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Old 10-21-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
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Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel??

I currently have a 31 ft. TT which my wife and I enjoy a lot. It pulls well and I have no issues with it. When I retire, we will travel abit more and were thinking of moving up to a fifth wheel with a slide out in the bedroom area,(for extra room & storage) which we do not have now. I hear all kinds of things about one type of RV being better than the other and we just don't know what to do. I have a 2011 Silverado 2500HD, Durimax Turbo diesel, extended cab, so I feel my truck is sufficient to tow a fifth wheel. Is it worth the extra cost to move up or should we keep our TT? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:54 PM   #2
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For a given size, the fifth wheel will have about 4 to 5 feet more usable space than the TT. With little or no basement in the TT, the 5er will have lots more storage space. The extra height gives a roomier, more spacious feel. Coupled with the tow vehicle, it will have a much shorter overall length. It will be a lot easier (and arguably safer) to tow.

On the other hand, there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is also a downside to the fifth wheel. It is more expensive. Being taller, it has more wind resistance and thus, worse fuel economy. The bed of the pickup gets used up with the hitch. There are more stairs to walk up and down.

After examining the tradeoffs, I opted for the 5er.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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If you like your TT--I assume it is a Jayco--then why not look at Jayco fifth wheels? Should be same quality. Lots of possibilities with fivers that aren't there with TTs.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:46 PM   #4
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J Birder made some good points so I will add this. Sounds like you want to stay over 30' 5er. In MHO with a 5er that size, a 3/4T is going to be less than you will want for good handling. Power is not the issue. I know people do it but they may just not know the difference. I towed our 28' TT with a 3/4T and felt it was doing OK until I got the 1T Dually. Then I could see how much better the Dually handled. No more being pushed around with big trucks/MHs. Stopping was much better and just felt a lot better overall.
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:28 PM   #5
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I've often thought about getting a 5er. I don't want the bed of my truck taken up and don't want to climb stairs. We love our TT. The gas mileage is low enough now without extra wind drag and the cost of a 1 ton.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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I've often thought about getting a 5er. I don't want the bed of my truck taken up and don't want to climb stairs. We love our TT. The gas mileage is low enough now without extra wind drag and the cost of a 1 ton.
+1... My TT does everything I need and costs less to own and tow. I am towing a 29' TT with a 1/2 ton F-150 and it's fine.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:43 AM   #7
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TT or Fifth Wheel

Thanks for all the good points that have been made. The stair issue is a good one, especially for my wife, as she has a tough time with those. Appreciate everything, --- thanks.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:03 AM   #8
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WE had 2 5th wheels after towing TTs for many years as well as having had everything from a popup to a truck camper to a class C. Each has merits however a couple of years ago as diesel prices climbed and our age as well as the truck's did the same we opted for a smaller TT and downsized to a 1/2 ton. We both enjoyed the space and comfort of the 5th however the steps up could become an issue one day soon and there was more to clean etc. No regrets on the downsize with one small exception....If we had opted for a TT about 3 feet longer but not much heavier it would have had a couch facing the TV ....Not a big deal . The upside is that for at least 2/3 of the time my fuel consumption is much lower (not towing) and the smaller truck is much more useful for urban driving.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:59 AM   #9
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Make a list on all the features of each.

Choose the one that has the most features you like or have to have.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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Our camper worked fine with my 1/2 ton Ford but this diesel pulls it like it's not even there. I just "needed" that diesel. Lol
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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IMO the extra 2-3 steps in a 5th wheel are the only draw back. It's not an issue for us but I could see some having an issue with it. There's just no way to find any other draw backs about a 5'er if you're looking to do some extended traveling. More room per foot than a TT, easier to tow and set up. Better storage in a 5'er than a TT hands down. As far as losing the bed space IMO it's more a non camping use issue. The 5'er will have considerably more basement storage than a TT, so lots of those things that you wouldn't have room for in a TT you would've put in the truck bed. Those things now go into the 5'er. If you have a long bed then there is still quite a bit of room in front of the 5th hitch. When we had out TT with the current truck (12 Ram 2500 CC LB) we pit a bunch of stuff in the bed. Now with the 5'er the bed is almost empty.
We are pretty much done with camping this year so my 5th hitch is out of the truck. I'm also doing a bathroom remodel and have been making lots of trips to Home Depot for building materials. The bed rails in the truck have presented no issues yet.
If I were planning on doing lots of extended trips, I would definitely want a 5'er. To get the same interior space you need to have a TT at least 4-5' longer. That will make it harder to find spots if you towing a 32-35' TT. You could get the same sq ft in a 30' 5th wheel.
There's a reason you see RV'ers who do a lot of traveling pulling 5th wheels. Just more space per foot.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:09 AM   #12
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We've owned our current 30 ft TT for seven years and have been fulltiming for the last three. I'm switching to a motorhome. I'm done with hitching, leveling, towing a large TT, too much hassle. It was great for longer vacations but moving around over the summer has worn me out. I just want to pull in, hit a button and relax.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #13
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More room per foot than a TT, easier to tow and set up.
I keep hearing this argument and find it somewhat misleading. "More room per foot" is ONLY true in terms of distance behind the truck while towing because you don't count whats over the truck. At a given width and box size, unhitched a TT floorplan is much more efficient. Sure a 5er has a higher cieling, but at what price (higher center of gravity and massive wind resistance). As to storage, the "basement" in the 5ers I've looked at isn't that much bigger than my pass-through, so where's all this storage? And since most 5ers have hitch weights of 1,200 to 1,500lbs, you're already maxing out GVW on any 1/2 ton, so all the storage in the world won't help you. Unless you want to buy and drive a superduty for the 95% of the time you're not towing. And all those cold starts and short drives around the campground for trash and emptying the waste water caddy will put more wear on a diesel than thousands of miles of driving. Makes no sense.
As to a 5er being easier to set up, you'll need to explain that one to me. Especially when you want to remove/install your hitch from the bed when not in use, since most people asking these questions are not retired or fulltiming and would like their truck back in between camping trips.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:28 PM   #14
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I keep hearing this argument and find it somewhat misleading. "More room per foot" is ONLY true in terms of distance behind the truck while towing because you don't count whats over the truck. At a given width and box size, unhitched a TT floorplan is much more efficient. Sure a 5er has a higher cieling, but at what price (higher center of gravity and massive wind resistance). As to storage, the "basement" in the 5ers I've looked at isn't that much bigger than my pass-through, so where's all this storage? And since most 5ers have hitch weights of 1,200 to 1,500lbs, you're already maxing out GVW on any 1/2 ton, so all the storage in the world won't help you. Unless you want to buy and drive a superduty for the 95% of the time you're not towing. And all those cold starts and short drives around the campground for trash and emptying the waste water caddy will put more wear on a diesel than thousands of miles of driving. Makes no sense.
As to a 5er being easier to set up, you'll need to explain that one to me. Especially when you want to remove/install your hitch from the bed when not in use, since most people asking these questions are not retired or fulltiming and would like their truck back in between camping trips.
This is not a valid argument. The manufacturer's rated length of a TT includes about 4 feet of tongue. Thus, a 30' TT has only about 26' if usable space inside.

As for maxing out a 1/2 ton truck, you are right. A 3/4 ton (or bigger) diesel makes a much better tow vehicle for most 5ers.

Joel
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