Tricks to Get Around the 10-Year RV Rule

I recently posted an article about the infamous ten-year RV rule. The article pointed out that there are multiple reasons a campground may institute a policy barring recreational vehicles more than ten years old. But, different things can be done to get around the RV age rule.

Problems with the 10-year RV rule

Panoramic view of the white Ford Transit-based 2021 Wonder RL
The 2021 Wonder Rear Lounge (RL) RV | Leisure Travel Vans

At the center of the matter regarding the ten-year rule is that many older RV units are not maintained as well as they can be. So, they tend to appear worn and rusty, or be leaky. Each of these can be a threat to the campground that can cause lost revenue or even local fines. Hence, the ten-year rule is sometimes instituted at a campground.

A well-maintained RV can speak volumes to the campground management

Campground management will tend to look at an RV pretty closely when they are concerned about its age. But, not all older RV units appear shabby or are left to rot. So, regularly washing and wax a pop-up camper, travel trailer, fifth-wheel, or motorhome can help with the ten-year rule. Doing so will mean the luster of the paint finish will last a lot longer. Torn or fading decals can also be easily taken care of. 

Also, many people take care of rust as soon as they see it. For example, if rust starts to appear on a rear bumper, people have been known to take care of it before the bumper becomes swiss cheese. That is why many RV units have more and more diamond plate patches as time goes on. 

Any loose or dangling panels or wiring from an RV are a concern to campground owners as well. So, suppose the owner of a recreational vehicle takes care of those trouble spots prior to arriving onsite. In that case, there will be less of an opportunity for management to show concern. 

When it comes to the appearance of the RV, if an owner calls ahead to the campground and explains that the unit has been well cared for and doesn’t have any concerns, then it is more likely that the management will look the other way. After all, they are looking to get paid. So, if the RV is not an eyesore or a danger, they may relent. But, don’t be surprised if they ask for pictures to be sent to their email before they provide a decision. Nothing is guaranteed, though. 

RV restorations often get a pass

RV restorations are not uncommon amongst the travel community. So, it is not unusual to find, for example, a Prevost bus RV from the 1960s or 1970s that has been recently been restored. Even though the registration may claim a date of manufacture from decades ago, the campground may permit flexibility with their ten-year rule if the owner explains the restoration. 

A white teardrop RV from NuCamp RV
A teardrop RV from NuCamp RV | NuCamp RV

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Along the same thought as restorations is the teardrop trailer. Teardrop RVs have seen a resurgence as of late. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if the campground management questions the age of one. Even though the unit may be brand new, it’s styling reaches back decades. So, there could be some confusion. On the flip side, however, the resurgence also means that a well-maintained one from decades ago may be able to slip by the ten-year rule. 

Here is the bottom line. The few campgrounds that put a ten-year rule into effect do it to protect the camping experience. Also, it is not wise to stir up a hornet’s nest where one will be laying one’s head. If traveling to a campground where it is unknown if they have a ten-year rule, the best course of action is to call ahead. If need be, explain how well maintained one’s RV is, or that is a recent restoration, or that it is a new teardrop trailer. Often doing this will be sufficient to get a pass. Not calling ahead can increase the possibility of a ruined family vacation. Or,… maybe it is time to play with the idea of a newer recreational vehicle.