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How Much Wider And Longer Should RV Pad Be Compared To The RV? How Much Clearance?

A large bus size RV parked at a camping site with it's designated parking area for vehicles.

Have you pulled into a campground with your RV, headed to the RV pad, and found that you don’t have quite enough space? It may not be until you have backed in that you realize that the pad is going to be a tight fit.

When RV pads are designed, they should be wider and longer than the camper. If not, you may find that the pop-out portions of your RV can’t come out as they should. Below are the standard requirements for RV pads and what you should be sure is correct before you reserve your next trip.

How much wider and longer should RV pad be compared to the RV? How much clearance?

At most campgrounds and parking areas with RV pads, they will be at least 10 feet wide to match the width of the roads. This is especially true for the newer pads that were built in the last 15 years.

In order to accommodate all different sizes of RVs, the pads should be at least 30 feet. Those that are larger need RV pads that are 45 feet in length.

If you have a short or average size RV, then most of the RV pads will be accommodating. However, some families need longer and wider RVs to fit all of their needs.

If you are planning to park your RV on an enclosed RV pad, then the clearance should be a minimum of 12 feet to ensure you have enough room. Some RVs are on lifts, so this needs to be taken into account.

If you are planning to use the slide-out areas, and you are beneath a roof, you need to make sure you can clear those sides, by having at least 8 feet between you and the next RV or structure.

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Are There Regulations for RV Pads?

A white RV camping at the designated summer camping park in the USA.

Depending on where you are traveling, there may be regulations put into place for these RV pads. Anything that is state or federally owned within a park will have minimal guidelines to follow that accommodate average RVs.

Keep in mind that if these RV pads are older and not equipped for some of the modern size RVs, there will be notices and information provided when the reservation is made.

In many cases, there are county or city guidelines that private campgrounds have to follow, based upon what the zoning department in that area has listed.

These campgrounds do go through an inspection on their property to make sure they meet local ordinances before they are able to open.

Because they keep campers and RVs at the center of their business, you are more likely to find larger RV pads that meet minimum requirements easily and even exceed them.

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Type of RV Pads

Depending on where you have made your reservation, you could be getting one of three types of RV pads.

  • Dirt RV Pads
  • Gravel RV Pads
  • Paved RV Pads

Dirt RV Pads

Two white RV's parked at the forest with dirt served as it's pads.

Found in many state parks or rural campgrounds are the dirt RV pads. They are cheaper in price, but with a heavy RV, you need to be mindful of where and how you park your RV during your stay.

If the site is holding water, the dirt could become muddy, causing your RV to get stuck when it is time to leave. This could also make it sink on one side and throw off the balance of the RV. The pro to these pads is that they can easily be made larger and are much more affordable.

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Gravel RV Pads

If you want a step up from a dirt pad, you can opt for the gravel or rock RV pad. You do not have to worry about getting stuck in the mud. It is easier to drive over and clearly outlined the RV pad.

However, gravel will start to wear away over time and can become unleveled if it is not refreshed regularly. This means that you may have difficulties lining up your RV.

Also since it is paved, you do not have the luxury to give yourself more space like a dirt pad. The pros are that they work great with smaller RVs and are pretty cheap like Dirt RV pads.

Paved RV Pads

An RV parking on a paved RV pad during winter season in California.

The cream of the crop, paved RV pads give a smooth and level stay when you are backing into your camper. These are often found in more premium campgrounds and state parks with heavy traffic. You will pay more for this space, but it is easy to navigate.

They are often larger than gravel RV pads, so you have lots of room for average RVs and plenty of space for the larger ones. There is not a lot of concern about weather conditions since you are not parking on wet dirt or gravel that might get washed away.

Make Slide-Out Room

When you take into consideration your RV measurements, make sure you know how much room you need with your slide-out(s). Depending on how many slide-out areas you have and which direction they go, you may need more room on one side or both.

Your maximum width is what that foot number is from one side to the other. Unfortunately, many RV owners who were new to the reservation game have discovered this issue when they considered the road measurements and not the total width.

Back In or Pull-Through?

Over the last decade, new campgrounds and remodels of older campgrounds have made it easy for you to back in if that is your preference. The biggest trend, however, is the pull-through sites where you turn in on one side and exit through the other.

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You never have to worry about running off the RV pad with a pull-through, and it is just safer all-around. Campgrounds are designed for one-way traffic, so being able to just shoot out of the campground when it is time makes it ideal.

Making an RV Parking Pad At Home?

An RV trailer parked at the backyard of a house with a DIY RV pad.

Not only do you need to worry about the RV pads you are booking on trips, but you also need to prepare your RV parking pad at home.

Taking in the measurements of at least 10 feet wide, 25 feet long, and 12 feet high for clearance, you can create an ideal place to store your RV when you are not using it.

Keep in mind that unless you are cleaning your RV, you will not have it open, so you do not have to accommodate slide-out space. Depending on where you live and what the climate is like, dirt may be an option for you, or you may require gravel or pave for the best protection.

Do You Know What Your RV Needs?

Before you start making any plans, you need to know your own RVs measurements, especially if you have one of the ht models that is signification larger than other options. Small and average RVs have enough room for at least 90 percent of the campgrounds they visit.

After you have camped in your RV on these different types of RV pads, you will have a preference and may use that when you are both storing your RV and booking future trips. No matter what you need, the RV pad is essential to the RV and its protection all the time.