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RV Pole Barn

pennrver
Explorer
Explorer
We don't own an RV yet, but plan on purchasing one within the next year. Planning on putting up a pole barn to house it. We will build that before getting the RV. Wanted to see if anyone has any thoughts on it, mistakes you made, etc.

Dimension wise I want to be able to plan accordingly. We have pretty much decided on a class C, but may move on to a fifth wheel down the road. So I want to "future proof" the barn.

A fifth wheel is going to be taller than a class C, so if I plan my barn around that fact it should be able to hold any class C. What is the tallest 5th wheel right now? 13' something? so a 14' door should suffice?

Any thoughts on barn dimensions? I am looking for more of a multi use barn but primarily for the motorhome. But may be storing tractor, car, boat, etc. So looking for two bays.

Should I make it long enough to hold 5th wheel + truck attached? That might stretch it too long. How about room around the camper?

Looking to hear thoughts from anyone who has been down this road! Thanks
66 REPLIES 66

Tom_Barb
Explorer
Explorer
pennrver wrote:
wow, a lot of great info here. Thanks to everyone. I'm thinking 40 x 60 with at least one 14x14 door... perhaps make the door to the second bay smaller?

The comments about approach angles and roof work are both good, things I didn't think of before. What wall size should I look for? With a 14 foot door it's going to be around 16' walls?

Also I am on well and septic. I am wondering if it's worth it to add the water and sewer. The water wouldn't be too hard, but the septic tank might be a little more costly. Any thoughts on this? Dump station pretty beneficial?

Thanks again to all.


If at all possible, do the full hook station in the barn.
When it become the need for an extra bedroom you'll be glad you did.
We often use the RV for guests. because we have full hook ups at home.
2000 Newmar mountain aire 4081 DP, ISC/350 Allison 6 speed, Wrangler JL toad.

hotbyte
Explorer
Explorer
If enclosed, a good floor drain system so you can wash, drain FW, etc, in barn. Based on size I’m hearing, several man doors so it isn’t a mile trip around barn to get in.
2018 Minnie Winnie 24M

Hammerboy
Explorer
Explorer
My Rv half of the barn (other half is my 24x26 heated shop) is 15'6" x 35' inside with a 12'9" high door that is 12' wide. If I could I would have built it bigger but I am stuck with what the HOA allows for square footage and height. Our current unit clears the door for height by 3" on the 2nd AC unit and I have about 8" to spare on the length and that's after I removed the spare tire off the bumper.

I figure if it won't fit in the barn it's to big anyway lol. If I do decide to bigger someday I will store it offsite somewhere but in reality the next one may be shorter for ease of picking campsites and a little more nimble.

Dan
2019 Chevy crew LTZ 2500 HD Duramax
2017 Wildcat 29rlx fifth wheel

magicbus
Explorer
Explorer
Been there, done that, downsized. Just finishing a 24x30 barn with no support poles inside so it is wide open floor space. Room for our 24 foot class B, a workshop and a car. I still haven’t figured out what I am going to do with the huge attic space with stairs to it.

Dave
Current: 2018 Winnebago Era A
Previous: Selene 49 Trawler
Previous: Country Coach Allure 36

tragusa3
Explorer
Explorer
I'm from the slums on the other side of the tracks of this thread! 🙂 I went on the cheap end with one of the erect in a day metal carports. Hey, $5k all in and my rig is covered. Anyway, one thing I haven't heard mentioned is that when calculating the width of your rig, your basement doors may swing out wider than your slides. In my case, basement doors make my rig 2' wider than the slides do. I went with an 18' width and have just barely enough to walk around with basement doors open.
New to us 2011 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 34TGA
Join us on the road at Rolling Ragu on YouTube!

Eric_Lisa
Explorer II
Explorer II
pennrver wrote:
...Any thoughts on barn dimensions? ...


Build the absolute largest you can afford. If there parts of the building that can be deferred in order to free up budget for size, then do it. For example, if you are going to finish off the interior with sheetrock, spend that money on square footage now. Come back later to finish the interior.

Also, put in as much utility stuff as you can now. Maximize the electrical panel (200amp), even if you don't anticipate needing it. You might in the future. And it will add value to a potential buyer if/when you ever sell it.

The smartest thing I did when building my shop was put 2" PVC under the concrete floor to the other sides of the shop from where the electrical panel is located. I had no plans to use the conduit, but I installed it anyway. A few years later as I did things like add a workbench, it was very easy to simply pull wires through under the floor.

Only other suggestion is to triple check the door height. My neighbor bought a new RV last year. Went to pull it in his shop where the old RV used to sit, and it was too tall by a few inches. There has been a recent trend to make RV's more narrow & taller than a few years ago. Make for darn sure the door height will clear your RV with room to spare.

HTH!
-Eric
Eric & Lisa - Oregon
'97 Silverado K2500, New HT383 motor!, Airbags, anti-sway bar
'03 Lance model 1030, generator, solar,

pigman1
Explorer
Explorer
Make it as large as you can fit and afford. We have a 42x96 farm machine shed with doors on the long side. Four bays each with a door 16' high. When we went from a 40' coach to a 43' we had to push one bay out 8' so the new coach would fit with access to the engine from the rear. In addition the width should be wide enough to allow access with slides extended. Remember, you're going to need room to store those many things you have in the coach and may not want to keep with you on the next trip. Also tools, oil, antifreeze, and even cleaning supplies. Although we have 50A service to the Bus, we don't have a drain for sewage or water supply in the barn. We can dump right outside of the building to a dedicated dump and can fill water from outside with an extended hose. Make it as big as you can and then go to the next size bigger. You'll never be sorry.
Pigman & Piglady
2013 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43' QGP
2011 Chevy Silverado 1500
SMI Air Force One toad brake
Street Atlas USA Plus

Grit_dog
Traveler II
Traveler II
Span width increases Const costs proportionally more than length, especially if you want clear span.
What else are you going to do with the shop? Doesn’t sound like you’re a gearhead or cabinet builder, however I’d still build as big as you can fit/afford.
Resale wise, no one ever looked at buying a house with a detached shop and said “oh no, that shops too large, let’s look for one that is more cramped. “
However what your proposing at 60’ + wide is more like an airplane hanger than a RV barn. 40’ wide will get you 3 bays and room around each vehicle.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

John_Burke
Explorer
Explorer
Have you ever heard someone say " Dang I wish I would have built it smaller".

Deb_and_Ed_M
Explorer
Explorer
pennrver wrote:
Dump station pretty beneficial?

Thanks again to all.


I already spoke about having a cleanout for easy dumping, and it was crazy-handy for dumping the tanks when we used our Class C more as a "day camper" (tailgating, going to parks with the grandkids, etc) But we sold that barn and bought a bigger one, that didn't have an accessible cleanout. We have a nice State Park about 6 miles from our home, so we simply used their dump facilities when needed (I will confess that if we just had a bit of grandkid tinkle in the tank, we'd just back it way out into the puckerbrush and open the valve. The nearest neighbor is about 1/2-mile away). So no, it's not essential - just "handy".
Ed, Deb, and 2 dogs
Looking for a small Class C!

benbovac
Explorer
Explorer
Mine is 28 x 52, 14ft door and 18ft wall height. Works very well for our 43ft 5th wheel or any other rv we may purchase. If anything I would have went wider, but may layout didnt alllow that for a reasonable cost.
BenBovAC
2020 GMC 3500 Denali SRW
2019 Jayco NothPoint :

😛

Oldmaple
Explorer
Explorer
Pole barns make a jump in price when you go from 14' side walls to 16' sidewalls since you need bigger poles (more than going from 12' to 14'). You can't get a 14' overhead door with a 14' sidewall though. A sliding door would get you the most overhead clearance.

WTP-GC
Explorer
Explorer
I agree with the comment about building it as a large as you can afford and property allows.
14' height is preferable, but you can find plenty of 5ers that are less than 13' high, so I wouldn't be overly concerned about that if you have an issue with 14'.
If it s a true "pole barn" and you're looking at side entry, then 11.5' width (12' nominal less the poles) for the opening is more than enough. If you can't back into a 11.5' width then reconsider your plans 😉
Duramax + Grand Design 5er + B & W Companion
SBGTF

Campinghoss
Explorer
Explorer
We are in the country and have a very large yard. I put a 20 foot high 41 feet long and 40 foot wide metal shed up. I left mine open at both ends so I could just drive thru. I keep my 20 foot bass boat, jeep wrangler, 40 foot fifth wheel and my dually under it with no problem. I ran power to it with two 30 amp outlets with one 50 amp outlet. I had a 40 foot dp for a few years which also fit fine. If I was putting up one I would definitely make it high enough to check the roof out while under the shed. You never know when you will need to get up there.

I didn't need a work shop as we have an attached two car garage so it all depends on your room and what you want. Just don't go too small.
Camping Hoss
2017 Open Range 3X 388RKS
MorRyde IS with disc brakes
2017 F-350 6.7 with hips 8'bed
Lucie our fur baby
Lucky 9/15/2007 - 1/30/2023

jkwilson
Explorer II
Explorer II
I built mine 18’x40’ with 16’ walls and a 14’ door. 32’ 5th wheel fits nicely. I can open all the slides and still get past them, and easily walk around when the slides are in.

I have other buildings, so this is dedicated to the RV only.
John & Kathy
2014 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS
2014 F250 SBCC 6.2L 3.73