The 10-Year Rule. Is Your RV Too Old To Camp?

That’s the topic of this issue. I’m kinda curious if you’ve ever been nabbed by the 10-year rule. 🙂 

If you don’t know this about me yet, you should know that I have a soft spot for older motorhomes. Not really old, but rigs that are definitely 10+ years old.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my own rig is a 2002, so perhaps this makes sense. 😉 I’m biased a bit.

We may discuss this later in a future issue, but I personally think these “older” rigs are actually better built in a lot of cases. Many of the newest rigs just feel cheaply built and flimsy comparatively, despite the fact that you pay so much for them.

So, it can definitely be annoying when you come across the so-called 10-year rule.

The 10-year rule is something you find with some RV parks and especially “resorts” where they prohibit any RV which is older than 10 years old. In some cases, you may find the cut-off being 15 years.

Usually, this is something that you find in the upscale resorts. And usually, you will find it in the more in-demand locations around the country, such as here in Florida or Arizona. In less demanded areas, they’re more likely to take whoever they can because there’s less campers.

Understandably so, this can be pretty annoying to people who proudly own and take care good care of their RVs older than 10 years. It can feel… snotty. Even discriminatory.

You mean to tell me I can only camp there if I saddle myself with a huge debt for a new RV?! What gives?!

Why Campground Owners Impose The Ten Year Rule

Truth is, it is not discriminatory in a legal sense at all. A privately owned campground can set any rules they please for their own property. Plus, anti-discrimination laws are centered around race, religion, sex, handicap, orientation, etc. Placing an age-limit on a person’s RV isn’t much different than a restaurant having a dress code. So, complain all you want… they’re free to set the rules.

One must also keep in mind that there’s a legitimate point to the rule for campground owners. A few things to bear in mind:

Not every older rig is well maintained and can be a real eyesore and reflect badly on the campground.

Equipment failures on older rigs can lead to additional issues for RV park owners, such as fires, mechanics showing up on site, stranded rigs that can’t drive away, etc.

RV parks that allow long-term stays don’t want rigs that sit there and age on-site and can’t be gotten rid of. It also avoids potential legal issues in the rare occasion that a person with a really old RV just can’t – or won’t – leave on time. Having a specific rule in place provides legal grounding for an eviction.

So, there are indeed legit reasons for the rule and, as already said, they can do it if they please even if it annoys you.

Keep in mind, camping is a voluntary transaction. You can choose to camp there (or not) and they can choose to rent you the campsite (or not). Nothing about this is forced.

Getting Around The 10-Year Rule (It Isn’t That Difficult)

Now, let’s talk about the reality of this rule for those of us who have older motorhomes.

I’ll say first… my rig is a 2002 and I have never been denied from camping at any resort with a 10-year rule. In those instances where it came up, I would simply snap a photo of my rig with my iPhone and send it to them. They can clearly see that it isn’t ugly as sin and they have always approved me.

So, that’s your first method of getting around the 10-year rule. If your rig is your “baby” and well maintained and looks OK, just send them a photo and they will usually welcome you without any issue. I actually keep a few nice photos of my motorhome in my photo library so I have them on hand when needed.

Another option is just… don’t tell them. If they don’t ask, don’t tell them. There’s an element of risk with this approach because it is always possible they’ll strictly enforce it when you go to check in and turn you away, but chances are nobody will ever care.

In some cases, people have old vintage RVs which have been restored. Depending on how good the restoration is, many times you can get an exception just because they understand it is vintage and not just some old rig falling apart.

And lastly, just bear in mind the most likely reason for the 10-year rule (not having ugly old rigs trashing up the campground) and use that as motivation to take good care of your’s.

Keep your older rig looking as good as possible. Keep it clean and washed. Try to keep your decals in decent shape. Try to handle obvious items on the exterior that just make the rig look old. And, of course, maintain all the equipment so everything works.

Generally, it isn’t that hard to get around a 10-year rule.

If you take good care of your rig, you should never have any issue. Just keep in mind the reasons they have that rule. Don’t take it personally. And certainly don’t go out and buy some brand new rig and saddle yourself with a massive debt on a fast-depreciating asset just because you think this is going to be a problem. It isn’t. 🙂 

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