Aerial view of a parked 35-feet travel trailer by a road

The Best Length for a Travel Trailer (Size Chart Included)

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Just in the last decade, I have owned, rented, and sold a number of travel trailers. I have my own share of experience with the different lengths and sizes of RVs. In this article, we get into the different travel trailer sizes and include a travel trailer size chart for you.

What size travel trailer should you buy?

Generally speaking, the ideal travel trailer length for a family of 4 is 25-30 feet long. With a 27-foot travel trailer, you can likely park in your driveway, camp at 93% of national parks, and still have room to sleep 4-6 people comfortably.

Generally, for convenience, longer travel trailers are the best choices for a family with at least 4 members or more. However, there are roads and campsites that have limits on the lengths that they can accommodate.

I have personally experienced the benefits and drawbacks of traveling in different lengths of trailers. So I made this article in the hopes of helping you determine which is the best length for a travel trailer for you. It can also serve as a guide so you can rule out the other sizes that you know won’t work for you.

No matter how long your trailer is you need to see behind you. Campsites can be tight and have obstacles (like kids). A wireless backup camera makes life so much easier .. and safer. This wireless camera on Amazon is easy to install, budget-friendly, and best for shorter trailers (check price here)

Longer trailers and especially with metal siding will need a wired backup camera. This takes a little longer to install but you can still do it yourself. We suggest this wired backup camera on Amazon.

Best Size Travel Trailer by Length

Aerial view of a parked 35-feet travel trailer by a road
Travel trailer on the road

Some will say that anything above 30 feet is too long for a travel trailer. But the truth is that the answer to whether a travel trailer is too long lies on your tow vehicle.

As a rule of thumb, the longest trailer that your tow vehicle can pull is the one that does not exceed 75% of the maximum loaded weight of your vehicle.

Travel Trailer Size Chart

I put together this travel trailer size chart to help you see the length, weight, and accommodations for travel trailers. This is based on reviewing hundreds of RVs and my own experience.

A big consideration is the number of people in your family. How long does it have to be for you and your family to live in it comfortably?

Trailer LengthWeightSleeps
10-12 feet1250 – 1300 pounds2-5
14 – 15 feet1500 – 1650 pounds2-5
16 – 18 feet2200 – 2300 pounds2-5
18 – 22 feet2500 – 2750 pounds4-7
24 – 26 feet3600 – 4100 pounds4-7
28 – 30 feet4300 – 4900 pounds4-7
32 – 38 feet7200 – 8500 pounds9-12
39 – 40 feet7690 – 10495 pounds9-12

Travel Trailer Length Based on Camping Preference

Some people report that a travel trailer that is more than 35 feet is a problem when they are looking for a campground to set up base on. Many of the available campgrounds, especially national parks, only have limited and small space.

However, if you own a bigger rig, finding the right campground is possible if you are willing to stay in the vicinity of the sites.

The question will lie in your preferences. Do you plan to camp in National Forests or dispersed campgrounds? If so, then having a long rig will seldom be a problem for you as these campgrounds usually can accommodate longer rigs.

If you prefer to camp in National Parks or small private campgrounds then this might prove to be a slight problem as these campgrounds usually have limits on how long of a rig they can serve.

Read More: 11 Questions You Must Ask to Reserve the Perfect RV Campsite

Pro Tip: Make sure to look into the campgrounds that you plan to stay at. When you are thinking about tight spaces or bumpy roads take into account eh turning radius and hinge point of the trailer.

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How to Measure the Length of the Travel Trailer

35-foot travel trailer by the grass
Parked travel trailer by the grass

The length of the travel trailer that your manufacturer specified is the box of the trailer and considered your trailer length. State-run campgrounds and some private ones usually base their site length upon the length of the travel unit itself.

Most often than not, there will be a separate parking space for your tow vehicle.

I own a 35-feet travel trailer. It is specified by the manufacturer as 35-feet. When I call to reserve a campsite, I ask for 35 feet or longer.

However, when going through roads that have length restrictions, you have to make sure to measure the whole length with your tow vehicle.

For example, in Independence Pass near Aspen, Colorado, RVs more than 35 feet in length are prohibited to pass. We have a 35 feet trailer but our total length from the bumper from the front of the truck to the bumper at the back of the trailer is 59 feet. (We know this because we were measured when we took the ferry from Seattle. )

Does Travel Trailer Length Include the Tongue and Hitch?

A parked SUV with a travel trailer parked by the side of the road
35-feet travel trailer by the side of the road

The trailer length and the manufacture description do not include the tongue and the hitch. The length is only the inside box of the trailer.

If you want to know exactly how long your trailer will be you need to include The rear bumper, any accessories like a bike rack, and the front tongue and hitch. The rear bumper generally adds 6 to 12 inches. The front tongue and hitch add 2 to 3 feet to the length.

So for example my 35-foot travel trailer is 38 feet bumper to hitch. It’s even longer when the bike rack is on the back. When towing it with a truck it is 59 feet bumper-to-bumper.

How Does Length of the Trailer Affect Towing

A longer trailer will move differently behind the truck than a shorter trailer. Both the length and weight of the trailer affect the amount of weight on the tongue and swaying the backend. Most experts agree that a longer trailer is actually easier to tow because it will have a slower delay.

Weight distribution and sway bar will help you tow a trailer. This is the set that I use which is easily installed and works great. Check the price on Amazon.

However, the total radius with a longer trailer will be longer. Therefore your turns will be much wider. In addition, you only to watch the inside corner very carefully for obstacles.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Longer Trailer?

The longer your trailer is, the more difficult it is to look for camps to stay in. Generally, state parks commonly have a length restriction of 35 to 45 feet. However, when your rig is 41 feet or above, you have to expect that you will only be accommodated by less than 10% of the campsites. On the other hand, 98% of campsites can accommodate trailers that are 19 feet and less.

Another disadvantage of a longer travel trailer is the total weight. Once you get up to 30 or more feet and 7 to 8,000 pounds you will need a 3/4 ton or 1-ton truck to tow it.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that you’re towing capacity will be reduced by up to 20% at altitude and over the mountain passes 

A longer trailer has more tail drag in the back end. You will need to be driving on relatively flat roads.  So you will be limited to maintained roads and campgrounds.  You will not be able to off-road or boondock much.

What are the Advantages of a Longer Travel Trailer

A bigger, longer-length travel trailer has many advantages.  A longer camper has more room inside giving you more space to move around.  You will also have more privacy.  My trailer with 35 feet length actually has 2 separate bedrooms with doors.

Another advantage is the convenience of the space.  A smaller camper will need to be spending time changing the inside back-and-forth between living quarters and sleeping quarters. Our first Trailer was a 20-foot long vintage camper with no slide-outs. Every night and every morning we had to transform it back into a table put the bunks away and make the bed back into a couch just to have breakfast.

A longer travel trailer can carry more weight. Once you have a camper you will want to load it up with all your favorite camping gear. You would be surprised how much your toys end up weighing.

In addition, if you are Boondocking he will be also be carrying a full tank of water to your campsite.

A larger trailer also responds to movement when towing more slowly than a short trailer. Some people even say driving a longer trailer is easier than a shorter one. The hinge point at the back of the tow vehicle and the distance to the back end of the trailer is longer. The physics determines how quickly the very back of the trailer responds to small adjustments in the front.

Overall, I never recommend buying an RV before trying out if you like it. You can see all my thoughts here: 17 Undeniable Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy an RV

I advise renting a travel trailer similar to what you are thinking of buying: How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Travel Trailer? (Prices 2022)

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Aerial view of a parked 35-feet travel trailer by a road
What is the best length for a travel trailer?

Summing up the Ideal Length of a Travel Trailer

The best length for your travel trailer will depend on the needs of your family. If you are traveling long-term and want more space and amenities similar to an apartment, you will require a bigger camper. If you are planning on shorter trips to national parks and sightseeing, a shorter travel trailer will likely work for you.

Before buying a camper I always suggest that you try renting at least one similar to what you’re thinking of buying. Travel trailers are difficult to rent from national companies. However, you can rent from a private owner on Outdoorsy or RVezy.

To rent a camper similar to the one you’re thinking of buying simply go to the Outdoorsy or RVezy website. Once you’re on the website choose the destinations that you would like to pick up the travel trailer. Then from the options choose the number of people that should sleep and your ideal length.

For more resources in renting an RV, read some of our blogs under our RV series:

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