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Old 03-18-2019, 09:08 AM   #1
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5th Wheel Shopping - How Big is Too Big?

Hi everyone! Thanks in advance for any responses.

We are buying a newer fifth wheel/truck combination here in a few months to hit the road full time, and we are spinning our wheels on how big we can comfortably go while still being able to fit into national and state parks. We do need a toy hauler and a deck is an absolute must, preferably 2 decks but that is negotiable. We love the comfort of the 40ft+ Cyclones, Momentums, etc. but we are very active and do not want our rig to limit us greatly in finding a camp spot.

Do we need to stay under 40 feet? Will the difference between something along the lines of 38 feet or 44 feet really matter all that much?...
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:24 AM   #2
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It's the roadways thru parks that will limit the length......when try'n to get into sites....I would limit out at 35 to 38'......If you test drive a truck, test drive all 3 manufactures to find the one that turns the sharpest....
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:16 AM   #3
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My 5th wheel is 36í and itís too big for a lot of the places we go. We do a few parks up here in Oregon and thatís about as big as Iíd want to go. At this length, it gets tight in a hurry
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:14 PM   #4
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Follow the Faganís (roadslesstraveled.com)blog whoíve been fulltiming for 12 years and are contemplating the pros and cons of a toy hauler while they just bought a RZR atv. You donít get anymore thorough than their experience.
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:34 PM   #5
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When we bought ours we took a different approach. We looked for the smallest that would meet our needs. In the end we bought a 32’ 5th wheel you hauler and it’s perfect.
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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If your only hauling a motorcycle, there are toyhaulers made specifically for that so you can take your bike yet maximize living area. If youíre taking more than one motorcycle or you are taking an ATV or SxS, those wonít work. Iíve got a 44í Toyhauler with the separate garage and that can even get a little small after a while. If you are going to full time, be kinda critical of the furniture your rig will come with. Iíve got a super cool layout with an L shape couch but Iíd trade it for two residential recliners.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:15 PM   #7
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A lot of national parks were built when a 28-30' bumper pull was about the largest trailer available. Convert that into a 5th wheel and you are near 30-34''.

It's tough to live full time in such a small rig without adjusting your expectations, especially If you've never done it before.
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Old 03-18-2019, 06:18 PM   #8
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I am in the middle of researching sites for our trip to Alaska this summer, and finding many sites that won't fit my 32' Fifth wheel. as was stated above, even if the site will take your rig, sometimes the roads won't let you get to it. If you go larger than 35' you are for the most part taking a lot of National forest and National Park sites off the table. COE's and most state parks will still work for you.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:06 PM   #9
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We'll be FT'ing soon and will start off in our ORV, even though it's a bit small for FT'ing. Have looked at other coaches in the 40'+ range and they are just too big for our liking's. Our ideal length would be in the 35' range. Keeping our eyes open for a gently used NH coach.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungTravels View Post
Hi everyone! Thanks in advance for any responses.

We are buying a newer fifth wheel/truck combination here in a few months to hit the road full time, and we are spinning our wheels on how big we can comfortably go while still being able to fit into national and state parks. We do need a toy hauler and a deck is an absolute must, preferably 2 decks but that is negotiable. We love the comfort of the 40ft+ Cyclones, Momentums, etc. but we are very active and do not want our rig to limit us greatly in finding a camp spot.

Do we need to stay under 40 feet? Will the difference between something along the lines of 38 feet or 44 feet really matter all that much?...
Length will matter if you want to be in state / national parks also what you use to pull it with. But once you figure that out enjoy it.
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:42 AM   #11
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We are full timing in a 42' 5th wheel. So far we have never had any problem finding a place to stay. We have stayed in a few state parks with no problem but the only national park we have stayed in was RMNP. All the other national parks we have visited, we stayed in RV parks outside the national park and just took the truck in.


Full timing in an RV takes on different needs than just camping part time. Full timing you will find you want more room and more storage. Part timing you can get by with something less because you have another home to keep your stuff. For full timing I would get the largest RV you feel comfortable towing. Just my thoughts.
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Old 03-21-2019, 02:57 PM   #12
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There is no number that suddenly turns to too big. Be aware that going over about 34' the campsite options begin to rapidly decrease.

What is most irritating is arriving in a SP or NP & finding the few sites that can accommodate a large rig occupied by a <30' class C or a TT.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by warsw View Post
We are full timing in a 42' 5th wheel. So far we have never had any problem finding a place to stay. We have stayed in a few state parks with no problem but the only national park we have stayed in was RMNP. All the other national parks we have visited, we stayed in RV parks outside the national park and just took the truck in.


Full timing in an RV takes on different needs than just camping part time. Full timing you will find you want more room and more storage. Part timing you can get by with something less because you have another home to keep your stuff. For full timing I would get the largest RV you feel comfortable towing. Just my thoughts.
These are the same thoughts I'd have too.
We used to 'camp' in a 30' TT but knew that for full timing living we'd want WAY more space and opted for a 42' Momentum and couldn't be happier with our choice.

Full timing for ~2 years now with no issues finding places to hike, mtn bike, and kayak, and fish.
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Old 03-22-2019, 03:44 PM   #14
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First post here, but I can chime in on this one.

We currently have a 38' Avalanche. We also have a private family campground with 38' concrete pads for three rigs (my wife and I, my parents & sister/brother-in-law). We don't FT (not retired yet), but have heavy seasonal use from about early April until early November in central Indiana. I mean every weekend unless out of town, and many evenings through the week (only two miles from home). For this we LOVE the size and room. However, we also love to camp a few time a season with my wife's family, who primarily do state parks. For this reason alone we just put a deposit on a 36' 4" Alpine. We intended to trade down a little shorter, but once you get used to the space, it's awful hard to give it up, especially when you spend 90% of your time on a pad where size doesn't matter (sorry for that phrase... don't go there...).

The last state park site we went to it took me almost an hour to get into my spot. I'll be the first to admit I'm no highly experienced tower, but even the experienced crowd who watched said they never thought I'd get it in there. While the published length of the site was good for a 38' rig, state parks are notorious for trees, site marker poles, power poles and dumpsters being in the most inopportune places, and this site had them all in the worst possible places for a large rig coming in. It has been so consistently like this at state parks for us that we finally said lets go shorter.

I'm not sure we went short enough for any significant improvement, but we just couldn't deal with how cramped and confined we started to feel once we got down to less than 35'. We kind of had to think more about where the vast majority of our time is spent. We don't want to spend the whole summer cramped up to be able to get into two weekend sites throughout the season. Moral of the story... to some degree, you have to prioritize where you will be going, and maybe be prepared to alter either your destinations or rig size.

It's all about rational compromise... then doing what your wife says.
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