iRV2 Forums

iRV2 Forums (
-   5th Wheel Discussion (
-   -   How Big is too Big? (

Hoosblues 01-14-2012 12:28 PM

How Big is too Big?
BTW, I am talking about fifth wheels ;)

I am researching fifth wheels for our next camper and we really like some of the larger ones. For those of you that have big rigs, are there challenges with finding adequate campsites, getting in/out of gas stations, etc? I am thinking the sweet spot may be around 35-36feet, but I really like some of the 38-39 footers. I will also be buying a truck, so I can match the truck to whatever fiver we end up choosing.

Arctic Owl 01-14-2012 02:26 PM

I do not know what others may consider "too big" but I have been hauling a 38ft 5ver for almost 15 years & have NEVER had problem. When I fuel up I always chose fuel at a truck stop fuelling station.(Flying J Pilot, Love's etc) Just watch your fuel gauge & find available stations to go too. I have had a few tight RV lots to get into but none I could not overcome. I do not know if this will help you in your decision process but this has been my experience. If you have any doubts on your ability to tow & handle a large unit, then rent one, or go to a dealer who will let you take one out for a test drive & see how comfortable your feel. Sometimes it just takes a bit or a lot of practice to get to your comfort level. I feel very comfortable pulling my 5ver any where, freeways, traffic conditions, through small towns, in the country, nearly any where. Just don't drive down narrow or rough roads if your in a hurry. Slow down & take your time & your can enjoy the drive & sights.
One thing you can do is find a big empty parking lot & practice turning, parking, backing up & all those things you may think you will encounter. Usually a Church parking lot is less congested then a Shopping Mall today. JMHO


shortlance 01-14-2012 05:28 PM

We have a 39 ft. 5er and only had one tight fit at a campsite which wasn't a real problem. After having a 39 ft. 5er I don,t think my DW would settle for anything smaller. Once you get a little road time with it, a longer 5er is not much more hassel then a shorter one--you just have to use a little common sence when pulling it and not get into tight spots. Get what you really like and want or you will be regreting your choice and wind up spending more money for what you wanted in the first place.

Half Dimes 01-14-2012 07:15 PM

Kind of depends on what kind of places you want to camp. If state parks, COE parks or forest service sites are what you want, the extra length may be a problem. Our rig measures 36'6". One state campground we visited limited RV lengths to 36' and were adamant about it. I fibbed and said I was 36'. I barely could get into the biggest site they had, no so much the site size as the maneuvering required to get into it.

But if full service private campgrounds and RV resorts are your objective, most any modern campground can handle any length.

If we were to go to Alaska again, I would be more comfortable towing something shorter. Not that a lot of folks don't tow longer rigs up that way, but that's my personal preference.

powerboatr 01-14-2012 08:04 PM

Our last fiver was 39'11" and 13'4" tall.
we towed it all over just fine.
i think it was a snap putting into spots, all except at home.

Hoosblues 01-15-2012 09:52 AM

Great feedback folks. I appreciate the reassurance about larger 5ers. My father-in-law used to be a full timer with a 36' motorhome and he has been suggesting that over 36' could be a problem.... A friend of mine told me yesterday that his parents are selling their 2008 Cameo 38 footer, as well as their 2005 F350. I don't know about the truck, but the Cameo pics looks good. I will check it out.

Another question: It looks like Carriage is going belly up. Should I be concerned about buying a used Carriage product? I wonder how easy parts will be to find down the road....

highcountry 01-15-2012 10:16 AM

My last 5er was 40'8". I loved it and didn't have any problem. You wouldn't notice any difference between a 36 and a 40. A few parks may have restrictions but I personally never ran into one.
Carriage built very nice units. Most of the items on any unit are going to be manufactured by someone else, not the unit manufacturer. i.e. the slide mech by one company the axles by another the a/c, furnace, fridge etc. Some of the trim items may be special to Carriage but even that is usually not too big of a problem.

jspande 01-15-2012 11:14 AM

I think this question misses an important point - there''s a 400 sq. ft. maximum on RVs (I know there are some bigger, and I'm not clear on the issues they face). But most models fit under the 400 sq. ft. regulation regardless of length, so your choice really is shorter and wider (slide-out depth) or longer and narrower. For example, my Alfa is a 34 footer (little over 35 ft outside dimensions) and is 399 sq. ft.

GENECOP 01-15-2012 11:35 AM

Get whatever you want, Plenty of places to go.....G

Franka548 01-15-2012 05:05 PM

They have changed the rule on the sq footage, I think it is 440 sq foot now.
My 30' alfa has 354 sq foot, with only 2 slides.

MSHappyCampers 01-16-2012 04:07 PM

We went from a 32' to a 36' back in 2002. Sometimes it is a problem getting into places, but the added living space is well worth it. I don't think I would ever go longer than 36', but that's just me. You have to decide what the extra length is worth to you and what problems you will encounter by having it. Good luck & God bless! :thumb::D

Fred1609 01-16-2012 04:13 PM

My first 5er was 38'. It did take some getting used too driving it around. For the most part its been an easy learn.

jspande 01-16-2012 05:24 PM


Originally Posted by Franka548 (Post 1058309)
They have changed the rule on the sq footage, I think it is 440 sq foot now.
My 30' alfa has 354 sq foot, with only 2 slides.

Frank, are you sure of that? I just did a Google Search and found references to the RVIA voting to change the Travel Trailer maximum from 320 to 400 sq. ft. but nothing about increasing the Fifth Wheel maximum over the 400 sq. ft. maximum.

kb0zke 01-16-2012 07:44 PM

I just went to and didn't find anything there. I've heard this same number quoted other places, but I've never been able to find it published in an authoritive place. Without slides, a motor home or 5'er would have to be 47' long just to get to 400 square feet. Even with two 2' x 10' and two 18" x 8' slides you would be looking at 39' 6" overall length.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.