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Old 07-27-2020, 12:41 PM   #1
mconners
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Length of your Montana

Hi Folks,

My wife and I just picked up our new Ram 3500, Cummins and Dually pickup a week ago. We are going to purchasing a Montana in the spring, potentially for full timing.

As we look through the Montana site from Keystone, I see only one unit below 40'. All the full time information we have navigated through indicate full timing in a unit 40' will be tough as a lot of places won't fit a unit that big.

What's your experiences been with your unit and how big is it?

Do you find the size being restrictive when going to destinations you have on your bucket list? We have some destinations in mind, but really don't want to find ourselves locked out because the unit is too big.

Thank you!
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:57 PM   #2
Montana Man
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Welcome and fun stuff on the horizon. We are at 36 feet and do run into site restrictions. When parks accomodate the big units they usually have just so many and can cost more to rent. You will experience that. Some sites will fit the big ones but getting the rig in the spot can be challenging. You can however search for parks where you will fit and get around. Smaller rigs see more availability. Like a sliding scale, the smaller, the more options.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:19 PM   #3
triplebvalp
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mconners,

We are at 34' and do not full time. Here's a good rule of thumb for you. National Parks, most State Parks, "Campgrounds" can usually accommodate RV's that are up to 30'. RV parks up to 36'. RV Resorts can usually accommodate the largest of rigs. This has been our experience.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:24 PM   #4
mconners
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Thank you for the replies. I suspect, then we should consider something smaller, like a 36' or so. That was our wonder too. We hate to get into a rig that can't get us into places.

I read on one site, the national parks won't allow the bigger rigs, but since the entrance people only go by model number to determine length, you will be good. In other words, we get the 3791RD and the park people see 37 and assume it's a 37' unit. But, my worry would be pulling into that site knowing it will likely not fit the entire unit. That could be a problem.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:35 PM   #5
Sdexte
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We just finished our first round of full time rvíing in a 42í Montana HC and had no issues with the size. Itís a matter of doing your research on the RV parks. I look for ones that advertise as big rig friendly and will try to find pull through sites. I also look at the reviews from previous campers to see the comments on the site sizes and issues getting in them. Most State Park and COE sites will give you pad lengths and max lengths for their sites. The biggest thing is getting comfortable maneuvering and backing up a larger rig. And of course good communication skills with your spouse.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:38 PM   #6
jsb5717
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Welcome aboard! The 3120/21 is a very popular model and some do full-time in that one. There are also some good options in the Montana High Country and Avalanche lineups as well. It's really going to come down to your own preference. Floor plan and features are very subjective. If overall length is an important feature for you then that's a good place to start.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:52 PM   #7
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Mconners,

Welcome to the forum!

Where you plan to camp will have some impact on size. In general west (except CA) is more RV friendly than the east and has bigger campgrounds. There are spots in parks for bigger rigs. You can always call ahead to sort out restrictions. Find the rig you like and what fits your family. We are happy with our 3160 which is basically the same as a 3120 with the kitchen reversed.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:58 PM   #8
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We have never had an entrance person gauge the length of our rig by the model number. Measured by tape, once. Perhaps try reserving at sites online at places you would like to visit and see how it goes. Or, just call and ask. This is a decision you want to get right the first time.
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:00 PM   #9
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Thank for all the information. Our hopes are to be able to travel from Alaska to the keys and to the far reaches of the continent if possible. The goal would be to find our next forever area to settle back down again in 4-6 years. We don't want to get to a point of being out of luck, but like you have said, planning can make it work. We expect to be in an area for a month at a time, to get a feel for the lay of the land and so forth.

We have seriously considered the high country, but we can't find any in southern Wisconsin. So, I think some weekend trips will need to be made, just to check them out. Thanks!!
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:48 PM   #10
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I'm thinking you might want to define the bucket list as well as you can. With that you can check out locations (or specific parks if you have any in mind) in those areas. That might give you a little better insight into what it will take to go where you want to go. If using forest service, blm, state, coe parks you can hit some length snags. If you can settle for commercial parks you should be OK with proper investigation/questioning before making reservations. If not familiar with navigating a larger trailer you need to get familiar with the feel of it.

As far as full timing, we don't. However we do spend up to 5+ months at a time. One night stands are a lot of trouble to us. We like to spend at least a week or so and see a place a bit. We spend months in FL but my DD and GDs are here.

If new to staying in an RV realize that over time they can start to feel confining. For me it starts around 3 mos., for DW in about 6 weeks. Sit in the prospective unit and spend some time thinking about it. With those thoughts in mind bigger is better. Maneuvering into smaller places smaller is better. It will be a balancing act; seems dealing with RVs is always some sort of compromise. Put a lot of thought into it - you only want to do this once and definitely don't want to begin that big adventure and find you don't like your new "home". Been retired going on 15 years and still finding hidden gems here and there.
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Old 07-27-2020, 03:00 PM   #11
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384BR Montana High Country, pulled with the same truck you bought. 40 ft 8 inches.

Wife, me, and big labrador. I can't imagine living day to day in anything smaller. We tried smaller travel trailers and it didn't work.

I've had no trouble finding a place to park it. For a night or a month. Haven't been refused due to size.
The COE campgrounds we've stayed at, even when we had a travel trailer, I remember seeing big fifth wheels at them.

Of course I've not been all over the US, just local and between here and Florida.
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Old 07-27-2020, 03:13 PM   #12
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Length is only a number. All those 45' diesel pusher motorhomes with their toads must fit somewhere.
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Old 07-27-2020, 03:22 PM   #13
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We have a High Country, 2019 331RL
36ft 4inches.


Love love love our rig. Double Vanity in larger bathroom. Perfect couples camper. Can add 2 adults maybe a young Grandkid for 1 or 2 nights.

Happy Rig Hunting.
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Old 07-27-2020, 05:02 PM   #14
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When full timing the first thing you want to consider is can you see your self living in it for years. That usually means a longer rig. Our first Monty was 40' this one is 42' and we have never had problems. We've worked for Fish and Wildlife in some really backwoods settings been to state parks and COE parks (usually check sites on line) and never not been able to go where we wanted. We have had to back slow and work at it a few time when doing things like backing blind thru the trees, but we're close to 100,000 miles now never worried about our length.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:18 PM   #15
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Two Montana's 06 3400 and this 13 3402 both a bit over 40 feet, 4 slides. There will be some places you will not be able to fit but in our experience they will be few. We always tell CG's our size when making reservations and have not had a problem. We are long timers and live in our Montana 8 to 10 months a year and as DQDick suggest you need all the room you can get. Like DQDick we have backed blind through the trees at night and surprised even my self that we made it and not run over Helen with her flashlight in the process.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:10 PM   #16
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From 2006 to 2014 we had a 33.5 foot Montana. Kind of cramped. To get to frig,the recliner (me) had to put the chair back to upright for wife to get to frig. Loved the looks of the 3400 back then. So I got a Mountaineer that is 37 feet long and has the same layout as the old 3400. We love it.

As others have said, there are a few places (especially NP's and govmnt parks) where we don't fit. And as others said, I look online and if not sure, call and tell them I want a pull thru and my length.
A bit of good news for me - Yellowstone Fishing Bridge is upgrading and will have longer sites (maybe pull thrus, I can't remember) next year. I stayed there once with my shorter rig and had to drive the front of the truck into the brush at the front of the campsite in order to park and also leave.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:35 PM   #17
cgeis48
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If you are going to take your rig to Alaska, shorter is better. The 3121 is a good choice.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:07 PM   #18
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We started in 1985 with a 12' Jayco Popup (that was made in the 60's), then a 20' Wilderness Bunkhouse, then a Terry 25W in 2000. We switched to a MHC 325 RL I believe, around 2013. That was around 34'. We fell in love with the 3820FK (stupid me going to an RV show) and bought it to use in retirement which is in 2 years. It's just over 40'. We just came back from 3 weeks on the road from Utah to Massachusetts, and we travel Utah to Napa at least 3 times a year. So how is this relevant to your question? First, We used to camp BLM land a lot more, and still do, but I've never had difficulty finding a commercial campground that couldn't accommodate at least 70' length. Reservation usually required. BLM land is trickier (usually for ground clearance not length) but it hasn't been a problem yet. Second, we've always wished we had more space. What we have now is about right. There are some national forest sites that I'm jut not going to get in. That's OK. My biggest issue now is finding a Costco with a parking lot that's not too full so I can get in without worrying about hitting something. You get used to, and get very good at maneuvering pretty quickly. I can tell you between my MHC and the 3820FK which is 6' or so longer, it hasn't made much difference on where I go. My suggestion would be to look at the KOA website and for the places you want to go, see what size rigs they can accommodate. Same thing for the Recreation.Gov site. It will tell you the maximum vehicle length. I agree with whoever said it above, I see 45' Diesel pushers everywhere and I can go anyplace they can.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:27 PM   #19
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It all depends on your circumstances. If it’s just you and the wife do you need 40 foot of trailer? If you are traveling a lot then the larger you go the more maintenance you have (triple axles, brakes, tires, slide outs, awnings). I try to get by with the minimum.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mconners View Post
Hi Folks,

My wife and I just picked up our new Ram 3500, Cummins and Dually pickup a week ago. We are going to purchasing a Montana in the spring, potentially for full timing.

As we look through the Montana site from Keystone, I see only one unit below 40'. All the full time information we have navigated through indicate full timing in a unit 40' will be tough as a lot of places won't fit a unit that big.

What's your experiences been with your unit and how big is it?

Do you find the size being restrictive when going to destinations you have on your bucket list? We have some destinations in mind, but really don't want to find ourselves locked out because the unit is too big.

Thank you!
We have a 2008 3400RL and it measures 38'4" from the tip of the pin box to the back of the trailer.
When we reserve a campsite we always declare 40' overall length. We have yet to encounter a park that we couldn't get into, however we almost exclusively stay in private parks because of the availability of full hook ups. I don't don't want to be bothered with hooking back up to go to a dump station or schlepping waste in a portable dump tank. I understand that most State Parks, National Forest and Corps of Engineers sites have length limits and rarely have full hook-ups, they're just not our choice in campgrounds so length hasn't been an issue.
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