The other day I was looking to buy a cover for my motorhome and I was thinking about how I am I suppose to measure to fit a cover for winter storage. As it turns out how you measure an RV depends on the style of RV that you have and the purpose of your measuring. The measurement of any RV always starts at the rear bumper and where you measure to depends on your RV. Here is a break down of how RV’s are measured.
For Class A, B or C motorhomes, they are always measured from rear bumper to front bumper. The measurement does not include any kinds of ladders that are attached. The actual living space will always be less as the cabin, or your driving space is not really usable space when you are camping. For example, my Class C is 25.5 feet, but the cabin, motor compartment and bumper take up 7 feet 3 inches. So I am left with 18 feet 2 inches of usable camper space.
For trailers, the measurements begin at the rear bumper and go to the ball joint hitch right at the very front. This leaves the actual camper space to be at least 2 to 4 feet shorter for actual living space. I have a friend who has a trailer, which is 25 feet, the tongue is 2 feet long so he only has 23 feet of cabin space left. Some trailer tongues have a storage unit on the front, as well as the propane tanks, that takes away from your cabin space.
Pop up trailers are a little different as they are compact and expand out to double their size when at a campsite. The measurement is only of the box size. Pop up trailers typically come in sizes of 8, 10, 12 and more recently 14 feet. So an 8-foot box might expand out to 16 to 17 feet long after the tents are expanded out. The tongue of the trailer is not counted
5th wheels are measured from the back bumper all the way to the center of the kingpin in the front. With this measurement, there’s no lost space due to a tongue or driving space as you would see in motorhomes and travel trailers.
Teardrop trailers are measured for the cabin size from the back of the cabin to the front of the cabin. They do not include the tongue in the size of the Teardrop trailer. Traditionally they have only come in a few sizes, 8 feet and 10. In recent years more sizes have come out beyond that. A typical Teardrop that measures 8 feet with the tongue included can be 13 to 14 feet long.
So how campers are measured are not always intuitive. However, knowing the length and even the height of your Rv can be beneficial for many situations. From campsites to national parks and even for ferry crossings.
To be honest, I never really thought much about this when we bought our motorhome. And as we started to book camping spots we found out that there are certain situations where knowing the length of your RV is helpful. As prices are different depending on what you have. Here is a list that I put together.
The measurement for your camper for a cover is a little different than how they are typically measured. Often the measurements of length, width and height are required to get the proper fit for your RV. If you get one too small vs getting one too big that can cause flapping and ripping off your cover. Here is how to measure for your type of RV.
Back to front of the vehicle, bumper to bumper, and inclusive of any ladders and spare tires that might extend the length of the motorhome. Plus the height of the body from the bottom to the top, not the ground and also including anything stick up like an air conditioner. Then the width with the mirrors pushed in if you have mirrors that stick out.
For trailers and Teardrops, you simply measure the length, width, and height of the body. Sometimes trailers have additional storage attached to the front, which would be included in the measurement.
But the propane tanks are not included in that measurement. Spare tires, ladders at the back are included. The height of the body from the bottom to the top, not the ground up to the top. Plus the width of the body of the trailer.
5th wheel measurements are measured from the rear bumper or spare wheel or ladder to the very front of the camper. Then the height of the camper from the bottom of the body to the very top of the camper.
[image of measuring the 5th wheel]
Depending on the RV the heights are different. Here are the average heights for the different types of Motorhomes, trailers, 5th wheels and Teardrop trailers.
Measuring the height of a camper will start from the ground up to the highest point of your RV, this could include Air Conditioners, antennas or storage on top. The measurements not from the base of the cabin to the top.
So it depends on what you have for an RV. The typical width is anywhere from 5 feet to 8.5 feet wide. This measurement is from the factories and does not include the extension of the mirrors on the side when you are driving. To get the most accurate width it is best to measure the width with the mirrors all the way out as if you are ready to drive. This clearance is to ensure there is enough clearance to get around corners and through overpasses. Slideouts can also add a few feet to the width of your RV. typically they extend out 3 to 4 feet. So the width of your RV can easily be 11 to 13 feet wide with your extensions extended.
The length of campers varies greatly between what there is out there. From Class A’s to B’s and C’ to trailers and 5th wheels. Here is a chart the will give you the breakdown of the different types and the average lengths of each type of camper.