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Old 06-25-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
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Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel for full-timing?

My wife and I are planning on full-timing when I retire in a year or two. We are still trying to decide on a rig. It will either be a 5th Wheel or a Travel Trailer. We are leaning toward buying an Arctic Fox because even though we plan to follow the seasons, some of our kids are up north and we donít want to be restricted from visiting them.

I realize that most full-timers use 5th Wheels to full-time. Are there any out there who use Travel Trailers?

Iím personally leaning toward a Travel Trailer because:
1. For the same size Iíll get a trailer that weighs less. Among other things, that should make towing easier and get better fuel mileage. Also, I may not need as large a truck.
2. Theyíre less expensive.
3. Theyíre not as tall; I wonít have to worry about overpasses, trees, etc. Also, there should be less wind resistance and better fuel mileage.

The downside of a TT would be:
1. Less interior length than a 5th Wheel of the same external length.
2. Less storage space than a 5th Wheel.
3. Longer tow vehicle/trailer combo than a 5th Wheel.
4. Longer to hitch and unhitch.

I realize there are sway issues with a TT, but from what Iíve read the Hensley Arrow or ProPride take care of that problem.

Do I have the pros and cons down right?
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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I don't fulltime but have had both TT and now FW. In general, for a large enough TT you would be better off with a 3/4 ton truck and there are plenty of fifth wheels that you can tow with that as well.

Most TT's are maxed at 2 slides. My vote is for a fifth wheel because the storage, towing and room is much better. Having that 3rd slide out makes a big difference
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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I just went through the same thoughts you are having about a TT or 5Th wheel.

We are not full timers and when my wife does retire in two years (I've been
retired for 4 years now) we will probably only travel 3-6 weeks at a time.

I went with a TT because I am more comfortable towing a TT over a 5th.

We looked at the TT we bought and I said to my wife, this is a good week
end unit but because of the lack of closet space it would not be as good
for full time use. Of course if I add a cap onto my truck bed then I would
have more locking storage for bins of cloths etc.

As far a hook up or set up, my TT had electric stabilizer jacks, electric front
jack and electric awning so set up is pretty quick.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #4
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I wouldn't anticipate any meaningful fuel savings in a similar-sized TT over a 5th wheel as each have their own positives and negatives concerning wind resistance (and the weight difference won't be much of a factor either) so it's not always easy to predict which will be better, if in fact any significant difference exists at all.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:10 PM   #5
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You don't mentioned the size of TV. That may determine what you purchase. Not to many 5th wheels that are 1/2 ton towable. A factor may be what you will be doing when you travel. Are you going to spend most of your time outdoors or inside like at home?

Your life style and likes will determine your needs.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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Good luck with your choice,my choice was and is a fifth wheel for stability in towing usable space,ease of hooking up.The fifth wheel is the only hitch that is legal without safety chains so you know it is rated as a solid hook up.Tractor trailer,trucks tow far more weight than we do with no safety chains on their fifth wheels.I have a fiver with only 2 slides which gives me more carrying capacity.My wife is a great shopper and after 4 months on the road I have to come home to unload because she usually buys all her christmas gifts on our trips.When you decide how you are going to use it and how far you will haul it,then this will help with the picking out the unit for you.Good luck and happy camping.jeffp,a fiver fan,with a dodge diesel.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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A few other dislikes on the TT side is that you have more loose leaf items to store with the sway bars and equilizer bars etc... Before backing into a site you have to take it off or loosen it for better turning radius and I found that to be annoying at times. With a fifth wheel, you unhitch and that's it!
In regards to the actual fifth wheel hitch which is bulky and if you need bed room and don't want to lug the hitch on and off, a gooseneck conversion is possible but like others here have stressed... be sure to check with manufacturer specs before taking that route. That being said, if you're camping/living more than towing and want the least amount of hitch equipment, the gooseneck is a reasonable option imo.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
I realize there are sway issues with a TT, but from what I’ve read the Hensley Arrow or ProPride take care of that problem
We are considering the move back to a TT and from my research I will get the Hensley hitch. It guarantees no sway.
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:55 PM   #9
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Take a look at Excels travel trailer. Fairly large basement too.


Luxury Travel Trailers - Excel RVs
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernNite
Take a look at Excels travel trailer. Fairly large basement too.

Luxury Travel Trailers - Excel RVs
They look pretty nice and the 4 slides seem handy for a TT!
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:35 AM   #11
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I don't think I'd tow anything over 24-25 ft with a 1/2 ton pick-up (and that may be pushing it)
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:54 PM   #12
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Tonge, spare and all, mine's about 29' and my F-150 pulls it fine.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnolaEagle View Post
A few other dislikes on the TT side is that you have more loose leaf items to store with the sway bars and equilizer bars etc... Before backing into a site you have to take it off or loosen it for better turning radius and I found that to be annoying at times. With a fifth wheel, you unhitch and that's it!
As you probably know, this is true of some W/D with sway control but not all in regards to having to loosen or remove them for better turning radius while backing. I am using Reese Dual-Cam.



As far as sway or bad handling characteristics of TTs...I have found that with proper set-up, a TT will track quite well with a properly matched tow vehicle. That is, if you encounter a large gust of wind or passing semi, the entire TV and TT should act as a single unit.

Here is the bad part though. A TT will require dialing in the set-up to get it right. That includes first properly matching your TV to your TT. Then hitch dialing in. Equally important is learning how to properly load your TT. Do all of this and you should not have problems towing TTs. It may seem a monumental task, but it really isn't and it is shocking to see so many TTs improperly set-up.

For me it was TT all the way. I was not giving up the bed space in my truck as I like to carry my toys there under my cab high canopy to keep them out of the rain. I also have racks on top of the truck canopy to carry two 12 foot kayaks. Now do understand that I have a very capable 1-ton truck to do the job of all that weight as my TT weighs in at ~ 8500 lbs. So I do have a good amount of payload available to do this with my family of 4. A 1/2-ton would not be capable of this.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Also keep in mind the "types" of campgrounds you intend to visit. We stay in a lot of state and National campgrounds in our TT that you never would have gotten a 5th wheel into. (or least not easily)

The final decision is yours, just weigh the pros and cons of each. The right answer is the type of trailer that fits your needs.
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