How The RV 10 Year Rule Could Ruin Your Vacation

retro camper that will pass the 10 year rule for rvs

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Some RV resorts and campgrounds have a 10-year rule. What this rule implies is that if your rig is over 10 years old, they can deny you access. Now, that doesn’t sound very friendly, does it? I mean, not everyone has the financial ability to buy a new camper every 10 years. What exactly is this so-called 10-year rule for RVs? Better yet, why does this rule even exist? Don’t worry, we are going to cover that in a few minutes. Should you worry about this ruining your next vacation? In this post, we are going to find out all there is to know about the 10-year rule and how it could affect you. Let’s jump in, shall we?

What Is The 10-Year Rule?

Basically, the 10-year rule applies to RVs that are more than 10 years old. Some RV parks and campgrounds use this rule to pick and choose who they let into their park. For example, if your camper is older than 10 years, the campground could deny you access, even if they have sites available. On the other hand, if your rig isn’t 10 years old, you can still be denied access. This rule is primarily based around how your RV looks. With that in mind, if your newer camper is in serious dis-repair, the rule applies to you as well. I know, I know, it sounds like a ridiculous rule to have in place, however, there are reasons.

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What Is The Purpose Of The 10-Year Rule?

There are many reasons why some RV parks enforce the 10-year rule for RVs. One of those rules deals with safety. Many older RVs and campers have a tendency to leak. For the pull-behind campers, the black and gray water tanks could leak causing serious issues within the park. Oil and other fluids from older motorhomes raise concerns as well. These leaks, in addition to electrical issues, pose potential dangers to the campground. In some jurisdictions, the campground can face fines or penalties for these types of environmental mishaps.

old white travel trailer
This Travel Trailer Would Not Pass The 10-Year Rule

Electrical issues in older rigs can cause severe damage to the shore power pedestal and cause a fire to the camper.

So, since inspecting every single RV that comes through the gate is impractical, they impose the 10-year rule for RVs instead.

Potential Loss Of Revenue

Another reason many privately owned campgrounds enforce this rule is revenue. The higher end resorts and campgrounds have an image and reputation to adhere to. Plus, someone who owns a $150,000 plus motorhome doesn’t necessarily want to be parked next to someone in a not-so-nice camper.

If one or more tenants complain about an older RV, they may have to comp their stay, resulting in lost site fees.

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In addition to that, these higher end resorts are usually located on or near highway traffic. If potential residents see something that looks like it should be in a salvage yard, they may not book a site. The loss of revenue on these long-term tenants affects the bottom line. Like any other business, these RV resorts and campgrounds need to make money to pay overhead costs of running the facility.

old worn out camper trailer
Not A Candidate For A High-End RV Resort

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Many RVers that stay at these resorts and campgrounds book the site for extended stay. When the reservation is up, they simply pack up, and leave. But, what about those campers that can’t, or won’t leave? The campground can’t even begin the eviction process within the courts for at least 30 days.

You’re probably thinking even someone with a brand-new RV, full of all the bells and whistles can overstay their reservation. I couldn’t agree with you more. The thinking behind this is the owner of an older, dilapidated, RV could just abandon the rig, leaving a mess for the campground to deal with. While on the other hand, the owner of a nicer, newer RV probably wouldn’t abandon their rig. But, if they did, the campground could recoup any losses with the forced sale of the newer rig.

How To Get Past The 10-Year Rule

The 10-year rule for RVs has a few loopholes in it. As I stated above, if your newer camper looks like trash, they can turn you away. Even with an RV that is 30 years old, you can get approval from most of these privately owned campgrounds and resorts. How? Well, when you make your reservations, there will often be a question as to how old your rig is. If it is older than 10 years, you can send them a picture to see if they will accept you. Take a few good pictures of your rig and store them on your phone. This way, it is much easier to email or text your photos to the campground.

retro used camper
Keep Up With Required Maintenance

You can also just show up to the gate. What do you have to lose? The worse they can tell you is no, right? If you just need to stop for the night, most of these parks will allow you to stay for one night, despite the condition of your rig.

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Keep up with your maintenance. Fix any issues that you find, before they get out of hand. Don’t pull up with panels flapping, windows busted out, or the air conditioner hanging by the wire. I think you get where I’m going with this. If you need to lay a tarp over the roof to keep the water out, chances are you will be turned away at the gate.

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Give your rig a good wash and wax. Washing and waxing your camper can dramatically improve the look of it. Our Kodiak is a 2018 model. If we don’t wash it, it looks like a 2005 model. A clean, shiny RV can greatly improve your chances of circumventing the 10-year rule for RVs.

There are debates over the legality of the 10-year rule. Some say that it’s discriminatory to those who can’t afford a nice, brand- new RV. Whatever your feelings are on the subject, it is completely legal. Since the parks enforcing these rules are privately owned and they have the right to refuse service to anyone. The only time the 10-year rule becomes a legal issue is if there is a scam or fraud involved.

Don’t Stress

There is no good reason for you to go out and buy a brand-new camper every 10 years. In fact, the number of RV campgrounds that strictly enforce the 10-year rule for RVs is quite small. In fact, we had a difficult time finding very many. The RV resorts we did find that enforce the 10-year rule, were often classified as a Class A RV only resort. For instance, Bella Terra RV Resort in Foley, Alabama.

 There are thousands of RV parks and campgrounds throughout the country. Finding a place to spend some quality time with your family shouldn’t be an issue, no matter how old you rig is.

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Keep in mind that these types of RV campgrounds are privately owned. State and National Parks as well as public campgrounds do not have this rule.

Visit State And National Parks

If you want to avoid the 10-year rule for RVs all together, make State and National Parks a part of your RV camping trip. Since these are public campgrounds and parks, there is no rule regarding the age of your rig. National Parks do, however, have length limitations. Check with the National Park you plan to visit to get more details.

Class C Motorhome in the desert

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Conclusion On The RV 10-Year Rule

Having an older camper shouldn’t keep you from enjoying quality time with your family. The RV resorts and parks that enforce the 10-year rule typically have higher-end clientele. If you ever run across an RV campground that enforces the rule, keep in mind that they will probably let you stay for a night or two. Send some pictures of your rig to management, or just show up. If they happen to turn you away, there are other RV parks nearby that you can stay at.

What are your thoughts on the 10-year rule for RVs? Have you ever encountered an RV park that enforced it? If so, leave us a comment below and let us know.

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