Published Date: April 24, 2023
Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Camper Front
Traveling with a travel trailer can be one of the most exciting and enjoyable ways to explore the great outdoors. But before you hit the road, it’s crucial to know the dimensions of your rig, especially the width. Understanding how wide is a travel trailer will help you navigate the roads and campsites with ease.
In this detailed guide, we’ll get into the world of travel trailers and talk about standard widths, rules, and how the width of your trailer affects your trip as a whole. We’ll also provide tips and examples to help you choose the perfect travel trailer width for your needs.
Average Width of Each Travel Trailer Type
Class B Motorhomes
- Often referred to as camper vans, Class B motorhomes have an average width of 7-8 feet.
- Their compact size makes them easier to maneuver, park, and store.
- Provides ample sleeping space and essential amenities but may lack the luxury of larger RVs.
- A typical RV trailer width falls between 8 and 8.5 feet.
- Offers a good balance between interior space and road maneuverability.
- It can include slide-outs, significantly increasing living and sleeping space when parked.
Fifth Wheel Trailers
- With an average width of 8-8.5 feet, similar to travel trailers.
- Unique hitch design allows for larger interior spaces and multiple levels.
- Often includes multiple slide-outs for a more spacious and comfortable living area.
Standard Travel Trailer Widths
The average width of a travel trailer ranges from 7 to 8.5 feet. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all measurement, as different types of travel trailers cater to various needs and preferences. Compact travel trailers, such as teardrop trailers, are typically narrower, while larger fifth-wheel trailers and toy haulers can be wider than the average.
Examples of Popular Travel Trailer Brands and Their Widths
Here are some examples of popular travel trailer models and their respective widths:
- Airstream Bambi: 8 feet
- Forest River R-Pod: 7.5-8 feet
- Winnebago Minnie Drop: 6.5-8 feet
- Keystone Montana: 8.5 feet (maximum RV width)
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and the RV industry offers a wide range of options to suit your needs.
What’s the Maximum Width of an RV?
According to federal regulations, the maximum width for an RV in the United States is 8.5 feet (102 inches). This standard applies to most RV types, including travel trailers, fifth wheels, and class A and C motorhomes.
This standard width balances comfort and maneuverability, making it ideal for most RV enthusiasts. However, class B motorhomes, usually built on a van chassis, tend to be narrower, often around 7–7.5 feet wide. Knowing the width of your RV helps ensure a smooth journey without any surprises on the road.
One tip to remember is that some states have additional restrictions on RV width. Always check the local regulations of the states you plan to visit, so you’re prepared and won’t face any surprises. Also, remember the places you want to explore and the level of comfort you desire. By considering factors such as sleeping space, class B motorhomes, slide-outs, and the average RV width, you can make an informed decision leading to unforgettable adventures.
Why Is It Important to Know Travel Trailer Width
The width of a travel trailer plays a significant role in various aspects of your journey. From maneuvering tight corners to parking at a campsite, knowing your rig’s dimensions is essential to making informed decisions and avoiding potential issues. Also, if you want to follow federal and state rules, you need to know how wide your travel trailer is.
Several factors come into play when selecting the ideal travel trailer width, including your towing vehicle’s capacity, travel preferences, and storage and parking availability.
Regulations and Restrictions
• Maximum Allowable Width
According to the RV Industry Association, the maximum width of an RV, including travel trailers, is 8.5 feet (102 inches) in the United States. This width limit applies to all towable RVs, such as a fifth-wheel trailer, a class B motorhome, and a toy hauler.
• Exceptions and Permits
Some states allow wider RVs with special permits, while others have specific restrictions for vehicles exceeding the federal maximum width. Researching the regulations in the states you plan to travel through is crucial to ensuring compliance.
• Varying State Restrictions
State regulations on RV width may vary, so it’s essential to be aware of the rules in each state you’ll visit. For example, West Virginia permits RVs up to 8.5 feet wide, while other states may have different limits or require additional safety equipment for wider RVs.
• Tips for Staying Compliant
To avoid any issues while traveling, research the width regulations for each state on your route and adhere to the guidelines. This information can be found on state Department of Transportation websites, RV forums, and clubs.
Impact of Width on Travel Experience
The width of your travel trailer significantly impacts your ability to navigate roads, turns, and tight spaces. A more compact travel trailer may be easier to maneuver and handle, especially for inexperienced drivers. On the other hand, a wider travel trailer offers more interior space but may require additional care and attention while driving.
Regarding parking at campsites or other locations, the width of your travel trailer can affect your options. Some campsites may have size restrictions, so knowing your rig’s dimensions is essential to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.
• Interior Space and Layout
The width of your travel trailer directly influences the available living and storage space. A wider travel trailer often provides a more spacious and comfortable interior, with room for amenities such as a full-sized bathroom, kitchen space, and entertainment center. However, remember that a larger rig may be more challenging to maneuver and park.
While a compact travel trailer may be easier to tow and handle, it may sacrifice living space and storage. For some travelers, a smaller rig offers enough space for essentials and a cozy sleeping area, while others may prefer the added comfort of a larger travel trailer.
Customization and Width Options
• Expandable Travel Trailers
Slide-outs are a popular option for travelers seeking additional space without increasing the overall width of the travel trailer while on the road. A single slide-out can dramatically increase the floor space in your living or sleeping area, providing more room for comfort and relaxation.
Pop-up travel trailers are another option for those looking for a more compact towing experience with expandable living space. These trailers can be collapsed for transport, making them narrower and easier to tow, and then expanded once you arrive at your destination.
• Narrow-Body Travel Trailers
Narrow-body travel trailers, such as teardrop trailers, offer the advantage of a more compact and fuel-efficient towing experience. These rigs are easier to maneuver and park, and their small size makes them a perfect fit for travelers seeking a minimalist and eco-friendly option. However, their compact interiors may not be suitable for larger families or those who require more living and storage space.
Here are some popular narrow-body travel trailer models to consider:
- Airstream Basecamp: 6.5 feet
- Little Guy Mini Max: 6.75 feet
- Escapod Topo: 6 feet
Choosing the Right Width for Your Needs
• Assessing Your Towing Vehicle Capacity
When selecting a travel trailer, it’s essential to consider your towing vehicle’s capabilities. Check the owner’s manual of your towing vehicle to determine the maximum towing capacity and ensure that the travel trailer you choose falls within that range. Overloading your vehicle can lead to safety issues and damage to your tow vehicle and travel trailer.
• Evaluating Travel and Camping Preferences
Consider your travel style and camping preferences when choosing the ideal travel trailer width. A more compact and maneuverable rig may be the best fit if you prefer off-the-grid camping in remote locations. On the other hand, if you prefer spacious campsites and RV resorts, a wider travel trailer with more amenities might be the better choice.
• Considering Storage and Parking Availability
Before purchasing a travel trailer, evaluate your home or storage facility’s available storage and parking space. A wider rig may require more room, so it’s essential to ensure you have adequate space to store your travel trailer when it’s not in use.
How to Measure Your RV?
First things first, let’s gather the necessary tools. You’ll need a tape measure, a notepad, and a pen. Start by measuring the width of your RV from one side to the other. This is particularly important for RV trailers and Class B motorhomes, as their average RV width can greatly impact maneuverability. Make sure to measure the widest point, which often includes side mirrors, awnings, or slide-outs.
Speaking of slide-outs, when measuring their dimensions, extend them fully and measure from the outer edge of the RV to the outer edge of the slide-out. This will accurately measure the additional space provided when the slide-outs are used. Jot down these dimensions, as they will be helpful when planning your camping adventures.
Now let’s tackle the length of your RV. Start at the front bumper and measure all the way to the back bumper. Remember that towable RVs, like RV trailers, should include the length of the hitch in their measurements. Knowing the total length is essential for fitting into campsites and parking spaces and staying within legal limits on roads and bridges.
Finally, measure the height from the ground to the highest point on your RV. This might be an air conditioning unit, a satellite dish, or a roof rack. Be mindful of this measurement, as it will determine if your RV can safely pass under bridges and through tunnels.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the standard width of a travel trailer?
The standard width of a travel trailer typically ranges between 7 and 8.5 feet. However, it’s important to consider your towing vehicle, travel preferences, and parking availability when selecting the right width for your needs.
2. How does travel trailer width impact the travel experience?
Travel trailer width directly affects maneuverability, interior space, and campsite selection. Wider trailers provide more living and storage space, while narrower trailers are easier to drive, turn, and park. Consider your travel preferences and comfort requirements when choosing the ideal trailer width.
Understanding the width of a travel trailer is crucial for a comfortable and safe adventure on the open road. By familiarizing yourself with standard dimensions, legal restrictions, and the impact of width on your travel experience, you can confidently choose the perfect trailer for your needs. Remember to evaluate your towing vehicle capacity, travel preferences, and storage availability to ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey. Embrace the excitement of exploring new destinations while knowing your travel trailer perfectly fits your lifestyle.