Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > TRAVEL TRAILER, 5th WHEEL & TRUCK CAMPER FORUMS > 5th Wheel Discussion
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-14-2012, 01:28 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 25
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.
Hoosblues is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free! RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
Senior Member
Arctic Owl's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada N0B 2V0
Posts: 151
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

38ft Snowvilla. Triple Glides. 2010 Ram 3500 CC Dually. to tow anywhere, anytime.
!!!!!! "RETIRED" !!!!!!.
Arctic Owl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
Senior Member
shortlance's Avatar
Nor'easters Club
Mid Atlantic Campers
KZ RV Club
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southeast Pa.
Posts: 277
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.
Thane & Sharon
shortlance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
Senior Member
Half Dimes's Avatar
Florida Cooters Club
Appalachian Campers
Coastal Campers
Carolina Campers
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Nature Coast FL
Posts: 1,724
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.
Dave & Jo Ann
2008 HitchHiker Champagne 35LKRSB | 2011 F350 Lariat 6.7PSD | Many great memories!
Half Dimes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2012, 09:04 PM   #5
Senior Member
powerboatr's Avatar
Damon Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: North East Texas
Posts: 4,845
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.
USN Retired, Life time member of the DAV.
Enjoying the 2008 Damon Tuscany 4056, #3998 no your eyes are fine, there are really 6 slides
2022 F150 King Ranch or 2012 Edge toads

powerboatr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2012, 10:52 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 25
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....
Hoosblues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2012, 11:16 AM   #7
highcountry's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 32
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.
Del and Loretta + Hirem the beagle
07 Tour 40FD and 02 Jeep Liberty
USS Frank E Evans DD754-Lest we forget
highcountry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2012, 12:14 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Aguanga, CA, USA
Posts: 239
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.
jspande is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2012, 12:35 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 507
Get whatever you want, Plenty of places to go.....G
GENECOP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
Senior Member
Franka548's Avatar
Freightliner Owners Club
Retired Fire Service RVer's
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 4,390
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.
05 Alfa Gold 40' Motor Home "Goldie",
03 Malibu Toad
in a 24' CargoMate trailer.
Franka548 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2012, 05:07 PM   #11
Senior Member/RVM #90
MSHappyCampers's Avatar

Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Columbus, MS
Posts: 52,129
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!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
MSHappyCampers is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2012, 05:13 PM   #12
Senior Member
Thor Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,893
My first 5er was 38'. It did take some getting used too driving it around. For the most part its been an easy learn.
Fred1609 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Aguanga, CA, USA
Posts: 239
Originally Posted by Franka548 View Post
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.
jspande is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2012, 08:44 PM   #14
Registered User
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 302
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.
easdsa is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Big Bend National Park Volunteer Orientation/Training SideRoads Workkamping & Volunteering 1 01-28-2011 02:37 PM
Big Foot slide problem begete Class C Motorhome Discussions 1 01-23-2011 12:22 AM
Big O Tire Blue74 5th Wheel Discussion 16 12-03-2010 10:44 AM
Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming jeeprubi Camping Locations, Plans & Trip Reports 7 08-12-2007 06:38 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.