Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
charlyhors

Trailer or 5W

Recommended Posts

We are Not beginners, have been living full time in a 5er for 3 and half years.  But we are looking at settling down in our 5W in a park full time in southern Az.  We want to have a second, smaller, more maneuverable, home to travel with in the summers.  Also, I want to dump my big dually F-350, and get a smaller 4WD vehicle (which I can use for back road fun) to tow either a small 5w or trailer.  We originally thought of buying a small 5W for our summer travels - thinking that the overall unit length would be shorter and more maneuverable, and that it would back easier and fit in state parks easier.  

As we think about it further, there are lots more, and less expensive travel trailers around, than small fifth wheels.  We've never towed a trailer, and I understand they are not as inherently stable or maneuverable than a 5W.  And it seems the overall rig would be longer for backing and placing in a space.  What are some of your thoughts, those of you who have experience with trailers and 5Ws?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your overall length will be longer with a TT compared to a similar size 5er.  However, backing a TT is usually a little easier than backing a 5er.  It takes less input from the tow vehicle to get the TT moving in the direction you want than it does to get a 5er moving in the direction you want.  As a result, the overall longer length usually isn't an issue for backing.  You can turn sharper while backing a 5er than a travel trailer though. 

The 5er will have more trailer "cheat" in turns going forward than a TT.  The 5er will travel inside the wheel track of the tow vehicle on a turn while the TT will follow the wheel track of the tow vehicle more closely (but it will also still cheat inside - just not as much). 

In the small class of trailer you are looking at, there will be more available TT's than 5er's (especially when considering a small tow vehicle as I believe you are).

When towing a TT you want to make sure you use a quality weight distributing hitch with sway control, especially when using a small tow vehicle.  There are some excellent hitches on the market, but they are expensive.  You do not want to skimp in this area, so make sure you factor that cost into the overall purchase.  A light weight 5th wheel hitch for a small 5er will cost less than a quality weight distributing TT hitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't thinking of back road fun with the trailer, so much as with the 4x4.  But there are some nice booning spots that have primitive roads.  Now that we're on the subject of vehicles, though, do any of you have thoughts about a good travel trailer/vehicle match for us.  A minimalist couple and cat, who will be travelling 3 months out of the year.  (We lived very comfortably for 3 and half years in a 32 foot 5W and then reduced size to our present 30' 5w, which we will presently be using as our Arizona main home.  And, bearing in mind, neither of us is 27 years old, but more like a reasonably healthy 72  - so not interested in motorcycles with trailers, and such.

What would be your various recommendations as to vehicle/trailer combinations for our summer travels, and as the only household vehicle.  (We could have the present 5er towed if we want to change parks)  Bearing in mind, there is No Right answer - what are some of the appealing combinations?  Your experiences?  I need an intro to this topic, having been a dedicated fifth wheeler, only

Edited by charlyhors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done similar to what you are approaching, except that we bought a barndominium and sold the fulltime RV. If you will be using the new RV only in warm weather and in mild climates then you can save significant money by buying an RV that is not 4 season ready. I suspect also that if you live in a 30' RV now you can probably travel in a much smaller one than most people, as we do. We bought a 20' travel trailer and have been quite happy with it since we only use it in climates that allow us to use the awning as our sitting area most of the time. The trailer is mostly a bedroom and breakfast nook, and a retreat when we do happen to experience bad weather. You may also want to consider going with one of the ultra-lite trailers, which we did. That makes it more easily towed and requires much less hitch equipment, but sway control is very important for the lite weight RV as it is quite susceptible to wind issues. We have spent as long as 5 consecutive months in ours but usually, it is more like 3 months. 

By looking at RVs that are designed only for seasonal use, you can dramatically lower the budget. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought........ever considered keeping your truck and getting a pickup camper? There are a couple of folks in our RV park that live in their 5th wheels during the winter and have pickup campers to wander around in the summer. They both have enclosed trailers to carry their "toys" and extra "stuff".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At our ages, me 75-DW 71, we have totally dismissed any idea of buying another 5th wheel trailer. navigating the stairs/steps multiple time daily to access the bedroom and bathroom are in the past. We've already decided when we downgrade from our MH, it will be for a TT, with a quality equalizing hitch. Modern TT hitches are a different animal than 20-30 years ago, some brands/models offer handling virtually as good as towing a 5er-provided a proper tow vehicle is matched to the TT.

This Towing Calculator is quite helpful  when making a decision to properly and safely match a TT or 5er with a tow vehicle. Towing any 5er with a 1/2T pickup is, IMO questionable at best. It's not merely the pin weight, and 5er GVW, one must also factor in wind resistance of the 95+ square feet of trailer frontal area rising above the pickup cab.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I' m 78, so no spring chicken and we full-timed in 33' fiver. We kept our 3/4 ton truck and bought a 24' trailer and love it. We use an Anderson hitch which I swear by because it is so easy to hook up and pulls every bit as easy as our fiver. The naysayers about pulling a trailer just haven't had the right setup. We kept the truck because it' s paid for but a newer 1\2 ton would be more comfortable. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, theeyres said:

I' m 78, so no spring chicken and we full-timed in 33' fiver. We kept our 3/4 ton truck and bought a 24' trailer and love it. We use an Anderson hitch which I swear by because it is so easy to hook up and pulls every bit as easy as our fiver. The naysayers about pulling a trailer just haven't had the right setup. We kept the truck because it' s paid for but a newer 1\2 ton would be more comfortable. 

 

You sound very similar to us.  But I'm very much wanting to downsize from our F-350 dually king cab 4x2, to a strong, small 4x4 SUV or shortish bed SRW pickup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking at VW Touareg SUV's.  One article said they have a towing capacity of 7600 lbs, and I have a general respect for VW and German engineering.  Any body with experience with a Touareg?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, charlyhors said:

What would be some examples of trailer ultralights that we could look up?

We have a Sportsman, by KZ but nearly all of the trailer builders make a line of ultra-lite trailers. I'd also look at Keystone, Forest River, and Winnebago lines. We bought ours several years ago so there have been some changes but they are not difficult to find and nearly all dealers will have some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An issue that is not mentioned all that often, but that can become one especially for SUVs is the relationship between the wheelbase of the tow vehicle and the length of the travel trailer. Here is a link to a discussion of this issue. Not sure how many are still being manufactured, but the rear slide models were popular with SUV owners because it gave additional space when deployed and gave a shorter trailer length (less side wind catching area) when towing. 

Another thing to investigate is what the frontal area of the trailer is that is used to calculate the tow rating of the SUV. Often it may be more on the order of a cargo or horse trailer than a travel trailer. The egg shaped trailers tow easier than those with a higher, flatter frontal profile; but tend to be at the higher end of the price scale for travel trailers.

In my experience, the longer the wheelbase of a 4x4, the less capable it is of off road travel.

Edited by trailertraveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

In my experience, the longer the wheelbase of a 4x4, the less capable it is of off road travel.

A very good point. The link also brings up some very good points and is the best discussion on the subject that I have seen. I have long looked for some source of technical information about the relationship between travel trailer length and tow vehicle length, but have found nothing. The relationship between the weights of each is also a contributing factor. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One issue I have with that otherwise good article is it isn't the absolute length of the rear axle overhang that's an issue, but the ratio of that overhang to the tow vehicle's wheelbase.  The author alludes to this, then reverses himself by saying it's the longer wheelbase itself that improves stability.

Proof that the wheelbase by itself is irrelevant for towing stability are the many short wheelbase tractors successfully towing large van trailers.  Since the hitch point is over the rear axle, there is no overhang to wheelbase ratio and the leverage imposed by the trailer is irrelevant.

A longer tractor wheelbase may improve the ride for the driver, but it has no affect on stability compared to a shorter wheelbase.

Edited by Lou Schneider

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Lou Schneider said:

One issue I have with that otherwise good article is it isn't the absolute length of the rear axle overhang that's an issue, but the ratio of that overhang to the tow vehicle's wheelbase.  The author alludes to this, then reverses himself by saying it's the longer wheelbase itself that improves stability.

Proof that short wheelbase vehicles can safely tow large trailer of this are the many short wheelbase tractors successfully towing large van trailers.  Since the hitch point is over the rear axle, the leverage imposed by the trailer is irrelevant.

A longer tractor wheelbase may improve the ride for the driver, but it has no affect on stability compared to a shorter wheelbase.

Your reasoning is correct for 5th wheel style trailers where the trailer weight is over the tow vehicle axle.  In this case, the tow vehicle wheel base makes little difference to stability.  However, when towing a trailer with the trailer weight suspended somewhere behind the tow vehicle's rear axle (like a TT), a longer wheel base tow vehicle will be more stable due to the leverage principal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

charleyhors, you might look at some of the fiberglass trailers. Oliver is frequently mentioned as a fairly high quality one that comes in sizes that you may find attractive. If you want to go smaller, you can look at the Casita, Egg Camper, or Scamp. The websites will give you weights, so you can start matching those to possible tow vehicles.

Personally, I'm partial to Lincolns, so if I was in your position I'd probably get an MKT and one of the fiberglass trailers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

RVAir The cleanest air in RVing!

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...