Kurt Verlin
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RVs Must Now Be Sold with Clear Length Label

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2016 Jayco Jay Feather, without an RV length label
Photo: Jayco

Good news, recreational vehicle shoppers. Starting on Jan. 1, 2021, all newly manufactured RVs will be required to bear a label that clearly states their overall length. One wonders how, in the past, competitive RV owners were able to determine who had the biggest unit.

The new directive was announced on June 23 by the RV Industry Association, who says that the new labels should help reduce consumer confusion about an RV’s size. Considering that RV length can have a fairly large impact on where you can drive them and whether you need a special license to drive one, it’s surprising that a rule regarding vehicle length labels wasn’t in place before.

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From 2021, all new RVs will thus have to bear a length label, printed in English with a minimum font size of 3/32 inches high. It will be printed in black, against a contrasting background, next to the label denoting occupant or cargo carry capacity.

According to the RVIA, a standardized method will be used to determine RV length that depends on the unit’s type. Travel trailers, for instance, will be measured from the leading front edge of the hitch coupler to the rearmost extremity of the bumper (or rear wall if there is no bumper). For the most part, however, it seems the rule is “measure the RV from its furthest front edge to its furthest rear edge.” Seems simple enough.

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That being said, the measurement does potentially exclude several exterior elements you might find on an RV. These include safety-related equipment like warning lights and appliance vents, exterior ladders, entry and exit handholds, cargo-securing equipment, and spare tires.

So there you have it. If you buy a new RV in 2021, you’ll be able to know how long it is without having to whip out your trusty tape measure.