While you are shopping around for an RV to take your family and friends on camping trips in, one crucial detail you need to remember to check is the height of an RV. After all, ensuring you have enough room to move around your RV without bumping your head on the ceiling should be a mandatory feature. Well, you don’t have to worry about that. Nearly all RVs will have a few feet of headroom to prevent this. However, the exterior height of an RV is far more critical because you need to drive under bridges and highways. So now you might be wondering, just how tall can RVs be?
The average height of an RV depends on the type of RV. However, most RVs sit in the 10 to 14-foot tall range. Here is a list of the average heights of the different kinds of RVs that might have clearance issues.
- Class A Motorhomes: 12 to 14 feet tall
- Class B Motorhomes: 8 to 10 feet tall
- Class C Motorhomes: 10 to 12 feet tall
- Travel Trailers: 10 to 12 feet tall
- 5th Wheels: 11 to 13 feet tall
Remember, these are the average heights, and RVs within these types will be taller. Owning an RV over 14 feet tall requires a special permit and requires you to take extra precautions when planning your route.
There are a few more types of RVs like pop-up campers, truck campers, and expandable trailers. But these types of RVs are rarely taller than 7 or 8 feet, and you will have adequate space to store things like canoes on top of them without having to worry about clearance issues.
As you continue to read this article, we will discuss the average height of bridges and why you need to be careful when planning a trip. Furthermore, we will compare the exterior and interior heights of the different RVs we listed above and provide you with some excellent examples. Finally, we will provide a few tips to help you make sure you never have a clearance problem.
Average Heights of Bridges
If you are researching the average heights of RVs, then you are probably wondering how tall can your RV be to have enough room to clear bridges. Thankfully, the Federal Highway Administration has listed the average heights of the different bridges you will see while traveling.
You have probably noticed that all of the bridges listed should be at least 14 feet tall. However, that is not always the case. When it comes to collector and local bridges, their heights can vary. Also, while 14 feet is the standard today, some bridges were built decades ago and are still used today. When planning your travel route, these are the bridges you need to watch out for and know about.
Before we continue to the next section, there is some information you might want to know. For example, what are collector and arterial roadways?
Freeways are roadways with two or more lanes of traffic that travel in opposite directions. Freeways are usually the safest for planning your routes because they are nearly always 14 feet or taller. Furthermore, the bridges over freeways are built to have enough clearance for semi-trucks, which are 13 and a half feet tall. This means even some of the taller class A motorhomes will have enough clearance to drive under them.
The majority of roadways in the US are considered local and usually have a speed limit of 20 to 45 miles per hour. Local roadways are where you will find the broadest range of bridge heights and are where most of the old bridges will be located, so you will need to be extra careful. Furthermore, if you are in a less-traveled area, it is less likely that the bridges have enough space for semi-trucks to use these roads.
Collector roads are minor and major roads that connect local roads to highways. These roadways will usually have a speed limit of 35 to 55 miles per hour and will sometimes loop around and go under the highway they are connecting to. Most collector roads will have a clearance of at least 14 feet, but this is not always the case, so you should be cautious when using them. If you are using a collector road that loops under a highway, use the lane that is on the lower end of the loop. Doing this will give you the most clearance possible.
Arterial roadways are more commonly known as highways. These roads will have varying speed limits—from 50 to 70 miles per hour—and are used to connect to major areas within cities. Arterial roadways are similar to freeways, just higher up. There are some cases where a highway will cross under another highway, but there are never clearance issues as most of these areas are 16 feet tall.
The Reason You Need to Be Careful
Even though bridges are supposed to have a clearance of at least 14 feet, many do not support that clearance. You are the only one responsible for your RV and where you drive it. This means you need to know how tall your RV is and always be cautious of clearance signs and take their listed height with a grain of salt.
One key reason some clearance signs are false is road repaving. Repaving a road adds around one or two inches, depending on the damage to the road previous to the repaving. While efforts are being made to mill and repave some roads, it is a prolonged and tedious process that includes shutting down high-traffic areas for days at a time. Furthermore, the infamous 11-foot 8-inch bridge in Durham, North Carolina, has been nicknamed the can opener bridge. This bridge has destroyed countless box trucks and RVs, so if your planned route takes you through Durham, avoid this bridge in any way you can.
Exterior vs. Interior Heights of RVs
While it is critical for you to know how tall the outside of your RV is, knowing how tall the interior is essential for a different reason—comfort. Few things can be worse than purchasing an RV to find out you have to duck your head while walking around. This can lead to uncomfortable neck strain or a few bumps on your head. Thankfully, most RVs do not have this issue.
Here we will provide a quick breakdown of the average RV interior heights. However, be aware that these heights can vary wildly between different types and models, so always look up the specific models that interest you.
- Class A Motorhome Average Interior Heights
Since class A motorhomes are generally the tallest, they usually have plenty of headroom. Most class A motorhomes will have an interior height of over 7 feet tall, which is plenty for the average person and enough room for the tallest people.
- Class B Motorhome Average Interior Heights
The average class B motorhome will have an interior height of around 6 feet. However, class B motorhomes have the widest variation when it comes to ceiling height. Still, most class B motorhomes will have enough headroom to move around comfortably.
- Class C Motorhomes Average Interior Heights
On average, a class C motorhome’s interior height is around six and a half feet tall. But like class B motorhomes, there is a good amount of variation. You can find some class C motorhomes with an interior height of around 7 feet tall, while others are 6 feet even.
- Travel Trailer Average Interior Heights
Travel trailers have the broadest range of lengths, from small 10 to 12-foot long teardrop trailers to the massive 40-foot long trailers. But what about height? On average, the interior height of a travel trailer is around 6.5 to 7 feet tall. However, you might have to duck down a bit to move around for the smaller travel trailers.
- 5th Wheel Average Interior Heights
5th wheel RVs are usually the luxury class of towable RVs, and as such, they have plenty of headroom. On average, you can expect a 5th wheel to have an interior height of around 7 feet.
How Tall are Class A Motorhomes?
Class A motorhomes are the tallest type of RV and have an average height of 13 to 14 feet. This makes class A motorhomes tall enough to have plenty of headroom while still being able to clear most bridges. However, because class A motorhomes are so tall, we advise that you do not store items on top of your RV.
Here are some examples of the height range of class A motorhomes.
- Holiday Rambler Navigator – Exterior Height 12′ 10″
The Holiday Rambler Navigator is a midsized class A motorhome with an exterior height of 12 feet, 10 inches. This is a perfect example of an RV that can clear nearly every bridge. Furthermore, the Holiday Rambler Navigator sports a 7-foot-tall interior, giving you plenty of room to move around. Moreover, this RV is one of the more budget-friendly RVs when it comes to class A motorhomes.
- Forest River FR3 25DS – Exterior Height 12′ 5″
Next on our list is the Forest River FR3 25DS. This RV is one of the shortest class A motorhomes on the market today, standing at 12 feet, 5 inches tall. While this RV is one of the shortest, it should not be underestimated. It has a few slide-outs to expand the interior and has a beautiful interior design. Furthermore, due to its height, you should be able to clear nearly every bridge.
- Tiffin Allegro – Exterior Height 13′ 5″
The Tiffin Allegro is a massive class A motorhome that is perfect for long trips. This is one of the taller class A motorhomes on the market, with a height of 13 feet, 5 inches, which means you will need to be wary of where your route takes you and how tall the bridges are. However, this motorhome is absolutely stunning and has a few floor plans you can choose from. So if you are looking for a high-end luxury motorhome, look no further.
- Newmar Dutch Star – Exterior Height 13′ 1″
Last on our list of class A motorhomes is the Dutch Star. This RV is another luxury option if the Allegro doesn’t strike your fancy. The Dutch Star is slightly shorter than the Allegro with a height of 13 feet and 1 inch, and has an interior height of over 7 feet tall.
How Tall are Class B Motorhomes?
Class B motorhomes are the smallest motorhomes on the market and have an average height of 8 to 10 feet. This allows the class B motorhome to travel under any bridge you want, even the dreadful can opener. However, this class of motorhome also has the shortest interior height with an average of around 6 feet tall. But, their small size makes this type of motorhome the easiest to drive.
Here are a few examples of the height range of class B motorhomes.
- Roadtrek Zion – Exterior Height 9’ 5”
First on our list of class B motorhomes is the Roadtrek Zion. This RV is the perfect example for your average class B motorhome. With a height of 9 feet, 5 inches tall and an interior height of 6 feet, 2 inches, this RV is perfect for a small family to go on an adventure in.
- Winnebago Revel – Exterior Height 10′
Next on our list is the Winnebago Ravel. Winnebago has been around since 1958 and has been producing high-quality RVs ever since. The Ravel is their latest installment to the B class and is on the taller side with a height of 10 feet. This camper van is one of the best for off-road camping and has a distinct image that makes it look more like a stealth camper van. Furthermore, the interior height of this RV is 6 feet, 3 inches and is great for some taller folk.
- Thor Gemini RUV – Exterior Height 10′ or 11′
The Thor Gemini RUV is a class B plus motorhome, which means it has increased living space, like a class C motorhome, but lacks the overhang above the driver’s cabin. This RV comes in two height options, 10 and 11 feet tall, depending on how much interior space you want.
- Coachman Beyond – Exterior Height 9′ 11″
Last on our list for class B motorhomes is the Coachmen Beyond. This RV has one of the sleeker and more compact designs on our list. With a height of 9 feet, 11 inches tall, this RV has a decent amount of interior space. While you may not have as much room as some of the other options on this list, Coachmen found a way to include a toilet and shower in each of its floorplans.
How Tall are Class C Motorhomes?
Class C motorhomes offer the perfect middle ground between class A and class B motorhomes. These RVs have an average height of 10 to 12 feet tall while also having plenty of interior space to move around. While class C motorhomes may look similar to class B motorhomes, there are a few key differences. First off, class C motorhomes are bigger. However, the main difference is the inclusion of an overhang above the driver’s cabin. This extra space is nice because you can use it for an extra bed or more storage space.
Here are some examples of the height range of class C motorhomes.
- Winnebago Navion – Exterior Height 11′
This class C motorhome by Winnebago has an exterior height of 11 feet and a very spacious interior height of 6 feet, 8 inches. This makes the Winnebago Navion an excellent choice for tall people. Furthermore, this RV comes equipped with two large beds and your choice of a dinette or theater seating for the slide-out.
- Forest River Forester – Exterior Height 11′ 3″
The Forester series has four different models you can choose from, and each of them has several floor plans. Furthermore, Forest River has a class B plus model, if that strikes your fancy. All of the models are 11 feet, 3 inches tall and have an interior height of around 7 feet tall. This is the RV for you if you are looking for a highly customizable class C model.
- Dynamax Force – Exterior Height 12′ 9″
The Dynamax Force is one of the tallest class C motorhomes on the market. With a staggering height of 12 feet, 9 inches, this class C is as tall as some class A motorhomes. Furthermore, the Dynamax Force is packed with luxury amenities and has an impressive amount of walking space once the slide-outs are fully extended.
- Phoenix Cruiser – Exterior Height 10′ 1″
Following one of the biggest class C models is one that is on the smaller side. The Phoenix Cruiser is the smallest class C motorhome on our list, which stands at 10 feet, 1 inch tall. The interior height is around 6 feet, 4 inches, which is plenty for the average person. Furthermore, this model has quite a few floor plans, which is always nice.
How Tall are Travel Trailers?
Travel trailers are one of the most versatile RVs you can purchase. Furthermore, they have the widest range of lengths, from 10 to 12-foot teardrop trailers to the largest 40-foot plus trailers. On average, travel trailers stand roughly 10 to 12 feet tall, while the smaller teardrop trailers are roughly 7 or 8 feet tall.
- Puma Ultra Lite – Exterior Height 9′ 11″ or 10′ 1″
The Puma Ultra Lite is a fantastic small and lightweight trailer. There are a few variants with two different height options. Furthermore, you can choose from a few floor plans, including a toy hauler version.
- Winnebago Voyage – Exterior Height 11′ 6″
With another Winnebago entry on this list, their Voyage travel trailer is one of Winnebago’s most popular RVs. This RV stands at 11 feet, 6 inches tall. This trailer has a surprising amount of living space inside, with an interior height of 7 feet, which rivals most class A motorhomes.
- Happier Camper HC1 – Exterior Height 7′ 4″
The HC1 by Happier Camper is a fantastic example of an extra small travel trailer. This RV stands at a small 7 foot, 4 inches tall, and this travel trailer is best suited for one person. The HC1 has three models you can choose from, with the premium option coming with a sink and a small toilet. One of the interesting things about this trailer is that you get modular cubes that you can use to custom fit this camper at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, this travel trailer is so light, a four-door sedan can tow it if you need to.
- Flagstaff Micro Lite – Exterior Height 10′ 11″
The Flagstaff Micro is one of Forest River’s most popular travel trailers, and for a good reason. This lightweight trailer has a plethora of floor plans, all of which stand at 10 feet, 11 inches tall with an interior height close to 7 feet. Furthermore, this RV is packed with high-quality amenities that will make you feel at home.
How Tall are 5th Wheels?
5th wheels are the heaviest and the most expensive towable RVs you can buy. 5th wheels are fantastic for people who have a heavy-duty pickup truck and do not want a motorhome. 5th wheels have an average exterior height of 11 to 13 feet and an average interior height of 7 feet.
Here are some examples of the height range of 5th wheel RVs.
- Dutchmen Voltage – Exterior Height 13′ 3″
First on our list of 5th wheels is the Dutchman Voltage. This RV is on the taller side with a height of 13 feet, 3 inches and has an impressive amount of living space that can sleep up to ten people. Furthermore, this model is a toy hauler with enough space to haul quite a few ATVs, dirtbikes, or whatever else you can fit in the garage. Moreover, this 5th wheel’s garage door can be used as an outdoor patio.
- Keystone Montana – Exterior Height 13′ 4″
The Keystone Montana is one of our favorite 5th wheels on the market, and it’s one of the most popular, with over 100,000 units sold. This RV is 1 inch taller than the Dutchman Voltage and has nine different floor plans you can choose from. Furthermore, this 5th wheel has tons of luxury amenities made from high-quality materials, which will make you feel at home wherever you go.
- Palomino Puma – Exterior Height 11′ 1″ or 12′ 2″
The Puma series from Palomino is another one of our favorite 5th wheel models. Like the Keystone Montana, the Puma series features tons of floor plans and models. Most Puma models are 11 feet, 1 inch tall, making them one of the shorter 5th wheels you can buy. However, this is done to reduce the weight, and the interior height is still 7 feet tall. Furthermore, there are a few taller models like the toy hauler, which stand at 12 feet.
Tips to Make Sure You Meet Clearance Requirements of the Road
One of the many important steps you need to take while planning your trip is to make sure you can drive under bridges with no issues. Here we have a few tips to give you to help you ensure that you are properly prepared before you start your trip.
Know the Height of Your RV
Even though RV dealerships will tell you how tall an RV is, you should take the time to measure it yourself. There are always slight variations across all RVs, even ones from the same make and model. Furthermore, you should always measure your RV if you install extra add-ons that do not come standard for your RV.
If you own a travel trailer or a 5th wheel, you need to measure the RV while it is hitched to your tow vehicle. Normally, travel trailers and 5th wheels will gain a few extra inches of height while they are hitched, so it is vital to know the total height of your trailer.
Plan Your Route Thoroughly
While planning your route, a GPS will help you greatly. Not only will they provide accurate maps all over the world, but they will notify you if there is a low clearance bridge on your route. However, you should not trust the GPS completely when it comes to bridges. Remember, repaving a road will add at least one or two inches to the road, and it can take up to a week before that information is available to your GPS. Because of this, it would be beneficial to monitor your route for a month or two in advance so you can watch for clearance updates.
While traveling on your route, use your eyes and judgment over the GPS and clearance signs. If the bridge looks too low for you to safely clear it, find a different way. It is always better to be safe than sorry. After all, RVs can cost hundreds of thousands, and you do not want to ruin your investment because they did not update the clearance signs.
Remember, if your route takes you through Durham, North Carolina, avoid the can opener bridge at all costs. You’ll be fine if you have a small RV like a class B motorhome or a teardrop trailer, but any RV taller than 11 feet needs to be extra cautious.
Write Down Your Height and Weight
After measuring the height of your RV after it is hitched or if you have installed an add-on, write the height down on a notepad or piece of paper and store it somewhere you know it will be. A good place to keep it in is the glove box of the motorhome or tow vehicle. This way, if you ever forget how tall your RV is while planning a route, all you need to do is look at the notepad.
Knowing the height of your RV is crucial information. The main reason is clearance issues under bridges. The last thing you want is to be driving down the road and ruin your RV’s roof because of a low clearance bridge. After reading our RV height guide, you hopefully know what to look for and which RVs can travel the road without clearance issues.