5th Wheel Campers


June 28, 2023

Many people who love to travel are looking at 5th wheel campers for a spacious trailer to tow on road trips. If you feel that regular campers and RVs don’t provide enough space, or you have a larger family and need a bigger motorhome to bring when road-tripping, this article is for you. 

What is a 5th wheel camper, and where did it get its name? What are the pros and cons of a 5th wheel camper? How do you know whether it’s right for you?

This article offers a quick guide for those interested in owning or renting a 5th wheel camper. This write-up also presents the pros and cons of using this type of camper and how it can help make your road trips memorable. 

Road trips and camping are popular ways of spending your vacation time in the United States. You can ride on your camper or trailer and travel anywhere in the country. You can enjoy not only going to specific destinations but also driving. 

When going on a road trip, you need a handy navigation guide that lists businesses like restaurants, hotels, repair shops, and other essential services. You can visit AreaGuides.net and access an extensive listing of establishments in California, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, and other states you’re traveling to. 

Why Are Fifth Wheel Trailers Called That?

The term “5th wheel trailer” is not about another wheel in a trailer. Still, this camper is different from the trailer. 

Trailers, especially unpowered ones, must be towed by a car or truck to make them mobile. When you tow a trailer, you need to attach it to the truck securely. 

The fifth wheel is a coupling that allows you to attach your towing truck or car to the trailer, fastening it to avoid decoupling and accidents. A U-shaped hitch allows equal load distribution for more effortless towing. 

How The Fifth Wheel Hitch Got Its Name

The name 5th wheel hitch actually came from the name of the company that produced it, the Fifth Wheel Company.

A fifth wheel is a hitch attachment added to the bed of a truck or tractor. This device is designed to fasten a towable trailer to the center of the truck bed. 

The coupling configuration ensures that the trailers or motorhomes are securely connected even in rugged terrain.

The Fifth Wheel Company has been in business since the 1850s. The first vehicles to use the coupling design were horse-drawn carriages.

Deciding Whether a 5th Wheel Camper Is Right for You

There are many types of RV in the market, and you can make a matrix of the pros and cons of each time to help you decide where a 5th wheel is the best choice for you. 

When you go with a 5th wheel RV, you’ll appreciate its benefits. The following topics will tackle the advantages of using 5th wheel RVs, including how 5th wheel RVs work and how this RV can be the best option for campers and those planning to go on a road trip for vacation.

Top 5 Advantages of a 5th Wheel Camping Trailer

Here are some reasons why some people are convinced to go with the 5th wheel setup for their RV, camper, or trailer needs. 

  • Fifth wheels provide a stable way of centering the weight of an RV directly at the rear of a tow vehicle. 
  • Campers with this system include an auto-leveling mode for trouble-free setups. 
  • Fifth wheel RVs are designed to allow split living spaces perfect for trailers. Separate sections include a master bedroom, rear kitchen, and living room. Your kitchen can be a pop-up outdoor kitchen, kitchen island, or dinette.
  • You can easily unhitch the trailer on campsites. At the same time, your primary vehicle, like your pickup truck, can go on side trips without hauling the trailer everywhere. 
  • Campers with a 5th wheel hitch usually have good floorplan layouts and bunkhouse designs that make traveling on a camper worthwhile. 

Understanding How Fifth Wheel Hitches Work

To understand how a fifth wheel hitch works, you need to know that this system has two parts. The trailer, camper, or motor home coupled to a truck via this hitch has a connector called a “king pin.” 

The “king pin” looks like a knob connected to the 5th wheel hitch. The connection is strong but provides excellent maneuverability. This pin works well with class A to class C trailers to stabilize them while in transit. 

Other Benefits of a 5th Wheel Camper

There are many benefits of using a 5th wheel camper, especially when going on long travels, vacations, and other trips that require hauling a trailer or camper. 

To help you weigh your options, here are some of the main advantages of using this type of camper: 

  • The 5th wheel hitch makes it easy to detach a trailer from the towing truck. You can leave the camper or trailer on available campgrounds and use the vehicle to run errands without hauling the trailer everywhere. 
  • This hitch makes hauling more stable. The camper hitch weight is balanced, making towing simple. 
  • 5th wheel trailers have better and more spacious front living area designs perfect for family trips and vacations. 
  • These trailers come in many sizes and weights, like half-ton fivers, giving you several designs to choose from. 

Greater Stability and More Space

5th wheel campers generally have more space and stability than other types of RVs of different designs. Many RVers also call this type of camper the “fiver.” The overhang design is famous for this type as it provides more room inside. 

Also, if you plan to have a camper as a full-time residence, you may be inclined to choose a fifth wheel compared to any other.

Aside from the actual living space inside the camper, there are options like slideouts. Slideouts can give you extra sleeping areas when they “slide out” from the camper. 

Another great feature is an outdoor kitchen, which is also great for the summer. 

The Drawbacks to Pulling a 5th Wheel Camper

Despite the almost overwhelmingly positive aspects of a 5th wheel camper, there are also drawbacks to using a fiver or 5th wheel. Here are the following drawbacks of having a 5th wheel camper when you travel: 

  • You need a truck to tow this camper. More importantly, you must ensure that it can safely stop without causing any incidents. 
  • With other trailers, the living space and the driver’s area are connected. In a 5th wheel trailer, that isn’t the case. 

The trailer or camper is detached from the towing vehicle. So, if you want to get something from your trailer, you must stop, park your vehicle, and then go to your trailer. 

Because of their size, 5th wheel campers need a large enough storage space when not in use. In some cases, these trailers are parked in a lot or campgrounds. 

Weighing 5th Wheel Pros and Cons

Looking at the benefits and drawbacks of using 5th wheel campers, you can now weigh your options and decide whether the fifth wheel is for you. 

The Pros

  • Fifth wheelers are more maneuverable than conventional trailers yet stable when towing. The design displaces the trailer’s weight, making it a suitable option for travel even in rugged terrain.
  • Do you want more space? Fifth wheelers can provide you with a roomy living area. The generous living spaces are almost comparable to tiny houses.
  • Fifth wheelers are great for family outings. The added space and more rooms make it an excellent trailer for road trips for the family. 

The Cons

  • Unlike other campers, fifth wheelers require a different vehicle to tow them. It may be a hassle for people who need a pickup truck to tow the trailer. 
  • A fifth wheeler isn’t easy to store because of its size. You might have to park your trailer on your lawn or outside your house. 
  • A detached living space from the towing vehicle can be an issue. You might have to get out of the towing truck and enter the trailer to access this room. With regular RVs or campers, the driver’s area goes directly into the living area. 

Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons, maybe you can already decide whether this camper fits your needs. 

For some people, 5th wheelers are a practical option for semi-permanent living and RVing in these campers. You can park yours in a campsite or campground and live there for an extended period. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Fifth Wheels

  1. What is better, an RV type or a fifth wheel?

The answer depends entirely on your preferences. There are perks of using an RV and a fifth wheel. The perfect RV or fifth wheel should suit your needs and vacation goals. 

  1. Is a 5th wheel camper a good investment?

The prices of fifth wheel campers vary from $36,000 onwards, depending on the design, the trailer, the amenities inside, and size. 

A fiver is a smart investment if it can cater to your needs, especially if your family loves road travel. If so, a 5th wheel camper can be more like a home than a temporary travel quarter.

You can go for the basic type or splurge on a luxury fifth wheel with grand design like the Montana High Country. 

  1. Can you convert fifth wheels to a gooseneck?

Yes, fifth wheels can be converted to a gooseneck, provided that there’s a gooseneck adaptor and sufficient weight capacity to haul the trailer. Your towing truck can also install an adapter that makes it possible to tow a gooseneck or a fifth wheel. 

A gooseneck is a trailer with a long next, hence the source of the name. 

  1. Which fifth wheel comes with generators?

Toy haulers and large fifth wheel campers can house generators. Popular brands like Heartland, Jayco Eagle HT, Keystone RV Cougar, Forest River, Crossroads, have fifth wheel campers that caters to any need or requirement from RVers nationwide. 

  1. What do fifth wheels weigh, and how do you measure their size?

Fifth wheels can weigh as much as half-ton campers. The measurement of a fiver is usually from the pin box to the rear bumper. 

If you want to buy the best fifth wheel camper, consider the length of use, what you will use it for, the number of people using it, and your budget. 

  1. Are fifth wheels easier to tow?

Through the use of the fifth wheel hitch, these trailers are relatively easier to drive than before. But you’ll need a capable towing truck or vehicle for ease. Smaller vehicles may have difficulty controlling this trailer, especially for small cars. 

  1. What are the pros and cons of fifth wheels vs. travel trailers?
  • A travel trailer is relatively light enough for cars, SUVs, and other vans to tow. But for fifth wheels, you need a pickup truck. 
  • Fifth wheels are more stable to tow because the trailer’s weight is balanced on the hitch. Travel trailers don’t have that same stability. 
  • A fifth wheel is more spacious, has more rooms, and gives more privacy. Meanwhile, conventional trailers have fewer rooms and less privacy due to the lack of dividers or separation between rooms. 
  • Fifth wheels have a better floor plan and better-designed living rooms. Fifth wheels are made for more extended use than short trips in travel trailers. 
  • Fifth wheels are bigger in size than travel trailers. Fifth wheels have higher ceilings and can have multiple levels, so watch out for bridges.

Road trips are among the best ways to spend your vacation time with your family. You don’t spend too much on accommodation, and you can change your location anytime you please. With trailers like fifth wheels, you can easily park at campgrounds, pitch your trailer, and enjoy the day. 

When on the road, you need a handy travel destination guide. Visit AreaGuides.net and get real-time information about businesses and establishments near your location, like hotels, repair shops, and utilities. You can also look up emergency services like police, hospitals, and the fire department.