You merge onto the freeway. It is the maiden voyage in your new RV. Your gear is stowed away. The family is getting nestled in. You bring it up to freeway speed. It handles perfectly.
Then, you see it: low bridge ahead. You have no idea what the height of your RV is. You take the exit.
Knowing the height of your RV is important when planning your trip and traveling on the open road. It will save you time and aggravation. It will ensure you and your companions will arrive at your destination safely.
Don’t let the next low bridge sign be the exit from your adventure far from home. Learning and remembering the height of your RV will keep you on the road.
What is the height of an RV?
No two RVs are the same. The heights and widths can vary from manufacturer to model. Accessories and aftermarket upgrades can even change the heights of the same models.
There is a lot to unpack on the top of an RV. Let’s look at the average heights of some RV classes.
Class A is the most luxurious option in the RV lineup. They have an average height of 13 feet, 6 inches. Some can even be near the 14-foot mark.
Class B is the smallest in the fleet. Most have heights from 7 feet to 9 feet. They include camper vans and are very maneuverable and have no problem getting into most places since they aren’t much bigger than the average SUV.
Class C motorhomes are between Class A and Class C in size and height. They can be as short as 10 feet and some as tall as 12 feet with the average just over 11 feet.
What about a travel trailer’s height?
Travel trailers have the largest variance in height from model to model. A general rule is the longer the trailer the taller it will be.
The majority average in the 10-foot to 11-foot height range with the tallest at 12 feet, making most of them too tall for even the largest garages.
Smaller teardrop and tent trailers are significantly smaller than their bigger brothers. Most of the teardrop travel trailers are in the 4 ft to 6 ft range, making them smaller than some of the SUVs that they are being towed by.
What is the average height of a 5th wheel?
Fifth-wheel trailers can be some of the largest on the road rivaling some of the largest Class A versions.
They can have an average height range of 11 feet to 13 feet, making them rivals for the tallest RV on the road. Additions to the top can put them near the 14-foot height mark.
The height of the fifth wheel is usually measured while parked and disconnected from the tow vehicles. With the front part raised to provide standing room inside attached to the tow vehicle, it may be even higher.
What is the maximum federally regulated height on RVs?
There is no maximum federal regulated height for commercial vehicles including RVs.
Does that mean the sky is the limit? Not exactly. Some states have limited the heights of commercial vehicles. Florida currently limits the height to 13 feet, 6 inches.
You may need to check the regulations of the states you are traveling through if you have concerns about the height of your RV.
What are the average heights of bridges?
The average marked bridge and overpass on highways will be between 14-16 feet. Bridges and overpasses over 16 feet, 5 inches on highways do not need marking.
Bridges on local and rural roads can be even shorter, so knowing your vehicle’s height is essential.
Bridges that are marked on the highways and local aren’t always accurate. Road repaving can subtract as much as 6 inches from the clearance of the bridge height.
If there is any doubt that your RV can fit under the bridge, turning around and finding a different route is the best option.
How can I be sure of the height of my trailer?
The manufacturer’s measured height of your RV may not be completely accurate.
Aftermarket additions such as air conditioners and antennas can raise the height beyond the previous measurement by the manufacturer. The only way to know is to have the RV measured.
Not knowing the height of your RV can cause you to run into overhead obstructions. You can also damage your RV or anything attached to its roof. If you have any concerns about height and clearance, it is best to turn around and find a different route.
Tips when measuring your RV height.
When measuring your RV be sure to measure to the highest point of the RV. The highest point may not be the roof if there are additions to the top of your RV.
If you are measuring a fifth wheel or travel trailer, it must be measured when connected to the tow vehicle.
After measuring the final height of your RV, write it down and post it somewhere near the driver so it’s easily accessible during travel.
Is there anything else to know?
Low clearance bridges and overpasses may not be the only obstacles you find testing your RVs height on the roads. Most campgrounds can have archways that may block your entrance.
Tree limbs and signs can hang on the road. Most roads are not marked and require a knowledgeable operator to avoid.
There are apps and navigation devices with built-in alerts for low bridges built into them. They can help plan your route and warn you of any dangers on your trip.
The heights of RVs can be as varied as the RVs themselves. Additions for air conditioning and communication to the top can easily increase the height of your RV.
The best way to know the height of your RV is to measure it. Lastly, if there is any doubt, turn around. You can save damaging your RV. Happy Motoring!
Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.