Does The Length of a Travel Trailer Include The Hitch?

This is an ongoing debate. What adds to the debate is that many manufacturers measure their own way. If you do not know this, you may be confused when you do some comparison shopping. The length of the trailer is important for the original cost and resale value.

Does the length of a travel trailer include the hitch? The general rule is your trailer has to reach a certain length before the hitch is excluded. Some owners will include the hitch length as part of the trailer length while others will not. Then some manufacturers will exclude the hitch while others will not.

To learn more about this debate and topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about so that you can make the proper measurement. The hitch is part of the trailer just like the frame and living area.

Does Travel Trailer Exterior Length Include Hitch?


The answer is yes and no. If the trailer is under 25 feet long, then the hitch is included in the length of the trailer. When it says overall length and the measurement is stated at 18 feet. That means you have 15 feet of living space and 3 feet of hitch space.

When the trailer measures 25 feet or longer, then the hitch is not usually included in the overall length. Just the living area is measured. But not everyone follows this rule. Jayco, Escape and Bigfoot trailer companies do not include the hitch in their measurements.

When these companies take their measurements they stop where the living space ends and leave out the hitch length. Then some private owners do not include the hitch either. They advertised their trailers as 9 feet long even though they should be advertised as a 12-foot trailer.

Then some people will quote the overall length of the trailer to make it sound like you are getting a larger unit than you really are.

Trailer Measuring Guide


The trailer measuring guide is as reported in the previous section. You should include the hitch length when measuring the trailer up to about 25 feet. After that, you do not include the hitch length.

The rule of thumb though is that you measure from the foremost point of the trailer hitch to the furthest point at the rear of the trailer. In other words, you are to go from the front of the hitch to the back of the rear bumper. You do not include the spare tire.

What this means is that if a Scamp or Casita trailer is advertised as 16 to 17 feet in length, you are actually only getting between 13 to 14 feet of living space. If your Kodiak is 28 feet long in the advertisement, then you are actually buying a 31-foot trailer.

How To Measure Travel Trailer Length


To be accurate, you need to know your starting and ending points when taking measurements. The rule of thumb is that you measure from the extreme front of the hitch to the extreme back of the last extremity of the trailer. That is a fancy word for bumper.

In other words, you go from the front of the hitch to the rear of the bumper. Not where the bumper starts, but where it stops. Things like spare tires, AC units, racks ladders do not count. Those items are not technically part of the trailer. They are accessories.

That rule is for those trailers under 25 feet in length. Normally, you will not include the hitch length in measuring those trailers longer than 25 feet. Sounds confusing but that is the way it is supposed to be.

What makes things worse is that there will be companies and owners who don't follow that rule. Then different states have different rules for licensing purposes.

How Do Campgrounds Measure Trailer Length?


Each campground and national park will have its own measuring system. But length is not really an issue unless the RV or trailer is over the restricted length that some campgrounds impose.

Generally, these locations have a variety of camping spots so they can accommodate different lengths. It is best when reserving a spot to tell the campground the actual length of your trailer so they can reserve the right spot for you.

The measurement goes from the front of the hitch to the back of the bumper. Whether the hitch is included in the advertisement or not doesn't matter. That extra three feet can cause some problems if you do not include it in the information you give the campground.

It is best to know the living space length, the width of your trailer, and the hitch to bumper length just to be on the safe side. Also, include the length of your tow vehicle just in case.

How Is The Length Of a Fifth-wheel Trailer Measured?


There isn’t too much of a mystery here. The 5th wheel is measured from the kingpin back to the rear of the bumper. That is as straightforward as it gets. The problem that comes in is that the kingpin has had its location changed on some 5th wheels to accommodate short bed trucks.

How manufacturers and dealers measure is another thing. They know that some campgrounds restrict trailers and RVs to 40 feet in length. Thus, they will advertise 39 feet 6 inches or 38 feet 8 inches even though the 5th wheel measures 40 feet 5 inches. Don’t trust the measurements given by dealers of manufacturers.

Some Final Words

Size does matter in this case as some campgrounds put length limits on trailers and RVs. Knowing the actual length of your trailer will help you get the right size of campground spot and make your vacation easier.

The actual length would include the kingpin or the hitch to the rear of the bumper.

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