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Full Version: Travel Trailer Vs. 5th Wheel?
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Hello--my husband and I rented a class C last year for a one-month road trip out west, and for this year have we have purchased a 29 foot travel trailer for our one-month trip headed east (which we are currently on--Maine is GORGEOUS!) Anyway, we love the TT. It is an ultra-lite model (Keystone Cougar) and we tow it with our V8 Chevy Tahoe that we already had, so it was nice that we didn't have to purchase a new vehicle to tow it. However. We are always impressed by the big shiny new 5th wheels we see, and are thinking of trading up for next year. We realize we would need a new truck to tow our hypothetical new 5th wheel, but other than that, what are the pros and cons of towing/owning a TT vs. a 5th wheel? We are interested hearing about the hooking it up to the truck process (for lack of a better word!) as well as the actual driveability of one vs. the other. Any height problems you've encountered, going up hills, swaying, things like that. Thank you in advance!! smile.gif
Nicki: First of all, let me say that I am glad you are enjoying Maine. Hope you see Acadia, including the Schoodic Point section of the park......but you didn't ask for travel advice.

We have had our 5th wheel for a year now, having had a travel trailer for 6 years previously. There are positive things about both. With a 5th wheel, you experience almost no sway when large trucks or buses pass on the freeway. They usually have more storage than TTs, and feel more spacious on the interior. One down side is, with the higher exterior profile, you encounter greater wind resistance when driving into a head wind. Gas mileage also really goes down the tubes when encountering this condition. Since part of the RV is over the bed of the truck, the total length of your combined unit can be less than w/a TT (which is good in passing other vehicles).

Two other downsides of a 5'er (and others may disagree with me here): First, I find the fifth wheel more difficult to back than a travel trailer. After two trips cross-country, I still feel this way. Second, our hitch (a Pullrite with 5th Airbourne addition) is "unfriendly" to say the least. The vehicle can only be 5 degrees off center for the hitch to engage or disengage. This is a pain in the *** , especially when we are trying to fit into one of those short, U-shaped, pull-thrus.

All-in-all, we are happy with our new unit and don't regret the purchase. Hope you find a great unit that fits your needs. MaineDon

Thank you Don for the reply, and yes, we are loving Acadia. We spent the last two days there and plan to go back today to swim at Sand Beach. Although when we dipped our toes in it yesterday it was FREEZING but the kids don't care! I wish we had more time here, and hope to come back next year. Geddy's also had a yummy lobster pizza. smile.gif
Retired and Happy
We had a fifth wheel and sold it. It had one slide out with a garage. It was a bit tricky to back up and we thought a trailer would work better. We now have a 28' Desert Fox and do like it but really want a fifth wheel with a garage for the Harley again. The trailer does back up easier but has no garage for the bike...otherwise it is very comfortable as well. Safe travels!!
If you want a decent size fifth wheel , you need a dually , ya know the trucks with four rear tires .. To me , as a trucker , duals are the safest option regardless , especially with a fair amount of weight being towed ..
With a tag a long ( bumper hitch ) you dont have as much trailer weight ( 10-15% +/- a bit ) on the tow vehicle .. With the fifth , you may have as much as 30-35% +/- a bit of the trailer weight on the tow vehicle .. Also with the dual rear tires on the truck , not near as much sway , much more stable platform ..

Seeing as how you will have to buy a tow vehicle as well , you have to consider , will you have a use for the tow vehicle other than the fiver ??
If not can you live with the tow vehicle sitting a good bit of the time .. If ya have ta make payments and insurance , thats a lot to spend on a vehicle not being used much ..

On the other hand if the Tahoe squats , do you have a back up now for it , for just going to werk and all , not thinking of the camper at all ..

And the biggie is , do you want to spend the money on a truck and trailer with the economy in the mess its in , unless you can pay for them outright ( cash ) ..

That said I'd take a fiver over the bumper pull if I was in need of a big trailer ..

We just bought a 32 foot motorhome , 11 years old in excellent condition , with 27000 miles on it , for less than we paid for the Harley or pickup or TT or fiver for that matter .. So there are bargains out there on good used stuff as well .. But we had just sold the fiver and knew what we wanted and were in no hurry to replace it until we found what we wanted ..
Nicki: LOL!! Yes, go for it... but recognize that few Mainers actually swim at Sand Beach. It is great for wading and walking, but these are Maine waters. Cold and not for the faint of heart! Try swimming on an incoming tide, and on a warm sunny day, at Seal Harbor (i.e., shallow and deep sand beach that warms in the sun before the tide comes back in). I have lived in Maine for 35 years now and love the place...but not for salt water swimming. When I swim (and I love to) it's in a freshwater lake....and Maine has (IMO) the best lakes in the country, especially those north of Freeport. Enjoy your stay here...and don't miss Schoodic. Take the ferry over and rent bikes once you are there. Then ride one of the most beautiful circuits I have ever done anywhere. And, if you want to see a real Maine fishing village, ride out to Corea on the northeast end of the Schoodic Pennisula. No $1,00,000 yachts in the Corea harbor!!! Just a working Maine waterfront as it has been for decades. Enjoy your stay. MaineDon
A hitch and a hop
I have a 27 ft. 1994 Dutchmen Classic 5th (5700 lbs) that I pull with a 1/2 ton GMC. I have made trips from Florida to Ca. twice and through the Rockies with no problems. Est that I have pulled it about 35,000 miles. Takes me about 15 minutes to set up at a campsite. Setting up is a matter of leveling side to side, Disconnect from the truck. leveling front to rear with front legs, Hooking up utilities, pulling out awning and placing patio rug. Takes the wife about that long to set up inside. Then we are off to what ever.. Backing a trailer is easy if you TAKE YOUR TIME. With a 5th wheel, you follow the trailer wheels, when they start to turn, start straightening up the truck to follow. A 5th W tends to jack knife faster than a TT I have been told. I have seen a neat trick at a campsite by a guy backing into a site with limited room. He placed a rope down an then let his trailer tires stay next to the rope as he backed. Parked it with one try.

Good luck and remember, you are camping, not living in the woods, Its not what you have in the TT that makes the trip good, its what happens outside. Its just a portable bed.. tongue.gif

We had a small travel trailer before we retired. We bought a used 35' fiver and a one-ton, long bed, crew cab, duallie pickup when we started full-timing. I have no experience with a large travel trailer, only the fifth wheel.

I would disagree with the need for a duallie with many fivers. The only reason you need a duallie is if the pin weight of the fiver exceeds the load capacity of the cargo box on the truck. Most 3/4 ton pickups can handle most fivers nowadays. One reason we eventually switched from the fiver to a motor home was that the pick pickup was a drag for sightseeing and parking.

A fifth wheel is certainly easy to drive on the highway, and I found it easy to back up. It was easier to hitch up the fifth wheel than it was the travel trailer because I could eyeball the connection the whole time with the fiver.

Good luck!

Dave Rudisill
2004 Beaver Monterey
Just thought I would throw in my 2 cents I have never owned a travel trailer. I have a few trailers that are well over 20ft long (snowmobile trailer and excavator trailer). I have found that at a campground its much easier to backup my 5th wheel fit into tighter areas when backing. Couple of sites I have stayed at a travel trailer backing up would have never made the swing with the room allowed. Thats my 2 cents on backing up. Now as for the driving aspect I lose my pickup bed so I cant put the golf cart or atv or dirtbikes in the back. Height on some back roads can be an issue but nothing major. I have thought about a travel trailer as I may upgrade but when I walk inside it feels so much smaller. Maybe because I am tall. But thats my 2 cents goodluck.

My truck isnt a dually its a f-350 crew cab v10
Than you for all the good comments. Just yesterday we were sitting outside our campsite which is kind of located at the tip of a turn if you can picture that--maybe the inside of one half of a figure eight would be a better description. Anyway, we were eating our dinner outside and two vehicles arrived, one towing a 5th and one a TT, and one was going the wrong way on the one-way road at the edge of our campsite, and they ended up face to face. It is pretty wooded so they didn't realize it was happening until it was too late. So one person had to back out around this turn and start over. The question was WHO. My husband was VERY interested as to how THIS would unfold. Well, the 5th wheeler just threw it into reverse and just backed it out, not even all that slowly, keeping it perfectly on the road, with one try, like it was nothing. My husband started to stare and drool. wink.gif He was VERY impressed by the maneuverability of that 5th wheel. (And maybe it was just a very experienced RV driver, and it had nothing to do with whether it was a TT or a 5th, but even so. Wow!) If that had happened to us, towing our TT, I think both drivers would have had to get out and have a rock-paper-scissors match because there is no way my husband would have backed that turn willingly!! wink.gif
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