2016, 03:48 PM   #2
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Location: Cincinnati
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A second way of exiting a bedroom in required in almost every building requirement I've ever seen, so a second exit route in a place you sleep doesn't sound that far out of line. A window that has a large enough opening for exit or the whole window frame can be unlatched and swings open is usually the minimum. The RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) has requirements for RV manufacturers, but not sure if they could be deemed minimum requirements for a home built.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Standards
A home built trailer might not have to follow many of them, but it also could depend on what equipment you have in it. If you don't use propane, a propane detector wouldn't be required, I'm sure. A smoke detector would be a good idea, just for safety while sleeping. If you you a heater of any kind, a CO detector would also be a good idea. 12 v circuits should probably be fused, along with a 120 v wired system inspected and properly operated through a breaker box with proper sized breakers and wiring.

The list goes on, and gets more complicated the more equipment your camper has. If you're towing it on the road, you'll have to pay attention to lighting requirements of your state and perhaps ICC regulations. If it is over your state's minimum weight, it might require brakes and a breakaway braking system.


Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:26 AM   #3
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What Bob said!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:33 AM   #4
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The escape window normally has to be 400 united inches of unobstructed exit area to exit thru,without the use of tools to open.That's I believe the national code for egress windows,I know here in ct it is.

Rapid Rick
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:51 AM   #5
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Is your homemade camper a slide in truck camper? a Trailer? a bus conversion? In WA each has its own requirements. For example a trailer only needs to be registered as a trailer and if you bought a frame to start with that should have had a manufacturers certificate of origin that you use to register it. If you built the frame and all using raw materials and an axle you would need to have the WA State Patrol inspect the trailer portion and stamp a vin onto the frame to get the trailer portion registered. The house part does not have to registered for a home built camper on a trailer. That stated a camper built for sale needs to meet RVIA standards and gets registered with the Labor and Industries (L&I) department. At least that is how I understood it from research into building a teardrop trailer to pull behind my motorcycle. I still have not built it yet but is still a project I might do. In my case I was going to get a harbor freight trailer as the base, there would have been one door into the sleeping area and and outside kitchen area that used a coleman stove and had a 12v cooler. I am not sure what the requirements for a truck camper are and for a bus to be registered as an rv it must have a kitchen and sleeping area but that is not highly defined.

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Old 01-11-2016, 09:55 AM   #6
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Thanks very much for your quick replies. Any information is good information. My camper is on a Chev. Silverado half ton. It is 76 inches wide and 103 inches long by about 65 inches tall. I built it for a ford ranger but realized the truck was to small and to light for my build. I only have room for one person and one dog. The cab over in just for wind flow and light storage.

This is why all the major rules and regulations don't seem to fit much. I guess you have to pull out what you need.

I will have no running water. I will have a composting toilet, a simple 12v battery system, a simple RV Park wiring system, and hopefully someday a solar bank.

I am finding more info. everyday using you site for reference and all the good info. from the members questions and responses.

Thanks Chucker46
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:07 AM   #7
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A 24x24 roof vent will satisfy the exit requirement. Or one from here

04 Horizon QD, 12 Ford Flex, Excalibar, Brake-Pro, ,, Winter Texan, RVin! since 1974
Norm, Donna & Tinker Kat 74 MGB-GT, 75 MGB, 01 Z3
Life is a Timed Event, you only get One Go Around!
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:45 PM   #8
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Hello again,

I have learned a lot in the last week. Hopefully I will learn everything I need to know to build my camper without making to many more mistakes. I will have more questions and I think this is a good place to get answers.

Thanks Again.

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