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Old 09-26-2011, 08:22 AM   #1
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5th wheel vs travel trailer

My wife and I are full time RV'rs and are considering trading our 38 ft 5th wheel for a smaller travel trailer. We have not owned a travel trailer and would be interested in anyone's opinion of 5th wheels vs travel trailers

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Old 09-26-2011, 09:22 AM   #2
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Depends on your needs.
All statements are general and my opinion.... that and a buck might get you a coffee.
More sway with the travel trailer, less storage, smaller units, harder to tow as weight is hanging on bumper, wider corners.
However: can be easier to set up, lower clearances possible, no steps inside, most have less steps outside, fits under gas station overhangs no problem, lighter tow vehicles, easier to get at tow connection and related.

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Old 09-26-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
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Totally agree with the above. We have had several travel trailers, then went to a 5th wheel, and now a motor home. For full timing, and we are not at the moment, the 5th wheel offered us the best choice. Now we just go out when we feel like it and the motor home serves our needs.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:28 AM   #4
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Depending on the length of TT you are thinking. Personally I would not consider towing a TT over about 25 feet with out a good hitch setup like a Hensley Arrow or similar. But after owning both I doubt I will go back to a TT again.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:42 PM   #5
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I've heard a lot of good things about 5th wheels. another thing to consider as well is that the bumper of a 30ft tt will be like 34 ft from the truck bumper. The bumper of a 30 ft 5th wheel will be about 26 ft from the truck bumper. So the same size 5th wheel is actually sticking out around 6-8 ft less than tt. Just another thing to consider. Not too many people think about it that way
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:03 PM   #6
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We've owned both & the only reason I'd go from a 5-r back to a TT is if I wanted to have everything on 1 level inside. Being fulltimers, I'd think you will lose storage space which might be valuable to you, especially going to a smaller unit. But in my limited travels, I've seen people fulltiming in a TT so I know it can be done.

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Old 09-29-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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Had them all and for full time use, the 5er makes the best sense. Lots of storage and better insulation overall.

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Old 09-30-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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I can't imagine going from a 5ver to a TT unless you are giving up full-timing. We've just done the opposite for most of the reasons already mentioned. The longer time intervals that we've been spending on the road since retiring (months instead of weeks) made us realize just how small our little TT was. Our new 5ver, ~35', has almost twice the floor area, the kitchen itself is bigger than our old TT's main living area, 3 times the storage and considering that some of it is in the truck bed, the 35' 5ver really is only a few feet longer than our old TT. I could not imagine fulltiming in anything less than a 5ver...

Yes, I have to pay more attention to height restrictions (we're at 13' 1" with the second A/C unit) since we're no long 10' 5", and I have to specify "yes, mam, 50 amp please" instead of taking anything they have (although I can still go 30, but, only use one A/C), but, I can't think of any TT shorter than what you've already got that would have 60% of the space you've got now nor be as easy to tow... When you go to a long TT you have to worry about swing room and the hitch for those heavy trailers can be a real bear when hooking and unhooking.

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Old 09-30-2011, 03:45 PM   #9
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If you have your heart set on a TT for one reason or another (no steps inside, want to carry stuff in your truck bed, etc), but don't want to sacrifice storage (basement) space, Excel now sells a high-end travel trailer (Luxury Travel Trailers - Excel RVs). Although I think there is one (or two) steps up to the bedroom inside because of the basement storage.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #10
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Our main reason for considering the switch is weight. Our Jayco weighs approx 16,000lbs and a comparable TT weighs about half. Also we could go to a smaller truck with better mileage.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:29 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mickbarnes View Post
Our main reason for considering the switch is weight. Our Jayco weighs approx 16,000lbs and a comparable TT weighs about half. Also we could go to a smaller truck with better mileage.
Weight won't affect mileage all that much, the real issue is wind resistance and while a TT might be a bit better (or worse) I'd be surprised if you would see all that much of an increase in a swap. If you are towing with a Chevy/Ford/Dodge diesel pickup now (just guessing due to the size of your rig) then there's not much you can do do downsize in the diesel world, and if you go to gas you will probably get worse mileage even with a smaller towable. And if you have a gas truck now I think you'll find that a smaller truck/engine won't buy you very much in terms of a mileage increase if any at all, or at least nothing that would ever come close to the cost of switching rigs.

There may be some good reasons to downsize but I don't think significantly improved mileage is one of them, unless you really downsize and going to that level may not be practical if you are full-timing.

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