Travel trailers come in many shapes and sizes and offer different heights. Many factors play a role in determining the overall size of a travel trailer, including the number of axles, wheels, and the max height. Regardless of these factors, there are limits to what can safely fit on a state highway.
The maximum height of a travel trailer is 13 feet 6 inches across the USA. Maximum height refers to the size of a travel trailer from the ground to the top of the structure, and it’s essential since overhangs and bridges on roads may restrict your access when hauling one.
In this article, I’ll explain what the max height refers to when considering a travel trailer, and I’ll go over a few reasons why it’s essential to keep the size in mind.
Why the Maximum Height of a Travel Trailer is Important
Max height is the overall height of a travel trailer from ground to rooftop. This measurement can vary depending on a travel trailer’s base model. It doesn’t matter if the trailer has four or six wheels or multiple axles. Max height is limited by what will fit on state highways.
The maximum height of a travel trailer is important to know because state law can vary when it comes to the max height you’re allowed to tow. Bridge clearance is a critical factor in max size, especially if you’re hauling in urban areas.
If you stick to posted restrictions regarding the maximum height of travel trailers, then there won’t be any problems or concerns about legality when driving down the road.
If your trailer exceeds the max height allowed by your state, then you should not tow it until you have modified it to fit within the legal requirements.
Additionally, max height is essential for several other reasons. Using an improper height travel trailer will make it challenging to drive through certain areas, like underpasses and bridges. It’s also crucial because many roads have height restrictions posted on their perimeters.
So, let’s look at these factors in detail and talk about how they might affect you and your travel trailer:
Urban Areas Are Often Obstructed
Urban areas typically have more low bridges and underpasses than rural areas. There may not be any posted height restrictions, but signs often warn drivers of low bridges and tunnels. Driving through these can damage both your trailer and the vehicle towing it.
Urban areas also typically have more obstructions in the road, like stop lights and power lines. Though these generally are not low enough to interfere with your travel trailer, there is always a possibility you’ll clip one.
The roads are larger in rural areas, thus allowing more space to travel at higher speeds. Broader, less-obstructed roads also mean you’ll have more room to move around obstructions like signs and poles. Rural areas may not have any posted height restrictions, but there are often signs warning drivers of certain kinds of roads, so always pay attention to the signs when driving a travel trailer to your next destination.
Bridge Height and Overpass Clearance Are Vital
Bridge clearance is one of the main factors you should consider when picking a travel trailer or planning a route. It’s not just a safety concern for you but also your fellow motorists driving under these overpasses.
If your trailer hits a bridge or other structure, then you could cause significant damage or even start a deadly chain reaction involving multiple cars.
The impact can also cause serious personal injury depending on the vehicle’s height and how much clearance there was at the time of the crash.
Low bridges in urban areas can present problems to even the most cautious motorists. To prevent an accident, know your travel trailer’s height, and pay attention to the posted clearance measurements on bridges and overpasses.
Parking Garages and Spaces May Not Have a High Enough Clearance
When parking, especially at campsites, you should be aware of the height of your trailer and try to park as close as possible to cabins, trees, or other objects that will protect your travel trailer from overhangs.
If you plan on storing your travel trailer when it isn’t in use, knowing its height and the height of your garage space will help you to determine if your travel trailer will fit into that space or not.
In urban areas, parking garages will most likely be an issue for travel trailers, but when in doubt, ask an attendant before driving in, so you don’t damage the garage’s roof. Most garages and parking areas will post signs detailing clearance measurements in visible areas.
What Is the Average Exterior Travel Trailer Height?
Exterior height varies, so you’ll find travel trailers of all shapes and sizes. If you consider purchasing a travel trailer, the most important measurements you will need to take are exterior width and length.
The average exterior travel trailer height is between 8.5′ and 10′ (2.59 and 3 meters), which will keep you safe from scraping against bridges and overpasses. In addition, travel trailers that are between 10 and 11 feet (3 and 3.35 meters) are safe to drive on federal highways or interstates.
How To Measure the Height of Your Travel Trailer
If you’ve already hitched your travel trailer to your vehicle of choice, then measuring the trailer’s height is simple. You can measure the size with a tape measure and a ladder.
To measure the height of your travel trailer, hitch it to the vehicle you’re using to pull it. Then, using the tape measure, measure from the ground beside one of the back tires to the highest point of your travel trailer. That’s how high your travel trailer stands.
When taking these measurements, always make sure there are no obstacles above where you will be placing your travel trailers, such as power lines, low-hanging tree branches, or other obstructions that could get in your line of sight.
If you are measuring the height of a travel trailer not already hitched up to your vehicle, be sure to measure from where you will be placing the hitch to the highest point on your new travel trailer.
Once you have these measurements, it’s essential to consider if your trailer has an appropriate height for pulling with your chosen type of vehicle.
If possible, consult an owner’s manual or a reputable salesperson before considering purchasing a travel trailer to understand the limits of each model and make. You should also ensure that a trailer is recommended for use with your specific vehicle’s make and model.
What is the Average Interior Travel Trailer Height?
The inside of a travel trailer is also a consideration when choosing a model that will fit your needs. This dimension is an important consideration, especially if you intend on using your travel trailer as a primary residence.
The average interior travel trailer height is about 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall, but you can find smaller models as low as 5’6″ (1.68 meters). The easiest way to measure the interior height is with a tape measure, starting from the lowest to the highest points on the interior.
The maximum travel trailer height is 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 meters). Maximum height is measured from the lowest point on the travel trailer to its highest. Knowing this measurement is essential for passing under bridges and overpasses you may encounter during your travels. Travel trailers vary widely in size, although travel trailer manufacturers’ maximum height is standard across the country.
The height of most travel trailers is about 8.5 to 10 feet (2.59 and 3 meters). You should always ensure you’re aware of this measurement before hauling your travel trailer anywhere.
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David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.