Wednesday, December 7, 2022


RV size segregation in campgrounds



Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I am seeking help with a problem I have had ever since I started full-time RVing. I am single and I have a wonderful little rig. I pull a 17-foot Casita with an older-model Jeep Wrangler Laredo. I have developed a complex over the past several years about my size. Everyone seems to believe that size matters. I don’t feel bigger is better, but in many situations I am treated as small and insignificant. I love to Kayak and carry an inflatable 12-foot Sea Eagle kayak. I prefer to camp near the water and I am finding that many parks reserve their water sites strictly for larger and newer rigs than mine. It seems discriminatory. I am willing to pay the value added price for the water sites, but the big dogs do not seem to want me hanging out with them.

I was once in Florida on the Ocklawaha River at a wonderful campground. The river sites were 25 percent more money. I was willing to pay but was informed that I was “too small.” There were sites available but the neighborhood was occupied only by monster motorhomes in the several hundred thousand dollar range. I can afford to buy a comparable rig with pocket change, like those taking up the primo spaces, but I prefer my small, unique, reliable, uncomplicated Casita.

Do you suggest I get professional help or buy “Psychology for Dummies” on Amazon? I feel I need to deal with this malady soon. If I don’t nip it in the bud it could end up taking over my life as increasingly more campgrounds become elitist country clubs. —David in Goliath, Ga.

Dear David:
You need to concentrate on the phrase “Small Is Beautiful.” This phrase is believed to empower people more in contrast with phrases such as “bigger is better.” Size does matter but why not “Less is More.” Size matters to you in your choice of rig size. It also matters to those privileged river site residents. I see two scenarios evolving in the RV world. The first is the one you describe. Many campgrounds are developing themselves to cater only to the high-end RV set or segregating, as you in your case. This could change radically if more people opt for smaller and more fuel-efficient rigs.

I personally find it offensive when I am denied a space in a campground because of the age or size of my rig. However, mental health is best maintained by rationalizing these social realities. I would not and do not hesitate to display my displeasure with campground owners who flagrantly tell me I am not good enough for some section of their park. You are as much of the economic engine that runs the ever-changing camping industry as anyone else. You vote with your dollars. Your dollars count as much as the dollars packed around in the pockets of those in the more luxurious rigs. Money talks and boycott walks. Don’t get mad, get even.

Segregation can only be slain by marching, right out the door and down the road to an equal opportunity campground. You must decide if you want to practice long distance kayak carrying techniques or affirmative action. Just say no to your mental complex, stiffen your spine and follow the river to another campground. Letting this social injustice eat away at you will only take you to a mental state known professionally as “up a creek without a paddle.”

—Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


Did you enjoy this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Denny wagaman
5 years ago

Pretty good idea to have different sizes of spaces throughout the .cg. I wish they the spaces were wider. With the big slidouts plus patio awning it just not fun to be so close. I know it’s costly to change things around when a CG is older. Plus more and more of us are choosing not to stay in a CG when traveling to or from our destination point. We more often than not will stay in a CG. We are a member of Passport -America and will seek out those CG’s for an overnight stay.

5 years ago

So, in a similar vein, I don’t use handicapped parking spaces. I might be qualified, or traveling with someone who has a hang tag, but I can walk a few hundred feet if needed to a parking space. Hopefully, that leaves the handicapped spaces for those who truely need them. Same thing with hotel rooms – if I take the only handicapped accessible room just because it’s convenient, the next traveler who really needs it is out in the cold. The campgrounds should be encouraged to either have all campsites the same size for first come, first served, or have different sizes distributed throughout the campground in both the more desirable and less desireable areas.

5 years ago

For the original poster, i simply refuse to reserve sites anywhere the campground doesn’t reserve specific sites. Before adopting this policy, I have repeatedly been “floated” to CRAZY small and hideously located sites (between dump and bathroom?). This way, if I reserved waterfront and enough room for walking large dogs, that’s what I had better get!

What annoys me more lately are sites that flat out LIE about their sizes/geometry. An “80′ deep paved” site should NOT include the 40′ of boulders they paved *around*, and public *dumpsters* I’ve encounterred. A “pull through” site should not require turning 90* in the 7′ wide road, too sharp for even my detached truck to actually pull through without backing up! Finally, a 80×160 travel trailer site should not be reasonably expected to require parking the truck “somewhere else” up to a mile away!

As others have noted, campgrounds seem increasingly antagonistic to their patrons!

Ralph Vernor
5 years ago

Were in a 36′ A, we have been motorhoming for 20 years, we simply call ahead, when their full for our size, their full. We just call somewhere else. Lately 80% of our camping has become boondocking. The last thing I want or need while camping is stress.

Kenneth Merry
5 years ago

Mike, I drive a 33ft. Class A it’s now 13 yr. Old, have only been turned down once, while making a reservation. I always ask for a pull through as my dollie cannot be backed. I f a pickup a bed mounted camper got the last pull through my bad luck first come First​ served should be the policy weather you pull a Casita, have a pickup camper, or 45 ft. Class A with 5 slides and a second floor. I’am 71yrs old, don’t like any discrimination on my age or my MH Age or class, you wan’t to charge different, maby, by the foot I’ll pay my due or move on. You all stay safe Ya hear.

5 years ago
Reply to  Kenneth Merry

Nailed it.

5 years ago

Wow, Roger you sound a little bitter, Land Yachts, snobs doesn’t have the spine.. wow.. glad I don’t have to park near you.

5 years ago

One way to even out this problem is to camp at COE or State Parks. I have seen tents set up in large pull through full hookup sites. There a reservation is a reservation. Big or small if you reserve a spot it’s yours. It doesn’t matter how large or what you camp in.

5 years ago

Size does matter! You can’t fit a 40 foot RV into a space made for a 23 foot towable. Nothing worse then traveling all day only to find that a 23 foot unit took the last large site and there is many small spots still available. Just my 2 cents worth.

5 years ago

If someone is willing and able to pay the amount being asked for a space, they should be allowed to have that space–regardless the size of their rig. Money is money.

Marv Thomasson
5 years ago

I agree with Susan, I drive a 35′ A, dwarfed by the 43-45 monsters, and don’t feel discriminated against. I realize if I take an oversize space, that big rig won’t be able to stay. So David needs to get over his feeling of inferiority and realize it’s not the money, it’s just good business practice. to reserve big sites for big rigs. As for the Sea Eagle kayak, I used a small folding hand truck to haul mine to the water. Great little boats. Just don’t leave it in storage over the summer in Florida while you visit Alaska, the seams come unglued from the heat!

Susan Callihan
5 years ago

RV parks have to fit what matches, just like in parking lots where compact cars should NOT park in large car spaces. If smaller units take up the larger sites, then there is no room for the larger vehicles that arrive later. I find that just trying to park my truck at the grocery store. Compact vehicles parked in the larger spots, and I can’t squeeze into a compact vehicle spot. It’s not discrimination. It use of space to accommodate the vehicles of size.

Roger Tucker
5 years ago
Reply to  Susan Callihan

Look up the definition Susan – It is discrimination, plain and simple. If someone with a small camper will pay the same rate, it’s no loss to the campground owner. IMHO it’s just an economic decision and/or snobbery. A campground owner who has either made a decision to cater to huge RV’s or a campground owner who doesn’t have the spine to stand up to the snobs in their land yachts – or both. Either way, it is what it is. Fortunately those of us with small RV’s have the option of camping in glorious places the land yachts could never dream of going.

Debbie Hansen
5 years ago
Reply to  Roger Tucker

I agree with Roger…I have a 16 ft Shadow Cruiser my money is as good as anyone else’s and the size of my rig should not matter. Last year I was up in the UP of MI and snagged a beautiful site Lake side…it will always be one of my best memories why should I be denied that because I am a little camper? I cannot afford a large camper nor frankly do I want one. If I take the time to research and reserve my site I should not have to worry about being descriminated against….I hope the State Parks don’t turn into this type of deal. It’s wrong and a form of discrimination I find disturbing to those of us that want to enjoy the outdoor experience.

Rory Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  Roger Tucker

It is a loss to the CG owner, the larger rig has to go somewhere else, even though there are smaller sites available. The CG should distribute sites of every size in premium areas. This though would not solve the problem as there are more RV’ers in small rigs unwilling to pay the extra money for the premium site. Then what, you’ll have smaller sites in premium areas left unused…..

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.