Many who investigate the fascinating world of luxury coaches will be interested in what the biggest RV they can purchase and operate would be. The short answer is that it differs from state to state and also differs depending on the type of RV you are interested in. The different state laws where you will be traveling will need to be consulted but there are some averages you can look at in the following. The type of RV’s that one can purchase that push length limits would be the motorhomes and buses, fifth wheels and travel trailers or park model trailers.
The Biggest RV Allowed Varies by State
The legal limits of what you can drive or tow while pursuing the RV lifestyle vary from state to state. Generally speaking we can give average figures and ranges so that you know what to expect. As far as motorhomes, the general maximum length you can drive tends to be around 45 ft. in most states. Most motorhomes will probably also tow an auxiliary vehicle, so keep in mind that the combined length of your rig needs to be around 65 ft. Some states allow up to 70 or even 75 ft. combined, but 65 ft. is the most commonly seen combined length.
As stated, 65 ft. is the most commonly seen length limit as regards to the combined total length of your rig. This also applies to towing fifth wheels and travel trailers or park model trailers. The most common maximum trailer length you’ll find in most states is 40 ft. This figure does not apply to fifth wheels but is instead measured from the rear bumper of the tow vehicle. This allows manufacturers of fifth wheels to build past the 40 foot limit and you’ll find that most offer models that surpass that mark.
A nice summary chart can be found here that lists the legal limits of these and other factors state by state.
Examples of Some of the Biggest RV’s Commonly Available
By far the biggest motorhomes one can purchase will be the luxury Motor Coaches built on a bus chassis, or a diesel pusher motorhome of some type. An examination of these large RV coaches from Gulf Stream, Holiday Rambler, Marathon Coach and many others reveal that the common length comes in around 42-45 ft. This still gives you some 20 ft. of towing allowance for your “toad”.
The towables are a bit different. Travel trailer and park model trailers have a legal towing limit length of some 40 ft. in most states. Most manufacturers of travel trailers rarely go over 35 ft., while park models often cross the barrier to 41 ft. or so. Since park model trailers are used most often seasonally and are not intended for frequent towing, this length can be manageable though it crosses the legal line.
Fifth wheels can cross over the 40 ft. barrier as they are measured from the trucks rear bumper to the end of the trailer. Looking at the popular Bighorn model from Heartland RV reveals floorplans from 35 ft. in length to just over 40 ft. This seems to be a popular size for fulltimers as with multiple slideouts, basement storage and other common features; the coaches in these lengths are very livable.
The fifth wheel toy hauler is where things get really big. Take the Cyclone model, again from Heartland as an example, they range from a small of 35’2” in the 3010 model, to 42’11” with the 3800 model. With their tall, practically flat ceilings, these are some of the most cavernous trailers one is able to purchase through the common RV dealer outlets. Keep in mind, since the front of the fifth wheel rides over the truck bed you are actually towing four or more feet less than the actual trailer length.
And Now For Something Completely Different
In this article on the largest RV’s commonly available we have intentionally left out the freakish sized monsters such as those from Anderson Mobile Estates. While attractive, they are not commonly available, nor are they easily driven around by the normal RV consumer who is looking for a large coach to live in. The good news is that what is available is extremely attractive, luxurious and comfortable to live in for extended periods of time. If you can swing the price and have what it takes to drive one around, why not consider the biggest RV you can manage to live the nomadic dream?