A fifth wheel trailer is a type of camper that is towed by a truck with a special hitch. It provides accommodations for sleeping, bathing and dining. This type of trailer is a great way to provide all the comforts of home while traveling or camping. There are standard models available that provide all the necessary facilities for living short term. There are also luxury models that are quite elegant and spacious and are perfect for people who decide to RV full time.
Fifth wheel prices can range from fairly inexpensive to very pricey depending on the size and amenities included. Smaller units can start at around $10,000.00 for a new model and provide adequate living and dining areas. Luxury models can exceed $100,000 and can be quite spacious. These are homes away from home and may include televisions, Internet capabilities, living areas, bedrooms, luxury kitchens and dining areas, and fully equipped bathrooms. The casual traveler can get away with a smaller model with no problem but people who travel often and want to travel in style often choose more luxurious accommodations so they can travel in style.
Although fifth wheels are more expensive than travel trailers, many people prefer fifth wheels because they are much easier to tow. Because a fifth wheel is hitched in the bed of your truck, there is more stability than with a travel trailer which is hooked on the back of a truck of SUV. People who have towed both travel trailers and fifth wheels say it can be difficult to pull a travel trailer, especially in windy conditions, because the trailer will sway from side-to-side. Fifth wheels will have little to no sway, making them easier to tow and less detrimental to your gas mileage.
Choose what your minimum requirements are and compare those with your budget. You may be able to get more amenities at a lower cost by purchasing a used fifth wheel. You should also consider how the fifth wheel will be towed. The type of vehicle used may determine the maximum weight allowed which will affect your decision. Shop around at local dealers and do research on the Internet for the models that will suit your needs.
Buying a fifth wheel is like buying a home or car. They are investments and care should be taken in picking the right one for your needs. Shop multiple dealers and look at several models before deciding on the one you want. Make a visual inspection first to determine if the amenities are what you want and need. Get a list of all the equipment and features included and compare all of them. Make sure it comes with a warranty to cover any maintenance and repairs that may be needed.
These vehicles depreciate quickly so purchasing used ones can be a great value. However, make sure you are getting a quality vehicle. Check the Internet for consumer reports on makes and models. Check every aspect of the fifth wheel for use, wear and damage. Many newer models that are well cared for will be ideal for your use and will not cost as much as a new one.
Choosing Camper Trailers Or Fifth Wheel Campers
There are several choices of towable campers: travel trailers, fifth wheel campers, toy haulers, hybrid campers and pop up or tent campers. The camper that best suits you will vary from person to person. Here are several things to consider when choosing your camper:
- Tow Vehicle – Depending on the kind of tow vehicle you have will help to determine whether you can pull a fifth wheel camper or if you must buy a bumper pull camper. One of the first things that you really have to take a look at is how much weight can your tow vehicle pull. Once you have determined this, it may eliminate many campers and help to narrow your decision.
Remember that the dry weight (unloaded) of the camper does not include any water or cargo weight. If you are going to haul water, keep in mind that water weighs 8lbs per gallon. That can really add up quickly! When possible, fill your fresh water tank at your camping location. Also dump your waste water tanks at your camp ground if they offer that service. With water weight and cargo weight, you can expect to add an addition 500-800lbs to the dry weight of your camper. Allow for that extra weight when figuring the total weight of the campers you are considering.
- Budget – Campers will vary in price from a several hundred dollars for older or fixer-upper campers to almost $100,000 for the cream of the crop campers. Price will be affected by the camper’s age, brand and size. Shop around on the internet and see what kind of campers are selling in your price range. Make sure that the amount that you have budgeted is going to get you the kind of camper you are looking for.
You should set a reasonable spending budget. If you are paying cash, know what the maximum amount of money that you want to spend. Remember that you will also have taxes and insurance costs on top of the actual cost of the camper so keep that in mind. If you are going to finance, know how much money you can comfortably afford each month. Once you have set your budget, stick with it. It will make you feel better about your purchase after everything is said and done.
- Size – Campers come in many lengths. The longer the camper, the more it will weigh. The more slide out rooms there are, the more the camper will weigh. Keep your maximum tow weight in mind when considering size.
If you visit certain camp sites, make sure that the camper that you choose is not too big for your favorite places.
- Sleeping Capacity -Make sure that you consider the average number of people that will be sleeping in the camper on a regular camping trip. Don’t worry about the people that “might” go with you every once-in-awhile. They usually don’t end up going very often.
Most campers have a master bed, some type of sleeper sofa or jackknife sofa and if it has a booth dinette, the dinette can be converted to a sleeping area. With more families camping together, bunkhouses campers are becoming very popular.
- Amenities – Campers come with many options and features. Most campers are normally equipped with: refrigerator, microwave, stove, water hookup with water pump, hot water heater, toilet, shower, sink, stereo, stabilizer jacks, awning, propane tanks, furnace and air-conditioner.
4.5 Secret Reasons to Buy a Fifth Wheel as Your RV
All of us have been through this before… you decided to get an RV but are overwhelmed by the sheer number of styles- let alone makes and models. There are too many “ifs, ands & buts” to make a clear decision this early in your learning curve. So, how do you choose the best one?
In my opinion, the 5th Wheel (or Fifth Wheel) offers a lot of advantages that the other styles do not. Actually, I believe there are 4.5 compelling reasons to consider a 5th Wheel over the main competitors; Class A B and C’s, Travel Trailers, Campers, Camper Vans, Slide-Ins, SURV, or Buses.
Without further ado, here are the 4.5 Reasons to Buy a Fifth Wheel as your RV:
1. You don’t have a cabin ruining your space.
You are only using the cabin while you are driving, which is a rare time in most RVers vacation. So, why have your whole RV built around your cabin? Why not make better use of that space and put a couch or desk up there instead? In a 5th-Wheel, you can!
2. More layout options:
Since you don’t have all of the engine, transmissions, and more, you can design your space to work better for you. There are so many ways a fifth-wheel can be set up, you can find a style that suits you better than in a classic RV.
3. No Need to Tow Another Vehicle:
You have a separate vehicle already with you all the time. All you have to do is unhitch your 5th Wheel and you are off the grocery, a restaurant, or a night on the town. Never worry about your tow dolly, a car-in-tow, or pulling a second vehicle like you would have to with an RV.
4. Provides Better Value:
You already have a truck, so why buy a whole new engine, transmission, and all of that? Using your truck to pull means there is one less vehicle to worry about in your life. Less worry means more time to sit back and enjoy your new 5th Wheel.
4.5 Easier to Inspect and Buy:
You don’t need quite as much information when looking to buy one of these used. Actually, as long as you use your noggin and a good Used RV Buying Guide , you should have no trouble getting a good deal on one of these. But, make sure to get a good buying guide or you might get a lemon!