The average RV dimensions will vary depending on the class of RV. View the chart below to view the most common RV dimensions.
|Class A||Class B||Class C||5th Wheel||Travel Trailer|
|Length||33 Feet||20 Feet||28 Feet||32 Feet||20 Feet|
|Width||9 Feet||8.5 Feet||9 Feet||9 Feet||8 Feet|
|Height||10 Feet||9 Feet||10 Feet||8 to 10 Feet||11 Feet|
Are You Trying to Determine the Ideal RV Length?
When you poll the internet, you will be told that the ideal length is whatever works for you. While that may be true, it’s an unsatisfying answer. If you get beyond those responses, you find that most consider 32 to 33 feet to be the ideal.
You can see evidence of this in the average lengths of the largest RV classes on the market: Class As and 5th Wheels. There are quite a few owners that start with a small trailer, upgrade to a super-large unit, and then downgrade to a 32 footer.
Why Do RV So Many Owners Prefer 32-Feet Long RVs?
National Park RV Length Limitations
The 40+ monster motorhomes are amazing, but a lot of national parks do not have the capability of hosting them. If you have a small trailer, you can fit in almost anywhere.
A 32-footer won’t have this problem for the most part. It can comfortably fit into 81 percent of the national parks.
This chart shows the percentage of national parks that are capable of hosting the listed RV lengths.
|RV Length||19 Feet||25 Feet||29 Feet||32 Feet||35 Feet||40 Feet||41 Feet|
|Fits in this |
Please note that there are often other RV parks near the national parks. A lot of them can provide accommodations for the larger RVs. We do not have exact data for those parks, so you will need to perform additional research for exact numbers.
The Longer the RV the More Dangerous and Inaccessible the Road
When you drive an RV around 40 feet long, small gusts of winds can leave you white-knuckling the steering wheel. The RVs with an average length will still deal with this, but it will be a more subdued experience.
There are also several national parks with roads that are too narrow, dangerous, or otherwise inaccessible to a longer RV. One example is the Sequoia National Park with a maximum length of 22 feet. The road is simply too dangerous for anything longer than that.
Long RVs Require Special Licensing
Around 36-feet in length, the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings of RVs start to meet and exceed the 26,000 pounds mark. States often require drivers of vehicles that meet or exceed this weight to have a commercial driver’s license. Depending on the state, the 26,000 pounds can be the combined weight of the RV and its TOAD.
Oftentimes, longer RVs have significant towing capacities. If you plan on towing a substantial weight, you might need the commercial driver’s license. The exact details vary widely from state-to-state, so you will want to look up your local ordinances for the specific details.
While getting a license is by no means a deal-breaker, it is an added annoyance that limits who can and cannot drive the RV. It can cause issues if you need another driver in a pinch and nobody has the required commercial driver’s license.
Why Is The Average RV Height 10 Feet or Less?
Nearly everybody loves the tall and arched ceilings of some of the larger units. If that’s true, why aren’t more RVs manufactured with the average 11-foot ceilings that trailers use? Better yet, why not make them extra tall like some of the 12-foot models?
One reason, which we already discussed, is the wind. Longer and tall units will catch more of the wind and the less stable it will be. While you probably aren’t going to flip over, the countersteering will be a pain. It’s not something that you will want to deal with every time you travel the open plains.
Low Clearance Bridges, Tunnels, Etc.
The main reason is that you start running into clearance issues. If you are not careful, you will quite literally run into them. For the most part, this won’t be an issue. Cities often build these types of low-clearance structures at about 11 to 13 feet, and they like to stick closer to 13 feet. Here is a PDF that lists most of the United States’ low-clearance structures. It was put together by coach-net, and it is really useful.
While you can fit through most of these low-clearance obstructions, it’s nice to have the extra foot of clearance. It can get pretty tense when it comes down to inches of clearance. The average of 10 feet is definitely better.
RV GPS Systems Are Important For the Bigger Than Average RVs
If you prefer a taller than average unit, you might want to consider picking up a GPS unit. Many of the modern RVs come with integrated GPS systems. If you are purchasing an older one, you might not be so lucky. RV GPS systems are different from a GPS system for a regular car. RVs and semi-truck drivers use navigation systems that allow the owner to input the specification of their vehicle.
If the vehicle cannot drive through a road or a low a low-clearance structure is going to get in the way, the GPS will pick an alternative route to get around it. This is invaluable for preventing an unwanted shave from the roof of your RV.
Why Is The Average RV Width 8 1/2 Feet?
Wide RVs in Narrow Lanes
This is rather obvious, so we won’t expound on it too much. Street sizes vary from location to location. They are designed with cars primarily in mind, and cars have a very narrow 6.5 feet body. Inner-city lanes, on average, are typically 10 to 12 feet wide, and highway roads are roughly 12-feet wide.
These numbers can fluctuate, and wider RVs have a difficult time dealing with the narrower roads. A 9-feet wide RV just doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room on a 10-feet wide lane. In reality, you have even less space when you add the width of the mirrors into the mix.
State Permits For Wide Vehicles
Keeping RVs at an average of 8 ½ has limited paperwork and the associated costs for RV owners. Depending upon the state, wide-bodied RVs might require a special permit. Here are some examples that we’ve come across, but there are definitely some more to find. Check your local DMV for more information.
- States that require permits for vehicles over 8-feet:
- Arizona, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia
- States that require permits for vehicles over 8 ½ feet:
- Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Washington D.C., and more
How Do You Measure An RV?
For the most part, this is a pretty straightforward task, so I won’t complicate it. When measuring an RV, you don’t measure all of the components installed onto the body. Mirrors, ladders, and sometimes AC units aren’t included. The AC units are measured for knowing your clearance rather than the height of the RV. Some manufacturers list it and some don’t.
When measuring the length of the RV, you measure from the side of the unit. Without bending the measuring tape, hold each end from one bumper to the other bumper. If there is an attached ladder, do not include it in the measurement.
When measuring the height, you aren’t measuring the body. You are measuring from the edge of the roof to the ground.
You are measuring the body. The mirrors are not included in this measurement
If you are measuring a trailer, you don’t include the measurement of the tongue.
Conclusion On RV Lengths, Widths & Heights
For some people, a 40-feet long Class A monster is the only way to go. For others, they prefer something on the smaller side. Finding the average RV length, width, and height is a great way to begin the search. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to go outside if an RV has your attention. We’re all unique, and that’s reflected in our choices. Choose what fits you.