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Old 11-21-2017, 06:59 PM   #1
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Length of 5th Wheel and Total length limits

Seeing some concerns of length of 5th wheel if wanting to visit many Federal or State Parks. With a 1 Ton Long Bed HD Truck and wanting to FT what is the Maximum Length one should be looking at. Have not bought truck or 5th wheel yet, still researching. Not necessarily asking for specific brands of 5th wheel or truck just individual and Total lengths one should limit themselves to. Would like to visit the Sierra Nevada's as well as Rockies and Southwest. Currently living in Florida and will buy the 5th wheel next year to live in for a few years then hit the road.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:54 PM   #2
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IMO I would be, and will be, looking at something in the '35 range. With a long bed 1 ton and '35 5ver, it will be a highly manuverable combination. State, County, Army Corps of Engineers and Federal campgrounds are commonly focused on the camper length and not so much on overall in my experience. As someone who has owned '35 class a motorhomes, 5vers '40 and shoved class 8 trucks up and down the road for many years, I can put a 5ver in places a class A motorhome does fit well. With some practice you'll be pleased with that length and you will be able to get everything you and your family will need to enjoy full timing for a few years.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:51 AM   #3
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I have been in many FS CGs with my previous 36' Suites. My new one is 2' longer, don't anticipate any problems with CGs I am interested in. Most of the FS CGs have readouts on max lengths for a given site--but don't mention any clearance problems in backing in...
There is a website with pics of a LOT of FS CG sites but don't remember the name.
You WILL eventually find a CG you don't want to go into--a lot of times just a look at the entrance will be enough to cause second thoughts.
If you like getting away from civilization, may want to limit the fiver to 34-35'--but if you like/need comfort and space to live in then I would be looking at 36-38/39' units.

And, when you get the setup and start using it--NEVER, EVER, stop watching your trailer on the inside of a sharp curve--I find myself getting very close at times I thought there was plenty of room. Keep a close eye on trees and rocks at all times in those curves....

Joe
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:40 AM   #4
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We just upgrade from a 35 to a 42 foot. We are on our first extended trip south and possibly west. So far we have had no problems accessing sites in the four state parks we've stopped at in 3 different states.

I pull it with a 3500 CC long bed diesel dually and it handles great. We were a bit concerned with narrow roads/tight turns in Cloudland Canyon SP in GA and I did have to inch around a couple curves in the Campground to make sure I didn't damage things as the inside wheels on trailer dropped off the pavement.

We love the trailer, but one this size does require you to put extra thought into your route and road choices. We were intending on staying off interstate highways, but the DW was literally on the edge of her seat on some roads in KY so we won't be on smaller county roads unless necessary.

Just our experience thus far and we have months to go on this adventure alone. Good luck on your search and you are smart to be thinking about it this far in advance.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:41 AM   #5
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We picked up our 42 5th Wheel and 3500HD longbed crewcab DRW in June of this year. So far two state parks and some private campgrounds with no problems. Yes I have to plan a little more but with all the internet resources available it is much better than a few years ago. We love the extra room the longer unit gives us.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:06 PM   #6
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I've had no problems with my 39' and my crew cab long bed in Virginia SP's. That said I know my options will be reduced in some places. My DW and I will take the hit in return for more elbow room on the inside.

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Old 11-22-2017, 03:56 PM   #7
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Related question, I just ordered a 5er and the ratings are as follows:

Exterior Travel Length (Pin box to bumper) 41' 8"
Total Exterior Length 43' 2"

What makes up the total additional 1' 6" exterior length beyond the pin box to bumper? When they say pin box, are they referring to the box receiver in the frame, or the tip of the installed box? Is the extra length from the ladder on the back?

And when a campsite says it is 40' long, best to assume it is *exactly* that long, not "40ish" feet long? I see 40' a lot in state campground specs, didn't know if that was generic...
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:41 PM   #8
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We have a long bed F350 & chose a 37' trailer as a good compromise for us. It gets us into many CG' we couldn't get the 45' coach into and is the minimum we were willing to live in full time. Everything is a compromise just figure out what your minimums are.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tdave View Post
Related question, I just ordered a 5er and the ratings are as follows:

Exterior Travel Length (Pin box to bumper) 41' 8"
Total Exterior Length 43' 2"

What makes up the total additional 1' 6" exterior length beyond the pin box to bumper? When they say pin box, are they referring to the box receiver in the frame, or the tip of the installed box? Is the extra length from the ladder on the back?

And when a campsite says it is 40' long, best to assume it is *exactly* that long, not "40ish" feet long? I see 40' a lot in state campground specs, didn't know if that was generic...
First off, I've always understood the measurement relative to pinbox was to the centerline of the kingpin, or at least that was what I was told. The extra 1' 6" could be due to the front cap. Our front cap extends out beyond the front of the kingpin.

It's hard to say on the campground site measurements. I've stayed in sites that were listed as 30' sites with my rig that is just shy of 42'. I think some sites are the length of the pad or gravel.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:50 AM   #10
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As you begin to travel, you will find that many of the listed measurements for FS campsites are somewhat dubious--you will need to use the max length of your unit to estimate whether you can fit or not--many of the FS spaces can be utilized by much longer units if there are no blocking trees/rocks/etc. at the rear of the site, also same goes for slides and awnings on the sides.
As to commercial sites--make sure they know you are a fifth wheel and the length of your unit when you are talking to them. Then its up to you to choose from a pull-through or a back-in, as available. Many pull-thrus can accommodate the rig and the unhitched TV, but also many can be very tight and there may not be room for the TV unhitched.
It is a learning curve, but you'll figure it out once you get the setup and travel.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:46 AM   #11
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we have 40ft 5th wheel, Ram 3500 dually CC and have run into length issues on the 5th.
wanted to see Yosemite and 35 ft was max for all the parks, so we stayed outside the park. then traveling around we have encountered many parks with 35ft max 5th wheel length. never had any issues with overall length just the 5th wheel. also in Utah at Zion we had to be escorted through the park because of the Dually. I would never give up my dually I love the stability.
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:12 PM   #12
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Learn to love Google maps and it's satellite views. Also use this site: https://www.campsitephotos.com/
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:19 PM   #13
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Kind of apples and oranges comparison......

For full time you want larger. For traveling, smaller is better.

Ours is 33ft from pin to bumper, have not had any issues yet. We do a lot of research on non-commercial campgrounds before we reserve. We check bridge clearances as well. Don't forget height is a consideration as well. We have found places the length was fine, but overhead branches would not clear our fifth wheel.

A good website for pictures is CampsitePhotos.com

Have fun shopping!
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:55 PM   #14
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Stating the obvious, yes size does matter.

The private CGs will find a way to cram you in no matter what you have. The SPs NPs etc., not so easy. In 2006 we started trying to stay below 32'LOA with the SPs etc. in mind. That limit got stretched a little to get what we wanted.

No regrets. Our 34 by model #, just under 36'LOA in actual length has gotten us into SPs in every state except CA. We have not been in a SP CG that has had a 30' site pad limit that we have not been able to get into.

Part of the success is being flexible. As long as there is space behind that 30', or less, site we are fine to hang over & maybe not bother with rear stabilisers. Another part is the getting into the site. Often it cannot be done without the excellent direction of the DW spotter. She is not one of those DWs who sits there in the passenger seat holding the poofy dog while the DH backs the 5er in without help.

11 seasons, over 180,000 truck miles travelling, no regrets on the size or model of 5er. It is all about the research up front.
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