The RV 10 Year Rule May Ruin Your Road Trip

You may love your vintage camper or RV, but unfortunately, many RV parks don’t! It’s important to know about the 10 year rule and what it means for you and your RV. Read on as we break down everything you need to know.

What is the RV 10 Year Rule? 

The RV 10 year rule refers to any rules set by a campground or RV park limiting or outright prohibiting older RVs. Generally, the rule will apply to any RVs or trailers that are more than 10 years old, hence the name. 

Why Does the 10 Year Rule Exist? 

As rigs age, they can begin to look rough if not adequately maintained. Scuffs and scratches can pile up, roofs can peel or crack, and awnings can become tattered and stained.

These outward signs of neglect can also signal a lack of care in maintaining important interior systems. 

Altogether, these issues can cause major headaches for park owners and fellow park guests. Especially at nicer parks, people won’t want to look at rusted, dilapidated, or poorly maintained RVs.

To keep guests happy and avoid the myriad issues resulting from older RVs, many parks instituted the 10 year rule. The rule aims to prohibit the worst offenders while creating an objective system for determining whether an RV is allowed.  

How to Know if an RV Park Uses the 10 Year Rule

If your rig is getting older, you may be concerned about showing up at an RV park and getting turned away. Take these steps to avoid those kinds of uncomfortable and stressful situations.

Look on the Website

If an RV park enforces a 10 year rule, there’s a good chance they want prospective guests to know.

If the campground has an active website, check any rules or regulations for age-related restrictions.

However, not all campgrounds have the best or most comprehensive websites. Don’t assume there’s no 10 year rule just because you can’t find it initially. 

Ask When Booking

Good, old-fashioned human contact may be the simplest way to determine if a park has a 10 year rule. Asking via phone or email can allow park managers to provide additional information about the rule.

If there’s any question about whether your rig is allowed, try to get regulations or guidance in writing. This will help avoid issues if you arrive at the park and employees have a different interpretation of the rules.

Read Reviews

Reviews can be a major tip-off to whether a 10 year rule is in place at a given park. Check to see if any dissatisfied customers complain about old or beaten-up RVs at the site or other similar issues.

If you’re lucky, you may even find someone with a vintage rig who’ll explicitly discuss getting approval.

Is There a Way Around the 10 Year Rule? 

If your RV is a decade old or older, fear not. In many cases, the 10 year rule is flexible, and park owners will waive it under the right circumstances. So what do you need to do?

Keep Your RV Meticulously Maintained

The 10 year rule aims to keep ugly eyesores and broken down campers out of otherwise nice parks and campgrounds. If you have an older RV, keeping it in tip-top shape can help convince skeptical park owners.

Keeping service records is a good practice, generally speaking. Having them can be extra evidence of your rig’s condition, if necessary.

Send the Park Manager Pictures

If able, send the park manager pictures of your rig. It’s a quick and easy way for them to confirm you won’t be pulling up in a rusted-out, sputtering motorhome.

Be proactive in offering photos; you may find managers will quickly make exceptions to the 10 year rule. 

Is the 10 Year Rule Really Fair? 

As with many situations, whether the 10 year rule is fair depends on your perspective. While owners of older rigs may feel the rule unjustly targets them, parks can and do make exceptions. 

On the other hand, owners of these RV parks are interested in making sure their campground looks nice. Allowing all rigs to show up and camp could ruin the experience for other campers.

As parks with these rules are (in most cases) private companies or individuals, they have the right to set the terms of how visitors can use them in the best interest of themselves, their guests, and their business. 

How to Find Campsites with an Older RV

Finding a place to camp with an older RV certainly isn’t impossible, even with 10 year rules in mind.

In most cases, you can stay at national, state, or county parks, as these public campgrounds usually offer fewer restrictions. 

You’re also more likely to encounter 10 year rule problems at high-end RV resorts or other premium campgrounds. If you’re satisfied with more basic accommodations, you may have a better chance of avoiding age-related issues.

Don’t forget about free camping. This ranges from Bureau of Land Management sites to Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lots. 

Just because your RV is an “oldie but a goodie” doesn’t mean you’ll be turned away. But understanding the 10 year rule is crucial to planning your trips and finding a place to stay.

Keep these issues in mind, and you and your rig will have many years of great camping ahead — 10 year rule or not!

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