5th Wheel Length Behind The Truck (Total Length Guide)

Not every person who wants to live in an RV or trailer has the same tastes. Some like their trailers long, while others like them short. RV makers have known about this for a long time. That is why there is such a large selection of 5th wheels in all sizes.

There are different lengths to the 5th wheels. Some are short while others can get to 41 feet long. Most people may or may not count the 4 to 5 feet over the bed of the truck when they state the length. You may have to ask if that length is included or not in their claims.

To learn more about the length of a 5th wheel trailer, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can find the right size for you. There are plenty of 5th wheel trailers at every length.

How many feet is a 5th Wheel?


The better way to phrase that question would be, ‘how long is the average 5th wheel trailer?’ It is not wrong to word it the original way but some people may not understand what you mean. Or you will get a bad joke that says 5th wheel trailers have no feet.

The average length of a 5th wheel trailer is 32 feet. Being average you know that there are longer and shorter models out there. There is an important reason why you should know the length of your 5th wheel trailer.

When you go to make reservations at RV parks and campgrounds, the first question they will ask is, ‘how long is your trailer?’ It is hard to find a campground or RV park that can accommodate a lot of long 5th-wheel trailers.

Some people can beat you to those spots and you will have to move on to your second or third choices. The average height is between 9 and 12 feet and the average width is between 8 and 8 1/2 feet. There are clearance issues when you drive on different roads.

Plus, many states have laws restricting vehicle width to 8 or 8 1/2 feet.

What Lengths do 5th Wheel Campers Come In?

The most popular lengths for 5th wheel trailers run between 34 and 44 feet long. Some people like to start at 33 feet in length and it all depends on their needs and if they are comfortable with towing longer trailers or not.

People also like shorter RVs and while they are not as popular, they are still good trailers to own. You can fit almost anywhere you want if there is a reservation opening.

You can get a Scamp that doesn’t even reach 18 feet in length. When it is just the two of you, this may be all that you will need. It is not that large in height or width so if you are not tall, this may be the perfect set up for you.

The Scamp is supposed to be the shortest and the lightest 5th wheel trailer on the market today. These 5th wheel options are made to order. There are no dealers or expensive model series to choose from.

If you want one, you have to call the manufacturer and place your order or go out to buy a used one. However, that latter option is hard to do as many people hang onto their models or sell them at a premium.

5th Wheel Length Behind The Truck


The best that can be said for this question is 4 to 5 feet approx. It will depend a lot on the length of your trailer. This is why most people will tell you to not use a short bed truck when hauling a 5th wheel.

There is just not enough clearance when you want to use your short bed truck. When you turn sharply, and you will, you will bang the trailer into the back of the cab of your vehicle.

You need at least 6 inches of clearance between your trailer and the cab of your truck. This is when you are in turning motion, not driving motion. Usually, you should have the standard bed size behind the cab to make sure you have enough clearance for turning.

Also, you should drive either a 3/4 or 1 ton pick up truck when towing a 5th wheel. The power and the towing capability are greater than it is with a 1/2 ton pick up truck.

Of course, for the smaller 5th wheel trailers, a 1/2 ton should be sufficient and get you to where you are going and back again. But make sure the trailer does not exceed the towing limit of the 1/2 ton including passengers, supplies, and equipment.

The Total Length Of The Fifth Wheel And Truck

There is a little equation you can use to help you figure this question out. It is the length of the trailer + the length of the tow vehicle - the overlap. The overlap is the part of the trailer that is over top of the bed of the truck.

To put this in numbers, if your trailer is 35 feet long and your truck is 15 feet long that equals 50 feet in length. But you need to subtract the 3 to 5 feet overlap which puts your total length at 47 to 45 feet.

This is important information because some states have laws about how long a vehicle and trailer combination can be. Texas is supposed to be 65 feet in length but other states may not be so generous.

You would have to check with your local State department covering this issue and ask them. Each state will have its own rules on how long a trailer vehicle combination can be.

Make sure if your home state’s length is longer than the states you will be traveling to if you will be okay in those latter states. Generally, you should be okay

How do You Measure 5th Wheel Length?


It has been stated that measuring a 5th wheel’s length is subjective. That is because different manufacturers, dealers, and owners measure the 5th wheel trailer in different ways.

For the most accurate measurement, you start at the furthest forward point of the trailer and measure to the furthest rear point on the trailer. That can be from the nose to the end of the rear bumper. Or the nose to the end of the ladder on the back.

Generally, the manufacturer of your brand provides the most accurate measurements for your 5th wheel. Check the manual, the brochures, and other documents to make sure this is correct.

Do not trust the dealer as they may measure from the point the trailer crosses the bumper back to the end of the trailer. If they do that, you may have to add on several feet to their total to get close to the actual length.

Bring a tape measure with you when you go shopping so you know. Again, you need to know the length if you are planning on staying at different campgrounds across the country. You need to provide that information so the owners can give you the proper length of the pad to rest your trailer on.

How do Campgrounds Measure Fifth Wheel Length?

Generally, campgrounds go by total length. That would be from the nose of your 5th wheel to the end of the rear bumper. There may be other ways they measure but this is the most used one.

Part of the reason why they need to know the measurement is that they are trying to fit you into a campsite with the best number of turns. This is especially important when you have to back into a site.

Some campgrounds may ask for the width of your trailer. To get an accurate width measurement, you need to extend all slides. Those extended slides need room and having two different trailers’ slides bang into each other causes a lot of problems for the campground owners.

You need to ask the right questions upfront when you are making your reservation. Some campgrounds have a maximum length and width limit and they do not budge on those limits.

State parks in some areas can be notoriously low when it comes to allowable lengths and widths. Measure accurately, so you can give the campground actual size. If they turn you down, then move on to another campsite in the area.

5th Wheel Length vs Travel Trailer


While both trailers come in different sizes, generally, the 5th wheel will have the longest trailers of the two. The big difference between the lengths is due to the fact that there are about 4-5 feet overhanging the bed of the truck for the 5th wheel model.

You get more living space with that trailer than you would with a similar bumper tow travel trailer. The extra length does not mean that the 5th wheel option is harder to tow. It is the travel trailer that is more difficult to tow even if it is vastly smaller than the 5th wheel.

However, since the 5th wheel sits up higher than a travel trailer and is often taller than the travel trailer, you will get less fuel mileage towing a 5th wheel. This is something to consider when you are trying to decide which of the two models you will buy.

Yet, if you want luxury, the 5th wheel tops the travel trailer every time. They are generally heavier as there is only so much weight you can put on the axles of the travel trailer.

There are a lot of differences between these two trailers than just length. Make sure to get a complete picture before making your buying decisions.

5th Wheel Length Restrictions By State

We will quote one website and provide the information of a few states. Then we will link to 2 top websites that have all the information for each state. All the quotes will come from the first link. The second one has a chart that provides different state statutes as well.

1. Alabama

Size limitations: Height, 13'6"; Width, 8'6"; trailer length, 40'; motorhome length, 45'; combined length 65'. Triple towing is not allowed.

Required Equipment: Safety chain, breakaway switch required on trailers over 3,000 pounds, flares or reflective signs, fire extinguisher in RV suggested, but not required. Brakes are required on trailers with unladen weight of 3,000 pounds. Wipers on and lights when required.

Trailer Speed Limits: Must be reasonable and proper.

2. Alaska

Size Limits: Height, 14'; Width, 8'5"; Motorhome Length, 45'; Trailer Length, 40'; Combined Length, 75'. Triple towing is permitted.

Required Equipment: Safety chains, Breakaway switch on towed vehicles/trailers weighing over 3,000 pounds, flares or reflective signs, brakes required on towed vehicles/trailers weighing over 5,000 pounds.

All children under the age of four, regardless of weight, must ride in a federally approved child safety seat while traveling.

Trailer Speed Limits: The maximum speed while towing a mobile home is 45 mph.

3. Arizona

Size limitations: Height, 13'6"; Width, 8' (8'6" on certain federal road systems); Trailer Length, 40'; Motorhome length, 45'; Combined length, 65'. Triple towing is allowed only with a fifth-wheel trailer.

Required Equipment: Breakaway switch required on trailers over 3,000 pounds and brakes required on gross weight vehicles of 3,000 pounds.

Trailer Speed Limits: Vehicles towing trailers or semitrailers may not exceed a rate of speed that causes lateral sway.

4. Arkansas

Size Limitations: Height, 13'6"; Width, 8'6"; Trailer Length, 43'6", Motorhome Length, 45'; Combined Length, 65'. Triple towing is allowed.

Required Equipment: Safety chain, breakaway switch required on trailers over 3,000 pounds, flares, or reflective signs. Brakes are required on trailers with a gross weight of 1,500 pounds. Wipers/lights on when required.

Trailer Speed Limits: Speed limits are 70 mph on rural interstates; 55 mph on urban freeways; or as posted. 45 mph is maximum when towing house trailer.

5. California

Size Limitations: Height, 14'; Width, 8'6"; Trailer length, 40'; Motorhome length, 45' but some exceptions and restrictions may apply see http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/length.html; Combined length, 65'.

45' Motorhome: A 45' motorhome refers to a single-unit motorhome that is longer than 40 feet but not more than 45 feet. (Note: A vehicle combination, e.g. a motorhome towing a vehicle or trailer, may be up to 65 feet in length. If the single-unit motorhome is 40 feet or less in length, the combination is not subject to the route restrictions for the 45' motorhome.) http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/bus-motorhome/45-motorhomes.htm

Required Equipment: Safety chain, breakaway switch, fire extinguisher in RV, flares or reflective signs, brakes required on trailers with a gross weight over 1,500 pounds.


S ize Limits: Height, 13'.5"; Width, 8'.6" (on certain federal road systems); Trailer length, 40'; Motorhome length, 45'' Combined length, 65'. Triple towing is not allowed.

Required Equipment: Safety chain, breakaway switch, fire extinguisher in RV, flares or reflective signs, brakes on gross weight towed vehicle or trailer of 3,000 pounds or more. Lights and wipers on during rain.

Trailer Speed Limits: Unless otherwise posted, 30 mph in business and residential districts, and 55 mph at any time at all other locations. Turnpike and other designated highways 65 mph, except where posted 70 mph (minimum speed 50 mph).

See the rest of the states and any information we edited out for space considerations at this link. For the table and different states' statutes click on this link.

State Park Length Restrictions

Again for space restrictions in this article, we can only provide an example of the different state parks and what length of RV or trailer they will allow in their campgrounds.

You will have to talk to them about the number of available spots for your size of trailer and other details. This chart just gives you an idea of how short you need to be at certain state parks.

Name of park Length limit
El Capitán State Beach 42 feet for RVs and trailers
Limekiln State Park RVs 25 feet; trailers 15 feet
Morro Bay State Park 35 feet for both RVs and trailers
Point Mugu state park 31 feet for trailers and RVs
San Onofre 25 feet for both types of RVs
Turlock Lake 27 feet for RVs; 24 feet for trailers
Lake Oroville Trailers 35 feet & RVs 40 feet
Folsom Lake 31 feet for both

For national parks, the average length will be 28 feet but some national parks will allow up to 40 feet in length. Others may only allow 20 feet in length. Make sure to call ahead so you find the one that will accept your trailer length.

Some Final Words

Finding the length of your 5th wheel is a matter of measuring properly. If you want the behind the length of the truck, start at your truck's rear bumper and go to your 5th wheel’s rear bumper. Just be accurate.

This information is very important as you can see by the state laws and the state park’s limitations. But don’t let this information stop you from buying the longer trailer you want.

Leave a Comment: