Remember this story?
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.
At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.
“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
“This porridge is too cold,” she said
So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.
“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.
Picking the right size trailer is like getting the porridge just right, except some people like their porridge hot and some people like it cold.
Any decision about size involves compromise. The longer you get, the more compromises you make. The question all full-timers eventually ask is, “How long can I go before it’s too long?”
Longer trailers are heavier (requiring larger tow vehicles), more expensive, and more limited on where they can park. At a certain point, those of us who own long trailers can pretty much forget state and federal campgrounds since those campgrounds usually cater to smaller travel trailers. That’s a compromise. On the other hand, longer trailers make many comforts of home possible — washer and dryer, large entertainment centers, queen or king beds, space for residential couches and refrigerators, etc etc etc.
After hanging out at Camp New Horizons for a month and seeing many trailers come and go, and after talking with a lot of people who’ve been doing this for a while, it seems the sweet spot for many full-timers is about 42′. Some go a little longer (in one case 53 feet! Really?!?!?!). Others go a little less. But like Drew Brokenicky said, “Once you get over, say, 38′, what’s the difference?” In a sense, he’s right.
Our trailer is 42′ long. We think it’s just right. At 42′ we have a deep couch area, a large entertainment center, a washer and dryer, plenty of kitchen cabinets and countertops, a large convection microwave oven, two bathroom sink areas, and a queen-sized bed with generous side stands. We could have ordered a dishwasher, oven, and fireplace if we were willing to sacrifice the cabinet space. And if we were larger people, we could have fit a king bed in the same space without much compromise.
So there you have it. Some like their porridge hot and some like it cold. The key for us was to creep up on being too long and then stop just before going over the edge. Forty-two feet was our magic number.