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Old 05-14-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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At what Length does 5th wheel become noticeably less manageable?

So many people limit the size they want to pull, park, turn, get in and out of places, parks, or whatever. So, what length would you say is the dividing line between easy and convenient as opposed to bigger and more cumbersome to most.

I have even read that some people prefer a short bed truck to shorten the total length of truck+5th wheel. Sounds like length is a vital part of their purchasing decision.

So to the inexperienced, where will be the comfort zone as far as length is concerned?

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Old 05-14-2015, 04:37 PM   #2
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That's hard to say, I guess what every you feel comfortable pulling. I have gone from a 30' 5er to a 35' an I am now pulling a 37' 5er. I could have gone to a 40'+ fiver but this would not fit on my driveway without over hanging the sidewalk. my driveway is 40' long so I limited my 5er length to 37'.

I guess if you stay in private parks the length is not really a problem since a lot of them have long pull thru sites. Now if you stay in public campground like state parks most of these sites are between 30' and 35' in length so this may limit you on a 5er length.

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Old 05-14-2015, 04:43 PM   #3
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I dont really think there is a limit to someone experienced in towing. I can turn and back my 35 foot fiver nearly as easy as I could a 25 footer. BTW I tow with a long bed quad cab truck, so it is really long. Next month when we start our camp hosting season our first spot is 90 degrees to the road, up a slight incline on a narrow road. Will I have to work a bit to get in? Yes, but its not a big deal to me. You just learn to make it. My wife does help.with a pair of FRS radios she can be in my blind spots and warn me of obsticles or of Im not in the right place.
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:32 PM   #4
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It is totally up to the indivdual. Prior to purchasing the 2015 39' Lifestyle the last 5th wheel we owned was a 1998 32' Alpha. Sold that in 2004 then purchased a truck camper. Then DW wanted her 5ver back and we bought the Lifestyle.

In CA any 5ver with a GVWR over 15,000 lbs you require a Class A Non-Commercial license. So here I am driving a new 19,000 lb 39' 5ver to the DMV commercial test facility that I had just purchased. The truck is a RAM 3500 DRW CC LB. i.e. BIG. I was able to pass the skill test the first time that incluced backing 100' without hitting the cones, backing 90 deg into a space that they call the 'Alley Dock' and making a 90 deg right turn around a cone and you must be within 2' of the cone without hitting the darn thing. So, the point is you can make it work. Take your time, you can probably squeeze your rig into most spots. So, get what you want and don't worry about it. You'll do fine.
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:40 PM   #5
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It depends
On the tow vehicle
On the design of the trailer
On where they put the axle(s)
on how you loaded it
And so on.. So there is no simple answer.

There is one thing though.. IF you have to ask "CAN MY TRUCK TOW THIS?

DO NOT ask the salesman..His answser is always "No Problem".
Home is where I park it!
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:36 PM   #6
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If I was full timing I'd go 36-40'. I'm not so my limit is around 32'. I have a 28' 5er now with a long bed truck. Hardly notice the 5er back there except when in tight turning situations. 5th wheels tend to cut the corner a lot more than TT's. I would have no trouble going to a 32' trailer as that would still allow us to stay in our favorite spots.

If I were full timing I'd want the extra room and storage that a 36-40' would offer. I wouldn't be as concerned about the towing part since 5th wheels tow so nice anyway. If full timing then I' be inclined to stay at full hookup parks. Even if doing 2-3 month trips. For me personally I just wouldn't benefit form a 36-40' 5er when doing weekends or 2-3 week long trips every summer. To me it's about length of stays and how much you use it. You can always find a place somewhere to park any size trailer.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:29 AM   #7
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Find the trailer you like first and worry about the length second. There is very little difference between handling a 35' and a 40' trailer, in fact a longer heavier trailer is and feels much more solid and is easier to back up and a truck with a longer wheelbase is safer when towing a trailer than one with a shorter wheelbase. If you do come to a place that feels sketchy call or walk ahead to make sure, in most cases it's not so much length restriction more things like untrimmed trees with low hanging branches or vehicles blocking the road. In a nutshell if you like that 40' trailer better than the 32' trailer beside it don't let the extra 8' deter you from buying what you like, at the end it all boils down to how much you want to spend though.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:18 AM   #8
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I agree, the length of the trailer only becomes less manageable when you become uncomfortable with managing it.
Jack & Tania
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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I use to tow a 40' with a longbed quad cab. I came to dislike it for we were often in tight campgrounds and more than once I had to have someone move their vehicle across from our site to give enough room to maneuver. That is what is tough on sites that are 90* to the road, if they were slanted it wasn't an issue. Right turns in some towns was a pain also. Some are quite good at it and it doesn't bother them, I found it to be a pita.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:22 AM   #10
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The longer the trailer the slower the reaction time will be. Short trailers react quicker to steering wheel input. I have driven semi trucks with a 53' trailer & also 40' trailers. You just need to get used to the handling characteristics of them. Occasionally I would have to slide the tandem wheels of the 53' trailers forward (to shorten the wheelbase up) to get into a tight spot. I guess it's a matter of personal preference. Perhaps a sliding fifth wheel may make it easier for a 40' trailer to get into a tight spot. With a 35' camping spot only a 35' or shorter trailer will fit. It boils down to where you camp most of the time as to what length trailer to get.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:28 AM   #11
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My toy hauler is 35 feet and I don't have any issues at the state parks we visit. I'd say it is a very manageable size. It won't fit in every site but it doesn't really make a difference because even if it were a few feet shorter it still wouldn't fit in the smaller sites. My next toy hauler will definitely be a little longer but not over 40 feet, maybe 37 -39. I've had a short wheel based truck and currently have a long wheel based truck and I won't buy another short wheel. If it won't fit I'll go somewhere else. I have had issues where I had to ask the person across from me to move their vehicle but that was with the short bed truck. The road is just very narrow and at certain spots my front end is off in the ditch some.

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