If you’ve just bought your new trailer and are eager to get to that campground you’ve had an eye on for some time, to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, relax for a few days and take in the beautiful scenery, you want to know how campgrounds measure trailer length.
The last thing you want is for you to neglect this essential part of your preparation and end up being turned away from the campground following a long four-hour drive after work on a Friday night, that not only be heartbreaking but majorly frustrating.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers have confusing information regarding the length and height measurement of their trailers and so you’re always better off working this out yourself whilst it’s parked up at your home.
But most importantly, you’re going to want to know how campgrounds measure trailers as this will be the formula you are going to have to use before you set off.
That way, you’ll avoid disappointment knowing that you’re not going to end up bringing something that crosses the maximum length restriction of your chosen campground.
Luckily, I’ve written this article to help you out, so keep reading to find out how campgrounds really do measure trailer length and then try it for yourself!
Before we start, when measuring a trailer, you should take note that there are usually three measurements a camper will have.
You will have the internal space of your camper, the exterior side of the trailer, and the camper that holds the trailer combined. In this article, however, we are focusing on trailer length.
But it is still important to note that when you go on any camping trip, having all three of these measurements will help you get both a better towing experience, as well as an idea of where you can park it.
It saves you hassle on the road and once measured and written down, you won’t have to measure again so it’s worth taking ten minutes out of your day to do this as soon as possible after purchasing your trailer or changing your camper.
Measurements used at campgrounds
Before taking the measurement, find out if your campgrounds measure trailer length. When it comes to measuring, campgrounds often consider length from the rear bumper to the tongue of your trailer.
This is the usable space length is and the authorities set this measurement for every trailer allowed into the ground.
Most campgrounds do have a leeway of around 3-4 feet but try to measure this as accurately as possible so you feel confident you’re not going to be turned away.
To measure, place your measuring tape to the part when the trailer cabin meets the tow hitch. However, if the front bumper crosses the tow hitch’s beginning, start from the furthest protruding part on the back bumper.
Next, you’re going to want to stretch the tape out and bring it round to the tow hitch’s farthest point. Mark this if necessary.
Some hitches come with an upward angle and in this case, you need to go for a straightforward extending measurement over the hitch’s whole length.
After this, you should have the measurements for both the cabin and trailer hitch and all that is left to do is add them together to get the full length of your trailer.
This is the length you need to jot down and use when making reservations at any campground.
The Great Outdoors RV™ made a pretty good video on campground measurements that you should watch:
If the above link doesn’t work for some reason, click here.
Alternative ways to measure trailer length
The method above however is not the only way to measure your trailer. Another way of measuring is by starting the measurement from the ball mount. You then can take it back to the bumper’s back part.
There are even records of companies advertising the floor plan length as the length of your trailer.
In this case, the length measurement would exclude the rear bumper or any toque calculations which means at a campground, you’re going to be a few feet off what they measure your trailer at on entry as you’ve only measured what’s essentially inside.
Before measuring, you need to find out what you are measuring for. This will inevitably determine what measurements you go by.
To enter an RV campground, for example, you will need to consider the tow hitch together, and calculating the entire length of the trailer will be necessary to avoid being turned away.
Similar to how campgrounds measure, I am now going to take you through the average trailer measuring technique.
Starting with a tape measure, you need to locate the furthest part of the back bumper that is protruding out, just as you would if you were measuring for a campground and the front bumper crosses your tow hitch’s beginning.
Hold the tape here. Usually, curved bumpers have this part on their center point. An important tip is to ask for someone’s help on the next part so that you get the most accurate measurements.
They will need to keep a hold of the tape at the rear bumper point when you start stretching the tape out. This tape should go down towards the trailer’s cabinet length and to the front bumper.
You want to stop again at the farthest protruding part at the front now. Take note of this figure and for general purposes, this is the measurement of your trailer.
What’s the average trailer length?
Most travel trailers come with a width that does not exceed 8 feet and 5 inches. This is because most states won’t allow anything more.
However, always check with the manufacturer for further details and to be specifically aware of measurements as they can still differ a lot.
How to measure your trailer length for campgrounds is a concern for most campers and knowing how to do it accurately is a key skill for a successful trip.
This is why I have provided you with both a general method of measuring, as well as what the campground considers final measurements to be so you are prepared for any scenario.
To be absolutely certain, check with the campground authority how they measure trailers, especially if you are traveling far, and in most cases, they will not only provide this information but also additional information that might help you have an all-around more pleasant camping experience at their campground.
So what are you waiting for? Grab that tape and get measuring!