How are travel trailers measured?

Published on October 14th, 2018 by Ray & Tammy Roman
This post was updated on December 28th, 2022

travel trailer on dealer parking lot
Do you know your trailer measurements?

Why You Need to Know Travel Trailer Measurements

Knowing how travel trailers are measured is helpful whether you’re looking to buy or rent an RV. Can that trailer fit into a campsite you want to book? Will it squeeze into your RV storage area? To find out, you need to review how your travel trailer length, width, and height is measured by the RV manufacturer, dealer, or private party RV seller.

How Long is a Travel Trailer?

To understand the measurement specifications of a travel trailer you first need to know how travel trailer length is measured.

  1. Some measure travel trailer length by starting at the ball mount and going all the way to the back bumper. 
  2. But other times, only the inside living space is measured. For example, according to the RVIA, the advertised travel trailer length should only include the usable “floor plan” length. In other words, the tongue or rear bumper should not be included in the final measurement. So keep in mind that a trailer described as 20 feet in length might be 23-24 feet overall when you factor in bumper and tongue length too.

When talking to an RV salesperson or private party RV seller, it’s important for you to ask how their travel trailer brands are measured.

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  • Does the length only include the usable living area inside?
  • Or did they measure the travel trailer’s overall length, including tongue and bumper?
How are travel trailers measured?
Understand how a travel trailer is measured before booking campsites.

How Wide is a Travel Trailer

The width measurement for travel trailers varies greatly, depending on the model and make of each RV. However, most travel trailers do not exceed 8-feet 6-inches in order to comply with the majority of state highway laws.

How Tall is a Travel Trailer?

Travel trailer manufacturers build RVs to be no more than 13-feet, 6-inches tall. This RV height complies with the typical height of highway overpasses in the USA. But it’s still important to know your travel trailer height. This number can mean the difference between a low bridge collision and getting to your campsite safely.

Just like travel trailer width, the average height of travel trailers differs greatly depending on the model. However, most are usually 11 feet tall.

Keep in mind that the roof-mounted A/C unit adds another foot or so. Since manufacturers may or may not include the A/C unit in their travel trailer height measurements, the best way to measure travel trailer height is to do it yourself with a surveyor’s tape measure. Stand on the roof and have a friend on the ground to catch the end. Now you have your measurement.

What About Campsite Measurements?

Want to book a campsite for your travel trailer? When the campground gives you the parking area length, they are providing the length of usable space available from trailer tongue to rear bumper. Do not exceed it or you may be asked to move or leave if the campground is fully booked.

What is the Best Trailer length at US national parks?

The best trailer length at national parks differs by location. Most US national park campgrounds were built before the 1980s. The majority of campsites do not accommodate modern RVs built since that era. Your best bet for national park RV camping is to choose an RV smaller than 30-feet long. One of the best resources to find campsite measurements at national parks is the Best RV Length for National Parks by Camper Report, and The Essential RVing Guide to National Parks by National Parks Traveler.

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