I have been reading the excellent book "California Camping" by Tom Steinstra and as I was reviewing campgrounds in the national forests and state parks I was struck by how often the maximum RV length was 27 feet and even more often it was stated as being 22 feet or less. It got me to measure my truck and camper rig.
It also got me to think about how restrictive a long truck and camper rig or pulling a trailer, even a boat trailer, can be in terms of choices of camping areas at least in California. There are KOA's and the like that have spaces for RV's of any length but these are not the kinds of places I want to spend time at except as a last resort (no pun intended).
If this something that others have run into with their travels and has it caused you to rethink your choice of RV setup?
I have a 40 foot class A and yes I find myself torn between the niceness of a "big rig" and the convienience of say a truck camper. Not being able to just jump off the beaten path and go places, my experience has been that when I just pull off to see something it turns into a problem. Parking,tree limbs scratching side of RV, narrow roads, etc.
But we do extended stays so I'll stick with the comforts of the A and envy the TC's abilities to camp anywhere and manuverability.
I've chosen to stay around the 30ft mark on mh's for just the reason you state. We primarily utilize state parks many of which were built a long time a go when tents or tiny little pull behinds were the main method of camping. We just spent a week in a park in the upstate of SC where most of the sites were fine, but a few would have been difficult to get into and get level. While there we looked into a few other state parkes in the area and the reverse was true with just a few being level or capable of accepting a larger unit.
And then there is the state park near us which has 40ft and larger sites to handle the larger mh's, with toad, golf cart, and boat.
It's a simply mathematics problem. There will ALWAYS be more spaces available for short units than long ones because the short ones can use ANY size starting with the minimum. Same is true for longer ones but that starting point is a lot higher up the scale. That being said I've NEVER been asked out of a campground due to my length except for one national park. IN the majority of cases if you fit you can use the site. don't try that at Rainier
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One of the considerations is the route to the campground and the interior roads. I'm experienced and above average when it comes to squeezing big rigs in tight spots. And I've been to some campgrounds with 150' long aprons capable of handling any rig on the road, but only if you air lift it to the campground because there is no way you could get anything over a 15' trailer up the road to the campground. Then I've also seen campground right off a dual lane road with an interior road so tight with trees that would prevent any trailer from making into any site.
Checking reviews for a campground once, I had been told the campground was tight so I called and talked to them. Their only comment was "if you can get it up the mountain, it will fit in the campground." He didn't warn me about the road however. With my crew cab truck and 30' TT, I headed up the mountain. Some of the curves were so tight, I had the front wheel of the truck just off the pavement yet the trailer was within 2' of the guard rail on the inside of the curve. But as promised, had no problem fitting into a site.
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We went from a 40' Teton fiver and Freightliner to the TC and love the TC. We were fulltimers for 9 years. We are still in the big rig mindset as far as sites. I can't wrap my brain around the fact that we can park the TC in a spot that the FL60 would go with no problems. But lots of camping will fix that!
So if the FL60 would fit in that campsite, so will my TC.....
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We are long and have certainly seen sights we don't fit on. But we have never had a situation where there was not at least one site where we would.
Sometimes it means parking the truck in a parking spot vs on the site.
The bigger problem is the lack of standardize measurements for sites. Mainly found this in state and Federal parks. Some measure from rear of site to road edge. Others take the measurement then subtract for a "typical" tow vehicle.
Yet others are measured from a railroad tie or tire stop to road but have enough room for the overhang.
We keep a notebook of campsites with my own maps. Each site gets 3 ratings.
1) size (will we fit)
2) Parking (can we manuver onto the site)
For new places we call the office.
I know of one COE site that is listed as 33 ft. We can park our 5er and truck (57 ft combined) and still have 60 ft from truck to road.
I am currently a campground host in a national park. Sites do vary greatly in length and the bigger rigs are the first to be shut out. Remember anyone can select any site. Often a tent camper or smaller rig will select one of the bigger (an often nicer sites) so when the larger rigs show up only small or tent sites are available.
I see plenty of people driving 5th wheelers, class As and other big rigs. I think they belong in mobile home or RV parks. There is just not room for these in most national parks. Several tent or smaller RV campers could fit in the space it takes to just turn one of those rigs. IMO if you really need all of the comforts of home, just stay home. Since this is the truck camper forum, I suspect many of the participants in this forum will agree.
We purchased the smallest 5er we could find - with all the necessary goodies my DW needed. Regarding campgrounds, we prefer dry camping at Forest Service campgrounds. Our 25' 5er cannot fit in all the spaces, and has had trouble with a couple of access roads, but we manage.