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Old 04-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #1
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I was told a 30' can't go everywhere??

Hi all, I'm learning so much on my journey and I do realize that everyone has "opinions". I appreciate all the feedback that I am recieving right now and appreciate this Forum more than I can put into words.

OK~so the latest is, I was told that many folks choose a 25' b/c it doesn't limit them to where they can go. Am I missing something here? We are looking at a 30' or possibly a 27'. With only a couple feet difference, will we be limited to where we can park the Stream or getting into parks?

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:50 AM   #2
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Some parks, particularly older ones, do have short length limits. I've never had a problem myself in our 28 footer but I'm told it can happen sometimes. My towing guru says that you should negotiate with the park staff if you get that problem because often you can get bigger units in the space provided, regardless of the posted limit. I'm not sure I'd have the courage to do that be he says it's worked for him on occasion.

I certainly wouldn't limit my Airstream choice on that premise.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:52 AM   #3
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...not often enough to let that factor alone determine what length Airstream you get.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:53 AM   #4
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In our experience, there are some national parks (we experienced this in Yellowstone) where your total tow vehicle + trailer length has to be under a certain amount in order to fit on the paved space. That said, enforcement of this seemed to be hit or miss, looking around that campsite.

In reality, a bigger trailer is going to reduce flexibility of selecting sites. We've found this to be the case here particularly while camping in state campgrounds in the Northeast. There are a handful of sites that are sized for bigger trailers; more options open up with smaller trailers. That said, site reservation cutoffs are usually at 20' or less, and then jump to 30' or less.

FWIW, I agree with the overall consensus that a 25' trailer will fit in the vast majority of campsites while maximizing interior space. Everybody's experience/use pattern is different, but I know that a 30' would be a rather difficult fit into many of the sites we like to use.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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We love our 30'. Haven't had a problem so far, but we've only had it since June.

I think it depends on how you plan to use it. For camping in campgrounds, I wouldn't worry too much about it - every campground I've ever gone to has asked the length of the camper so as to place us in a spot that's suitable for the trailer. This includes the national park reservation I have for May and several state parks in different states.

I will say that ONE time with the B190, I think we got into a busy campground solely because the B190 is a smaller camper. But even there I don't know for sure - I don't think we took the last site, either.

If you are planning to camp in the back country, i.e., not at campgrounds, it might be an issue - unimproved roads or whatever are going to be harder to deal with a longer trailer. I haven't done this so I don't really know.

I will say our rig is over 50' long (21' for the truck, ~30' for the trailer, plus a bit for the hitch). There are situations at gas stations and parking lots you will NOT want to deal with when you have a bigger rig, so a smaller camper might be helpful there, but I can't imagine the 5' makes a huge difference most of the time. We've taken our trailer on several trips and never had a problem; we have a diesel so we just head to the truck diesel pumps and land in a truck parking spot. For food on the road we often will eat out of the camper, but if you want a restaurant it's best just to find one in a strip mall with ample parking. Again, not usually a problem.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:06 AM   #6
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I've towed a few trailers in varying lengths, shorter trailers have more options. I usually cruze around the camp sites with a pad of paper and a pencil to note sites I like. Usually in high camping season you need reservations. 30 foot trailers I believe are the max length for most State campgrounds.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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Exactly. I'm not sure that there are any state park systems whose online reservation system doesn't tell you the combined length of any and every site you may reserve. The stated pad lengths usually are a bit conservative. Sites with electric hookups tend toward adequate lengths. My combined tow length is 46' and I've never really encountered a 35' site here in forest & prairie that I can't fit into (can't say the same for pads that are bordered by rock). I'll back in as far as I can, unhitch and offset the truck from the A-frame if necessary -- staying off the grass as usually is required.

Older, hemmed in state park campgrounds may have fairly short sites. And there's a reputation for some of these in California coastal parks. I know a couple Minnesota parks in this category. But again the website will tell you.

National Forest sites (most unreservable but a few popular ones have reservations -- and a few even have electric & water at the site) tend toward a mix. They'll have some sites that'll only fit a popup (these may be sloped up to the pad) and others that will fit 50% more than Airstreamers ever will tow.

Our state forest sites tend to run fairly short in some places. Suspect they expect more family tents & popup campers. And in other places site length is plenty! Just have to get used to what is out there. A 30-footer will work just fine if you wanna go that direction.

Wednesday is the new Friday for popular small public campgrounds. You may see some sites where locals put a camper on a site and then don't come back until the weekend.

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:10 AM   #8
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You are correct. Many national campgrounds were built along time ago when trailers were smaller.

I was lucky to get a large space off season. Check the websites for the state and national campground maps have maps with size limits.

I have a 30ft trailer and I would love to have a 23 or 25 for shorter trips.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:27 AM   #9
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Being that Colorado is so pretty, and you would undoubtedly camp there, I'd get in the car and take a few sightseeing trips. Look in the campgrounds you're interested in and see what size RVs park there.

Here in CA its the national forest service campgrounds that tend to be small (some truly tiny). Some will hardly take a trailer at all, and something like a class B or very small C would be the best. As posted they were often built in the 50s or earlier for car camping. OTOH some are quite adequate for larger trailers due to rebuilding or the terrain they're built on is flat and ample. A good scouting pass through the campground is good idea if unsure. I have not found a guidebook yet I can trust before blindly pulling a widebody Airstream through many of these campgrounds with the expectation of no scuffing or damage.

For many other locations, I can say a few more feet than my 25 would have made little or no difference.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:35 AM   #10
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Length also limits the practicality of towing on some roads and surfaces. A 30+ footer may have problems on very tight turns and when towing over short steep abrupt transitions and driveways. You can high center the front of the trailer or end up dragging the tail end.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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I have never encountered anyone with a ruler regardless of what the guide book says is the limit however we have learned to walk first in some of the smaller forest service places, particularly in the west.
In many National parks it will be necessary to unhook due to short sites.
We have also had both longer and shorter trailers and have settled on 25 being a good length
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #12
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I'll defer to the more experienced in the wide variety of what's out there. I already know that my combination (both of them, respectively, at 65' and 63') make some turns and backing maneuvers "prohibited" and keep in mind that as an on-again, off-again truck driver I'm comfortable in solving this kind of problem.

I'd have to actually see or walk off the site and surrounding area, but concede that my choice of TV & TT eliminate some campsites altogether. The "cut" -- the width of the roadway -- is the crucial thing (as I am not willing to unhook and re-hook to get into a space).

A 28' instead of a 34' or 32' makes quite a difference as backing is greatly simplified, IMO. Parking a 20' truck then becomes the easier not-quite-a-problem-to-solve.

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Old 04-01-2012, 10:01 AM   #13
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Fear not, Travel Bird...if it's worth seeing, there will usually be accommodations nearby, either public or private.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:18 AM   #14
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That's true - the longer the trailer is - the more its campsite limitations.

This statement has more meaning in older public parks like national, state or provincial parks. The limitation is not just the length of the campsite - it is also the turning radius to get into the site - and then manouverability on the site to position your rig. Newer park layouts and older parks that have been redeveloped will accomodate larger numbers of longer and higher rigs much more comfortably.

As above - when you are registering or making a reservation you will be asked the length of your unit.

The implications for you are simply that not as many sites are available to you (in a busy time period this could be an issue) or the better, more scenic, sites are not available to you.

To give you an idea of what this means - check out the Ontario Parks Reservations site and do a little surfing through the various park reservation maps - Killarney, one of the most beautiful (and popular) parks in the province, is a good choice - you'll see that you're going to have a tough time trying to find a spot to fit your 30 footer into George Lake Campground. The Ontario Parks Reservation website is:


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