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We have all seen those gigantic trailers being towed down the road called 5th wheels. Every time I am behind a fifth wheel and we approach an underpass I wonder: How Tall is a 5th Wheel Camper?
While the law in many states caps 5th wheel height at 13 feet 6 inches tall the average height of a 5th wheel is 13 feet tall.
What Is a 5th Wheel Trailer?
A 5th wheel camper refers to a type of RV that gives you the benefits of a larger model without being a full-blown house on wheels. This means that you still need to tow the camper, but it is much larger than your average trailer.
If you were confused, the fifth wheel does not actually refer to a fifth wheel. Instead, the fifth wheel is a hitch that allows the driver to connect a cargo attachment to the back of a pickup truck.
These hitches were initially invented for horse-drawn carriages in the 1850s. However, over the years they have been implemented into various transport vehicles. They help a great deal with stability and maneuverability.
When you are looking for a 5th wheel camper there is a lot to consider. However, before you make your purchase it is important to consider a variety of factors. This way you will be sure that you are purchasing the best camper for you. One of the most important considerations is the height of your 5th wheel camper.
What Is the Average Height of a 5th Wheel Camper?
When you start to look for the best 5th wheel camper for you, you will quickly find that they come in many sizes. There are laws that prevent them from being more than 13.5 feet tall. However, only select campers reach that size. Instead, the average 5th wheel camper is about 13 feet tall. This measurement is from the top of the roof to the ground. However, you should note that the height can change a bit depending on the height of the attached truck, the fifth wheel profile, and the hitch height.
How Do You Measure the Height of a 5th Wheel Camper?
Before you head out on your first trip with your 5th wheel camper, it is important to measure it. It’s important because you need to think about height restrictions when going under bridges and through tunnels. That is not something you naturally think about when you are driving a car because they are not relevant. However, when you have a large RV or 5th wheel camper, height restrictions can affect your travel plans.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you should measure both when it is unhitched and when it is hooked up. Sometimes the addition of a truck and hitch can increase the height. Fortunately, measuring the height is easy and can be done with a standard tape measure.
You can measure your 5th wheel camper by starting at the tallest point of the roof down to where the tires meet the ground. Many people will measure from inside the cab, but you should not do this because this will only give you an idea of the standing room, not the actual height of the camper.
Additionally, if you have any roof additions you should include them in your measurements. A lot of the time they can put your vehicle over the legal height limit, so check them before you get on the road.
Typically, height is not a huge issue for fifth wheel owners. Width and length cause problems more than height. The only time height becomes an issue is if you are traveling through areas that have a lot of tunnels and covered bridges.
Does Each State Have RV Height Limits for 5th Wheels?
Yes, each state has different height limits. As a result, you will need to check to make sure your RV is legal everywhere you are traveling through on your trip. Below are the height limits of each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. If you were planning on traveling through a state where your RV does not meet the height restrictions you will need to adjust your trip.
State Height Restrictions
Alabama: 13 feet 6 inches
Alaska: 15 feet
Arizona: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads)
Arkansas: 13 feet 6 inches
California: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads)
Colorado: 14 feet 6 inches
Connecticut: 13 feet 6 inches (excluding appurtenances up to 6 inches)
Delaware: 13 feet 6 inches
District of Columbia: 13 feet 6 inches
Florida: 13 feet 6 inches
Georgia: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads)
Hawaii: 14 feet
Idaho: 14 feet
Illinois: 13 feet 6 inches
Indiana: 13 feet 6 inches
Iowa: 13 feet 6 inches (excluding safety equipment up to 6 inches)
Kansas: 14 feet
Kentucky: 13 feet 6 inches
Louisiana: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads)
Maine: 13 feet 6 inches
Maryland: 13 feet 6 inches
Massachusetts: 13 feet 6 inches
Michigan: 13 feet 6 inches
Minnesota: 13 feet 6 inches
Mississippi: 13 feet 6 inches
Missouri: 13 feet 6 inches (14 feet on designated roads)
Montana: 14 feet
Nebraska: 14 feet 6 inches
Nevada: 14 feet
New Hampshire: 13 feet 6 inches
New Jersey: 13 feet 6 inches
New Mexico: 14 feet
New York: 13 feet 6 inches
North Carolina: 13 feet 6 inches
North Dakota: 14 feet
Ohio: 13 feet 6 inches
Oklahoma: 13 feet 6 inches
Oregon: 14 feet
Pennsylvania: 13 feet 6 inches
Rhode Island: 13 feet 6 inches
South Carolina: 13 feet 6 inches
South Dakota: 14 feet
Tennessee: 13 feet 6 inches
Texas: 14 feet
Utah: 14 feet
Vermont: 13 feet 6 inches
Virginia: 13 feet 6 inches
Washington: 14 feet
West Virginia: 13 feet 6 inches
Wisconsin: 13 feet 6 inches
Wyoming: 14 feet
Puerto Rico: 13 feet 6 inches
Tips to Avoid Damaging Your 5th Wheel Camper
After you purchase your 5th wheel camper you are going to be filled with excitement. Finally, you have the thing you need to go wherever you want in the country. Now you can travel as much as you like and wherever you like. However, you need to be careful with your camper or it could be damaged. You do not want that, especially when it is brand new. Here we will talk about a few things you can do to avoid damaging your 5th wheel camper.
1. Use a Proper RV GPS – (Not Waze)
Before you start your first RV trip you will need to purchase an RV GPS. You will have plenty of options to choose from, but it is important to go with a proper RV GPS. Waze is an option that you will come across that might be intriguing. However, you should use a regular RV GPS instead.
The problem with Waze is that it doesn’t know how tall your rig is so sometimes it will route you down roads that could have a bridge you can’t drive under. As a result, there is a chance that your RV could get damaged as you make your way through narrow passages that your RV can barely fit through.
An RV GPS will take the size of your vehicle into account and plan out your trip accordingly. So, you will not need to worry about the roads you are traveling on with a proper RV GPS.
We like the RV GPS offered by Garmin. The Garmin RV 785 is a perfect GPS for any 5th Wheel or RV. And it comes with a Dash Camera too!
2. Plan Your Route
You should always plan out your route before you start your trip. Even if you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants when you are traveling in a car, you should not do this in an RV. Having your route planned out is important because you cannot travel on every road with your RV.
As a result, if you are just going in the general direction of your destination, you might need to double back at some point because you cannot go on a certain road. Having your trip planned out will save you a lot of time in the long term.
3. Do Not Forget to Add the Height of the AC Unit
Measuring the height of your 5th wheel camper is one of the most important steps in the preparation process. Failing to do this can lead to disastrous crashes when you try to go through a tunnel or under a bridge. While most people will measure the height of their RV, many will forget to add the height of the air conditioning unit on top of the camper.
The AC unit generally goes on the top of the 5th wheel, and as a result, it adds up to one foot of height. You need to make sure you take this into account when measuring the height of your RV. Otherwise, your AC might clip the roof of a tunnel or the underside of a bridge.
4. Slow Down Under Bridges
Finally, you should always slow down when you are going through a tunnel or under a bridge in an RV or 5th wheel camper. This is especially important if the clearance is going to be tight. The reason you slow down is to make sure that your RV does not bounce when going over bumps or move up and down in any way because of its suspension.
Slowing down will help you make it under the bridge without any issues. It might seem tedious to slow down, but you will be happy you did it when your trailer makes it safely under the bridge. The last thing you want is to damage your RV because you were not patient. So, take your time and you will be on your way safe and sound.
Examples of 5th Wheel Heights
|Keystone||3120 RL||13’ 4”|
|Keystone||3855 BR||13’ 5”|
|Keystone||3781 RL||13’ 4”|
|Forest River||271 RK||12’ 11”|
|Forest River||335 RLX||13’ 3”|
|Forest River||832 CLSB||11’ 7”|
|Forest River||37 MRE||13’ 4”|
|Jayco||24 RE||13’ 0”|
|Jayco||317 RLOK||12’ 11”|
|Jayco||310 RLTS||13’ 4”|
Enjoy Your 5th Wheel Camper
After reading our article, we hope you have all the information you need to know to answer the question: How tall is a 5th wheel camper? We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it should all be helpful as you move forward. Purchasing a 5th wheel camper is a big commitment to make, so you want to take care of it. The last thing you want is to damage your camper because you did not properly measure the height. So, take your time with your preparation and you will have a much safer time on your vacation.
After you purchase your 5th wheel trailer you will probably be filled with excitement. You will want to get on the road immediately to start your first trip as soon as you can. However, before you can do that you need to check a few things.
First, you need to measure the height of your camper when it is hitched to your vehicle. This will let you know which bridges and tunnels you have clearance for. Additionally, you need to plan out your trip with your RV GPS so that you do not end up on roads that are unfit for RVs. Then you will be ready for your trip to start.
RVing is a great experience to have as a family. However, you will not have a good time if you clip your AC on the roof of a tunnel. So, make sure you take your time with measurements before you start your trip. Then you can get started and travel to wherever you want in the country!
Which 5th wheel camper do you want to rent or purchase? Where do you plan on going once you have your camper? What interests you about 5th wheel campers? Let us know in the comments below!