If you are anything like I was when I first got started with RVs and travel trailers, you probably have not put any thought into measuring your travel trailer.

However, the more time I spent in travel trailers and at campsites, the more I realized that it is important to know how to measure a travel trailer the right way.

So, how are travel trailers measured?

What measurements do you need to take?

Unfortunately, manufacturers typically do not do a great job of providing measurements for buyers. They provide measurements, but they are not always accurate, and as a result, it is important that you take measurements yourself.

There are two measurements that you should take:

  • Exterior length and width
  • The overall length of your rig

Let’s take a look at the first measurement.

Exterior length and width

The first things that you should measure are the exterior length and width of your travel trailer.

To do this, you will measure the outside of your travel trailer without adding the extra length of the parts of the trailer without a camper overtop.

For example, you should not include the length of the trailer tongue in this measurement.

When you take this measurement, it is possible that you will have two different measurements depending on the travel trailer you own. The first measurement you should take should be the width of the camper with the slides in.

You can then follow that up by measuring the width with the slides out.

These measurements are very important because they will tell you how wide the travel trailer is. The first of these measurements will tell you how wide the travel trailer is while driving, and the second will let you know how much space you need at your campsite.

The overall length of your rig

It is also important to measure the overall length of your entire travel trailer. The length of your trailer will be longer than the length of the camper itself.

How big the variation will be can vary significantly based on the trailer you own. Some can have minimal differences, whereas others can have a rather large gap.

Should you measure the hitch of your trailer?

Fortunately, you can save some time here because it is not necessary to measure the length of the hitch of the trailer in most cases.

The only time you need to do this is if you are measuring the length of the trailer with the tow vehicle. In that case, you will need to include the hitch.

This information is only really needed when you are looking for a parking spot or choosing a place to camp.

Measuring the height of your travel trailer

Those of you new to the world of RVing might be surprised to hear that there are two and sometimes even three travel trailer heights that you need to worry about.

The first height that you need to worry about is the interior height of the travel trailer. You can easily find this height by measuring the distance between the ceiling and the floor.

However, you need to keep in mind that the interior height might be different in different sections of the trailer. So, you need to account for that when you are taking measurements.

Additionally, you are going to need to take a few outside measurements. The most important exterior measurement you should take is the height of the camper including any air conditioning units that are ceiling mounted.

The final measurement you can take is the exterior height without the air conditioning unit.

How to measure a travel trailer for a cover

Image credits: National RV Covers

If you buy a travel trailer, you are not going to use it the whole year. As a result, you need to keep it protected from the elements when it is not camping season.

One of the best things you can do is purchase a cover for it. However, before you can do that, you are going to need to measure your trailer for a cover.

The first thing you should do is measure the total length and width of your trailer. You should also measure the length of the box of the camper without the trailer.

You do this because some covers are only meant to cover the camper, whereas others are meant to cover both the camper and the trailer. That being said, I personally believe that you are better off protecting both. It also is not much more expensive to purchase a bigger cover, so you might as well take the bigger measurement.

Furthermore, you are going to need to take the measurements for the height of your trailer. When taking this measurement, it is important that you measure all the way to the top of your air conditioning unit.

Having all of these measurements should make it easier for you to make a purchase.

Final thoughts

When you purchase or rent your first travel trailer, you are going to have a lot on your mind. You are probably going to be caught up in the excitement of starting your first real camping trip, but there are still things to be done. If you do not adequately prepare yourself, your experience will result in a lot of stress that could ruin your whole experience.

With that in mind, it is important to measure your trailer in every tangible way you can think of. Exterior measurements are important for a variety of reasons, but mostly they are used to determine which campsites and campgrounds you can stay at. You should also measure the interior of your travel trailer so that you can plan what furniture to purchase and what things you can bring with you on your trip.

It might not be the most exciting process, but I assure you that it is worth the time spent. By taking these measurements, you will make your camping trips stress free and more enjoyable.