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Old 02-17-2014, 10:06 AM   #15
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1985 31' Excella
Dade City , Florida
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I would consider how you intend to use it- if you spend long periods of time camping, I would go for more length and more comfort. You deal with living space every day, campsite length only is occasionally an issue. We have a 31'. One time we gave up on a site because it was difficult to get into, but there was another one right around the corner.

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Old 02-17-2014, 12:28 PM   #16
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I towed a 29 foot AS with a long bed crew cab through a few Western states and only missed a couple NF sites. One due to ground clearance and one due to tight turns. In both cases, if the site had been a destination I could have made it work. Coming and going from the house I have both issues and I deal with them using blocks at one point and a front hitch for the final stab.

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Old 02-17-2014, 01:23 PM   #17
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To answer your question honestly, yes you will have more difficulty finding spots for a larger trailer. The degree of difficulty will be the issue here. From my experiences it really does depend on where you are going to camp. All state and national parks are not created equal. Perhaps it is unique to the west but we have many parks that are quite old. It is not an easy thing to show up at a park and "just pick another one" when looking for a place to camp.

Originally Posted by sandlapper View Post
John, you will enjoy the 10 extra feet and probably have no issues fitting into a site. We find most sites themselves plenty long enough, just sometimes the trees are in the wrong place to make the necessary manuevers. In the rare case you can't fit, just pick another one.
Another John
If you are really interested in "remote" forest service campgrounds you will most likely be further limited. I love these kinds of camping spots but usually know where I am going and what sites they have.

Many have mentioned some great ideas to help. Reserve ahead and take advantage of the information about trailer lengths and all. We do this when ever possible. I do believe that getting a 27 footer is not going to slow you down very much. I have a 25 and am not concerned too much when heading out. I don't, on the other hand, think that I will be able to park ANYWHERE I want in a state or federal campground. I have been there and done that as they say. Mt. Rainier has some absolutely beautiful campgrounds. You cannot put a 30 footer in all of their spots.

All that said, I have also noticed that many state and federal campgrounds in the NW are improving their sites to include more full hookups and bigger parking pads. It is a nice improvement and will make the experience better for many families.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:26 AM   #18
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We had a 25' AS traded for a 30' AS, best move we could have made. The extra five feet make a world of difference, especially on a rainy day. Plus we now have a nice space for the dogs crate - she is still a puppy and really can't be left alone uncrated, but loves her crate. Best of luck and enjoy.

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Old 02-18-2014, 07:47 AM   #19
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Gone everywhere we have wanted to in our 31. Worse site was boon docking on some friends property along the Suwanee river in Florida. There was a swale we had to drive across head on and the rear bumper dragged in the dirt for a few feet. Probably would not have happened on a shorter unit.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:10 AM   #20
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I should clarify what I posted earlier. While on our trip, we stayed primarily in commercial campgrounds but on several occasions we visited NP campgrounds. In my opinion, while we did see sites that obviously could accommodate longer rigs most sites were limited in their capacity. As posted by others, I guess it comes down to where you want to camp when versus how important is the comfort of a longer trailer to you. Among the several national park campgrounds we stayed in, the only one I remember where longer rigs seem to have parking challenges was at the North Rim campground at the Grand Canyon.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:47 AM   #21
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Bbelk could you please elaborate on your techniques for dealing with ground clearance issues? " block and front hitch"

I used two boards for leveling our 20' safari. I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle and then put sandpaper step treads on the top of the longer board so that I could stack one on top of the other, without the top one shifting, and then back onto them. I could easily let these do double duty for helping negotiate higher clearance situations. I hadn't thought of that before. Thanks for the idea.

We do like the out of the way forest service campgrounds, as well as, the state and national parks. It's nice to hear that there is a program in place to update the old ones out west. We were at the forest service campground at Lake Irwin in Colorado this Summer and it was quite old. I had spoken to the woman that supervised that region and she said they had been on the short list for an upgrade, but didn't quite make the cut that year. It needed it too. Beautiful place, though.

I really like hearing from so many people with positive experiences and can-do attitudes. Thank you for all of this information.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:39 AM   #22
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You know, when we were at one of the well-known national parks in the west several years ago, we got one of the spots that had been altered to handle longer rigs. And the site was a good deal longer and easily handled the 30' length of our rig plus the truck, but that didn't exactly end the story. Lengthening the site toward the back left the hookups stranded toward the front of the rig. Not a problem for the water as our hose was a long one, but the sewer and electric were a problem.

Lesson: Carry extra length for water, electric, and sewer at a distance.

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Old 02-19-2014, 09:09 AM   #23
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We've had more issues over the past 2 summers getting gas than finding a camp site. We bypass occasional gas stations because the 31ft length of the trailer plus the truck would make getting back out of the gas station a challenge, to say the least. There always seems to be a campsite we can fit in, so far anyway. Chris says backing the 31ft trailer is actually easier than backing our previous SOB trailers that were 26ft, 21ft, and 18ft. (I haven't backed into a campsite with this trailer, but need to work on that!). I agree that buying what you are comfortable with is more important.

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Old 02-20-2014, 04:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by RivetNV View Post
Bbelk could you please elaborate on your techniques for dealing with ground clearance issues? " block and front hitch"
You are exactly correct regarding the use of leveling blocks to get through places where clearance is an issue. You will need at least four pieces to get through any distance as you may have to walk the pieces from behind the wheels to in front of the wheels as you move forward. Longer pieces make things easier, but still short enough to fit between the wheels. I have crossed creeks this way using stacked rocks for part of it.

A front hitch is handy for several things like baskets and bike racks, but for me, its main purpose is to push my camper or boat into places that I can't back them into due to tight corners. With the steering wheels nearly under the hitch, you can turn and position a trailer with pretty extreme corners and great accuracy. A cooperative and vocal assistant to spot for you is still required as you can't see anything around the wide body Airstreams.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:10 AM   #25
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I was wondering if anyone uses their front hitches or dolly to back their trailer into campsites. What do folks say when you unhitch/rehitch to front and/or whip out a dolly hehe?? Im considering going from a 25 to a 30 and am still perfecting the backing techniques.
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:35 PM   #26
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Many in here have mentioned things that you should take into consideration, 1st what is your intended use ie; weekends with occasional week, then the shorter trailer is ok, if you are going to be spending a lot of time in it then the longer trailer is definitely a plus and you will be glad you have the extra space. 2nd what you have with you such as children, pets, or like a lot of gadgets then again you may feel cramped in the shorter trailer. 3rd if you are the kind of person who checks out places before you go then length would not be an issue as you will know what you are getting into and can pick the right site or at least know what is available and where.
We started out with a 30 and are now in a 35, and I have yet to find a place that I could not get into. I tend to stay away from the older smaller parks just because they was built for smaller trailers and most of the time the electric/other service is outdated. Without the grandkids I have found that the 30 was the best all around trailer, the trailer less than that always felt cramped and I don't like cramped, I like comfortable so when looking at a trailer take that into account, although it may never happen ask yourself can I stay inside this trailer constant for an entire week?
Backing is something that can be learned with practice, find a parking lot that is near empty set yourself up either with cones or anything that can outline a space and things such as trees and such then practice getting into it. Before I retired from trucking some of the companies had me training drivers with problems of backing and one of the things I always told my students is not to look at the end of the trailer and spend very little time on backing the trailer, pay attention to the wheels trailers when turning forward or backwards pivot on the wheels so when back pay attention to the wheels cause where ever you put the wheels the trailer is going to be as well, now the little attention I mentioned before is the stuff that you get close to that is your second thought when backing.
I can give you several pieces of advise all you need to do is ask if you want.

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