What's A Fifth Wheel?Anthony Day
Fifth wheels are an alternative to RVs with their own motors. They allow owners to use their existing pickup trucks.
A fifth wheel is a type of trailer RV that is pulled by a pickup truck. It has an extra large hitch, usually located in the truck bed, and attaches to the frame above the axles of the trailer, providing more stability than a regular tow hitch.
Fifth wheels have grown in popularity due to their easy setup and maneuverability, as well as their large and luxurious interiors. Despite that, they're not nearly as well-known as more traditional RV options.
What is Considered a Fifth Wheel?
A fifth wheel refers to a specific type of trailer. It is typically larger than other trailers. By connecting it to a truck via its specially-designed fifth wheel hitch, you can hit the open road with your tow vehicle and all of your gear!
Fifth wheels often provide more living space than a regular RV.
Modern fifth wheels include features such as multiple slide-outs, high-tech appliances, comfortable furniture, and much more.
Fifth wheels also come in a variety of sizes ranging from 25 feet to over 40 feet in length. With an existing pickup truck and the right fifth wheel hitch system, they can be towed anywhere.
Is a Fifth Wheel an RV?
Yes! A fifth wheel is just like an RV that is towed by another vehicle.
They are perfect for long-term trips or weekend getaways, with plenty of room for storage, a full kitchen, and sleeping space.
Fifth wheels offer an enhanced driving experience thanks to the added stability they provide over traditional RVs.
They are also often less expensive than other types of trailer RVs, making them a great option for budget travelers who don't want to sacrifice luxury for savings.
Fifth wheels also have increased living space due to their raised profile over standard travel trailers, giving them an advantage for those who want more room without having to get a bigger vehicle.
The size and style of a fifth wheel RV vary from model to model, ranging from luxury recreational vehicles with all the features you could want in your home away from home to basic models suitable for weekend camping.
Why Do They Call it a Fifth Wheel?
The fifth wheel refers to the shape of the u shaped hitch assembly located in the truck bed of a pick up truck.
This assembly is similar to that used by horse-drawn carriages and wagons hundreds of years ago.
In the 1800s, carriages revolutionized road travel with a horizontal wheel allowing their front axles to pivot.
This invention has echoed through history and can still be seen today in fifth wheel hitches, an homage to transportation pioneers of centuries past.
How Fast Can You Drive with a Fifth Wheel?
It is essential to keep an eye on the speedometer when driving with a fifth wheel RV. Always observe posted limits while keeping in mind that you may have to go slower for maximum security and safety.
It is also important to consider the weight of your trailer when calculating how fast you can safely drive.
Even if the posted speed limit is higher, we would never recommend driving over 65 miles per hour with a fifth wheel trailer.
Is it Safe to Ride in a Fifth Wheel?
No. Fifth wheel RVs are not safe to ride in as they do not have the same safety features as a motorhome or travel trailer.
It is important to always be aware of your surroundings and take extra care when driving with fifth wheel travel trailers due to their increased size.
Fifth wheel trailers can include seatbelts in certain seating areas.
While this may provide some additional safety, it is still not recommended to ride inside a fifth wheel due to the unpredictable nature of road conditions.
Is it Hard to Drive with a Fifth Wheel?
Driving a fifth wheel is not too different from driving any other towing vehicle; however, there are several key points to be aware of.
The turning radius of your fifth wheel could potentially be bigger than that of an ordinary tow vehicle, and it's essential to remember this when you maneuver around tight corners or in small spaces.
Also, you need to ensure your setup has the appropriate weight distribution between the towing vehicle and RV trailers for maximum stability and control. Trailer sway is something to watch out for.
Driving a fifth wheel feels like a lot of pressure at first, but it can be handled with confidence after taking some simple steps to ensure visibility.
Investing in mirror attachments will help give your driving the edge for smoother cruising.
There are plenty of heavy-duty mirror attachments made for specific models of trucks, but this universal version from Amazon is a good place to start for a fast fix.
What Kind of Truck Do I Need to Pull a Fifth Wheel?
The bare minimum for a fifth wheel is a half-ton truck as your tow vehicle. Even then, it's going to struggle with any many fifth wheels.
If you're looking for a rig capable of comfortably towing many kinds of fifth wheels, you'll need a 3/4 ton truck for sure.
Be sure to factor in both the maximum loaded weight as well as hitch load of your intended trailer before making decisions about what kind of large vehicle will work best for you.
Matching these parameters up against your chosen model's payload capacity and max tow rating is essential!
Compare your truck to the Ram 3500, arguably one of the most capable one-ton dually trucks on the market. For towing the mightiest fifth wheels, this truck can do the job.
What Are the Benefits of a Fifth Wheel?
Traveling with a fifth wheel trailer brings many advantages.
- You'll benefit from the stability of centering some of its weight directly over your tow truck's rear axle while towing.
- You have use of your tow vehicle when you unhitch the fifth wheel trailer at campsites.
- Higher 5th wheel ceilings provide more comfortable headspace and tall cabinets.
- Both 5th wheels and RVs give you an incredible amount of freedom.
Is it Financially Smart to Live in an RV or Fifth Wheel?
Whether or not living in your fifth wheel RV is a good idea varies depending on a long list of factors.
The biggest one to consider is if you plan on full-time fifth wheel living.
If this is the case, you'll quickly want to assess the costs associated with renting out a spot in an RV park for your fifth wheel ($50-$70 per night depending on location), feeding your vehicle's engine and other mechanical needs, and, most importantly, understanding how it will affect your taxes and financial standing.
Remember, with fifths wheels, you have your trailer and your pickup truck.
If your truck breaks down, your home is stuck in place.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day