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Old 04-10-2015, 01:11 AM   #1
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TT vs 5r

Hello all we are think of hitting the road for 5-6 months a year and are considering a TT or maybe a lightweight 5r. I had 30' Nomad back in the 80's and it was a pain back then horrible ride a lot if sway. I know they have come a long way with sway control and the such so I was hoping some of you might have experience with both and give me your opinion.
I know you can get a lot if trailer for less money with a TT over a 5r but handling and set up seems a lot easier. Thanks in advance for your opinions.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:01 AM   #2
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I'm happy with a smaller trailer, but our maximum time of living in it is 3 months or so. Dealing with the hitch and sway bars probably adds 15 minutes to setup. If you plan on buying something that's big, a FW would probably be better and give you more storage space and overall length is less due to part of the FW sitting over the truck bed. If I were going to be a 5-6 month snowbird or going to be on the road for that length of time, I'd want a FW or motorhome.

As to towing performance, I've been towing a TT for 12 years and never had a problem with sway. First trailer was 29' and I had a Hensley hitch. Current rig is 26'9" and I use a Equalizer 4 pt. anti sway hitch. IMHO, travel trailers can be eazy tows as long as a good hitch is used with proper setup.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:21 AM   #3
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Thanks good info we do like a couple of FW we've looked at but we're looking at $8,000-10,000 more. We're just in the research mode right now it'll be the summer of 16 before were ready to hit the road.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:45 AM   #4
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For me the killer is the roof of the tow vehicle. I want it to haul a canoe or small boat. That rather rules out a fiver.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:32 AM   #5
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Ok...here is my analysis FWIW.

There is no easy way to do this. Each option has a huge downside. It is just a question as to what downside you can live with.

I tried being a snowbird in a small TT and 1/2 ton truck. That did not work - I could not deal with the towing experience and the occasional sway on that windy day. Also the lack of storage space. Plus two people in a small TT was cramped.

So now I have a 5th wheel and so far the downside is much less. 3 years being a snowbird with this set-up. I can see myself doing this for the next 10 - 15 years. The 5th wheel is much more solid, and much more comfortable and it does tow without any sway.

In my analysis a bigger TT needs a bigger truck anyway. A bigger trailer will always have an issue with sway. So I went with a 5th wheel and I really like the way it goes down the road. If you notice how slow people tow a TT. They all have sway.

So my advice is buy a 'good used' (not light) 5th wheel. I have been in several rigs while at the RV Park over the last 4 winters. I would recommend a small NuWa, Excel, Montana etc) 5th wheel that can be towed with a SRW 1 ton truck. (Chevy 3500, Ram 3500, Ford F-350).

A lite 5th wheel will not be built as well as a heavier one. A lite 5th wheel is for summer weekends, not to live in for 5 or 6 months. A lite 5th wheel will not be insulated as well as a heavier one. Do not discard insulation as in Jan and Feb it gets cold at night unless you are paying $1000/$1200 a month to stay in south Florida.

Again...there is no easy way. Good luck.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:15 AM   #6
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Two questions to better answer your original post:
1) what are you towing with?
2) how far are you going?

If the trailer is mostly parked, a TT is much more efficient in terms of square feet per $$ and efficient layout. If you have a 3500 dually and are covering many miles on a regular basis, a 5er may be better.

That said, I think a medium size TT with a 2500 truck is a great setup in terms of cost-to-own and ease of towing. I've towed my TT about 15,000 miles in a little over an year with no issues.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:25 AM   #7
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Thanks, we will be traveling from May through October and we live in Florida now and will return for the winters. Our plan at this point is to travel for 2 maybe 3 years at which point we'll settle down to our condo.

I really don't want to buy a new truck we have a 2013 Silverado with the max tow package so it is rated for 11,600 FW and using the calculators online it looks like 10,375 is a safe weight to carry. I did take it to the scales and had it weighed so I feel confident in the results of the calculations.

That said we have found several lightweight FW's in the 10,000 gross weight area that have quite nice floor plans and quite a bit of room.. But, while a couple are in the low to mid 30k's the nicer ones that appear better built with more insulation, larger wardrobe areas etc are in the mid 40's to 50k. Not sure we want to spend that kind of money and really haven't found any really nice used ones.

On the other hand we have looked at some very nice TT with 3 slides and lots of room again in the 10,000 lb range new in the mid 20k to upper 20k range and have found several 1 or 2 year old units in the teens.

Keep the opinions coming we appreciate them all like I stated earlier were win the research phase now and unless we hit the lotto or come across the deal of the century we won't be purchasing anything until the first of next year.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:46 AM   #8
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Sounds like a 1/2 ton (1500?) Silverado.
Well, you have a hard decision to make. I don't think a 5er is in the cards, unless it's a really small, super light one. See tuffr2's comment on that, above.

Keep in mind that these trailers' weight as published is grossly off from what they weigh wet and ready to camp. And the towing capacity of the truck will be limited by the payload capacity. Look at the pin weight of a 5er + the weight of a 5er hitch in the bed of the truck, plus fuel, gear and two adults in the truck.

I would look for a nice TT in the 26 foot range.
A 10,000lbs dry TT is not really in the cards either with a half ton.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:14 AM   #9
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If you do have a 1/2 ton truck, my suggestion is to keep your trailer weight to around 7,500 lbs. I know this is a highly debated subject and gets beat to death on the forums, but my thoughts are based upon my Tundra. Technically, it can tow 10K albeit you would have to do it with only the driver and nothing in the truck. When I first got the Tundra, I pulled our old Sunline trailer (7.5-8K) a few times and felt that the Tundra was pretty much maxed out in terms of weight that I would want to tow for any distance or any trips through the mountains. When we downsized to the Minnie, we're towing 6,500 lbs. and the truck isn't maxed out and I'm confident that it will get me through any mountains if I just let the truck do the work!

There are a lot of 26-30' trailers you can buy that will enable you to keep your towing weight below 8K. Yes, they'll be light weight trailers, so choose carefully for construction quality...especially flooring. Then you have to look at storage space for longer trips. That is one of the reasons we chose our Minne as it has a large wardrobe in the bathroom plus additional storage cabinets. We manage ok with just a u-shaped dinette and an extra chair (office type) that we keep in the trailer. But there are other lightweight trailers that will provide a sofa and a dinette.

Personally, I don't believe trailer sway will be a problem. Just have a good hitch, and I think it helps to have the kitchen either in the front or mid section of the trailer. I'm not a fan of kitchens in the rear due to the amount of weight you are putting in back of the axles.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:33 AM   #10
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Wow...I was way off...sorry. So you already live in Florida and want to travel in the summer.

That changes my response.

In that scenerio you already have the best tow vehicle. And if you are traveling I would advise getting the smallest lightest camper you can be semi-comfortable in. You will really not be living in it...just eating and sleeping. You will be out seeing the sites most days. You are in Florida...the Meca of campers so seeing different campers is easy.

I would recommend an easy to tow T@B, A-Liner type, or even a pop-up, Egg camper, a small KZ, or anything that is easy to tow. Ease of towing will be your #1 goal.

What do you want to see? Out west is 3,000 miles one way. North is 1,200 miles one way. I know when I start traveling I want a 1/2 ton truck with a cap and the smallest trailer I can eat and sleep in.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:29 AM   #11
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When I mentioned 10,000 that is the gross weight of the TT & FW we have been looking the unloaded weights are somewhere between 7200 - 8100 lbs.

Pop ups are way out of the questions even I need a little more comfort than that and I don't really see a pop up being used for a 5-6 month trek. But hey I posted this because I'm looking for all the input I can get.

And yes the whole 1/2 ton tow vehicle thing is very debatable. My opinion on that is I have had 1/2 vehicles since 1980 have towed boats, a 30' Nomad TT, car haulers and a 18' box trailer when moved from California to Florida. At that time I had my 99 GMC Sierra I had the trailer weighed loaded before we left it was 8870 lbs I had another 765 lbs in the bed of the truck for a combined weight of 15085 lbs with full fuel ready to go. That truck was at its capacity GCVW was only 14,500 but pulled it from northern California to southwest Florida without a problem.

So I'm quite confident getting either a nice lightweight FW OR TT with a gross weight of 10,000 not unloaded weight I won't have pulling issues.

And yes we will be out seeing the sights but it won't be 24/7 and we will be staying in areas for a couple maybe 3 weeks at time. So we want something nice to stay in. Once we get out to California we'll probably spend 5-6 weeks in an area between family before start back to Florida in about mid October.

Does anyone have any favorite manufacturers? So far we've looked at Rockwood signature ultra lights FW and Windjammer TT. Grand design Reflection, Open range, Sundance, Jayco and Winnebago.

Thanks for all the input keep it coming.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:39 AM   #12
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I traded trucks because I was tired of getting pushed around in my half-ton by a trailer that weighed 7200# loaded. I have to agree with those that have told you to limit the trailer to 7500# unless you are going to a bigger truck. As to all TTs swaying... yes they do, but all 5ers do too... the driver may not feel it due to the geometry of everything but the sway is there, non the less. With the hitch setups available today, a TT tows as good as a 5er if set up properly. I have to have my bed space so a 5er is out for me. We use our trailer frequently. We take trips that cover as much as 2500 miles over 10 to 15 days. Our trailer is fine for 2 and even 3 when my 2 sons go fishing with me. We are planning to upgrade because we suddenly are over run with grand children... ... but that's another story.

For your stated purpose, I would get a trailer with a box length of 21 - 25 feet with opposing slides in the living area. They really open that area up and that's important. Our trailer has only 1 shallow slide and is not really roomy for those rainy days when you're stuck inside. If it's just the 2 of you, get one with some comfortable seating included for sitting around in the mornings and evenings.

I'm in the research mode myself for a new rig... so I suggest brand-based owner's forums. There you will read the good, the bad, and the ugly associated with each brand. be prepared to read a LOT because there's so much out there. Because there are SO MANY brands, pick out ones that you like and study those... but keep an open mind about other brands, too. Also check out 2 - 5 year-old units. Mine is 3 years old and has no issues, new tires, a new stainless-steel sink instead of the cheap plastic... and I'm sure I'll take a bath on it when I sell it, even though it has fewer problems than most new ones. That's where owner's forums are valuable, because you can make a list of probable problems to look for in a particular model.

Best of luck with your search... and please have safe travels... Most of all, have fun!
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:55 PM   #13
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I don't want to catch heat, but I would not tow a 5th that distance with a 1/2 ton. Put a camper shell on your truck and get a TT <30 ft total and <7K UVW and that would be max I would do. Add a TPMS on the TT for safety. You're talking some long miles. Northwood and OutdoorsRV make some really well built TT's and many posts here about them. Enjoy the search.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:39 AM   #14
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Thanks for he more I look and read the more I'm am leaning towards TT. have seen some very nice floor plans looked at a Jayco with opposing slides and the living area is huge. ULW is 7600 hitch weight is 885 . Don't know much about the Jayco except all Wood framing not sure I like that. And the Entertainment center is at the rear so from the recliners you sit with your head turned to watch TV.

I didn't know TPMS systems were available for trailers. Thanks again and keep them coming I do appreciate it.
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