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Old 08-03-2020, 01:07 AM   #1
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21 in National Park Campgrounds & National Forest Campgrounds

My family of three is heading out on a year long social distancing road trip. Weíve placed the order for a 21NE. However, Iíve recently become a bit concerned that the additional 2 feet of length compared to the 19 is going to put the combined length of our tow vehicle (Ram 1500 Crew Cab Short Box) and 21NE just over the 40 foot maximum that I see floating around the internet for the bulk of National Park and National Forest campsites. We plan to do a fair amount of light boondocking (i.e., less developed sites without hookups - not so much all out BLM-type boondocking). Our tow vehicle plus 21NE combined length will be 40 feet 9 inches. Does anyone have experience with a similar combined length tow vehicle trailer combo in National Park and National Forest campgrounds? Hoping that experience is positive. Iíve got a message out to Joldie at Escape to see if switching our order out to the 19 is still even an option or if the trailer has already started production. Another wrinkle is that weíre having BattleBorn LiFePO4 batteries installed in the 21, and wonder if those would even be installable by Escape inside a 19, since it looks like the batteries are usually outdoors on the 19? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Maybe Iím just getting unnecessarily nervous about those 9 inches over 40 feet length? Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:21 AM   #2
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Dustin,

We have towed our combination, which is about the same overall length into Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, state parks, county parks, state forests, National Forests, and most of the more well known National Parks in most of the states and provinces--even the Yukon, and have never run into an issue with a 40 foot limit.

My guess is that what you are seeing is meant for a single unit (big bus) that is over 40 feet due to turning radius or inability to unhitch and park along-side. The turning radius with the trailer is pretty much the same as the tow vehicle unhitched as long as you keep an eye on the trailer tires during a turn. The well publicized hair pin turn at Chisos Basin at Big Bend National Park, for example, was no problem.

See what others say, but I think you'll be fine with the 21.

Bill
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:28 AM   #3
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When you arrive at a campsite you can unhitch then move your truck in at an angle so that the overall length is less than forty feet. I have camped at many national parks and have run into problems related to this only once, at Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park. There I found it impossible to keep my trailer and truck on the pad in the campsite, and I had to move. If necessary, you can always unhitch your trailer and park your truck in the campground's parking lot. I didn't want to do this at Kalaloch so I left.

The overall length of my 21 Classic and Toyota Tacoma is 39 feet, one inch. I know this because the Washington State Ferry people measured it. If the combination had been over forty feet I would have had to pay a higher fare to get on the ferry. So you'll get dinged there.

Personally I would not change my order from a 21 to a 19 over this issue. Others may have a different opinion.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:19 AM   #4
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I believe the only time you might have an issue is if the TV is hanging out in the road. As mentioned, you can usually park the TV at a bit of an angle to make it fit. The hard part is getting a 40' site.

Get the 21.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:29 AM   #5
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We’ve run into this problem at Federal Campgrounds on several occasions towing our 17 ft Casita with our 2014 Ram truck . The front of our truck stuck out in the road waiting to be hit so we unhooked the trailer and parked our vehicle in the overflow lot ( Out of sight and a two block walk)
These campsites were listed at 37 ft which should have been enough for a 17 ft trailer and a 19 ft vehicle but !
I wish campgrounds were more consistent with how they measure campsites . It seems some make allowances for a full size tow vehicles and some don’t .

PS ; We’ve only ran into this issue in older campgrounds in the Southern US *
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin Richardson View Post
My family of three is heading out on a year long social distancing road trip. We’ve placed the order for a 21NE. However, I’ve recently become a bit concerned that the additional 2 feet of length compared to the 19 is going to put the combined length of our tow vehicle (Ram 1500 Crew Cab Short Box) and 21NE just over the 40 foot maximum that I see floating around the internet for the bulk of National Park and National Forest campsites. We plan to do a fair amount of light boondocking (i.e., less developed sites without hookups - not so much all out BLM-type boondocking). Our tow vehicle plus 21NE combined length will be 40 feet 9 inches. Does anyone have experience with a similar combined length tow vehicle trailer combo in National Park and National Forest campgrounds? Hoping that experience is positive. I’ve got a message out to Joldie at Escape to see if switching our order out to the 19 is still even an option or if the trailer has already started production. Another wrinkle is that we’re having BattleBorn LiFePO4 batteries installed in the 21, and wonder if those would even be installable by Escape inside a 19, since it looks like the batteries are usually outdoors on the 19? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I’m just getting unnecessarily nervous about those 9 inches over 40 feet length? Thanks in advance!
Why not the 5.0 TA? It's overall length is a little shorter than the 19 when attached to the vehicle, I believe.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:33 AM   #7
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Change to a 5.0TA, they are shorter overall.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:05 AM   #8
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I wouldnít worry about the extra 9 inches and stay with the 21. Iíve never had a problem with smaller sites (parking at an angle unhitched or adjacent to the trailer works). Iíve seen many cases of much larger rigs squeezing into small sites that probably should have been prohibited.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:18 AM   #9
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I have a 21C and the same RAM tow. At a few national parks, chiricahua, giant sequoia, have had to unhook the truck to fit in the site, but only once have i had to park away from the site and walk, which was not a problem really.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:36 AM   #10
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Great to know! Thank you.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:37 AM   #11
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Thank you all for these very helpful responses! It's making me so much more comfortable with our 21 decision. As for the 5.0, I agree it looks like a great option (in some ways better), but we want to keep access to our truck's full bed and my wife doesn't particularly like the idea of sleeping on a different level. The 19 looked great too - we were just concerned about the narrowness for getting past one another, in particular, on a likely year-long trip.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin Richardson View Post
Maybe Iím just getting unnecessarily nervous about those 9 inches over 40 feet length?
I am also getting a 21NE, and towing it with an F150 SuperCrew shortbed. We will be at about the same length - 40'6". The extra 6" will be painful in the event of a ferry crossing, but that is something we seldom do. I am not going to worry about campsites - I camp regularly with a guy who pulls a 28ft trailer behind a SuperCab with an 8' bed, and we can always find a campsite to accommodate him. (We usually camp in Forest Service campgrounds here in the PNW.)

One suggestion I will make - which I copied from others here - is to have Escape omit the number 21 from the front of the trailer. Many stickies that are called 21 foot trailers are actually longer - they do not include the length of the hitch. The 21NE is a true 21 foot (+2") trailer from hitch to bumper. Don't advertise your length and you may have to answer fewer questions. The ferry operators and other officials it is important to will measure anyways.
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:01 PM   #13
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This is the road up to the Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park - possibly the most desirable camping in the Park. The sign in this photo reads:
Trailers over 20' and RV's over 24' are not recommended due to narrow, winding road to the Basin and small campsites at this campground.

I, and and a number of owners of the E'21 have made the drive with no issues. The Park is concerned that you make the hairpin turns without crossing the yellow line. If you are comfortable with narrow & steep mountain roads this will be possible. The other concern is the campsites are small. You will likely have to detach the trailer and park your truck in the amphitheater parking lot which is 500 feet away. Again, no big problem if you are mobile enough to walk around the Park.

Now, if you attempt this in a 35' class A motor-home, be prepared for a whopping traffic ticket.

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Old 08-03-2020, 01:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
This is the road up to the Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park - possibly the most desirable camping in the Park. The sign in this photo reads:
Trailers over 20' and RV's over 24' are not recommended due to narrow, winding road to the Basin and small campsites at this campground.

I, and and a number of owners of the E'21 have made the drive with no issues. The Park is concerned that you make the hairpin turns without crossing the yellow line. If you are comfortable with narrow & steep mountain roads this will be possible. The other concern is the campsites are small. You will likely have to detach the trailer and park your truck in the amphitheater parking lot which is 500 feet away. Again, no big problem if you are mobile enough to walk around the Park.

Now, if you attempt this in a 35' class A motor-home, be prepared for a whopping traffic ticket.

--
Alan
And if you're involved in an accident expect to get a citation regardless of who was at fault.

Vehicle Length Limits & Advisories

Because roads in these parks are narrow, winding, and steep, longer vehicles often cross the double yellow line and pose a danger to other drivers. Because of this, advisories are in place on some park roads. Drivers will be held responsible for any hazardous conditions caused by their actions.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:10 PM   #15
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We second the option of sticking with the 21... if that's the layout you like best. We love National Parks and we've been able to squeeze and back our 21 way back into some pretty small sites because the back end of our trailer is high enough to go over rocks, logs or those traditional railroad ties that mark the sites. As long as your wheels are on the pad, and your TV is parked sideways, off the road so cars can pass, rangers are happy. -Bea
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:28 PM   #16
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last year i parked in a national camp ground and had
difficulty getting my 5.0 in but i finally got it in. unhitch and parked the truck at an angle next to the trailer.
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sherminator View Post
.....One suggestion I will make - which I copied from others here - is to have Escape omit the number 21 from the front of the trailer. Many stickies that are called 21 foot trailers are actually longer - they do not include the length of the hitch
Yep, when asked from someone in a kiosk, etc. we tell them it's 18 feet- that's the length of the box.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:20 PM   #18
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As long as your wheels are on the pad, and your TV is parked sideways, off the road so cars can pass, rangers are happy.
The only time I have ever had trouble was when we had a campground host who insisted that no tires touch dirt anywhere in any site. We had plenty of room to park our truck across the front of the site, but the tires touched dirt, and the host was not having any of that. We managed to comply, but that host sure spent a lot of time arguing with campers that weekend.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post

The overall length of my 21 Classic and Toyota Tacoma is 39 feet, one inch. I know this because the Washington State Ferry people measured it. If the combination had been over forty feet I would have had to pay a higher fare to get on the ferry. So you'll get dinged there.
This was one of the reasons we went with a 5.0. We live on the west side of Puget Sound from Seattle, an hour ferry ride. The overall length of our Tundra + the 5.0 is about the same (38') as our prior rig; a 2013 E19 + Tacoma. That extra charge on the ferry really adds up if one lives here!
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